All I can say is WOW. Just WOW.
First, Catfish and the new Mr. Catfish are two of the best looking, best dressed people I know. They just exude style. At any given moment, they look like they have just stepped out of a GQ layout. Even when they don't look their best, they look better than everyone else.
Secondly, they come from amazing families. Fun, loving, warm people who have friends of the same caliber. They are much loved and it shows in the faces and actions of their family and friends. It was a great crowd and I am already lamenting the fact that I won't see these people again nearly soon enough.
Third, they know how to throw a party. The band was THE BEST live music I have ever heard from people without a record contract, hands down. You couldn't not dance. The photographer and Reverend were gay lovers (which was interesting and convenient) and were intuitive, sensitive, philosophical, helpful, experienced characters. The caterers were family friends who own local restaurants and the food was family style and DELICIOUS. It was all perfect, seriously.
Mostly, Catfish and her family are so well loved. She has hordes of people claiming to be secondary aunts and uncles and even extra parents. Everyone wants to do her a favor, everyone wanted this to be more than special and everyone contributed everything they had to make it that way. I have been to bigger weddings. I have been to fancier weddings. But I have never been to a more meaningful, sentimental and celebrated wedding (other than my own of course, but that was because it was mine). You could seriously feel the love and happiness in the air and the party was just infused with it.
And boy was it a relief to finally get to that point. This wedding has been a challenge. You see, Catfish's dad has been battling throat cancer. Well actually, he beat the cancer but he's still battling the effects of his treatments. It has been a REALLY tough year for their family and to throw wedding planning in on top of it made planning more difficult than it would normally be.
There was some last minute rushing around. On three different occasions I uttered the words "I need it fast, I'll pay more." Catfish's childhood home (where the reception took place) buzzed like a beehive with friends and family pulling all of the last minute details together and it was more than a white lie when I assured Catfish that things looked great and were coming along nicely. A bridesmaid and I commandeered a nail station at the salon and sat there with our paper cutter, card stock, glue sticks and sparkly things constructing table numbers. I almost had to physically restrain Catfish as she yanked out real eyelashes while panicking over fake ones, after her hair appointment took 3 times as long as expected. I know that the Reverend omitted the truth when he assured her via cell that it was not sprinkling at the beach, nor was it going to and I really wasn't that sure when I promised that her veil wouldn't whip around like crazy, as it was on the balcony earlier in the day.
But in the end, it was Divine. Elegant. Exquisite. Chic. Magical.
Even though her "2nd" dad stepped on her floor length veil, yanking it out of her hair during the ceremony. Even though her beautiful hair comb fell out a few minutes later. Even when some evil, wretched, hobag, assface, scunty beachgoer refused to move out of the way and said she was going to ruin the wedding photos on purpose. Even though the cake was leaning and a few of the fish in the centerpieces were floating. Even though the police broke up the party early.
It was all perfect.
We got ready in an insane penthouse condo, on lend from one of the a family friends. It had a 180 degree view of the water, a full movie theater and amazing decor. I gave Catfish an antique wedding handkerchief embroidered with their initials for her something old and something blue. I think her maid of honor came up with her something borrowed but that didn't directly pertain to me, so we'll skip it. I'd like to say we drank champagne and pampered ourselves leisurely but the reality was that we were running around like crazy people, sweating and searching for perfume and earrings, restraining Catfish from further eyelash mutilation, shoving wads of meat from the cold cut tray down our throats, and trying to figure out where the fuck the limo driver was and if it was really going to rain. There were champagne glasses everywhere, and I would just slurp down any of the ones that were half full, so who knows how many glasses were consumed.
Finally, we slid Catfish into her ivory, goddess inspired, whisper of a gown, crammed ourselves all into the annoyingly late limo and departed for The Big Event.
Catfish and I grew up together on a very small island. Some of my earliest memories involve playing on white sandy beaches every weekend with Catfish and our crowd of friends while all of our parents socialized (read: drank), so it was really cool that Catfish got married on one of those beaches. It was surreal to be there again, with many of the same families who were there all of those years ago, watching a grown up Catfish on Daddy Catfish's arm, looking stunning, walking towards her future. Crap, I'm about to lose it again just typing it out. I was a freaking wreck.
The ceremony was so special. The Reverend gave everyone a piece of sea glass to hold onto and infuse with their love. He covered the couple's hands with a piece of cloth that had been blessed by 1500 monks in a monastery in Budapest and that has covered the hands of over 425 marrying couples. The mother of the groom said a prayer. Catfish's uncle played the flute and a family friend played the violin. Two sets of friends did readings. The parents blessed the rings and then shared a heartwarming, spontaneous group hug. Gauzy ribbons fluttered from bamboo poles. The altar was covered with a cloth Catfish's grandmother made before she passed. The words of the ceremony were touching and unique. There was a unity ceremony with sand from both of their hometown beaches and it mixed prettily in a container that we then placed our sea glass into. People laughed and people cried. The sky was stunning and the weather perfect. Wow.
