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That’s what I told my friend Stephanie who married my friend George this past weekend at one of the most wonderful, beautiful, loving, perfect Carolina weddings I have ever witnessed.

This post is going to be a bit more unconventional, in that I’m going to let you all in on a more personal part of my world instead of critiquing and revealing the planning and the details. There’s a little bit of that here, but mostly it’s just me saying how happy I am that I was able to travel to North Carolina to see two of my favorite people get married with the most important people in their lives in attendance.

To be honest, I have never really been around in the days leading up to a wedding unless I was working or planning it. You’re not nearly as emotionally invested as you are when it’s your best friends trying to make everything perfect in time for the rehearsal dinner. I have to say it was a very stressful and chaotic experience for everyone involved (Not me, I just showed up and observed the chaos… by that time there was nothing left for me to do but watch). But people don’t do things like that if they don’t love you, and these two had a whole lot of love in the air and a whole lot of help too.

I don’t know anyone else in the world who could have dealt with the last minute stress that developed along with some very uncooperative weather as well. Plus, as long as I have known George, being prompt has never really been his strong suite. But there were other factors, and they dealt with everything so calmly that it made my head start to spin a little.

The reason this was one of the most wonderful weddings I’ve ever been to because it was so authentic and wonderful. These two have been dating for something over 6 years now. Steph you can correct me if I’m wrong… because to me it seems like you have always been together.

The bridal luncheon was so sweet, and very new for me- a southern soul stuck in a Yankee upbringing. I had never been to a bridal luncheon- different from the shower and bachelorette- where the bride thanks all those women close to her who helped in planning and participating in the wedding day. We had the beautiful back courtyard at Toast Cafe in Davidson, NC to ourselves where we laughed and cried and exchanged gifts before getting back to the craziness of the day. I think it was a much needed break for everyone.

Later that night a rehearsal dinner was given at the Harbor Club in Davidson, NC which was wonderful and full of laughter, reminiscing and speech after speech from friends and family toasting the bride and groom-to-be. I am a crier. I’m not afraid to say it, and I was waterworks that night, all night. Of course it didn’t help that a friend of ours who lives in Japan flew in and surprised the groom. Stephanie and a few others knew all about it, but I was conveniently kept in the dark, and therefore proceeded to cry in public for the next 20 minutes. Awesome. Thanks guys.

There was drinking and dancing later and it was just so wonderful to be in the company of my favorite people in the world.

The wedding was beautiful. George was literally giddy. He had the goofiest smile on his face as Steph walked down the aisle and she was actually bouncing down the aisle, she was so excited.

The brunch on Sunday was fantastic and a wonderful way to say goodbye to the huge amount of family and friends that were in town. Plus who doesn’t love to have a little helping of cheese grits before hopping on a plane back to LaGuardia…

A little rain never hurt anyone, and despite the very wet conditions at the reception, everyone made the best of it, and by the middle of dinner the sky cleared, the stars and lightning bugs came out, and it was the perfect Carolina night. Here are some highlights I’d like to share.

1. No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem -It started with people loosing their shoes early in the night and by midnight, three groomsmen lost their shirts to the theme of New York, New York. What’s a little wedding strip show? Only in the south. Or maybe in Maine… I have a funny feeling we might see a repeat of this in July…

2. Make It Rain – Yes, the dance floor was wet, there were buckets catching water at every corner of the outdoor tents, the hanging lanterns were full of water and the poor place cards were covered with garbage bags in an effort to stay dry. But no one seemed to notice. We just ditched our shoes and walked around barefoot, ordering Blue Moons from the bar and eating Grit cakes waiting for the rain to stop. And when the bride and groom were announced they came strutting in under a huge black umbrella. How cute is that?

