Category Archives: Parties

End of Season Clearance

This year’s wedding season is over and I’ve walked away with a lot of memories, apricot jam,  Indian cookies and a wooden item that I’m pretty sure is either a letter opener or a shoehorn (I’ve been using it as both).

The weddings we have attended have been near and far and incredibly diverse. There was an Indian wedding complete with a horse on the guest list, a Montreal extravaganza with original songwriting and interpretive dance numbers, a chic black tie affair and an old-fashioned clam bake. And the best part was, we only had to show up. Here are the highlights from each event:

 

Men In Black

One of Sebastien’s work colleagues invited us to a black tie wedding at the New York Palace Hotel. Super chic. I’m pretty sure the dress code for regular hotel guests is black tie, too. Fortunately we followed protocol and had no trouble at the door. Sebastien rented a tux and I just wore my wedding dress again. (Getting a blue wedding dress was the best idea ever.) When we arrived however, it seemed that other guests believed the black tie to be optional. One girl was wearing a plaid dress from H&M and several guys were in the basic suit and tie. I hoped that they would get formally reprimanded by the hosts.

Here we are, appropriately dressed

Here we are, appropriately dressed

The majority of the guests were either Harvard or MIT grads and they were mostly interested in asking me what I did and then looking unimpressed. I was mostly interested in practicing my extremely limited Japanese on the sushi chefs at the cocktail hour, though.

A guy named Pete asked if he could join Sebastien and I at our table. He was another MIT grad, but he was pretty cool. (I don’t think he would even register on the autism spectrum.) Pete lived between Boston and New York and owned his own company. Something financial. I zoned out when he and Sebastien talked shop. Pete lived in Berlin for a while and traveled around a lot, so we all found a common interest. I told him about the time I took my dad to China. “Be prepared when you’re traveling to Asia with a senior citizen,” I said. “Two hours after we landed in the country, my dad managed to lose all of his insulin. And he kept leaving his cane all over the place.”

At dinner, Sebastien was seated beside a woman with incredibly bad breath so we spent as much time as possible on the dance floor. It was at this wedding that I learned I could no longer wear heels.

 

Buddha Belly

As traditional as I’ve heard Indian weddings can be, this one was probably the most relaxed and unstructured wedding that I have ever attended.

It started outside, where we followed the groom who rode in on a horse. Most people danced around. I stood on the sidelines fanning myself because you could do that if you wanted. (If I had known ahead of time, I might have even stayed in the air conditioned lobby with the croissants and coffee because you could do that, too.)

Then we all went to the country club balcony to find our seats for the ceremony. I’m not really sure what went down during the ceremony because there was so much going on. The bride and groom and priest were talking under a canopy-like structure called a mandap while kids played in the garden and guests chatted with one another. A lot of people were on their phones or looking down at newspapers and servers kept stopping by with mango lassis and water I couldn’t keep up with what section of the ceremony we were on, but every now and then we were encouraged to get up and throw rice at the bride and groom.

Then in the middle of the ceremony, a voice came on the loudspeaker and announced that the buffet was open. Right in the middle of the couple dancing around some rice or placing jewels on one another’s forehead or something. Sebastien and I looked around at the other guests to make sure this wasn’t a trick. Sure enough, everyone — family members, friends, acquaintances — shuffled into the reception hall to eat while the bride and groom finished up. It was so refreshing that for once we didn’t have to feign interest in a religious ritual. (I mean it’s cool if that’s your thing, but let’s be honest, that’s the most boring part of a wedding.)

The food was amazing and we hung around and chatted with some friends. After lunch, there was a four hour break until the evening when the wedding picked up again. But we only had a rental car for the day and couldn’t stay. On the way back I got to practice driving a bit, which was awesome. And I parallel parked.

 

Do you take this lobster

The second we entered Cape Cod I harassed Sebastien until he stopped at a roadside diner so I could get a lobster roll. I thought it was going to be my only chance. Boy was I wrong.

I ordered a monster of a sandwich, which, by the way cost $18. Is it just me or does that seem a little ridiculous? I was in Cape Cod so I figured that the lobsters there just walked ashore and accidentally fell into boiling pots of water. Then we got changed at a motel that reminded me of the place John Cusack’s character stayed at in “Identity.” I hoped that our evening would turn out better.

And it did.

