Saturday, March 14, 2009

Best. Party. Ever.

As you know if you read my many, increasingly stressed-out posts on the topic, my wedding, in January 2008, was the culmination of nearly a year of planning and fretting. Our goal was to have a liturgy that captured the significance of the sacrament, followed by a party that expressed the joy we felt. And since we both come from big Irish families, and since the reception would be attended by a number of kids (cousins, nieces and nephews), we tried to make that family spirit a part of everything we did. In my not-so-humble opinion, all that planning paid off, and the day was a big success. But you don't have to take my word for it: just ask my niece!

That inscription, in case you don't speak kindergarten, says "I went to my aunt's wedding" (or "I wat to my auts wading." Aren't you impressed with how she broke the word at the end of the line?). The best celebration she's attended in all her six-and-a-half years. I'm very proud of that distinction. I think the cake had a lot to do with it -- it was banana flavored, and it turned out to be a very big hit. "I don't even like bananas," Celia's brother Regan told me the next morning, "but I do like banana cake!" Imagine!

By the way, you might assume, as I did, that Celia's drawing depicts Mr. O'Reilly and me in our finery. But my brother told me he's pretty sure she actually drew herself and either Regan or her fellow then-five-year-old cousin. (Obviously.) Not to worry: the kids are central to our own memories of the day, and our professional wedding-reception photos include a lot of shots of the kids having fun on the dance floor, just as we'd hoped. They'd been looking forward to the big day for months, and they could not wait to break in their dancing shoes. Here's a shot of what the reception looked like within the first 10 minutes (click to enlarge; Celia is in the group on the left, wearing black tights):

Regan was right about the cake, by the way. It rocked. We didn't expect to have leftovers, but the staff at the hotel thoughtfully boxed up the top layer and sent it up to our suite, so we dutifully wrapped it and froze it as tradition dictates. A year later, on our first anniversary, we defrosted it and dug in, with some trepidation.

The icing tasted a bit too much like the Ziploc bag it had been in, but the cake itself was surprisingly fresh and banana-y. Here's to many more years of sweet memories, and family celebrations!

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