Day 3: Rehearsal, Brunch + Meet ‘n’ Greet!
Another long day… I got up at 6am to check out of the glamorous Sheraton Safari and go pick up my dad, brother, and SIL for the rehearsal in Epcot. I didn’t mind getting up that early because I wanted to practice for getting up at 4am for the wedding the next day. I know that the early ceremony times required for an Epcot wedding (9am, usually) are a deterrent to some people, but the way I see it, surely I can manage to get myself out of bed early on just one day in my entire life in order to experience something that special! (Make that two days if you wanna do the Magic Kingdom photo shoot…).
The O Mobile’s windshield kept fogging up on the outside (??) and this was the first time I noticed the tire fwapping, so I crept down the highway. As usual, I got lost, this time on my way to get Mo’H and SIL at All-Star Sports. Once I found them, we went over to Port Orleans French Quarter to get my dad. Meanwhile, Patrick’s parents were taking him to pick up our officiant at All-Star Music (we flew Patrick’s childhood pastor out from California to officiate – it was one the best decisions we made!). We were all to meet in the lobby of the Beach Club for our walk to Epcot.
It was so weird to see Patrick’s parents walk out to meet us in front of the hotel. I got that wonderful comforting feeling you get when you recognize someone familiar in a strange place. It was the first of many times over the trip that my mind boggled to see friends and relatives at WDW. (I know lots of brides go there with their families all the time, but Patrick and I had only ever been there for our planning session and on one trip apiece when we were in high school.) Before we set off for the rehearsal, I checked into my room at the Beach Club Villas and checked my luggage with Bell Services. It was so cute – the two women at the check-in desk just beamed when they found out I was getting married in Epcot the next day. I told them I knew that check-in for DVC resorts isn’t until 4pm, but if there was any way they could get me a room earlier, I’d be so grateful because I could start setting up my base of wedding operations. They said they’d see what they could do, and they handed me two WDW “Just Married” buttons (I saved them for later).
Because we didn’t have any attendants, readers, ushers, etc. for our ceremony, the rehearsal group was small: bride and groom, the officiant, the Best Man, the Man o’ Honor (and SIL), and my dad. We were joined by our videographers, Sage and Wheat (really!) from Starfruit Productions, at the International Gateway. We paid them a small travel fee to come the day before the wedding so they could attend the rehearsal to line up shots and get the lay of the land. I think it was prolly a good idea since they hadn’t done an Epcot wedding before.
A guide escorted us to Morocco to meet our wedding planner and her entourage of assistants. I made sure to meet both of them because I’d learned from reading trip reports that I’d be seeing a lot more of them than the WP on the wedding day. As expected, the rehearsal was run very efficiently. The WP told everyone where to stand and what to do. When the Man o’ Honor started cracking wise, my WP totally put the smack down, which was awesome… There were chairs set up between the fountain and the arch, and we all started out standing in the altar area. The WP had the pastor explain how the service would go, and then I made a little spiel to the BM and Mo’H about one of my huge pet peeves: I hate it when the groomsmen stand up at the altar facing the audience with their hands clasped in front of their nether regions like they have to take a whiz! So I tried to make it abundantly clear that Bridezilla wanted their hands at their sides at all times. (Later I found out that the BM was feeling ill during the ceremony and kept repeating to himself, “Don’t throw up, don’t clasp your hands!”)
Next we got to practice walking in. This part alone made me SO glad we’d decided to pay for a rehearsal (well, the rehearsal was free, but it was $90 for a guide to get us all into Epcot instead of rehearsing in a ballroom somewhere). I had been worried about how the songs I picked for the processional would time out, since the distance from the edge of Morocco to the altar area at the arch was about 30 seconds at a normal walking pace. For a while I considered editing the songs down, but I couldn’t cut enough from them. So what we did was start the processional from further back and, in some cases, hold people a bit while the music started. I brought my iPod Shuffle to the rehearsal so I could listen to the songs and figure out where and when we needed to start walking for each one. I got kind of flustered because everyone had to stand around while I found the playlist – you can only go forward or backward, you can’t select songs on a screen – and I’d forgotten to cue it up. But no one seemed to mind waiting, even my WP. It was the first time I had someone tell me, “It’s OK – you’re the bride!”