Going in I knew this wedding was filled with more Harvard grads so I had already planned on passing myself off as a cat whisperer if anyone asked what I did for a living. (It wasn’t a total lie. We foster kitten and I do have a way with them.) But it never came up. The ceremony was short and I spent most of the cocktail hour talking to a really pregnant woman. She was telling me about ridiculous hospital procedures in NYC. For instance, she was told that she had to show up at the hospital with a car seat to take the newborn home in or they wouldn’t discharge her. “We don’t even have a car because we live in the city, but I need to buy a car seat so I can take my child home.”

When we all sat down for dinner, servers handed out bibs, wet wipes, crackers and tiny forks. A pot bigger than me was wheeled into the dining hall and we all got our very own lobster. I took a romantic photo with my lobster, which I named Manfred, before devouring him.

The lobster and I

The lobster and I

I also used the opportunity to tell everyone at our table about the history of lobsters and how they used to be a poor man’s food. “Lobsters are the cockroaches of the ocean,” I said, sucking flesh out of the claw.

 

It’s a Small World

The last wedding of the season was Sebastien’s cousin’s in Montreal. Berenice is Polish and Haitian and her husband to be is German and Indian. So there were guests from all of those countries. Then there were a number of Brazilians in attendance because Sanjay, the husband, spent some time living in Brazil. My brain was pretty fried by the end of the night bouncing from language to language. And so many of the bride and groom’s friends were artists who all put on great shows. We had a belly dancer, a Brazilian band, a few singer-songwriters and a poet who read to us in multiple languages.

Since it was assumed that we were all  artists, someone announced that we should draw pictures in the guestbook. I drew a picture of a bunny rabbit with arms that looked like boobs. I didn’t know how to fix it so I just signed Sebastien’s name underneath. (At least it was better than how Sebastien and I defiled another friend’s wedding guestbook with random, bizarre phrases and sentences. I filled a page writing Redrum. On another page I wrote, help I’m trapped in this book and I cant get out.)

I didn’t see a cameraman once during the reception and was worried that there wouldn’t be any documentation of Sebastien and I enjoying ourselves, so we asked Sebastien’s sister to capture us having a good time.

 

Showing our table mates that we're ready for candid photos of people having fun.

Showing our table mates that we’re ready for candid photos of people having fun.

 

All and all it was an awesome summer of weddings. Please invite us to more.

 


It’s Over…

The wedding, I mean. And the worst part about it being over is that I can longer use planning my wedding as an excuse to get out of my regular responsibilities.

At any rate, here are the highlights:

-The wait staff was alerted about my extreme hunger prior to my arrival and satiated my appetite with mini chicken pot pies, shrimp skewers and steak ceviches until I encouraged them to feed the other guests.

-Sebastien and I entered the reception to the Imperial March-a fitting tune for a couple so determined to rule the universe.

-My Dad did his famous Charlie Brown dance.

-Despite my ban, guests danced to the electric slide. The song was never played because of said ban, but one clever guest realized another dance song had the same beat as the electric slide and rallied guests to join in. Now I have to extend the ban to include all songs with a similar beat.

-For some reason the DJ played Hava Nagila and for some reason it worked as part of this nondenominational wedding reception.

-And we finished the night off with Enter Sandman by Metallica. Some were dubious that it could be done, but, we danced. Even Sebastien’s 73-year-old godmother danced.


The Word of the Day is ‘No’

This morning I was looking over the questionnaires I submitted to the photographer and the venue manager and I noticed a common theme.

Will you need photos of the ceremony: no

Will you be doing a bouquet toss: no

Do you need pictures for the cake cutting: no

There’s no word I like more.

Then when I arrived at the hotel an hour ago, I noticed my name and Sebastien’s name flashing on a screen behind the reception. I thought it was someone’s idea of a sick joke. Then I found out it was the idea of the hotel manager who thought it would be better than apologizing for her incompetence. I tried to reserve a block of rooms with the hotel a couple of months ago and she never responded to any of my phone calls. (It was the most stressful part about planing my wedding.)

I thought I was going to have a seizure if I saw my name flash across the screen one more time. “Can you take that down,” I said to the man behind the counter.

“You don’t want that up?” he asked.

“No.”

Feel free to take bets on how many times I will say that word tonight.


Bag of Tricks

I carry a moderately sized purse that can hold a book, a selection of magazines, two notepads, a handful of pens and an assortment of gum. My shoulders are permanently lopsided, but at least I don’t look like a jackass walking around with multiple small purses. (I see it everyday on the subway.)

I’ve never understood small purses and I am always amazed when women show up to parties with them. Especially in New York City where you need to take public transportation to get anywhere. What do these women usually do during the travel time? It’s hard enough to get me to leave the house, so I can’t imagine going anywhere without a variety of things to keep me entertained before during and after the event to which I am traveling. You never know when you are going to get bored.

