I struggled with how to begin this post. I literally did not know where to begin. So instead I decided to just list thoughts at random and with each one thank God for the blessing that it was.
Lee and I hosted a party on Friday, July 3, to celebrate our marriage in June. We knew we wanted to target about 100 people for the shindig, and we also knew that given the party was on a holiday weekend, many of the invited guests would likely have previous commitments or would not be able to afford travelling in from out of town. We thought we'd do well with about 50 - 65 people showing up for the party. There were actually over 90 individuals who attended our Rockin' Rita Celebration, and Lee and I are so blessed to have the friends and family that we do.
The party itself is a bit of a blur, not so much because of all the adult beverages that were consumed, although that does play a bit of a factor in the hazy memories, but mostly because it was one of those nights that were so much fun, time just zipped by. It was a sensory overload of music, laughter, great food and tequila shots. There was so much going on, it was hard to spend enough time on any one thing. Lee and I are so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with a great party planner and host such a fantastic event.
The night began with music by our friend Chris Glover. Not only was Chris gracious enough to perform at our party, he also provided the complete setup for the musical entertainment that evening. He lugged his equipment, including show lights, from his home in Orlando all the way to Treasure Island, Florida. That's at least a two hour drive, and the party would not have been the same without his help and participation. Lee and I are so blessed to have such talented and giving friends.
Lee and I then took part in our Unity Cocktail ceremony. Many of you have heard of unity candles and sand mixing ceremonies. Our Unity Cocktail was like that …. but only better. Our dear friend Matt Harrington performed the ceremony in which we took the ingredients of a margarita, each of which represented Lee, myself and our family and friends, mixed them together and produced, dare I say, one of the best margaritas I've ever had.
Matt then proceeded to surprise Lee and me with his gift. Now, I have to clarify that Matt is a talented musician – regardless of what he'll tell you – and he once had his own band back in the day. It had been over five years since Matt sat down and wrote a song, but that's exactly what he did for us as our gift. It was beautiful and heartfelt and completely amazing. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. Lee and I are so blessed to have such creative and selfless friends.
The night progressed with a sunset toast outside of the venue on the soft sand of Sunset Beach. It was so amazing to look around and see so many people out there who traveled both near and far to share in that moment with us. We had visitors from New Hampshire, Alabama, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Miami, North Carolina, Tallahassee, the Orlando area, and one near miss from Brazil via New York (we really missed you at the party, Juli). It is so humbling to have so many individuals willing to travel to be with us, and Lee and I are again so very blessed to be surrounded by such loving people.
Following the festivities outside, we all moved inside for music by Dirty Shannon, photo booth fun by Elise Schreiner Photography, and continued joviality provided by our emcee and good friend Kurt. It was a whirlwind of fun and excitement and more shots of tequila, and the night was marred only by me forcing cats to commit suicide by singing along – on microphone, no less - to The Outfield's 'Lose Your Love'. Other than that, the night was perfect.
Lee then surprised me with my own groom's cake in the form of a bottle of Patron Silver Tequila. It was chocolate, it was awesome and ultimately it was very messy. Everything was just as we'd hoped it would be, with the exception that it all went by too fast and we didn't get a chance to spend quality time with everyone. (FYI. We registered on SeeYouThen.com so that those of you who attended can share your pictures from the event with everyone else. I tip my hat to the team at SeeYouThen.com for their fantastic work in putting together the template for our site: http://gilandlee.seeyouthen.com/)
Personally, I need to thank everyone once again for coming out and for making it one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I also want to apologize to you all for not getting around to sitting down with you, saying hi and just catching up. I guess with so many guests it was a nice problem to have, but still I feel that I missed so many of you, and for that I am truly sorry.
When I stop to think about and reflect on that wonderful evening, my heart feels like bursting from all the love you all have given Lee and me. I am also both graciously overjoyed and sincerely humbled by the many blessings that fill my life. Thank you, each and every one of you.