Sorry for the lack of posting everyone. I came back from a whirlwind trip that included Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago. You'll be happy to know I ate well in all cities. Most of the trip was for work but the tail end of the Chicago trip include my friend Evelyn's wedding to quite possibly the awesomest straight man on Earth Rikel Rice. Evelyn's been a friend of mine way back in the last milenium when we were working for a sexuality nonprofit. We spent as much time talking about lives as urban singles as we did reproductive rights. It's been one of those friendships where we can go years without seeing each other and pick up where we left.
Evelyn did me the immense honor of asking me to be her wedding coordinator. For those of you who have just started reading this blog, I LIIIIIIVEEEEE for weddings. I had a blast at my own and really enjoy making sure everyone has a good time. And you know what? After three weddings, endless fundraisers, two open houses and countless dinner parties, I can throw an event. Not only that, Evelyn is crazy organized with detail spreadsheets and lists out a minute by minute schedule, a list of vendors, a list of the wedding party WITH THEIR CELL PHONES, and the ceremony and reception program.
Thursday, April 19
I just finished my working meeting and am now officially in wedding mode. I take the El from Chinatown to Andersonville where Evelyn lives. I meet up with Evelyn and her maid of honor Ella for lunch. We head over to Evelyn's place to finish the programs. Many Asian sweatshop jokes are made as we painstakingly put together the programs. Richard, Evelyn's dog has taken a distinct dislike to me, barking when I make sudden movements or loud noises. Poor Evelyn has the leash tied around her waist.
We make quick work of the programs and review some wedding stuff before we head over to the W Lakeshore hotel to prep for the bachelorette party. If anyone is looking for the rockstar experience, I highly recommend staying a a W hotel. We got a suite with a lake view and felt royalty. We asked their whatever, whenever service to a lint brush, just 'cause.
We then went to meet up with the bridal party at a Thai restaurant downtown. This week was best behavior week as the maid of honor and I supressed our attention whore ways and Emma, another college friend who is always late arrived on time. While the food was hardly remarkable, the dinner was a blast as folks from Evelyn's college days, days in DC, days in Boston, and current Chicago days all converged. Our comraderie was solified by two rounds of flaming volcanoes and a rousing game of Two Truths and a Lie. After dinner, we settled into the rockstar suite at the W. And this is where the fund gets into high gear. Emma brings karaoke revolution and after downing what feels to two bottles of wine each, we all bust loose on the karaoke. Two things that are surprising. 1. Everyone knows the lyrics to Atlantic Starr's "Always." 2. "Crazy in Love" is really hard to sing. I come OH SO CLOSE to breaking 50,000 points while singing "Time After Time." We have such a good time it's 2:00 pm before I drag myself back to my own hotel.
Friday, April 20
I wake up to the hangover that won't die and drag myself to breakfast at my bed and breakfast near the Convention center. The chef is kind enough not to comment on the fact I look like crap. After breakfast I drag myself to the W and we all figure out how to get to the nail salon. While the ladies are getting thier nails done, I go to a hole in the wall hair place and get my hair cut. We then go to eat qhat is quite possibly the best Middle Eastern food I have ever tasted. Simply called Turkish Restaurant and Bakery we order the cold and hot appetizer samplers. The standouts are their eggplant dips. And there are multiple eggplant dips. We then move into the main courses which consist of lamb pizza on flatbread, a Turkish calzone and skewers of lamb, chicken, and lamb shwarma on rice pilaf. We hang out together and Ella and I take a cab to the wedding hotel. At the very moment we walk in the door, I see J, who came in the night before, downstairs. I am very happy having beeen away for a week. We go to our room and I promptly sleep off the remains of the hangover that will not die. When we wake I talk to the MC of the reception to go over the logistics. Already I know she is kicing ass and taking prisoners. J drops me off at the chapel for the rehearsal that I am running while he does a few errands.
I come a bit early and hang out with the best man while we wait for the rest of the wedding party. The wedding party comes promptly and we start with positioning the wedding party. After many episodes of Whose Wedding is it Anyway? I have found that the first step in doing a rehearsal is making sure everyone in the wedding party knows where they stand. Afterwards we run through the program without music. Rikel is a professionally trained trombonist while his sister Jessie and her husband Phil play the French horn and percussion respectively. Phil will be playing mmarimba for the wedding. The sound has the soothing airy quality of a harp with the percussive quality of a xylophone. While Jessie and Phil warm up, we walk through the program again. Particularly difficult is making sure the junior bridesmaids give the rings to the maid of honor and best man who will then give the rings to the bride and groom. It takes a few tries and a little manhandling of the bride from the wedding coordinator (aka the Queen Bee) but we get it right. At that point, the bride and groom's parents arrive and we practice the processional and recessional. The maid of honor looks uncomfortable with giving her arm to the best man during the recessional. Later we learn she's cultivated an unreasonalbe hatred of the best man owing to the fact that at the engagement party all of the old madies were trying to set up him while ignoring the Ella and all of her fabulousness.
The rehearsal dinner is at Giordano's, a Chicago institution that serves deep dish pizza. Owing to the buffet nature of the meal the pizza is disappointing, having sat out a bit and gotten lukewarm. Even worse is the pasta which is completely overcooked in a tasteless tomato sauce. Nevertheless, the great company and moving toasts more than make up for the mediocre food. J and I get some special time with Evelyn as she drives us back to the hotel. I tell her she's pretty, her husband to be is awesome, and they have planned this wedding to a T. We all go to bed early.