Thursday June 14, 2012

Memorial Day weekend came and went and was just as amazing as I had hoped it would be. My best friends came home, buzzing with excitement to see each other and watch our dear friend marry her fiancée in the small chapel at Bucksteep Manor.

I mentioned in my May 24 column that I was nervous because this was the first time all of my friends’ significant others would be with them, and also the first time I was bringing not just a date, but an actual serious boyfriend.

The week leading up to everyone coming home seemed to last a month. By the time Thursday rolled around, it felt like an eternity had passed since I last saw my best friends in the same room together.

We had planned a surprise bachelorette party for the bride-to-be that night. She had no interest in a typical bar-crawl, sash-and-crown, heavy-drinking and dancing-on-the-bar kind of celebration, so it was left to me to help plan something.

A few weeks prior, I came up with the idea of a wine tasting. Since nearly everyone was from somewhere else, I sent out an email instructing them to pick a wine local to their area (preferably white, since that’s what she likes) and buy two bottles. One bottle would be opened for the tasting, the other would be given as a gift to the bride and groom.

I bought wine glasses and, that morning, went to pick up my friend Megan and her boyfriend, Nick, to help me get snacks and decorations.

How the two most adolescent adults were chosen to be in charge of this event, I do not know, but somehow it happened.

Upon entering the store, I saw a bunch of "Congratu lations" decorations with graduation hats on them. I turned to Meg and said "Let’s get these. And when she comes in, we’ll pretend we never even knew she was engaged. We just thought she graduated from college."

That idea was voted down. We weren’t sure if the humor would be appreciated by Ashley, the always-classy, organized and put-together bride-to-be.

Instead, we had a heated debate about whether we should make everyone wear fake mustaches or goofy teeth. Goofy teeth won and we went on our way to pick out desserts.

The party itself ended up being a (semi) quiet night amongst Ashley’s closet friends and relatives.

Tammy and Andrew arrived shortly before the bride, directly from a 12 hour trip across the Atlantic.

When Andrew realized the guys were all back at Ashley’s house, drinking beers around a campfire, he swiftly borrowed Ashley’s car and went to join them.

My lovely boyfriend had previously offered to pick all of us wine-drenched ladies up after the tasting, and take us to join the boys at the party. He arrived around 11, not knowing that he would have to sit through two more bottles of wine being tasted.

He took the giggling, teasing and gossiping in stride though and soon enough we were on our way to meet up with the rest of the men.

The next night, we all met up again to see Megan’s dad play in the Jill Gallagher Band at Halpin’s. There was a lot of dancing, pool-shooting, and video-game-playing in the back room.

I taught Nick (a Colorado native) how to play and lose $20 at Keno, and it was decided that we would all go home early to prepare for the big day tomorrow.

Early the next day, the girls met up at my house, and I helped them with their hair and makeup. This is a tradition that goes all the way
back to high school dances and going out when we first turned 21.

We raced to catch a shuttle from the Crowne Plaza, where we had a quick glimpse of the bride. It brought us up to Bucksteep Manor, where the chapel ceremony was short and heartfelt.

As the wedding party took pictures, we got back onto the shuttle to the reception. The radio station on the shuttle must have been having a "flashback" weekend, because they were playing hits from our teenagedom by The Backstreet Boys, Tupac, Aliah and Ace of Base. This naturally resulted in some seat-dancing.

The dancing continued after dinner, where Nick and Megan showed off some sweet moves, including "making pizza," "the sprinkler," "the shopper" and of course "catching the fish."

My boyfriend, who is not too keen on dancing, managed to make his way to the floor for a song or two, before sneaking off with Nick to load up his bag of candy from the candy bar across the room.

Ashley had made a "picture wall" -- a wall with a frame cut out of it, so when you stood behind, it looked like you were in a picture. This made for a lot of fun after a couple glasses of wine.

Just before everyone was to get back on the shuttle to head home, the groom grabbed the microphone and gave a heart-warming speech, about how happy he was to be married and what an amazing night he had had with his friends and family.

The next day, the guys played golf while we ladies met for brunch and Bloody Marys, then spent the rest of the day floating in a pool.

Our weekend came to a close as we sat around a table, sharing a pu-pu platter and reminiscing about the highs of our friendships and all agreeing that it was truly an amazing weekend.