It's finally DONE!!!!! And with no major hitches, Lauren and I are now MARRIED!!!
Can you tell that we're excited??? We're also very tired ... we stayed overnight at the hotel after opening gifts, attended a late dinner at Las Palmas (the Mexican restaurant next to the hotel), and then bade goodbye to the last of our family and friends this morning after breakfast. Then we managed to load our gifts into the car, get home, unload them, and then crash for a few hours of sleep. We both needed it.
We had roughly 76 people at the wedding (we'll wait for the final catering count to be certain), and we had a great weekend making lots of memories with family and friends. The weekend started out great: our bachelor's and bachelorette's parties were combined for a co-ed party over in St. Joe, where we dined at Fuji, the new Japanese steakhouse and teppanyaki place. Afterwards, we went over to Terrible's Casino to see how slowly we could lose the $30.00 limits we'd placed on ourselves. The rest of the weekend ranged from the absurd (our maid of honor gave us a Hallmark soundbite card featuring the "Chicken Dance", so now THAT's stuck in our heads), to the worrisome (at the Student Union, Lauren and I were stuck in the elevator for 5 minutes on our way to the reception ... and no, we DIDN'T push the stop button intentionally ... the poor elevator's brain just hiccuped, that's all), to the thankful: the weather forecast had been for light snow that morning, but it missed us, leaving us with sunny weather for the wedding and partly cloudy for the reception.
The wedding itself went off very smoothly, as well as the reception dinner (kudos to the ARAMARK staff at Northwest for their hospitality), and we thank everyone who participated in the ceremony: Mike Kyle, our minister; Dr. Jeff Loomis, who assisted; our parents and families, who travelled many, many miles to get here; our Best Man, Micah Joy, and our Maid of Honor, Jenny Heitoff; and our readers, Les Savage and Ken Sarno, who drove straight through from Urbana on Friday for the rehearsal.
Thanks also to our musicians: Tony Brown (who can play the piano very well, despite his claims to the contrary), Brent Chappelow (who got the pacing on the Bach pieces just right), Megan Wyant (who graced us with her flute playing), and especially our vocalist, Rachel Ost, who stepped in as a substitute and did an excellent job.
Also due thanks are our friends the McGary's (Frank and Dixie) who helped with the flower arrangements, and also helped us haul gifts from the church to the reception (and then from there, back to the hotel), as well as their sons, Craig and Philip, who served as our ushers. Also, Lauren profusely thanks the "Flower Assembly Group" from Friday morning, which includes the aforementioned Dixie McGary, plus Jenny, Celia Hayhoe, Lauren's Aunt Peggy and Uncle Dean, and Lauren's mom and dad.
And finally, a warm thank you to our friends, who came from places as far away as Blacksburg, VA, and as near as Des Moines, IA, to share the weekend with us.
We don't have many pictures back yet from the weekend. We're sorting through the rehearsal pictures we've gotten back, and we'll have a few more of those up in a couple of days. For now, here's a few we took on Thursday:
The sign at the Comfort Inn welcoming our family and friends:
And here's a quick cameraphone shot of my Best Man, Micah, who kept me sane throughout this weekend (hard to believe it's been 26 years ... count 'em, and we're still friends):
We'll have more pictures two weeks from now; it will take that long for our photographer to sort through everything and burn all of it to CDs. After that, we'll be posting pics up on the wedding weblog.