(This is the post for the reception for our vow renewal ceremony — see the outline post for a list of all the day’s events. Members of the wedding party should feel free to add anything else they wish in the comment section. )
Continued from Interlude…
Please note that neither of us has been to Marina del Rey, let alone been on the Dream On, so we’re winging parts of this. Since it’s a virtual cruise, no one needs to get seasick, and there will be No Stupid Drunk Tricks (one of the Best Men has two black belts, another is a competitive bodybuilder — there will be no stupid drunk tricks. *G*) The playlist for the entire reception is on YouTube, but note that all of the important music is first, so listening to it as-is will have tunes for later in the evening coming up before general party music. Also, as with the ceremony playlist, we tried to choose official versions of the music wherever possible. The down side of that choice is that many of the official channels include commercials. We regret if any of the ads are jarring.
The tables are done up in the bridal party colors of blue and white, small candles radiating gently in the night. Pale blue hydrangea centerpieces mushroom above clear vases and attractively calligraphed table numbers.
On each plate is a card:
(note: idofoundation.org/MorganAndRoland” no longer active)
A table is set up to one side with the cakes. The groom’s cake is an impressive model of the Normandy SR-1 from Mass Effect. The multi-tiered wedding cake is four sections connected with staircases: a bride and groom figure adorns the bottom layer, while Castle Hyrule rises from the topmost. One last pass of appetizers ensures that everyone gets a chance at bits of snack, but the buffet is already being set up. The DJ calls everyone to the dining room, and everyone is seated.
Then the DJ plays Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration,” and the wedding party begins to enter. The Ladies of Honor and Best Men come in as each is introduced, then the happy couple enters together, arm in arm, beaming. Once they’re all seated at the head table, Roland clears his throat a bit nervously and stands, clinking spoon on glass.
Thank you all for coming on one of our crazy adventures. (Morgan grins and nods.) We want especially to honor the contributions of our Ladies of Honor and Best Men, who got to deal with a particularly large dose of the crazy, but came through wonderfully. Without them, there really wouldn’t have been much point to this exercise, so ladies, gentlemen, once again, thank you so much. (He raises his glass.) To the families we choose, and who choose us.
Roland sits, and Morgan stands and smiles at her husband.
I’d like to thank my hunny for not using the phrase “hair-brained scheme” instead of “crazy adventure.” Before we eat I’d like to offer a blessing, “The Druid’s Prayer”:
Grant, O Gods, Thy protection;
And in protection, strength;
And in strength, understanding;
And in understanding, knowledge;
And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice;
And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it;
And in that love, the love of all existences;
And in the love of all existences, the love of the Divine.
The Divine and all goodness.
She stands silently for a moment, then says “Thank you” and sits. The DJ calls the first table to the buffet, and dinner begins.
Every two tables, a member of the wedding party offers a toast. (See comments, below, for toast posts by Ladies of Honor and Best Men.) After several pleasant rounds, with most of the tables attended to, Morgan stands and smiles at her husband.
Richard Bach said in “The Bridge Across Forever,” “A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. … No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. … Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life.” I’d all but given up on finding such a person when I started emailing a fellow Callahanian off-list. Those of you who knew me back then probably remember how suddenly things happened, and I know a lot of people were worried. but sometimes you just know something is right, and we knew. It’s been long enough now that I think our instincts were OK. Roland, you are the hero of our stories, my light and my life, the other half of my self, my groom many times over, and my love, from this life to the next.
Finally, after the last two tables have been called to the buffet, Roland stands. He looks notably less nervous than he did welcoming the guests.
Well, after that, I’d better do my lady justice. That’s no small feat. Morgan has been my guide to new worlds and my safe harbor of home. She’s been the calm voice of wisdom when I’ve been on the edge of sorrow or fury. When I’ve curled up in my shell, she’s been the enthusiasm and excitement I needed to remind me why life is worth living. Together, we’ve been on adventures of fantasy and reality, wonder and beauty, that I would never have experienced without her.
(Roland smiles.) There are so many ways I’ve been blessed having Morgan in my life. Her intelligence and wit are constant, treasured companions. Her insight and wisdom are my even keel and guiding star. Her joie de vive wards the dull gray of the mundane, warming my soul when it grows cold. After fourteen years, I couldn’t imagine or ask for a more perfect partner…though I’ve occasionally wondered about her taste in men… (Morgan gives him a questioning look of “really, this again?”) but I’ve learned long ago not to debate her on this topic. My fondest wish is for many more years to share with her.
So, to Morgan, (raises glass) my lady wife, my inspiration and my joy, my muse and my goddess…my heart and my soul. I love you, always.
