For those of you that know my Rooster and I, you know that we tend to go, go, go, all of the time.
Saturday was no exception. After shrimping all day and rushing back to the house, we had about an hour to get ready for Vinnie and Dawn’s Surprise Wedding Reception, easy right? Did I mention that the reception took place in our backyard?
We love Vinnie and Dawn and are proud to claim them amongst our closest friends. They have virtually been a couple their entire adult lives. They were married for years, have two kids, and now they have two almost brand new grandkids. Their love for each other is epic.
Unfortunately, a few years back they went through a tough time and ended up getting divorced. But tough times have nothing on the love they have for each other. They have been back together almost since they broke up, and on April 23rd, they snuck around and got remarried. It was the anniversary of their original wedding day, April 23rd, 1994.
We simply couldn’t let that event go on by without a celebration. So, one night, at Ladies Night Out, we discussed a group gift, which led immediately to planning a secret surprise wedding reception. The ladies that are in our circle of friends are no strangers to planning events and that reception quickly took shape over the course of the next hour.
As the three weeks between conception and the event flew by, everything came together. Invitations, food, decorations and cake, music, flowers, a group gift from the organizing parties…….. The whole thing. I don’t really mean to toot the collective horn, but these ladies are an incredible force, which I already knew……. Seriously though.
The only thing for all of us to worry about, was the secret.
Additionally, in our household, the worry was time. Saturday was also the last day for shrimping. It was decided from the get go, that we could pull off both shrimping and the wedding reception……. Same day, no problem. There was absolutely no reason that my Rooster and I couldn’t be back at home by 3 pm from shrimping, with a reception start time of 5:30 pm.
A team of some of our best women friends had been to the house and decorated while we were shrimping, food had been cooked and just needed to be warmed and set out. All of the drinks were waiting, many coolers had been filled with ice, beer and soda. The kitchen was dressed with paperware, flowers and some more decor.
Earlier in the week my Rooster worked diligently to cut the grass, weed eat the entire backyard and install a million tiki torches for ambiance. It was so well planned out that the short time frame seemed more than manageable. It was time for a hearty pat on the back to all of us.
Then the heavens handed us a challenge.
Since it was the last day for shrimping, there were lots of boats on the water and while we had access to a private launch, so did a more than a few others.
We waited about an hour for our turn to pull the boat out. Then, when we got on the road, about half a mile up Hwy 101 there had been an accident between a car and a truck with a boat. The boat had come off of the trailer and was lying in the middle of the two lane highway.
Luckily it happened at an intersection, so there were police officers already diverting traffic around the mess, and it turned out to be just a short delay.
We cruised all the way to I-5, we entered Olympia and felt good about time, even though we were running behind, until we saw the electronic billboard announcing a collision ahead, with blocked lanes. I don’t have to tell you that it wasn’t long before traffic reached a complete stop.
My Rooster is an ever hopeful problem solver, and we quickly left the freeway and headed home via Lacey/Yelm/Roy. When we finally arrived it was ten minutes after four. I had already had one call from a friend wanting to drop off a salad.
No challenge ever goes unanswered in our world. By 4:30 the boat was parked, cleaned out, shrimp deposited safely in the refrigerator for cleaning and I was in the shower, with my Rooster not far behind. It looked like we were going to make it after all 🙂
By 5:00 the most important guests had arrived and the surprise was ready for launch.
Dawn and Vinnie arrived at 5:31 pm.
I just love how they are prompt. 🙂 I was so worried that they had somehow found out, but the surprise was intact.
It was a beautiful event.
There was the first dance.
A mother daughter dance.
The money dance (of which I have no pictures).
Cake and all that goes with it. I’m talking about the face smash, through which Vinnie and Dawn were both mature enough to not wreck each others faces.
We even had a bride and groom photoshoot, with motorcycles of course.
We had the garter toss (winner Howard!)
Then the bouquet toss (winner Agnes!)
Toward the end of the night, there was probably the most special moment that any of us have ever witnessed as a group of friends. We were all writing on helium balloons, we were in the midst of sending messages of love and good wishes to the heavens for Dawn and Vinnie’s new marriage. Howard was behind Agnes and kept insisting that she read the message he wrote on his balloon.
Agnes was busy writing on her own balloon, but eventually turned to see what was so important.
On that green balloon Howard had written……
“Marry Me Agnes”
It was the most beautiful moment. A moment that she didn’t believe was real at first.
However, with encouragement from the closest of his friends, Howard took the microphone, got down on one knee and proposed sweetly to Agnes, in front of 25 witnesses. She gracefully accepted to much applause.
Just like that, we had another beautiful reason to celebrate. Dawn gave up her veil to Agnes for a first engagement dance with Howard (I sadly cannot remember which song was played).
It was a wonderful evening full of love and celebration. More than one tear was shed all around. It was a night filled with emotion (Julie), friendship, love and so much magic that you would not believe it if you were a witness. I am so very happy to have been a part of it.
Thank you to all who made it happen, thank you to all who attended, thank you to Agnes and Howard for sharing that special moment with us.
And finally, my apologies to those of you who were overlooked, we are sorry that we failed to ask you to join us. It was very difficult to put the word out and keep a secret at the same time.
Congratulations to Dawn and Vinnie!
Congratulations to Agnes and Howard!