After a nice evening of rest, Mike and I got up to prepare for the day’s festivities. Today was the day before the wedding, and I had just spent my last night in the house as woman living in sin (hee hee). I got to quick work packing up a bag that had everything I needed for the next two days, as I wouldn’t be back to the house until Sunday morning – the day after the wedding. I managed to fit most of my stuff in my roll-on suitcase, a small shoulder bag and the bag for my wedding dress. Mike was taking his Aunt, Uncle and cousins on a driving tour of Durham from about 10am-1pm, so it was a bit quiet in the house while I got ready to depart. It was actually a bit strange. I knew that once I left, when I eventually came back, Mike and I would be husband and wife!

Anyway, I loaded up the car with all the vases, table runners and miscellaneous reception supplies, threw in my dress and all my belongings. I decided to give Lauren a call and see how she, Darrah and Laura were doing that morning. First hiccup of the wedding schedule (I told you it would go out the window, right??). Lauren was sick. Her throat hurt and she wasn’t feeling well. Same for Cookie. Cookie had planned on going out to the flower grower’s house to select the wedding flowers, and somehow it was decided that Lauren would go with her (so not in the schedule – but I love you girls!). Turns out that Darrah and Laura were at Lauren’s house with no way to get to the hotel and check in. I made the decision that I would go get the girls after my morning appointments.

I was scheduled to meet Lauren, Cookie and Meredith at noon to go pick up all the rental equipment for the rehearsal dinner and wedding. With Cookie and Lauren still fairly far away from Durham, Darrah and Laura still in South Durham at Lauren’s place, we moved the pick up time for rental items to 12:30. I was also supposed to meet with Val, the manager at Duke Towers, around 11:45 to discuss setup for the rehearsal dinner. I needed to get going! Therefore, I scurry over to the towers, meet with Val, then rush to South Durham and pick up the girls. They had sufficiently entertained themselves that morning, but I think they were ready to get settled into their long term digs.

Once we got to Duke Towers, I dropped off the girls to get checked in. Cookie and Lauren decided to meet us at the rental place, so I jumped in Meredith’s car and we shot off for the rentals. This place was a bit tough to find. The address read Alston, but if you know Durham, you know Alston is a strange street. It breaks off and switches names, it is north and it is south. Just a weird road. I call Lauren and Cookie, they are getting antsy, they can’t find the place, and Meredith and I are already loading up the chairs. We were actually able to get all the chairs and the columns for the ceremony stage in Mer’s car. And now being rather behind on time and very hungry, Mer and I went up to the corner store to get a healthy lunch of Doritos and soda while looking for Lauren and Cookie to flag them down. We see them, wave them in the direction they need to go, and they pick up the remaining items (a few tables).

We get back to Duke Towers and unload all the items, then we set up the tables and chairs for the rehearsal dinner. It’s hot hot hotttt that day, but I just cross my fingers that the temp will be manageable to sit outside and have dinner at 6pm. Lauren and Cookie are still not feeling well, so they take their leave to go grab lunch and prepare to meet us at the actual wedding rehearsal at 4pm. With all of the essentials in place, I actually had some time. My parents were all at the pool at the Towers, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to take a quick dip. Meredith and I got checked into our room and unpacked. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited to crash with Meredith, but with the sickness that had befallen both Lauren and Cookie, they were now not staying at the hotel with us. Major bummer and probably my biggest disappointment of the weekend. ANYWAY, I get changed into my swimsuit and go meet my parents at the pool. This was actually my first swim of the year! It felt wonderful. I got in an hour at the pool, and by that time I needed to get cleaned up a bit to head to the wedding rehearsal. Man, time flies!

I take a quick shower, throw on a t-shirt and shorts and jump in the car with my Mom and Dad. We go over to the Nelson Music Room about 3:30pm and were greeted by Stefan. He was there early to help out with anything that needed to be done – thank you, Stefan! All the rooms are unlocked as scheduled, so we start rearranging chairs, cleaning up the room, etc. I was all fluttery. This is the room in which we would be wed! woo hoo! Eventually, all the other parties start to arrive – the rest of the bridesmaids, the groomsmen, the parents and Ambassador and Mrs. Joseph. With everyone there on time, we jumped to the actual wedding rehearsal. At an amazing 20 minutes to run through the ceremony, the rehearsing was straightforward and pretty easy to manage! Marty ran through the music on the piano (which sounded amazing), we walked through the entrances and exits, and we had a lot of smiling and giggling. We all knew our roles and what we were to do the next day!

Mike and I practicing our exit! (thanks, Amy!)

