Sunday, June 22, 2014

Diana & Kevin's Wedding

Diana & Kevin's Wedding
From the Point-of-View Of Their Underqualified Reception Organizer

On June 6, 2014, two of my best friends, who have been together for 22 years, finally got married. 

After announcing to her co-workers that she and Kevin were finally getting married, the next thing out of Diana's mouth was...

"Of course, you'll do the invitations, right Steph?"
"Of course."
"And the decorations. I'm not good with that stuff."
"I suppose."
"You can be the wedding planner!"
"Huh? Wha???? No! I'll do the invitation and decorate the reception, but that's all!"

Hahahahahahahaha!!!!  It's so funny that I actually thought that.

It's probably best that a woman who would wear a penis tiara in public 
NOT decorate her own wedding reception.

Diana is a vibrant, magnificent lady. If you lost a leg, she'd give you hers. But as a bride? She sucks. Most people are familiar with the Bridezilla. If you don't know who those are, there are at least five shows different TV shows dedicated to these control-freaks-from-hell. 

On the opposite side of the Bride Spectrum from the Bridezilla is Diana. For months, every question I asked her she answered with...

"I don't know. Whatever you want."  
"Sweetheart, I've been married three times. I'm not sure anyone should be leaving their wedding plans up to me."  
"That just makes you more qualified. Besides, you don't have to pick out the groom, just the colors, theme, decorations, table settings, where the food is set up, keeping soda cold, keeping coffee hot..." 

Months of indecision. But there was one thing she was sure about...

"No beer. I'm not paying for anyone to get drunk at my wedding."
"Well, maybe some beer."
"Whatever you want."
"Should I get a keg?"
"Seems a bit extreme for 80 people."
"It's over a hundred now."
"What?! When did that happen?!"
"How many cups do you get from a quarter keg?"
"I have no idea."
"I need a tap too, don't I?"
"I think so...wait a're a bartender. Don't you know how kegs work?"
"No. Maybe I should get cans."

Two weeks before the wedding...

"Should I get a keg or cans?"

At 8 am on the morning of the wedding, Drew, dear friend Joanie, and I showed up at the firehouse to meet up with the bride and groom. The firehouse lady gave us final instructions for the day and we retrieved Diana's contribution to the reception...a veggie tray, water, and cole slaw.

"Here's the water. We got two cases of water."
"Two cases! You've been talking about the fact that you got the water for an entire year. That's only 48 bottles."
"Do you think we need more?"
"Ok. We'll get more."
"Good. Where's the cole slaw?"
"It's at home. I have to put in another bag and..." I have to admit that at this point I glazed over. The reason didn't matter to me. I just knew the cole slaw wasn't there. "...we'll bring it down later."
"Oh. Ok. Don't forget."

With the hall to ourselves, the three of us set out to setup a reception. There was no budget for the decorating, so using items that had been given to me by various people and the stuff in my craft room, I decided on a super-simple rustic theme.

Tables...a plastic, white tablecloth with a burlap runner and rose petals...a glass vase with mini marble rock in the bottom of it, around the middle is crinkle paper, burlap, and lace with twine leaves and plates...a standing sign with the wedding party on one side and the lyrics to their song "Look At Us" by Vince Gill...a metal tin with markers and pieces of paper for people to write down a wish for the bride and groom.

The Sweetheart Table...for Diana & Kevin to eat at, then we could remove it to make room for more dancing...two champagne glasses decorated with flowers, twine, and gold rings...a votive candle...a paper gazebo made by yours truly, which is quite possibly the cutest thing I have ever made.

The Dessert Table...a "just married" banner in the camo colors of brown, peach, and light green...a card box decorated with a burlap and camo duct tape ribbon and flowers...a cupcake tree with Mr. and Mrs. cupcake toppers for the Bride and Groom, who opted not to have any kind of cake other than the cup variety...cupcakes were created by the wonderful Laurie Evans, who texted me the night before in complete panic because the camo cupcake wrappers weren't behaving properly. I explained it was fine, especially for this wedding reception, and indeed, no one noticed or cared. They were fabu!!!!

At various times during the setup, people would arrive with donations of food. Baked beans. Pasta salad. Gelatin salad. Diana & Kevin's son Josh arrived with more cases of water. More pasta salad. A different kind of gelatin salad. More pasta salad. What the...

"I asked five people to bring pasta salad and three people to bring gelatin salad."
"Diana??? Why???"
"I don't know."

My eye twitched a lot the past couple months leading up to this wedding.

Thankfully, Alicia from F-N-A's Rhythym and Booze in Waterloo where Diana bartends --- nice bar! go visit them! --- arrived with a donation from her and Frank. A bathtub full of beer cans! Full ones, too! I wanted to swim in it.

