Back at the hotel, the photographer got a few quick shots of us in the lobby before we headed upstairs with my mom and sisters to bustle my dress. There was an assortment of cocktail hour appetizers and a ton of wine waiting for us upstairs (the hotel was amazing!), so I happily partook as my family got to work on that bustle. I didn’t anticipate making any of cocktail hour, but everyone was so speedy and efficient, we were heading back downstairs at 5:15, and I was able to attend almost the whole thing!
Chris has proudly boasted of trying all the cocktail hour food, and I’m glad because I ate precisely none of it after I got downstairs. It was my own darn fault. I just loved my bouquet too much to put down. I’ve never been in a wedding before, so it was my first time holding any bouquet, and ours were especially beautiful. They were just full of color and smelled so good. Water was a priority too, so between the two, I didn’t have a free hand to sample anything. It ended up being a good thing because I was able to chat with everyone which meant the reception was free for non-stop dancing.
Chris’ dad organized a giant Rappa family round of shots and pulled me into that. At that point, the bartender became my second favorite (after my husband of course) person of the night. Every time someone would rope me into some disgusting shot (tequila, whisky, I’m a baby) she would replace mine with a very mild appletini. It was the nicest thing, and it saved me from blacking out an hour into my wedding.
Soon, they were ushering guests into the ballroom and lining the bridal party up for our entrances. The DJ was another amazing vendor and did a great job announcing everyone. My little gift to Chris had been selecting Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit as our entrance song, and I have to admit, I was a little nervous about it. Let me tell you, it was AWESOME! When the beginning of that song came on and our friends realized what it was, everyone went nuts. Chris and I were so pumped and excited that we straight up ran into the room fist pumping and going crazy. It was amazing.
Our DJ moved everyone right into the first dance. Oh the first dance. It was probably my favorite part of the whole night. The entire day had felt like just Chris and me, but this is when everything really melted away. I was afraid I’d be shy during the whole dance, but I barely even realized other people were in the room. Once Etta James’ At Last came on we just held each other and swayed and chatted about the day’s craziness, and it was just 100% perfect.
The DJ knew we wanted to get everyone out on the dance floor ASAP, so he moved us quickly into the grandfather granddaughter dance, which was a total trip! I pictured my grandpa and me swaying to Frank Sinatra’s The Way You Look Tonight, but he had other plans and swirled and twirled me all over the dance floor. He’s a really good dancer, and I honestly couldn’t keep up! I faked it to the best of my ability, but I was a sweaty mess by the end of the dance!
Next up was Chris’ dance with his mom to God Only Knows by the Beach Boys. It was so beautiful. They both looked so happy and relaxed. I loved that moment.
After that, the DJ had everyone take their seats for appetizers (chicken and veggie phyllo) and toasts. Travis was up first and gave a very sweet and very funny toast which even included Miles! He kept talking even though a certain table of Italians decided to talk loudly over his toast. I mean, really? They were finally sushed by Chris’ aunt Maddie, but it made for a funny moment.
The next toast was from Anastasia who spoke from memory (she’s an EXCELLENT speaker) about our meeting in college and our friendship over the years. I, of course, started crying.
Rob’s toast was next, and he was very funny and charming. It’s always sweet to hear a little brother toast his big brother. Annie wrapped up the toasts which meant more water works for me. I was so proud of her for getting up and speaking in front of everyone! She did an amazing job.
After the toasts, everyone returned to the dance floor. I don’t even think the DJs were expecting it since they were playing the quieter dinner music and had to switch to more jams! We seriously could not keep people off the dance floor. That was totally fine by me because there’s nothing I love more than a good dance party. Our friends and family took advantage of the open bar and took many rounds of shots!
The DJ finally begged everyone to sit down to dinner. I ate everything but my main course was chicken breast stuffed with apple stuffing. Chris had the filet tips. Seriously, it was all so good! Sitting with our family rather than at a sweetheart table was a great call since it allowed us to feel like we were socializing while eating, drinking and resting our feet. We made the rounds after we ate our dinner, but we really had done a great job of greeting everyone during the rehearsal dinner, receiving line and cocktail hour, so we never felt rushed or frantic.
Soon, it was cake cutting time. We had no idea what we were doing, so one of the servers came out to help us. I honestly don’t remember this part too much, but we fed each other a little cake before the wheeled it away to be cut and served. Everyone raved about our yellow cake with Nutella filling and buttercream frosting. A few people told us it was the best wedding cake they’d ever had! I must say, it was a delicious cake. Then again, I might be partial.
Once the cake was served, the dance floor remained packed until the very last song. I can only think of maybe 5 people who didn’t make their way to the dance floor. It was such a fun way to spend time with everyone. Dancing and chatting beats table side talk any time!
We had planned a little last song fake out with the DJ, so they announced to everyone that it was the last dance and started playing Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer. Everyone, of course, went nuts. It is New Jersey after all. Little did they know, the party wasn’t over yet! The DJs asked everyone to scream and yell if they wanted an encore, and as some of our guests had been banned from the bar at this point (we really like a good party!) there was much screaming and yelling! The DJs blasted Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ and everyone screamed along to the whole song! The venue had to turn on the lights and politely ask everyone to leave because no one wanted the party to end! Even our grandparents stayed well past the last song! Luckily, the party wasn’t over yet…