(All photos courtesy of Corey Ann Photography.)
I love my sister. Can you tell?
After Lauren's great toast, Best Man JP stepped up to the microphone. His toast was bit more serious and sentimental than my sister's....
.....which touched Mr. Octo's heart.
He fit a few jokes in too, though.
Next, one of our beloved family friends (Bridesmaid Hannah's mom!) stepped up to give a blessing. She has known me and cared for me and been a huge part of my life since I was in third grade, so it was really special to have her deliver the blessing.
Finally, it was Dad Octo's turn.
He began by thanking and acknowledging various important family members and friends who had a significant role or contribution in our wedding. I thought he handled acknowledging Mr. Octo's mom really sensitively--rather than asking for a moment of remembrance or silence, which could have become really sad really quickly, he asked our guests to applaud in appreciation for her efforts both in raising Mr. Octo and in helping our wedding come together. It was a really sweet and upbeat (or as upbeat as such a thing can be) way to remember her.
Then, he gave a funny toast about all the ways I scared him (and Mom Octopus) in my adventures through the years, from the time we passed a ravine during a walk in the woods when I was three and I described in great detail exactly how, if I fell in the ravine, I would scream all the way to the bottom....
.....to the time my semester abroad turned moderately life-threatening.....
(I am laughing at Bridesmaid Erica, who studied abroad with me, and squealed "WOOOOOO!!!!" at the mention of our trip.)
.....to the time I came home and said, "So, I met this guy."
It was so sweet and so special to hear our loved ones' words about us and our relationship, especially knowing that they had all worked hard to write something sincere and thoughtful.
After the toasts wrapped up, dinner began, and Mr. Octo and I started our mission to visit each table of guests. We managed to visit all seventeen tables, and even took a few breaks to eat some dinner! I'm really glad that we did this, because I'm confident that if we hadn't, some people would have left our wedding without ever getting a minute to speak to us personally. Since nearly all our guests traveled in order to be there with us, we felt that seeing and talking to everyone was really important.
That doesn't mean it was easy! Mr. Octo and I devised a strategy in the few days before our reception, and sticking to it was what enabled us to visit all seventeen tables as planned. Here are our tips for successfully getting face time with each of your wedding guests!
Mr. and Mrs. Octo's Three-Pronged Attack on Guest Visitation
1.) Save your friends for last. They'll be the most understanding if they get skipped, and they're the most likely to spend plenty of time with you on the dance floor.
2.) Set a clear time limit for how long you'll visit each table. Ours was about three minutes. It's not much time, but in my opinion, it's a lot better than nothing.
3.) Your guests will be excited to see you and would love to have you for a lot longer than three minutes. They're going to want to take (lots of) pictures with you, and to talk with you for a good long time. We suspected we'd probably have to take the initiative to wrap up our table visits, and we were right. Most of our tables were pretty solidly made up of either my guests or his, so we decided that the enforcer who began the "we're so glad you could make it, it was great to see you!" wrap-it-up process would be the person whose table it wasn't, if that makes sense.
4.) Our dinner was served in stations, so we asked MOH Lauren & Best Man JP, who were seated at our table, to make a plate of food for us. We also asked them to make sure the wait staff didn't accidentally clear our plates while we were up and about, so we could periodically stop back to take a break and a few more bites of dinner. It worked, and we were able to eat as much as we wanted.
As dinner wound down, we started to get excited for the one part of our wedding that both Mr. Octo and I had been looking forward to more than anything else: dancing!
Previously, in the Octopus wedding....
- We did errands all the live-long day.
- We ran late, we got stressed, and we argued.
- We rehearsed and had dinner, and had a great time doing it.
- We got fancy with hair and makeup.
- I got bridal.
- I waited and soaked up the moment in Heinz Chapel.
- We processed up the aisle.
- We made it official.
- We posed our way through our family portraits.
- I had, then recovered from, a minor freak-out.
- We took portraits with our bridal party.
- We took some smoochy pictures.
- We posed for some skyline shots.
- I showed you how it all came together.
- We had just a few minutes to enjoy the end of our cocktail hour.
- We were introduced into our reception…..and almost screwed up the cake-cutting.
- We danced.