The person I’ve been friends with the longest, HF, got married on Saturday night! We’ve known each other since before we were three (we figured that out this weekend). Hard to believe. I was so happy and honored to be invited to her wedding. As you all know, I had the R.S.V.P. conundrum, but in the end decided to go ahead and go it alone and not worry about having a date.
The wedding was down in Baltimore, MD, about 2 hours drive from Philly at the Baltimore Museum of Industry on the Inner Harbor. What a beautiful setting!! Since it’s high season, I had a difficult time getting the dog into a kennel (either they had no room or wanted a minimum 3 day stay), and since it really wasn’t that far away, I decided to just drive down and back without staying over. Yes, people, I’m crazy. Haven’t you figured that out yet? Anyway, I made it down in time for the wedding, despite nasty traffic and construction. For awhile I thought I might be late! But the gods smiled on me and I made it.
The ceremony itself was outside on the back patio of the Museum, with the Inner Harbor as the backdrop. It was beautiful. As people arrived, the were given the opportunity to wander around the place until it was time to head outside for the ceremony. The first person I saw when I walked in was my friend’s little brother DF! I didn’t recognize him at all! Fortunately, he recognized me (apparently I haven’t changed that much). The last time I saw him he was shorter than I was! Now he’s definitely all grown up, and has a beautiful baby girl with his girlfriend. It’s so incredible.
After a brief wander, they ushered the guests outside onto the patio for a very brief ceremony. JL and HF wanted to keep the ceremony short so we could move on to more important things…food, dancing and lots of fun! And you wonder why HF and I have stayed friends for so long…we both know what’s really important in life. HF was gorgeous and grinning from ear to ear. Their vows were wonderful, and included a clause about being serious only when necessary and completely silly the rest of the time! I love it. So perfect for them.
Once the ceremony was complete (and brief it was!), we all headed back inside for the reception. The room the reception was in was huge, with floor to ceiling windows looking out onto the patio and the Inner Harbor beyond. As the sun set and all the lights in the Harbor came on it only became more beautiful. An incredible setting for the wedding and the reception.
We discovered various gambling tables had been set up (poker, blackjack, and roulette), and each guest received a certificate for $100,000 to play for fun. Of course, there was a big grand prize at the end of the evening for who won the most. I was tempted to play some blackjack (the only thing I have a chance in hell of actually winning a hand or two at), but I watched a 10 year old for awhile and he was cleaning house! I decided maybe I wouldn’t be playing any games that evening. So I passed my certificate on to someone else that did want to play and migrated back to the other end of the room for food and dancing.
The food was fantastic! A beautiful selection of flavors from all over the world. Once food had been had, there were the usual toasts and dancing. HF’s little sister MF was her maid of honor, and gave a great toast. Made me tear up. So did watching HF dance with her dad. It was so good to see her family. I’ve known this family my whole life. It had been about 10 years since I’d seen them last, so it was wonderful to catch up. Hopefully it won’t be 10 years before I see them all again!
After all the toasts and dances were done, we got down to some serious dancing! The DJ was excellent, playing a blend of music that everyone could enjoy. HF’s grandmother was unstoppable! That woman can cut a rug and anyone was fair game for her to snag and dance with, including me! She wore dance partner after dance partner out all evening. We all had a good time. I reconnected with people I hadn’t seen since we were around 11 years old, and we laughed about all the various sleepover escapades we had as girls.
Fortunately for me, I wasn’t the only person there without a date, and I ended up with an excellent dance partner for the evening. RM is a great lead and a fine dancer, with an abundance of energy. And he’s funny on top of it all so there was plenty of good conversation during dance breaks. He moved to the area about the same time I left, so we actually hadn’t met before, even though we both knew all the same people there! He’s now out on the west coast. What a random world. Anyway, we danced up a storm and had a blast.
After dancing for awhile, it was time for dessert! The cake was delicious. Layers upon layers of chocolate. So good. Then it was back to dancing.
As things wound down, it was revealed that there was a plan for an after party at a nearby bar, Little Havana. A bunch of us wandered down the way to continue the dancing and fun. The bride and groom joined us, giving them an opportunity to hang out with their friends (kind of hard to do at the reception with all that family to talk to!). Once the bar closed down, we continued socializing back at the hotel (also only a few blocks away) for a few more hours. And we got some food (we were starving!). Fortunately, HF’s friend M lives in the area, and knew a few places to get late night snacks. Who knew bad pizza could taste so good at 3:00AM? [And a big thank you for RM for treating us all to pizza and soda!! Very kind of you.]
After food and laughter and telling more stories about each other, we all finally headed out. I’m amazed JL and HF didn’t kick us out sooner, but we were all having a good time. I started my drive back to Philly at 4:00AM, and made it home safely about the time the sun was coming up. I don’t remember the last time I saw the sunrise after being up all night, but the all night party was worth it. I was so much fun to see everyone and catch up and dance and whew! I’m still exhausted, even after sleeping most of the day today. And sore. All that dancing worked muscles in my legs I had forgotten I had! Needless to say, I’ll be going to bed super-early tonight. And not to worry, the dog is fine after being left alone all night, no problems at all. My dog’s ability to roll with the punches continues to amaze me. But I won’t be making a habit of it, I assure you.
So CONGRATULATIONS to HF and JL and thanks for an awesome party! I wish you many many happy years together filled with love and silliness!!
Oh, and photos from the evening can be seen here on Flickr. Enjoy!