(OOC: When the DJ has taken her insulin… *g*)
After everyone has enjoyed their meals as they wish, the DJ asks everyone to move upstairs for the first dance. Once those who are dancing has headed up, there’s a pause, then the DJ starts Roland and Morgan’s song – “At The Beginning,” by Donna Lewis and Richard Marx . After a few verses with Roland and Morgan staring into each other’s eyes and dancing slowly, the Ladies of Honor and Best Men take the dance floor with their beloveds as well, which also serves as the cue for the rest of the party to party.
There’s definitely a loving, romantic vibe at first, but both halves of the host couple like things to rock at times, and the songs vary between sweet and spicy. Roland and Morgan divide their time between mingling, occasionally dancing, and retreating to a table set aside for them near the bridal suite. Guests are expected to use this time to have fun – it’s a party!
(Notes on the music: We’re not including every song played during the evening, just the important ones and some others we’d have asked the DJ to include. Her other instructions would be:
* NO: Rap, hip-hop, country/western, Chicken Dance [or other stupid dances]
* OK: Big band, classic rock
* Iffy: Post 90s pop music on case-by-case
One other song that would get the Happy Couple out onto the dance floor is one that isn’t available on YouTube, and so isn’t on the playlist: “Belaboring the Obvious” by Spider Robinson can be downloaded free from his website.)
Later in the evening, the DJ announces that the bride and groom are preparing to cut the cake. Roland and Morgan head downstairs, as does everyone who would like some cake. They grin at Castle Hyrule, Morgan fondly saying “my Hero,” and Roland whispering back, “my Goddess.” They have a brief chuckle at the couple figures with their umbrella and galoshes. The DJ starts playing the couple’s choice of song,  most likely eliciting some chuckles and a few groans (and maybe a few who try both at once). Morgan shrugs with a sheepish grin.
Then Morgan picks up the knife, and Roland puts his hand gently over hers. “Kinda wish we’d had a knife with a Collector-ship handle for the groom’s cake,” he quips, to a fond sigh from Morgan. They then cut the first slices, feeding each other the first bites very carefully (no smooshing). At this point, the professionals step in, expertly providing slices for everyone. Since the wedding cake is white and the groom’s cake is chocolate, guests have a choice.
The music starts up again and the dance floor comes to life as guests enjoy dessert, dancing, or just a view of the marina. As the ship heads back towards port, the DJ announces the bouquet and garter tosses, playing the “Title Theme” from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. “Everyone’s invited, not just singles” the DJ adds, “Since making the catch can mean good luck, not just that you’re the next one to get married!”
Morgan retrieves a smaller version of her bouquet from the bridal salon as the interested ladies gather at the edge of the dance floor. Once everyone’s assembled, she turns around and tosses the flowers over her shoulder to the group. Roland brings her a chair, letting Morgan sit. He then gets down on one knee, and carefully raises the skirt until he sees the garter just above her knee. He stops for a moment, then chuckles, not quite sighing, and looks up at the gathering gentlemen with a wry smile. “In my defense, this was not my idea.” Morgan laughs. He then gently removes the garter, holding up a red and blue band with the iconic “S” shield on it. He helps Morgan up, moves the chair aside, and nods. As before, everyone’s invited, not just bachelors. “Okay guys, you know the drill.” Once everyone’s in place, he turns, takes a breath, then tosses the garter behind him.
(Note: The bride’s garter is like one I lost the image for, but the toss is like the one in the set)
Once the ritual is complete, the DJ announces, “Okay, everybody, last dance!” With that, Roland and Morgan return to the dance floor and grin happily (if a bit wearily after a long day), and the DJ starts a song that indicates how they feel at this point: “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes.
Shortly after the song ends, the ship comes into port and docks. The designated sparkler wrangler takes the mic and briefly explains the proper handling of the sparkler departure. (OOC: Basically, they’re long, smokeless and metal – the good kind that doesn’t drop embers on your clothes, of course, since Morgan does her homework – but they’re still not toys and have to be handled safely. Any guests who spent too much time enjoying the bar will be asked to wave instead.) Once everything is set up, the sparklers are lit…and the DJ plays one last song.
Roland and Morgan laugh as they pass through the “sparklers of honor,” waving as they head briskly to their vintage getaway car. After a long and wonderful day, they’re driven off to enjoy their “honeymoon.” Metal bins filled with sand are already in place for those wondering what to do with their sparklers. Rides will be arranged for anyone who overdid on the bubbly :-), and rooms at the Jamaica Bay Inn have been reserved as necessary.
OOC: Thanks to everyone for joining us in our role-play vow renewal! :-) We’ll post the tale of our virtual honeymoon in a couple of weeks, when we “get back.”
 Re: First Dance: This is sort of “our song,” what with us being “strangers on a crazy adventure” who never dreamed it would lead where it has :-).
 Re: Cake Cutting: Yes, that’s “Eat It” by Weird Al Yankovic. OK, maybe we had gotten a little punchy by the time we picked that one. *g*
Since I can’t figure out how to embed the videos in the comments, I’m including them here: