A few days ago we celebrated our wedding on New Years Eve, so I thought I would write about it.
We had a quick Christmas of sorts in the evening of December 23rd with my parents. They gave us a set of keys to their condo, so we will need to get a visit planned out! Then we left Mandan the next morning - Christmas Eve morning. Our departure was close enough to our plan of 9:00am. The 20 miles of roads just west of Fargo were a little icy but it was otherwise perfect winter traveling and we arrived in the late afternoon in time for a nice dinner and then gift opening.
Christmas Day was pretty relaxed and we didn't have anything scheduled. Dave showed me his forge where I twisted some metal bar into an "A" shape and another piece into a looped tool holder wall thingy. The forge is unique in being completely home built, including a burner built of black iron pipe with a wire-feed welder tip as the propane injection nozzle. I got a bit carried away drinking beer around a campfire with Dave that evening and really felt that the next day.
So then we had about 4 days to finish preparing for the wedding. On Monday we dropped my car off to get some mysterious noises checked out (was the brakes), went to a Hennepin County office to get our marriage license, and picked up some great pastries from Lunds & Byerlys on the way home. One was a lobster tail which I had only ever heard of on the TV show Archer. Very good! Anna did A LOT of work on wedding details and I helped with a few things. Melting the wax out of 95 votives and washing 55 glass vases sticks out in my memory of things that I did. We also made a last-minute run to buy a sport coat for me to wear at the rehearsal dinner.
Thursday we packed and moved to the hotel--The Marquette in downtown Minneapolis. We hauled several luggage carts full of stuff out of a couple of cars, to Anna's suite, to Daniel's room, and to the reception venue Windows on Minnesota. Then it was soon time to head to the church for rehearsal which went well. Dinner at the Women's Club was great, with a beautiful venue, great drinks, fun people, and an excellent beef tips and mashed potatoes meal. Many people spent about an hour blowing up balloons for an arch at Windows, and I made it to bed around 11:00pm to get a solid 8+ hours of sleep in Daniel's room, where the men would be getting ready the next morning.
I have heard that the next morning was pure chaos for the ladies up in Anna's suite. Men have it easier--Daniel invited me to join him in the gym at about 9:30 so I went and walked on the treadmill while he ran for 15 minutes, and then he coached me through some sit ups on a rubber ball and bench pressing some free weights. We got our tuxes steamed well ahead of schedule, and then the photographer came around 1:00pm and we were off to the races.
From then on it was go go go for 12 straight hours!
I went down to the atrium for the first look and the photographer quickly learned from the security guard that she needed a permit to photograph there. We still got the first look pictures done there but then quickly went up to Windows to do all of the family photos. Rush rush rush! Someone swore about someone bringing my gift over. It was a very cool gift. Everyone ran around like chickens with no heads, but many pictures were successfully taken. Then we went down with the whole wedding party to get on the bus to go take photos outside. We did a set with the whole group in a cool old-charm alley, and then just Anna and I around the corner in front of the shop where she bought her dress. It was snowing moderately with 1/2 inch of fresh snow on the ground which I think will result in awesome pictures. 10 degrees was a little chilly though! A park across the street called us over for a few more photos too.
We did some photos at the church and (not exactly sure on the order here) Anna and I were taken in the photographer's car for some other shots. First on some bridge still with the beautiful falling snow, and then to a different bridge where the Grain Belt sign is. It was getting a bit windy (cold!) but we survived. The photographer (Kelly Birch) was amazing with keeping us moving and resolving/preventing so many small things that really could have dragged us down. So tactful, charismatic, wise, etc.--she was a huge deal. And we were so thankful to have her, because somewhere in here we got a text from the event coordinator at Windows saying she was going to be out of the office for a few days...starting now...WTF. She must have had a family emergency or something.
We waited at the church, scrounged up some snacks, and then it was time for the ceremony. I really enjoyed the songs we pick and the organist absolutely brought down the house with the last song (Joyful Joyful I think?). It sounded so good! I got surprised by having to repeat something during the ring vows about a "triune God" which I had never heard of before. Everyone survived the cold for 5 minutes to do some sparkler photos on the church front steps. Then off on the bus to Windows.
About 10 minutes into cocktail hour we spent 25 minutes gathering Kleins and Coopers for a large family photo, which I found to be a very frustrating use of time. But ultimately I got plenty to eat and drink anyways! The passed mini beef wellingtons were pretty good, and the shrimp was very nice especially when dipped in a little glass of sauce. Bailey saved Jessica from dumping one of those glasses of sauce all over Anna's dress during cocktail hour: it was so close! Jessica's speech was nice, Simon's was way long but good, mine was way short and unnecessary, and then we danced.
The photographer grabbed us at 10:30pm to do some more photos, some in a dark room up there, some in the atrium, and some with fireworks outside. These seem like they will all be epic! When we lit the firework fountains on the sidewalk some random person ran up and was warming his hands on it in the background of at least one photo. Hilarious!
The midnight champagne toast was great with confetti everywhere. Posing so much for the photographer right around that moment kind of sapped a little of the fun out of it but in the long run the memories will multiply as we have those photos forever. Jason then monopolized the ear of the DJ for the rest of the night so things got a little crazy with some wild music, and eventually (far too late) the night drew to a close.
We were plenty tired and, frankly, in rough shape the next day. We said good bye to many guests and spent time with others who were staying for various reasons, and then cleaned up some things at Windows. My car battery was dead from the headlights being left on when family used it to get to the church for the wedding. Chris and Kelly took us and 7 others to go ax throwing in the evening. I had a great burger at the hotel bar and Anna had a steak at a little cocktail table between the couches in the lounge, then off to bed to start catching up on sleep!
The next morning we packed out all sorts of stuff from the hotel rooms. There were no luggage carts to be found, so this meant many trips down to the parking garage. Then we unloaded everything at Karen's, I drove the Boyce-Coopers from the hotel to Karen's, I had a Hotzza Motzza, we repacked, and we drove home. We were so exhausted! I had two energy drinks in the late afternoon/evening to stay alert while driving and still had no problem falling asleep around 11:00pm.
Now a few days later we have had a couple evenings to recover and make a little progress unpacking. Married life has been good so far.