We decided to time my entrance song with my dad by starting at the altar and walking back out of Morocco to see where we would end up as a starting place. Well, it turned out to be practically to Japan! So then we decided to pick a line in the pavement closer to Morocco and just hold me and my dad back until about 30 seconds into the song.
That was about it for the rehearsal. Sage & Wheat took off, and the wedding party walked over to the BoardWalk for brunch at Spoodles with the rest of Patrick’s family. It wasn’t until later that I realized I’d left the rehearsal without two crucial pieces of information: my WP’s cell number and where we were supposed to meet on the wedding day. (That’s right – after all that freaking out the week before the wedding, I never did get my WP’s number. When we got back from the honeymoon I discovered it in an email sent after we’d left for WDW. Unfortunately, this didn’t help me the next day when I was panicking because I didn’t know she wouldn’t be at the hotel on the morning of the wedding…)
We did not plan to have any kind of welcome/rehearsal dinner the night before our wedding. This was partly because we’d originally thought doing this kind of event through Disney would count toward our minimums and, when we found out that wasn’t the case, it was an easy thing to cut. But it was mostly because I had an absolute phobia of over-scheduling our guests. Most people were only coming out for 3 or 4 days, and I didn’t want them to feel pressured to attend a bazillion different wedding events when they’d rather be enjoying the parks. (See “No-Pressure, Come-if-You-Want-to Meet ‘n’ Greet,” below.) Patrick and I planned to have brunch at Spoodles on the BoardWalk after the rehearsal, and when I asked his parents if they’d like to come along, suddenly we had 12 people attending (did I mention he has a big family?). It was really nice, though, and an opportunity for my dad and brother and SIL to meet Patrick’s immediate family. And the food was really good! I’d heard mixed reviews of Spoodles’ food, but it was very tasty (perhaps proving my theory that it’s impossible to screw up breakfast).
Spoodles has one big table that seats something like 15 people, and I didn’t have to call WDW Group Dining to reserve it – I just made a regular ADR. We were ready at 9:30am, and though originally they hadn’t been able to give me a reservation til 9:50am, the table was ready within minutes of our checking in. They also had no trouble splitting the checks up among the group members – at Olivia’s the night before we had to do the thing where everyone throws in more money than they prolly owe cuz no one has change… ugh!
After brunch, I had a message from the room assigner at Beach Club Villas saying they’d found me a room – at 10am! – and it was a really nice one that lots of people request. I was so happy. After brunch, Patrick went over to the hotel, had my luggage delivered to the room, and set everything up for me – what a sweetie! I took a Friendship boat from the BoardWalk to the Dolphin for Round Two at Mandara Spa. I’ll spare you the gory details on that one… Well, OK, I’ll put them here in spoiler mode so nobody loses their lunch: HOLY CRAP WHAT WAS I THINKING?! Somewhere I got the idea that a Brazilian wax was THE honeymoon accessory. I’d had one before, but I must’ve been smoking crack (as we used to say in the ‘90s – what is it now, meth?) because this was THE most painful thing I have ever experienced. And the results were not sexy at all. They were burn-y, sting-y and itchy, and when that subsided they were just plain creepy… Now back to your regularly scheduled trip report!
Patrick picked me up at the Dolphin and took me to the Yacht and Beach Club for my manicure at Perriwig’s. He was so cute – he insisted on going with me, even though I warned him he’d be bored. The girl who did my nails (Xiomara, I think) was very sweet and did a thorough job. I loved the first color I picked out, but my nails were practically fluorescent, so she went over them with another color and got the perfect shade. We talked about her wedding in Cuba – apparently they invited about 200 people, but so many party crashers showed up they had close to 300 guests! Yikes!
