There were a lot of people at our rehearsal and dinner. We had a big bridal party, but we also had several people participating in the liturgy (or ceremony) in some way. The opportunity for family and friends to participate in a meaningful way is one of my favorite aspects of Catholic weddings. It really shows that it’s about families coming together to witness the couple making the sacrament of marriage.
Thus, along with 5 pairs of groomsmen and bridesmaids, the maid of honor and best man, and parents we had: my grandparents; the flower girls and ring bearer with their parents and siblings; padrinos de lazo (sponsors of the lasso, a symbol of unity); padrinos de biblia y rosario (bible and rosary sponsors); madrina de arras (sponsor of the coins); three readers; a Eucharistic minister; and a couple to bring up the gifts (wine and bread to be consecrated). We didn’t have a specific madrina de ramo (bouquet for the Virgin Mary), but had Vanny take on this role.
When we counted up everyone my parents could expect at the dinner, it was over 50 people. We also invited Sean’s extended family who were in from NY and London to come over to my parents’ for dinner as well.
The wedding coordinators at St. John Vianney, John and Josie, had their hands full with our group. The rehearsal went smoothly once we figured out some logistics (like, preparing the readings and listing out the bridal party — they didn’t receive the form we had mailed in earlier).
On our part, we forgot to pair up the bridal party for the entrances. We had thought of everything else with the ceremony and chosen music, prayers, readings, how we wanted to say our vows, etc, but we’d forgotten something really simple.
We ended up going by height and having my brothers go last since they were escorting my mom and grandparents. (Our parish gives the bride the option of being escorted by both parents or by her father only. I brought this up to my parents and they went with the latter.) Danny escorted Mamá Toni since he’s her favorite. Adrian escorted mom since he’s the baby of the family, and the favorite — according to him. As for height, we knew it would look silly for Adrian to escort Valerie, so we made sure he escorted someone shorter.
The flower girls did well, no surprise. I’d heard from their parents that Asha and Isabelle had been practicing for their roles. Anthony, our ring bearer, seemed a little nervous and withdrawn getting instructions from a stranger. Once I helped him out, he did okay and seemed more comfortable. I gave Vanny and Valerie the job of making sure he remain calm before the ceremony.
We went through the ceremony with all the participants and then headed home for dinner to give everyone a chance to get to know each other a little bit. There were a lot of introductions since half the bridal party was coming in from New York. I was even introduced to one of the groomsmen, Andrew, that evening.
Dinner was nice even if it was still way too hot out once again. It was probably in the low 90s at 8 pm. Mom and Danny prepped the salad and veggies and warmed up the lasagna from Macaroni Grill. The grilled chicken came from Juan Pollo. Sean’s aunts brought homemade rum cake for some Jamaican flavor. The backyard was set up like it had been for the wedding shower, just with a few extra tables. My mom’s good friend, Sylvia, came over and helped with the decorations.
Dad gave a speech thanking everyone for attending. Sean and I presented the bridal party and ceremony participants with their gifts. As we introduced each person or couple we added a couple of words about their importance in our lives. Asha and Isabelle loved their Cinderella dresses and became “best friends.” I told them we chose Cinderella since my Grandpa Bartolo used to call me Cinderella and it was my wedding.
Carmen, our planner, came over and briefly met the wedding party before packing up several items for the reception. We asked Carmen to try and place the two bars indoors if room allowed. We didn’t want the bartenders out on the patio for several hours in the heat. The rest of the drinks, water, wine and some other supplies were packed up in a friend’s truck. Sean, Danny and Adrian would handle that on Saturday morning.
At the end of the evening mom rounded up some of the bridal party for wedding favor assembly. Lori left the Mexican wedding cookies almost ready to go, but they still needed to be coated with powered sugar. Eric and Isabel opened the bags and got them ready for mom and Adrian to place the coated cookies in them. Everyone else on the assembly line was on ribbon tying duty. We made over 250 bags.
By the time we were done it was past 11 and I was ready for sleep. We left my parent’s house shortly after and checked in at the Embassy Suites where I had the “Cleopatra suite” to myself.