We arrived at our hotel on Friday afternoon. When we arrived and checked in, we were given a gift. Swag. You know swag. It's what celebrities get when they participate in big events. Free stuff. Swag.
Well, my sister-in-law, the one who is teaching and should be a party planner, she gathered items from her little town that would be of interest to out of town guests. She packaged them up, tied them off, and included a nice note about the cool things about her town.
She packaged them in an empty Blue Bell Ice Cream carton, because we were in the home of the Blue Bell Creamery. It's the home of the best ice cream in the country. The home of the original singing cows. And the name of the ice cream that belonged in the carton... Wedding Cake. Clever.
She also included a sample of coffee from a local coffee shop. (This was really foreshadowing... if I had really thought about it, I would have realized the coffee was in there to help us recover from the reception. Whoo-wee!) She also put in there a bottle of wine from a local winery, and a bottle of Brianna's salad dressing. (Who would have known Brianna's was from Texas?!?... duh, I would have if I'd read the label!) And she included some individually packaged cookies with "MND" and the wedding date on them. This "MND" theme was prevalent everywhere... but we'll discuss this later.
I was so excited to have gotten swag, I told everyone about it. "Hey, did you get swag? I got swag. It's so cool. I must be important." I felt important until I peeked behind the check in counter and saw about 100 more of these little swaggish items. So I wasn't that important. It's still cool!
After we got checked in, I had to get ready for the rehearsal. The Nutty Papa stayed behind to play with the kids at the hotel. (And watch cartoons. Watching cartoons is big fun for farm kids without cable!) This is my niece. Isn't she beautiful?!? I'm sure you can't tell it from this photo, but she was nervous. She walked in with her planner in hand and seemed all in control. But I could see. (That, and her arms are crossed. Body language, people.)
The priest was great. He taught the attendants to walk in and out. In and out. In and out. It took an hour. Then he dismissed the attendants and we did a walk through of the wedding so the readers could practice. I got a little practice in there too. The groom's pastor's wife is deaf, so I did a little interpreting that night. Can we say R-U-S-T-Y?!? Whew! I forgot there were all those Catholic signs. Sacrament? Saints? Peter? Paul? Eucharist? Well, I just had to do my best. It was free after all.
During the rehearsal, the groom asked the priest if he would be wearing a mike for the vows. The priest told him that he wouldn't and that it was really important that they speak up so everyone could hear. And then he said something that really hit home for me. He said that although they were there giving their vows for each other and that was a really big moment and everything, they were sharing that moment with other married couples. The vows were a reminder to those couples of their vows too. A reminder of their wedding days. And it's true. I had many flashbacks to my wedding day almost 11 years ago. And I appreciated the priest's insight. What a cool guy!
The rehearsal dinner was nice. GREAT food. Pecan crusted chicken breast with asparagus and baby potatoes. And strawberry shortcake for dessert. Yum!