It was beautiful!
No, seriously, a ton of fun. We got into Phoenix on Thursday night, and really the party didn't stop until we got back on the plane Sunday afternoon. I'm torn between describing every minute and glossing over it all so it doesn't take that long to read. Here, a few things that stand out:
Neil, Leigh and I stand in together at one end of the table at the Salty Senorita, the former LA contingent, all three dressed in black. Of course this is pointed out by Corey, Michael's best man, in the same breath that he points out the Iowa boys, four of which are standing on the other side of the table dressed in white t-shirts. Michael and Corey are in between, grinning, in their striped button down shirts. I have no idea what it says about us all, but it was kind of amusing.
So was standing in the "hipster" club next to Nicole's friend's friend, who proceeded to tell me that the club was super cool because they had different themes every night. Yep, and they changed the color in the lights behind the frosted glass on all the walls with the theme. SO COOL. I giggled. I told Brock. I told Michael. I told Corey. I think I actually ended up telling others too, because it kind of amused me.
It's impossible not to be secretly horrified at the rehearsal that the woman who was performing the wedding really wanted to make the whole crowd say prayers and amen at the wedding of two people who aren't particularly religious. And then being secretly relieved that not only did she not make us say prayers and amen (well, ok, there was one, but not that many) but she actually didn't forget to have the two of them break the glass like a proper Jewish wedding.
Getting to hug all these people that I haven't seen for literal years - knowing that I missed them, every single one. The moment I saw Lauren's silhouette inside her car in the parking lot... the picture of Leigh leaning against the railing at the Salty Senorita. Michael's striped-shirted back against the white t-shirts of all of his friends at the bar... the moment Meg rounded the corner, short hair and all, the second I heard Sophia talking to her mom - and seeing Rosanna with long hair for the first time in forever. Seeing Brock's face emerge from the rowdy crowd, and knowing it was Ryan crossing the threshold of the party room behind Brock the next day. That feeling of hugging people you're so delighted to see that you can't stop grinning.
Lauren and I had talked about me being there to run errands and things on the actual day, and as a bonus to that I got the chance to get a couple of pre-wedding pictures that I absolutely adore. This one was actually taken as the photographer was in the process of taking pictures of me and Lauren (so we're looking in all the wrong directions), but I love it nonetheless:
And as for the wedding itself - I remember wondering what in the heck Lauren was looking at as her eyes tracked out on the green (found out later she was doing everything she could to distract herself so she didn't cry). Remember Michael being so grave, with that hint of a smile, as he said his vows. Their adorable kiss that was almost not long enough, until the both of them decided they liked kissing eachother (at least, that's what it looked like from the outside). The flower girl who couldn't tug her two-year old brother down the aisle (he was the "ring bearer" in name, at least) and whose grandfather (Michael's dad) had to stand in the middle of the aisle and try and coax him to the end.
The toasts - all men except for Robyn - all of 'em made me want to cry because they were so fabulous and honest and just... loving and whole hearted. But the one that totally got me (and the rest of the room, I'm pretty sure) was Michael's toast. I don't know if it's a new thing that the grooms are speaking at their own weddings, but I adore it. Especially when it's like Michael's toast - where he explained just how much he adored his new bride because he wouldn't be the man he is today without her. And it's true in so many ways. They really are beautiful together.
There was dancing. There was avoidance of the bouquet toss and the garter toss (Meg and I quickly ran outside for a smoke and had Neil and Brock and Ryan join us). We danced with the flower girl and Sophia, with the groomsman, with the friends from Iowa, and with the friends from Arizona. We danced the last dance (a medley from Greece - no, i'm not kidding) and then decided to find a place to go finish the night, because none of us were done yet.
I remember a shot on thursday night that was supposed to be something called a "pink pussy" but tasted like a watermelon jolly rancher. I remember shots from Saturday night - one called a "red headed slut" that was absolutely foul (cherry and minty together - we think there might've been jaeger in there), and the clean crisp citrus taste of a kamikaze (so much better!). We attempted to use up all of the polaroid film left over from the guest book on Saturday, and finished the night with only one package left. We grinned and hugged, and Meg and Leigh and Neil and I walked hand in hand (or arm and arm) across the parking lot to our hotel.
The hardest part was saying goodbye - hugging Lauren and Mike for the last time, having to leave Meg to go across to the other end of the terminal. But good to know that it doesn't matter how long or how far apart we're spread - there's still love.