Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rehearsal & Welcome Party

Holy Name of Jesus Church

Even though Dan and I did not want to have a conventional wedding weekend, we DID want to have a traditional Catholic wedding ceremony. We found a beautiful church called Holy Name of Jesus that is located on the Loyola University campus. After it became apparent that no priest in New Orleans would marry us for reasons unclear (they were "busy"), we decided to ask my hometown priest, Father Jude, to officiate our wedding. We met with him a few times throughout the year for pre-marital counseling, and since he had already officiated my sister's wedding and my grandma's funeral years ago, it was like having a member of the family joining us.

The Monday before the wedding, Father Jude called us in tears and told us he could not go to New Orleans. The other priest at my hometown church was just diagnosed with cancer and needed emergency surgery, and Father Jude felt that he could not leave the parish at this time. It was heartbreaking, and for about a day, we did not know if there would be anyone to marry us. Father Jude came through by calling the church in New Orleans, pleading his case, and we got ourselves a new New Orleans-based priest. We met Father Donald for the first time at our rehearsal the day before our wedding.

At first introduction, Father Donald seemed super old-school. At the rehearsal, he went straight to business, telling us everything we needed to know--really seriously and really fast. But when it came time to sign our marriage certificate, he lightened up a bit and spoke to Dan for a long time about New York City politics. Turns out he was pretty witty and had a dry sense of humor. Sigh of relief. Everything was going to be okay. After that, I didn't worry about anything.

My mom and Ted watching the rehearsal.

Dan, with best man David.

Signing the papers. It's official! We're legally married.

Squeen men discuss water strategy. (We planned to have water bottles on-hand after our ceremony and this was subject to intense debate. I avoided these conversations. I mean look how serious they look. They're talking about WATER. Poor Kunka.)

After the rehearsal, we headed to our welcome party. To be honest, Dan and I were almost as excited for our welcome party as we were for our wedding. While we had already started seeing glimpses of our guests at the hotel and on the streets, this was the first time that we would see everyone together in New Orleans. Our 62 guests were coming from all over the place: California, Oregon, Texas, New Jersey, New York, Minnesota, Illinois, Colorado, Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, Belgium and Switzerland. I don't think that we will ever see all these people in the same room together again, so it was super exciting to think everyone in the same place, all because of us!

From the beginning, Dan wanted to have a barbecue for our welcome party, and he found a restaurant called The Joint in the Bywater that made a deconstructed pig. While I drooled over flowers and calligraphy, Dan obsessed about this pig. Back in December, Dan and I visited the place and had multiple food orgasms over the juicy meat, special sauces, mac 'n cheese, potato salad, baked beans and the pies. Oh, the pies! I am not a huge pie person but these were the best pies I have ever tasted in my life...pecan pie, key lime pie and peanut butter pie. We would like one of everything please! We met with the owner Pete and he scribbled down our order on a regular restaurant notepad. Just to show you how laid back things are in the South, we asked:

Are you going to send us a contract?
Do you need a down payment?
Should we call you a week before the party to remind you to come?
Um. Yeah, sure.

He said he was going to file our order away somewhere. It seems beyond belief for most type-A New Yorkers, but Pete and his wife Jenny showed up at our welcome party with all their yummy eats, just like they said they would.

To go with our barbecue, we wanted an outdoor space, which was actually kind of hard to find since most of the parks in New Orleans close after dark and we couldn't just use someone's backyard. Dan and I disagree over this, but we each think that we discovered the Pharmacy Museum on Chowhound. The building is the first pharmacy in the United States and it's filled with old bottles and potions and weird sorts of things. My friend Heather says the place is haunted. In the back is a big outdoor courtyard. When we visited it in December, it was cold and raining hard we thought, this is perfect. You can actually see a glimpse of our initial visit here.

The night of the party, the space was even more lovely than I anticipated. It was super hot but at least it didn't rain (There was a 30% chance of thunderstorms and we had no rain plan!) The Joint was set up with their awesome BBQ spread and we had a little three piece band playing music to add some ambiance. The whole feel was festive but casual--just the way we wanted it. Dan said a few words on behalf of the two of us. I had the best time mingling and talking to everyone. When you have a wedding so small, it's nice that you actually have the time to talk to all of your guests. The only person I didn't speak to very much was Dan, but that's okay!

Afterwards, a few of us went to Napoleon House next door for a night cap, but I didn't want to drink too much. My stomach was already a flutter for the big day ahead!

Dan and me in the Pharmacy Museum. Probably one of the five minutes we spent together all night--or so it felt!

Dan giving his speech. I adoringly look on.

The band rocks out.

To complement the barbecue's southern feel, we decorated the tables with mason jars tied with ribbon and filled them with candles. With the help of my friend Michele, we made custom buttons featuring each of our faces and "Team Squeen." (Dan's nickname is Squeen, and now that I am going to be a Pasquini, too, we're a team). I loved that many of our guests wore their buttons throughout the weekend.

Guests got to look at pictures old and new. (I never tire of looking at pictures of young Dan).

The party scene. As it grew darker (but never cooler!), the lighting was just gorgeous.

The bride's gotta eat. (There's our man Pete in the back)

Barbecue and grins.

Drake establishes himself as the wedding's most eligible bachelor. The girls (including Katrine) go wild.

Pictures and video by: Susan, Morten & Gerda, Heather, Annie, Pete, me, probably forgot someone.


Two Princes and a Dragon said...

I have to say, hands down this party rocked more than any stinking rehearsal dinner. Perfect location AND I haven't ever had bbq so delish. I took like three slices of pie back to the hotel.

P.S. no orbs appeared in any of my photos.

Yvonne said...

yeah I am a little disappointed about the lack of orbs!

Brian said...

I am loving the recap!

Those pies were frickin' good. Much like everything else about the weekend.

Yvonne said...

I am kind of mad at myself that I only had the peanut butter flavor that night. I could use one slice of each right now. Gotta go back.

Peter said...

Annette and I took so much food and pies back to our room, I thought we were going to bust. I loved them all. I've always favored pb but I think my fav was the Pecan:)