Friday was spent with my grandparents, visiting my brother, and enjoying some New Jersey pizza.... aka manna from heaven in my book.
In the evening my mom, Ryan and I made our way into New York City to see Aladdin on Broadway! For my parents' twentieth anniversary last month my dad got the tickets for my mom (and us) to use on the trip. I was pretty stoked. I love going into New York City (even with the madness that is Fleet Week) and I was really looking forward to seeing a Broadway show with Ryan, something we have never done together before. He saw Chicago back in high school and I saw quite a few growing up (perk of living close to NYC) but in the six years we've been together we have never made it to a show together. So we took the train in, umbrellas in hand, and walked our way to the theatre. Luckily the weather held out until the show started so we got to see some of Times Square and other things before we got to the theatre.
|In Times Square|
|At the theatre|
As soon as we got to the theatre massive thunder boomed through the streets, which if you've never heard in NYC sounds pretty loud! We made it in and got to our rather tight and small seats with plenty of time to spare and drinks in hand.
The show was FANTASTIC. The Genie?! Geeze give that man a Tony!!!! He was probably 6 feet tall and easily 250lbs and he was dancing across that stage like Fred Astaire. He could sing, dance, and his improv and comedic timing were amazing to watch. We laughed uproariously the entire show. No exaggeration. The Never Had a Friend Like Me number nearly brought the house down, it was so wonderful. Anyway, we staggered out into the rain to find a cab and make it back to New Jersey since....
Saturday was the wedding! The plan was I would take my stuff and meet Sam and the wedding party at the hotel and Ryan and my mom would drive in later to meet us at the venue (aka the boat). You have never lived until you've carried a giant bag and a bridesmaid's dress on a train and across New York City... let me tell you!
Once I found the hotel (with help from Sam's sister and cousin who ran into me on the street) we were in a flurry of hair and make up. I did most of my own make up and Sam's cousin Kay did my hair. I helped Sam into her dress and did my best to help/stay out of the way and do whatever needed to be done!
|Kay helping Sam with her hair|
All too soon it was 4:30 and we were madly rushing for cars/cabs to get to the venue. Poor Kay was helping everyone else with their hair and makeup that she didn't finish hers, so Danielle (Sam's sister) and I waited with her and took a separate cab. Our cab driver had NO idea where we were supposed to be going, so my trusty smart phone and google maps got us there. Sigh. He tried to drop us off at Pier 60 (the wedding was at Pier 40, a good five miles down) and asked if we could walk! Oy.
|The Hornblower Hybrid, aka the venue, and naturally a hybrid for my eco conscious best friend!|
Once we got to the venue we ran around setting up centerpieces, place cards, guest books, and anything else needing to be done. Sam and Lauren disappeared for a bit for some pictures in the park before the rain came. Normally people don't board the boat until the wedding time, but with the downpour that came they thankfully made an exception. Ryan and my Mom arrived early and managed to snag some good seats for the ceremony, which was on the bottom most deck. The bridal party hung upstairs on the second deck while everyone situated. It was so good to see my best friend's family... I've known them for 14+ years so seeing aunts, uncles, cousins and more felt almost as good as seeing my own family after years apart!
|Sam (in blue shoes), Danielle (yellow), Kay (orange) and Me (red)|
The entire bridal party were different colors of the rainbow (Sam's side being me, her cousin and sister in Red, Orange and Yellow and Lauren's side being her brother, sisters and their significant others in Green, Blues, and Purple), and it looked awesome! Our side wore white Converses and Lauren's wore black while Sam wore blue and Lauren purple. I cannot wait until my mom uploads pictures from her camera (and to see the professional shots!) so I sadly have none of the ceremony at the moment being I was up there. It was short, sweet, and nearly had me in tears. I was so touched to see my bestest buddy so damn happy.
After the ceremony we took some pictures and headed upstairs for the reception just in time for the rain to stop. The rest of the evening was beautiful. Unfortunately the decks were wet and my long dress got the hem soaked and turned my poor white converses black. Sigh. A night in wet shoes also didn't help my cold but I had a total blast!
|Danielle giving her maid of honor speech|
|Mom and I out on the deck after the rains cleared|
|My love and I|
|Me and the happy happy couple right after the ceremony|
There was a ton of delicious food, an open bar, and upbeat music that had us partying for a good five hours as we cruised the Hudson River. We got amazing views of the Empire State Building, the Freedom Tower, the Brooklyn Bridge, the whole skyline, and the Statue of Liberty.
The boat actually got super close to the Statue of Liberty and stopped for photos as the DJ played America the Beautiful, New York New York and other such songs. There are some gorgeous pictures of Sam and Lauren that I cannot wait to see (although I did see a preview or two) with Lady Liberty in the background. Poor Sam also slipped and hit the deck at this point but the lucky duck she is she didn't even smudge her gown! I walked around that thing and had black from the ankle down, she falls flat on her butt and not even a slight tear or stain.... must be bridal luck!!
It was a wonderful evening that I was sorry to see end. I ate a lot, drank a lot of champagne, danced and talked with people whom I love dearly, and I got to see my best friend have the happiest day of her life. Sammy Sam, I wish you and Lauren many, many years of happiness together. Enjoy your Disney (cruise and parks!) Honeymoon!!!!
After the boat docked I was dead on my feet. Ryan drove us back to New Jersey where I promptly put on sweats and climbed my tired butt into bed! We slept late the next day knowing we were driving back to North Carolina later on and wanted to maximize family time. My cousin Jill graduated law school last week so we also stopped by her family's house for a party and to see as much of my family as possible. We had a good (albeit too short) visit before hitting the road at 5:30 pm with a 10 hour drive ahead of us.
Anytime I say good bye to my Babci and Poppy I sob my eyes out. As they are getting older (Poppy is 91 and Babci 88) I always panic during my visits that it may be my last one with either of them. I always try to maximize our time together, I call them weekly, and I cherish the times we do have, but I inevitably sob my heart out as soon as our truck leaves the driveway. This time was no exception. I always make Ryan let me drive the first shift because I know if I am driving and crying I will snap out of it and stop sooner than if I were sitting as passenger. I still cried from exit 12 to 8 on the turnpike as I drove. I really hate saying goodbye to them. :(
It was a long, long, long drive back to North Carolina. The only highlight of the trip was this....
I drove to the Maryland House, our typical stop in Maryland, where we had dinner, a ketchup fight that ended with Ryan changing shirts in the parking lot (oops) and then switched. Ryan drove the rest of the way where we skirted DC again and I fell asleep around 1am and didn't wake up until we were home at 3am. Monday was spent nursing my cold, the cold Ryan caught from me, and trying to prepare the house for the work week ahead... aka grocery shopping, laundry, yard work, and meal prep. The weekend was a blast and positively flew by. I am not sure when we will be heading back up to New Jersey but I do hope in my heart of hearts it is soon.
Thanks for bearing with me through this long, long post!!! (That is, if any of you did of course!)