With that over with, we did a bit more decorating then headed back to Duke Towers to prepare for the rehearsal dinner! A colleague of mine at work had suggested we use the Q Shack at North Hills in Raleigh if we planned to do BBQ, as that location uses all organics and local foods whenever possible. I promised Mike he would get BBQ for part of the wedding celebrations, and we decided the rehearsal dinner was the time to do so. I had placed the order a couple weeks before and was anxious to see how it all turned out.

The Q Shack delivery person showed up on time at the right place. He started dropping things off and first notified me he had brought no beverages as it was not on the ticket. Uh, great. We were supposed to have enough tea for 25 people. Then, he asks me to sign my credit card receipt. I look at the total, and the amount is 2.5 times higher than I was quoted!! “Hold on!” I said. “This is not right!!” He put me on the phone with the store, and it turns out they charged me for 75 people rather than 25 people. The guy on the phone said he voided the charge and charged us the right amount now. Hmmm, okay (more on this later). Anyway, they drop off the rest of the food and I am thinking that this in no way will feed 25 people.

A moment at the dinner

But, it’s 6pm, dinner start time, so we open it all up and request people dig in and start eating. And the heat? Yeah, it was oppressive. We did the rehearsal dinner outside on the brick patio at Duke Towers. There’s no cover. So, we all ate outside, in the heat. The hot hot heat. (sorry, everyone!!) People arrived at various times – we had invited all of our out of town guests to this shindig, so we actually got to say hi to some peeps we hadn’t seen yet at that point. The Q shack was a huge hit with folks, and for the vegetarians and vegans, Stefan and Mike grilled up some awesome veggie dogs and brats.

Dad enjoying the Q Shack (thanks, Lauren!)

Becky enjoying the rehearsal dinner (photo BY Becky, too!)

We of course had to have another hiccup with the dinner though. Mike and I had bought a great cake and a pie to serve as dessert. Which we realized right as the dinner was starting was still at home in our oven. Great. Luckily, best man Ed was kind enough to go to the house and pick up the desserts. Thank you, Ed! We all chatted at the dinner – had great food, great conversations, and sweated out every bit of food we ate!

Sweating out our dinner (thanks, Lauren!)

At the dinner, we wanted to thank everyone who had been there helping with the wedding, so we presented the full wedding party with gifts. The groomsmen and bridesmaids got these awesome cooler totes filled with all sorts of goodies. The Josephs got a nice dinner gift certificate, and Owen the ringbearer got an awesome towel that made him look like a monkey and a big container of cheezy poofs! Darrah, Laura and Becky (who was there by now) all got some trendy little piggy banks. The parents all got big thank yous – their gift was a new kid – Mike or me! Mike and I were also presented with a wonderful gift from Owen - he made us an awesome painting!!

Owen enjoying his cheezy poofs!

Our cool gift from Owen! (thanks, Lauren, for the photo!)

Eventually some people drifted from the party. It was hot, and the next day was a big one. But for those of us staying at the hotel, it was a chance to get the party started! We put away the food and started on the beer pong! Several people in attendance hadn’t played before, so we had to do a few tutorials. But everyone seemed to enjoy playing and watching. We all learned Laura has some wicked defensive moves and that Marty is a ringer. I was also able to show off my own beer pong prowess….hee hee. With Lauren and Cookie still not feeling well, they went off to Cookie’s house to work on flowers and the groom’s cake for the wedding. After the beer pong wrapped up and even more people had gone to sleep, we moved the party to the pool. By this time it was well after 10:45pm, but we were all happy and excited.

Several of us jumped in the pool while others chose to just dangle in their feet. It was a great night – we all chatted, drank beers, swam, told jokes and old stories. But before I knew it, it was approaching midnight, and Mike had to get out of there! We decided to not see each other on the wedding day, so as of midnight, he needed to be gone. Therefore, Mike, with Ed and Sean in tow, headed to the house. I heard they had a good time sitting up and chatting, drinking beers and doing boy things!

I stayed in the pool a bit longer – I was relaxed and really not ready to go to sleep yet. I did find out through some recon that Cookie and Lauren were still up and doing stuff. I asked about flowers, and a certain little birdie let me know that they had seen nothing of flowers. Just cake. It was then I started to panic a bit…….

Coming next…….THE BIG DAY!


Ellobie said...

Hee hee "sufficiently entertained."

I would like to point out a couple of items. First, that my dress is wet not from sweat but from my wet swimsuit underneath. The pool was very handy. :) And I was NOT the birdie! In fact, I made quite an effort to silence that dumb bird!

Finally, thanks for teaching me beer pong. :) And for the sweet potatoes.

M said...

I thought you would like "sufficiently entertained." ha!

And yes, you were not the birdie! (and in the next segment of the story, this will all be cleared up!)