The Beverage Grotto...complete with coffee, water, soda, wine and beer...the beer was strategically placed across the hall to discourage people from wanting to go play with the firetrucks...people like me.

"But think of the photo op!!"

Joanie texted the beer photo to Kevin. I said to her...

"Ask him where the damn cole slaw is."

Ten minutes later, Diana's son Jim showed up with the cole slaw. 

At noon, we left knowing the room was setup and we were in good shape! 

At 2 pm, Drew and I headed down to Lewis Restaurant to pick up the food Diana had ordered. Roasted chicken, pulled pork, salt potatoes, and homemade rolls. The chicken had just been cooked, so the CRV smelled amazing!!!  I texted Kevin and told him we were running off to Mexico with his food.

As we would find out later, the food tasted even better than it smelled. I was shocked at how good it was. I will remember Lewis in the future if I need food for a big party. The only thing that got missed was extra butter for the salt potatoes. I told whiners they were low cholesterol salt potatoes. (I don't even know if that's true. Don't care. People eating for free shouldn't complain to me. It's bad for their health.)

At 3 pm, my brother-from-another-mother Jeffrey showed up. He made his fabulous ziti in a vodka sauce for the masses. He had offered to stay there while Drew and I went to the wedding. There was a lot of food being kept warm by the ovens in the kitchen.

The wedding was at 5 pm at the gazebo at Hoopes Park. It was a beautiful day. Our co-worker and professional photographer Jason Countryman surprised Diana by showing up to take pictures of the ceremony. It's fun to surprise Diana because it makes her cry happy tears.

I would never cry. Don't believe anything Bonny, Kelly or Lou tell you. I didn't cry.

Diana & her granddaughter Arianna

Kevin & his great-nephew Wyatt

After the ceremony, Drew, Bonny (Jeff's wife whom we picked up along the way) and I raced back to the firehouse. From there it was a whirlwind of insanity. Making sure the food was put out at the right time. Making sure we didn't run out of food. Making sure empty soda bottles were replaced with full ones. Making sure I always had a wine glass in my hand. Making sure we had enough chairs for everyone...

"I might have invited a few extra people."
"A FEW????"

Even though we setup chairs for 120 people...and only 105 were expected...we still had to put up another table with chairs. Thankfully DJ Jane Stebbins had an extra table cloth. Decorations be damned.

Everything went very well. We didn't run out of anything. If we did, no one complained to me, which (as I mentioned previously) was wise. I have to give a huge shout-out to my kitchen helpers --- Drew, Jeff, Kelly & Phil Deacy (Diana's son Matt's mother & father-in-law). Kelly was a ball of energy that couldn't be stopped (and I didn't even try after a while); Phil was hero of the night for hauling away the ten bags of trash that had accumulated that night to an undisclosed location for dumping. TEN! We were all surprised it was that much. Thank the lord that man has a truck with a washable bed in the back of it. Pee-freakin'-u.

By 8:00, my bladder was screaming at me. I hit the bathroom and found I couldn't get off the toilet. I'd been on my feet since 3 pm and my legs had decided that if I was sitting down, we were staying there. Seriously, my legs would not stand up. I debated screaming for Drew, my personal sherpa, to come get me off the toilet. After a minute of laughing at myself, I managed to push my butt off the toilet, wash my hands, and head back out into the reception hall. I found a seat amongst some friends, sat down, and screamed for Drew to bring me more wine. He brought me the bottle.

Shortly after 9:00, it was time to wrap up. Thankfully most of the wedding party and several guests were still there --- and sober enough --- to help with the clean up. It was quick and mostly painless. It would have been better if I hadn't drank that bottle of wine Drew gave me, but I think everyone figured I'd earned it. (I'm not sure how a hangover is a prize for a job well done, but without the numbing affects of the wine I'd probably still be sitting in a chair somewhere screaming for Drew to come get me.)

The months leading up to the wedding were stressful, but that's because I'd never tried to run a reception before. Everything went smoothly, no big bumps or problems. I loved designing and decorating, but never again will I run a reception. I'm too nervous for that. But I'm sooooooo glad I got to do this for my friends. They're two of the best friends you could ask for. And so easy to please...Thank God!!!

If anyone has a need for hundreds of styrofoam cups, or plastic cups, or mismatched plastic wear, or metal warming trays, shoot me a message. Somehow I ended up bringing most of it back home with me.

"Whoa, Di. Why am I taking all this stuff home?"
"You've earned it."
"Where am I going to put all this?"
"You can use it for the next reception you do."
"The next one?!?!?!"
"You did a good job! Everyone's going to want your services now."
"No! No no no no no no no no--"
"I'm going to Myrtle Beach for my honeymoon. Bye."

~ Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Kevin Daeffler ~