We made our way back down the aisle and up the walkway to the side door of the country club. Brian caught up to us to give back my bouquet (oops!), and then Dave and I loaded into a golf cart with the photographer to drive over to the edge of the hill for more pictures. The day was actually too sunny, and it was not easy to get good shots, so we didn't end up taking very many. Once again, we loaded back into the cart, and made our way up to the country club in time to enjoy the majority of the cocktail hour, just as we'd planned.
We walked in the side door, and I was immediately accosted by one of the djs wanting to confirm some of the entrance music and wedding party names. Dave headed inside, and I finished with her as quickly as I could, then made my way towards the party. I couldn't get past the entrance, though, as people came up to hug me and say hello. It felt like there were so many people there, and everyone wanted to talk to me at once! It was hard to give each person the time that they deserved, but that was why we had made sure to attend the cocktail hour, to free ourselves up to really enjoy the entire evening. After quite a while, I found Dave again, and we made the rounds of his family members together. Unfortunately, they were the only people who just didn't seem to be having fun. We did the best we could to be friendly and they were definitely excited to see the two of us, but as soon as we walked away, they all just sat there looking miserable again. We had agreed not to dwell on their attitudes, so we took it in stride and continued to visit with the rest of the guests.
In what seemed like no time, the maitre d' (who resembled Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse) began calling all of our guests to find their place cards and their seats. People were very slow to move into the reception room, and eventually we actually had to go around and personally ask people to head inside. We all lined up for our introductions, and waited for the djs to call our names. Dave had chosen each party member's entrance music, and none of them knew his choices. They were all very surprised, and each one of them was laughing as they walked in, exactly as he had planned. Finally, we made our entrance to the theme from Mad About You, and had our first dance. The song we chose was "Swing Life Away" by Rise Against. That's not really a band whose music you would expect to hear at a wedding, but that's an acoustic song that we really enjoyed, and it fit perfectly. My father chose "Times of Your Life" to dance to with me, and then Dave and his mother danced to "You Are My Sunshine."
Brian gave a wonderful toast, and then Dave's father gave his best man's speech. It was very funny and touching, as he related stories from Dave's childhood, and then our relationship together. The highlight was when he held up the ring boxes from our wedding bands and told everyone they could be thrown away because they'd never hold rings again, and then tossed them out into the crowd, where they narrowly missed Swanny's head and knocked over his drink. Finally, all of the formalities were over, and it was time to party!
Because we had greeted everyone during the cocktail hour, Dave and I were free to enjoy ourselves for the reception. He spent nearly the entire night on the dance floor, while I danced for a little while, then spoke to guests, then danced some more, etc. At one point, someone grabbed me to say that there were fireworks outside. A bunch of us headed out onto the porch, where we saw that someone was shooting off a fireworks display from the area that where we had taken pictures. None of us had anything to do with planning it, so we were pretty confused! It turns out that one of the members of the country club who lives nearby had heard there was a wedding, and he had sent someone out there to put on a show for us. It was beautiful and unexpected, and made the night even more special.
All too soon, people began to leave. The night went so fast for Dave and I that we thought people hadn't had fun and were leaving because of it, but afterwards everyone assured us that they had a great time. Friends of my parents enjoyed themselves so much that they've told us it was the best wedding they ever attended every time they've seen us since! Our wedding musicians said they had never seen such scenery at any of the weddings where they worked.
We invited anyone who wanted to come back to our suite for an after party, and many people made it over. My friends, Dave's Dad's friends, and my parents' friends all mingled and drank together, wandering in and out of our hotel room. One of my favorite memories is of sitting at the bottom of the stairs in front of the hotel with Jenna, Matt, and Tommy, all hugging each other to keep warm. Jenna was sick from drinking, Tommy was drunk enough to be bordering on incoherent, and I was sober. We were all telling each other how much we loved each other, and how glad we were to all be friends, when another hotel guest came out of his room to make a call on his cell phone. Tommy kept screaming at him that we were cold and he was out there in white shorts, haha, though he has no memory of doing it. The last person finally left our room at around 4:30am, and we finally went to sleep.
That Sunday, we had breakfast with whoever was still at the hotel, and then killed some time before heading over to my Uncle Mike's cabin for a barbecue with my family. We were able to spend a few hours there, and got to have plenty of quality time with my aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, and brother. Knowing that we would have that time with them also allowed us to enjoy the wedding reception even more, since we didn't have to worry that we wouldn't get to see my out-of-town family members. Then we headed home to spend an overnight with the puppies, before hopping on a plane to Curacao for our honeymoon.
In many ways, our wedding was perfect. The setting could not have been better, and it meant so much to me to be married in the Catskills. All of our friends and family were happy and friendly (ok, so maybe not ALL), and there were no arguments or bad feelings between anyone. Everything went as planned, which is great considering how much time and effort went into planning!