When my nails had cooked in the little, uh, nail oven, Patrick escorted me up to my room in the Villas wing at the Beach Club. It was SO cool! It was in its own alcove off the elevator lobby, so it was both quiet and convenient. It had lots of drawers and closet space, and a huge balcony overlooking the not-so “quiet” pool. But the best part we didn’t find out about until a few nights into our honeymoon: We were sitting on the balcony eating leftover wedding cake when all of a sudden we discovered we could see the Magic Kingdom’s Pirate & Princess fireworks from our balcony! Very cool…
NO-PRESSURE, COME-IF-YOU-WANT-TO MEET ‘N’ GREET
A few weeks before the wedding, we began to agree that – even though we didn’t want to over-schedule them – some of our guests, especially family members, would want to meet and catch up before the wedding. At that point, we didn’t have room in the budget to host a dinner, and we didn’t want to put people through the Dance of a Million Separate Checks, so we settled on a late-afternoon/early-evening meet ‘n’ greet between lunch and dinner. We encouraged people to drop in when they wanted or not drop in at all, if they had plans already. As it turns out, several groups made their own dinner plans for after the meet ‘n’ greet, so it worked out really nicely.
What we didn’t know was where to hold it. I got the idea from another bride to have everyone meet in the Solarium at Beach Club Villas. It looked great in pictures and seemed large enough to host our event.
However, two weeks before the wedding, I found out that the Beach Club was probably going to show the Super Bowl in the Solarium on the day of our meet ‘n’ greet – imagine the nerve, scheduling the Super Bowl for the day of our meet ‘n’ greet! I freaked out, posted all over, got tons of great suggestions. In the end, because I was cracked on the idea of meeting at the Beach Club, we used its other common room, the Drawing Room, and it turned out to be perfect! Unlike the Solarium, it is enclosed and has only one door, so it was like we had our own private room.
We must’ve had 15-20 people there – mostly just family members – and we ended up rearranging all the furniture in a big circle as more people showed up. Patrick got a little twitchy about this. He kept saying, “Maybe we should arrange conversational groupings!” It did look a little like an AA meeting, I guess… That’s OK. I got twitchy when my FMIL announced she was going to be taking pictures at the reception. She is a shutterbug and has her camera going constantly at every gathering. We’d had a conversation with her months before about how we were hiring professional photographers and we wanted her to just enjoy our wedding from in front of a camera. So when she said that, I got kinda worked up and made a fool of myself, pouting that I was the bride and I wanted to control the photos of our wedding day and I didn’t care if it made me Bridezilla! (Imagine my dismay when, on the wedding day, I found that FMIL was the only guest who didn’t have a camera – d’oh! In fact, and this is probably totally out of line, I wish I had told guests they weren’t allowed to bring cameras into Epcot – hee hee!)
After the meet ‘n’ greet, our pastor suggested we all go to Cape May for dinner. I felt guilty about bowing out, but Patrick and I each wanted to have a mellow, early night, and I still had lots to unpack. We went up to my room and tried to order room service, but the wait was like 90 minutes – prolly cuz of the Super Bowl. Curses – foiled again! We decided to hit Beaches & Cream, which meant walking right by the open seating area at Cape May where our family and friends were eating – we tried to sneak past so no one would see us. Beaches & Cream hit the spot! I made a half-hearted attempt to eat light by ordering the chicken sandwich, but it was pretty greasy… greasily delicious! And I felt like a rebel for ordering a (kids’) sundae the night before my wedding – take that, Brides magazine!
After dinner, Patrick said goodnight and went off to bunk with his cousin (the one who introduced us!) at the Contemporary, and I began a lengthy series of beauty preparations. I washed and straightened my hair with the blow dryer because when my cosmetologist straightened it with a flat iron at the trial in September, my curly hair no longer held a curl. I didn’t want to have to do that in the morning. I gave myself a crappy pedicure (meh – I hadn’t brought any sandals) and hit the rack around 11:30pm – not good when you have a 4am wake-up call!