May 31, 2010

James & Janice Tie the Knot

I met James in 5th grade, and we've been friends ever since. Elementary school, the awkward junior high years, the somewhat-less-awkward high school years, living it up in college, and beyond.

Now he was taking the next big step: marriage. He proposed to Janice a while back, and we had his bachelor party in New Orleans in March, and the wedding weekend had finally come. I flew into LAX, and Su and Allie picked me up. You know you're a lucky guy when cute girls like this
are your friends and you get to hang out all weekend while celebrating a best friend's wedding. After a stop at the tuxedo shop, where I picked up my monkey suit (sans cummerbund), we met up with James and the other groomsmen for a quick bite at Subway. Our next stop (and first official wedding activity) was the rehearsal at CalTech's Athenaeum.

Once we had run through it twice, we were feeling pretty good about not screwing things up too much and/or detracting from James' and Janice's big moment. That meant it was on to the rehearsal dinner at Citi Cafe.
James and company made a fantastic spread of seafood, including whole crabs. James and Su showed us how to open the crab by ripping its shell open. Pretty interesting stuff. I prefer eating the legs, though.
Getting to see Justin and Emily and spend dinner with them was excellent. I miss seeing them like we did in college, and that's why I'm stoked they'll be spending the summer in DC while Emily does an internship there. Of course, since now James was getting married, that means I will now have another couple to be the 3rd or 5th wheel...Even though we had to be up early in the morning, James wasn't quite ready to hit the hay. Neither were we. So we all went to a little cantina nearby to chill out. I think they were pretty surprised to see us all there, and even more so when I started speaking in fluent Spanish with the staff. It was his last night as a single man, and I'm glad I got to spend it with him.Up bright and early, we all met up at James' parents' house, in order to caravan over to Janice's parents' house. As we had a little time waiting for everybody to show up, people were just shooting the breeze, and I was of course snapping pics. Clearly he was excited for such a great day and to get it going.One of my favorite things about this wedding was seeing all of the wedding traditions that James' family follow. So cool to see all that they do in order to show respect for the other person's parents, grandparents, and relatives. Below you can see gift baskets that we took to give to Janice's family before the tea ceremony.Beyond the gift baskets, James also had to buy and earn his way into Janice's parents' house. I don't know how many little red envelopes he gave them to get us the 15 feet we needed to go, but it's safe to say he gave them a lot. In addition to the cash, the bridal party also made him/us do tasks to get closer, including 1) five of us doing push-ups as James sang a romantic song, 2) using only feet to fish Janice's name out of an ice bucket,and 3) being able to pick out Janice's non-ring hand from among the hands of all the bridesmaids. He passed all of his/our tests with flying colors--and a bunch of red envelopes, of course.After we got inside, James and Janice received some gifts and then presented ceremonial tea to Janice's parents and a whole bunch of her relatives.The bride and groom rode in their car, and the rest of us semi-followed them back to James' parents' place for brunch and a similar tea ceremony for James' parents and relatives. Bear in mind, this was no average brunch.If you know me, you know that I eat constantly all day. So getting up early and not eating until after the tea ceremony was rough. I was actually getting kinda jittery, so brunch hit the spot. And the brunch food was quite tasty, including a roast pig (above) and plenty of Chinese pastries (below).
The schedule afforded a break (time for the bride and bridesmaids to get their hair done) between the tea ceremonies and when we needed to meet up for pictures. Su and Allie took a nap, and I chilled in my hotel room and watched Sportscenter. I know, I'm an addict. But I've got to get my fix sometimes.We groomsmen met at the Athenaeum, and they had a special room for the groom's and our stuff, complete with some juices and fancy waters. We kicked around for a bit, then got dressed in our tuxedos. Sidenote: I think I look pretty good in a tux, but then again, doesn't everybody?
A few minutes before he was going to see his bride in her dress for pictures, James sent a gift to Janice and Janice sent a gift to James. She gave him a framed fortune cookie from their first date. Very impressive that she'd saved it the whole time they dated.Here's a shot of the groomswoman (I still think it's so cool Allie got to be with us on James' side) and her bridesmaid counterparts, maybe 30 mins before the wedding ceremony.
And here's Su looking smashing in her dress for the wedding. We groomsmen/women played parking attendants to help guide the guests around the side of the building to where the ceremony would be held. The extra bonus of that responsibility is that you get to greet everyone and see all your friends prior to the big event.Unfortunately, I couldn't take any pictures of the actual ceremony (or get video, for that matter), as I was up at the front and it'd be pretty conspicuous and distracting to have a camera out. But it was beautiful from start to finish. The officiant gave a great and appropriate analogy of marriage to cooking, and the bride and groom recited their vows before the famous pronouncement of "man and wife". Then they walked back down the aisle together, and we all followed in line just as we'd practiced at the rehearsal.

Next was the cocktail hour, during which I got to hang out with Justin and Emily some, as well as mingle with the other groomsmen and just talk. Of course, popular topics included how pretty Janice looked in her gown, the clear and kinda hot weather, and what a great couple James and Janice make.
Before the reception began, the wedding party (groom's party and bridal party) got to hang back while everyone else took their seats at their tables. This was good, because James had been shaking hands since the ceremony and hadn't really had a chance to relax and sit down. Doesn't he look amazing?!?After we walked in and were announced individually, the bride and groom had their first dance, followed by the daddy-daughter dance. Then we all took our seats for dinner. At our table, we were lucky enough to have Justin and Emily, as well as Mariko and her husband Dan. Ah, good times with the high school crew.Time to cut the cake (and it was a beautiful cake at that). Instead of carving up the whole cake to hand out, they had cupcakes of various flavors for each guest to eat. I'm a big fan of doing it this way, because then you have more options and the serving sizes aren't too large.
Mmmm, that's the taste of love combined with cream cheese frosting and plenty of refined sugar on your palate. Delicious!Then it was time to dance, dance, dance! This was one of the more impressive wedding dance parties I've ever been to. Though dancing the horah at Meghan & Dan's wedding was pretty sweet. As soon as the music started, people headed to get their groove on, and we didn't really stop until the music ended. Here are some shots of the fun: After cleaning up and gathering our things, we headed back to James' house for the after party. We socialized for a couple hours and left for the hotel with just enough time to swing by In-N-Out before it closed.Sunday morning came too quickly, but I had to see Stanley while I was in California, so he picked me up from the hotel and we went to get some waffles. Doesn't he look dapper, all ready for church later? The restaurant was actually a chicken & waffles place, but I wasn't really feeling the fried chicken that early and on so little sleep, plus Stanley recommended their waffles. Good call, bro.
The whole weekend was excellent, and I'm so happy I was able to be part of this great event. James and Janice, we all love you guys and wish you the very best as you begin your life as Mr. and Mrs. Ta!

1 comment:

  1. thanks for the shoutout :) it looks like it was a gorgeous and fun wedding! congrats ta!