I met a group of friends at a bar one night at the insistence of this guy I know. I don’t go out to bars much because I usually get bored and I’m a low talker so it makes for strained conversations. I told this guy as much but he persisted.So I agreed to show up.

When he arrived, he found me sitting at a table. “So where’s your magazine,” he said. I pulled it out right after he finished the sentence.

I’m sure a number of women will come to the wedding with dainty shoulder purses that can hold a tin of altoids and a packet of birth control, if anything at all. I reserved the seat next to me for my purse, which will contain a panoply of items to keep me busy if and when conversations lag.


Introducing…or maybe not

Everything is just about done for the wedding reception on Saturday night. It’s been a long time coming and now I’m a little bored. Makes me just want to call the whole thing off and rent a movie. But it’s not over yet.

The last thing I need to do is give the wording of our introductions to the DJ. But, I’ve got nothing. What do they normally say? I’ve been to several weddings, but I never paid attention to these details. I just clapped whenever everyone else started clapping, just like a trained seal.

This whole introduction thing could ruin an otherwise stress-free wedding.

Should it be something simple? And now, Amy and Sebastien.

How about, Introducing Amy and Sebastien

Those are nice, but not very effective at getting everyone’s attention. Maybe there’s a way we can have some sort of voice that everyone is familiar with and commands attention. Like a dictator or GPS or the Internet.

Maybe when we enter the room the night of the wedding, AOL can say, “Welcome, you’ve got mail.”


So You Think You Can Dance?

The other night Sebastien and I went to a dance studio that was hosting a swing dancing session. We needed to practice so we can show off our limited skills on the dance floor next weekend and took the opportunity to go to a studio because we just don’t have enough room in our apartment. At home, every time Sebastien tries to spin me around, I step on the cat or bump into the couch or kitchen table, which are a mere 20 inches apart. I just hope the bruises go away before the wedding or we might have to answer some questions about domestic abuse.

When we arrived at the studio, a group of young hipsters were already twirling their partners around the dance. But their footwork didn’t look anything like what we had spent the past month learning how to do. It almost looked cooler.

My gaze went from the dancers to Sebastien, who was slightly confused.

“They’re dancing the lindy hop,” I said. “So it’s not the same kind of swing that we learned.”

He said, “It doesn’t look like swing at all.”

I patted Sebastien on the shoulder like a mother consoling a poor boy who just found out Superman does not exist. But it did not calm him.

“So our dance instructor taught us a bunch of shit.”

“No, he taught us swing dancing. Just a different kind.”

I could sense that we were going to end up in one of those never-ending disagreements that degrades into childish mockery of one another and ends only when we get bored.

“So what do you want to do?” he finally said.

“Let’s just practice our dance for a while and forget about the music.”

And forget about the music we did. For a half an hour Sebastien and I sashayed around the dance floor completely out of sync with the music and not at all mindful of the dancers around us: we had a few moves that required a little more space, so Sebastien just hurled me into other couples like a bowling ball aiming for the pins.

We’ll do our best to not injure our guests on the night of the wedding. Better bring some padding just in case.

 


A Not Too Grand Entrance

The DJ recently asked me to send him songs we want played for our entrance and our first dance. We already have our first dance song planned out, but in terms of the entrance, I thought we would just appear or enter with the rest of the crowd. Why do something fancy? People already know what we look like. And I don’t want everyone staring at me as I make my way down the stairs. The likelihood of my tripping is already pretty high because I’ll be in heels and if I know that everyone is looking at me, I’ll be even more self-conscious. Plus, entering to music is just asking for trouble. I can’t perform on command like that.

The last time I made a grand entrance was at my sister’s wedding. Everyone was to enter the dining hall to the theme music for the Price Is Right. (She married a man whose last name is Price.) I suggested to the bridal party that we all enter the room like contestants being called up in the show, screaming and flailing our arms. Everyone agreed to the idea, or at least I thought they did. When the doors swung open and I entered the dining hall, I looked like a jackass. I threw up my arms and squealed with delight like a monkey chasing after a squirrel. The groomsman escorting me calmly walked into the room with a half-smile. Not to mention the fact that none of the guests  made the connection between the theme song playing in the background and my eccentric behavior.

To save myself from looking like an idiot at my own wedding, I think I might eliminate the entrance. Instead I can just wave from a stool near the bar during the cocktail hour. Or, Sebastien and I will enter the room in total silence and stoically welcome our guests just like relatives greeting one another at a funeral.


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