3. Don’t Stop Believin‘- When the dj makes a mistake and plays Don’t Stop Believing by Journey instead of the song you picked out to dance with your mama to…just improvise. This was incredible. Steph danced to My Girl with her dad, and then George and his mom took the floor to some serious hootin’ and hollerin’ from the tent perimeter. By the end of the song everyone was out on the dance floor fist pumping to Journey. How great is that? It was seriously the best thing ever. Let’s get this party started!

4. Best Man speeches are really important ( And it will probably never be as good as this one)– Why not go out of the box a bit? Regular speeches are boring. My best friend, and george’s best man made the best man speech of the year. In this toast/roast to George he literally hit on everything we love about George in the most hilarious way possible. In song… I apologize for the side video…tilt your head. It won’t kill you.

5. Other Treats– The cake was visually beautiful and delicious. There was an ice cream sundae bar with do it yourself toppings, amazing appetizers traditional to the south, a delicious dinner buffet with roasted vegetables and chicken cakes and salmon and sides that just kept coming. The flowers were absolutely incredible and the pictures do not do them justice.

In short, this was the best wedding I’ve ever been to because of how much I love George & Steph and it was an incredible treat for me to be able to participate and attend in this wonderful wedding with my incredible family of friends. I am so blessed by having the unique privilege of having an incredible extended family of friends who have been, and will continue to be a major part of my life, by letting me be a part of there’s. Cheers to you guys. I love you!

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You know what is just so annoying? People showing up to events who are just not invited.

I’m not talking about the occasional “Wedding Crasher” in the Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson sense of the word, I’m talking about people who are invited to a function and bring “extras” with them.  A plus one they weren’t offered, their 18-year-old daughter who they believes they technically belong at the “adult only reception…no, no.

This is so tacky. Complaining to a couple that you don’t get a plus-one, or showing up with extra family members causes so much stress on the bride & groom, not to mention the wedding planner or facilities manager who now has to find a place for these people to sit and something for them to eat. And really, who wants to be standing in the back because they aren’t listed at a table when the bridal party is being announced? How awkward is that?

Listen, if you get an oversized envelope in the mail and it’s addressed to YOU and no one else. Don’t bring someone with you. It’s obnoxious and makes for a really uncomfortable situation at the event.

A friend of mine invited a specific number of guests to her shower.  Two women called to see if their 18-year-old daughters could come. Well one called and asked, the other just showed up.  It made for an uncomfortable situation at the shower and the bride had to explain to the one guest that the other had just brought her daughter and she wasn’t technically invited.  THEN … later seperate phone calls had to be made to both guests to explicitly tell these women that no, their children are not welcome at this adult only reception.

Since when is this not clear? I was completely blown away by this story…You are a GUEST at this person’s wedding… there’s not a negotiation process.

I worked another wedding once where two people, who were not invited to the wedding, showed up and acted as though they were guests.  I think the man actually said to me, ” I can’t believe we don’t have seats.” I knew they weren’t on the list, and I knew they were crashers, but in the interest of everyone’s sanity and pride, we had to literally set 2 more places at an 8-top table that was already set for 10. Talk about tight…

Those two  were fish at the bar all night too. It was unreal.

Just advise people against doing this. As a bridesmaid you’re technically on deck to help wherever necessary and sometimes it’s having a rather uncomfortable conversation with an overly eager guest and their additional uninvited guests…but sometimes it has to be done.  Weddings are expense, and if you weren’t invited… there’s a damn good reason for it.  Don’t push it.

I have eight weddings to go to in this great year of 2008. Eight. Seriously, I’m on Katherine Heigl’s heels in 6 months. Well, as I’ve been stressing out about who to bring and saving up for what to buy, I was thinking how much easier it would be if I Could buy a box of generic “Happy Wedding” cards. Ya know…like Thank you cards, but for weddings. They can all say the same thing because my brides and grooms are strangers and really… who reads the card anyway?

Yeah… keep telling yourself that.

I propose to Hallmark or anyone else who is willing to take the challenge. Box up your “Happy Wedding” cards. Make it easy for the serial wedding guests to go out and buy in bulk.

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