We rolled up to the Catfish home in a trolley and filed inside the house for more champagne toasts and makeup reapplication. As the band announced us, we strutted across the lanai and out onto the backyard stage. I had two escorts, so you know we were cracking the "manwich" jokes and I was loving the attention (SALWG that I am).
The new Mr. and Mrs. Catfish had their first dance. I can't remember what song it was to, but it was jazzy and perfect and they had taken lessons and just looked fabulous together spinning around out there.
I had barely taken my seat when the band called the Best Man up to the dance floor to give his speech. Fuck. I was nervous about my speech. On one hand, I was glad to be getting it over with so I wouldn't have to worry about it anymore but on the other hand I was pretty sure I was about to make an ass of myself. At the rehearsal dinner I had kept it short and sweet and then the best man and maid of honor got up there and recreated the couple's life stories and made me feel like a total rube. So I lengthened my wedding speech and wouldn't you know those two talked 5 times as long as they did the time before? Damn. I totally felt like I was going to get up there and just puke on myself.
But I didn't. I know I looked nervous. I probably talked too fast. I cried a little. People laughed at the right times and clapped at the end and Catfish cried and people complimented me all night on it, so I guess it wasn't bad.
So the speech went well and it was special and most importantly, over with. I was finally able to kick my shoes off and relax and enjoy this night under the stars in this backyard I knew so well with these people I loved so much. Orchids and lanterns with tea lights hung from the tree we spent so many years on a hammock under. Candles floated in the pool we had splashed around in our whole lives. People kept stopping me to reintroduce themselves and act astonished that I could possibly have two kids (I was double girdled, by the way. I cannot tell a lie. It clearly worked though). People told me their Catfish and Ashley childhood memories and I got a million hugs. I hung out with Catfish's big brother and one of his bestfriends that I had a childhood crush on (still hot) and I got a little thrill when he told me I looked too good to have two kids. I saw the girl I've known since third grade who had a brain tumor and wasn't expected to live into adulthood. Mr. Ashley loved my hair and push up bra and was all lovey dovey like I like. My glass was refilled with good champagne every time I turned around, and someone put a light up charm on my flute so that I wouldn't have to drink dregs like I had all day.
Then Catfish danced with Daddy Catfish and I seriously lost my shit. Everyone did. At one point as I was sobbing and wiping my nose on my hand, Mr. Ashley advised me to "man up" and told me this was not pretty crying that I was doing. I just couldn't help it. She was so beautiful and he looked so great and I love them both so much (starting to snivel again now).
Finally, with full tummies and the formalities and tears out of the way...I DMAO. We all did. The band could sing anything and had serious personality. They sang "Bringing Sexy Back" and everyone gathered around the new Mr. and Mrs. Catfish as they broke it down and hammed it up and looked like something out of a music video. I know it wasn't their official song, but I will never forget it because it was so "them" (read: fun and sexy).
Daddy Catfish got up and rocked it on the drums while his brother played the flute to some blues and once again, everyone was laughing and crying. Some family friends got up and played the violin and sang Ave Maria and then sang Amazing Grace to the tune of House of the Rising Sun a capella, which was awesome.
Then we were back to dancing and shrieking with laughter as the band got Catfish to shake it for "Hey Now" and got into the crowd and sang "Gold Digger" to the silicone and restylane enhanced maid of honor's Ferrari driving boyfriend. We sang "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Santeria" and wiped away sweat and pinned up rogue curls and danced, danced, danced. Then the lead singer, who was remarkably similar to a young Tina Turner, said she was going to sing one last song in honor of our police friends who were in the front yard and broke out into a perfect rendition of "I Shot the Sheriff". A 10:30 noise curfew and several complaints got us shut down, but honestly, it was okay. We had so much fun and so many special moments had taken place and we were all so tired that after a little bit of grumbling, everyone exchanged their hugs and kisses and love yous and let's do it again soons and congratulations to the bride and groom and went on our merry ways.
I was relieved to get home and rescue the babysitters and take the 40 some bobby pins out of my hair and wash the black off of my tired feet and crawl into bed and stay there the rest of the night and most of today.
We were invited on a yacht today but the kids have really been missing me, and I was really tired and I have no voice. I am pretty much partied out at this point.
Sorry for the novel but I want to make sure I never forget any of it. The 600 pictures taken over the last 3 days will help ensure that too, but I wanted to make sure Catfish got to see it from my perspective because I have felt warm and fuzzy over this event all day long. Besides, I know you all love wedding stuff.
Maybe tomorrow I'll upload some photos. I'm going to take my headache and go crawl back into the bed that is probably still warm from my last nap and hope that my voice reappears tomorrow. I have to deal with the Stage Mother again. I swear she's never going to go away. I'll tell you about her latest sneaky shenanigans later. I will also still tell you about the bachelorette weekend, who cares if we're out of order when there is bare beave involved.