Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wedding Wednesdays: Bachelorette & Shower

When we started planning the wedding we weren't really expecting much in the way of a bachelorette party or a shower. We don't have a huge circle of friends (moving around too much combined with being introverts?) and our close friends and family are fairly widely geographically dispersed. For the most part I had accepted this as a sad but true reality, while Becky was privately pining for these celebrations. Blame it on the big evil Wedding-Industrial-Complex (or just theknot.com) if you will, but somehow having a bachelorette party and a shower felt like an important right of passage as brides/further legitimizing force/just plain good time.

Happily, our friends and family came through. And they did it in fun ways that fit us. I apologize for the exceptionally poor quality of some of these photos; we were having camera issues.

Our friend Kara, who has been featured in several of our bloggy adventures (Staten Island, Superbowl, Dim Sum, probably lots more...), had vaguely hinted that she might do something bachelorettey for us. We even had a suspicion on the day that it might be the day. But then when we confirmed plans it seemed to genuinely be a low-key business as usual meet up in Central Park. And truth be told, Kara is usually a horrible liar, so we took this at face value. In fact, so much so that we called and told her we were running 20 minutes late because we needed to do an errand. We were quite surprised when we approached the appointed meeting spot to see two other friends (Kim and Stephanie) and learn that another was supposed to meet us later!

Kara delivered us goody bags filled with candy and plastic engagement ring shot glasses and dorky bride-to-be tiaras and water bottles filled with Strongbow cider. She even decorated our water bottles in our wedding colors (and apparently also deserves an award for securing bachelorette swag that did not have penises on it!). Here's us in Central Park with the lovely tiaras:
We then started off a whole afternoon/evening full of shenanigans with our friends sponsoring a carriage ride in Central Park. Becky and I started a New York City to-do list before we moved here, after having had tons of fun checking things off of our Boston and London to-do lists. Almost five years settled in to our Big Apple experience we've gotten lax with the tourist pursuits, and there are still items unchecked on our original list. Kara secretly consulted the list, which is scrawled on the back of an envelope and attached to the side of our fridge, and picked an activity to help us complete. I apologize to the animal rights activists and cheeseyness police, but the carriage ride has been a quintessential New York experience in my head since early in my Midwestern childhood! And now I can happily report that we did it on our bachelorette day.

From there we headed to a delicious dinner (and drinks) at Five Napkin Burger. Becky and I try hard to be frugal when it comes to eating out, but Kara knew we had been salivating over the idea of these over-priced burgers and so she put them on the itinerary. And I can tell you they're seriously worth the price. Yum. Definitely competition for the best burger I've had. We followed that up with drinks at a local bar, and then capped the evening off with desserts at Edgar's Cafe. We cannot thank our friends enough for pulling off such a fun-filled surprise day of bachelorettey-ness. And, we especially enjoyed spending time with these lovely ladies, as they were among the young friends who were decidedly unable to make it to the also amazing shower.


The shower was not a surprise, as that would have been logistically impossible considering that it took place in Minnesota. But initially the fact that a shower was being thrown in our honor was definitely a surprise, as was the content. My sister (and matron of honor) was the mastermind behind the shower, though she also had a lot of help from both my mom and Becky's mom, and from a family friend who is also the mother of my bridesmaid. Neither my bridesmaid nor Becky's sisters (her wedding party) were able to make it, but my bridesmaid did make an appearance on Skype live from her German home!

We managed to coordinate a weekend about three weeks before the wedding for a whole host of people to descend upon the Twin Cities for wedding-preparation-palooza. Becky and I flew in from New Jersey, Jen and her son Matthew (free under-2 flight FTW) flew in from Massachusetts, and Becky's mom and aunt drove in from Eastern Wisconsin. We did hair trials, tied ribbons on favors, re-tasted cakes, folded program parts....and partied! (And yes, you read correctly, we tasted cakes for a second time.)

Our lovely hosts did up the fellowship hall of my church for a delicious English tea, and invited all of the women who were invited to the wedding. There were tables set up with small flower centerpieces in our wedding colors, several kinds of tea, fruit, scones with jam and clotted cream, and finger sandwiches. But most of all, there were three desserts, all cut into scrumptious tea-style bite size pieces. The desserts were designated Carrie's dessert, aka a childhood favorite called Chocolate Indulgence, Becky's dessert, aka pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting, and the joint dessert, aka the cake that we adored at cake tasting but rejected due to the personality and attitude of the baker herself. It was pure caramel apple deliciousness, and for a shower cake the baker apparently did not feel the need to insult our design choices or stuff it full of styrofoam dummy cakes. A few points off for my mom though, who accidentally revealed my sister's well plotted surprise by including Becky and I on a planning e-mail. Oopsie!
Becky's mom planned a fun little trivia game regarding places that we have traveled together, and put together a photo album for us of pictures from many of those travels. She also supplied many of those pictures (y'know, the ones of us with food...because we apparently love to take them!) to my sister for use in an ingenious shower gift, especially for people with lots of long distance friends and family. We received a cookbook filled with recipes and memories, submitted by tons of our wedding invitees including many who were able to attend the shower and many who were not able to attend. It was especially nice to see some of our younger friends represented who both couldn't attend in person and weren't able to send shower gifts - but obviously still wanted to send love! Here is us examining our cookbook with my sister:
And here is an unfortunately blurry picture of our mothers bonding at the shower (note our purple and red wedding colors in the centerpieces!):
But yes, we did also receive lots of very generous shower gifts for which we are very grateful as well. During the gift-opening Matthew entertained himself very well by ferrying gifts to us and used wrapping materials from us to the trash bag. He also did an excellent job helping set out folding chairs and helping my dad load our presents into the car at the end of the event!

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