Judy and JoAnn surprised Addam and I with a one-night stay at the hotel of our choosing at our bridal shower, and we decided to talk full advantage. Addam found out about an awesome dubstep show on South Beach, and we planned our honeymoon around it. (Believe it or not, the show was actually called “The Honeymoon Series.” That really sealed the deal.)
After my Friday workday I biked across the Venetian Causeway to South Beach. There was a slight drizzle, but by the time I met Addam at The National the weather was perfect. Even though we were ready to hit the beach, we headed up the hotel room so that I could drop off my things.
The room was absolutely gorgeous, but nothing could compare to our amazing view! We were on the eighth floor, and our room looked out at both an Olympic-sized pool and the ocean. Hotel management surprised us with a bottle of champagne and some fresh strawberries, so after resting up Addam and I went down to the beach to get our honeymoon started right.
We could have slept forever, but Addam and I wanted to maximize time spent with friends and family. Chris left Sunday morning to catch a flight back to Virginia, but Addam’s Uncle Dave and Aunt Ginny were still in town, as was Emily, Ryan, Ben, Andrew and Winston.
Ben, Andrew and Winston met us at the apartment first thing Sunday morning, followed by Emily and Ryan. Emily brought a fabulous futon with her, a gift from most of my bridesmaids. Addam and I haven’t had a couch since we moved to Miami, so it was definitely appreciated. Not only do we finally have a place for guests to sit, we don’t feel as bad about having overnight visitors now that we have something better to offer than a plastic cot. It’s made our apartment much more comfortable. I couldn’t have asked for a better gift from my fabulous maids.
After a brief pow-wow, Andrew and Winston decided to go kayaking through the wetlands with John and Tati, while Addam, Ben, Emily, Ryan and I opted to go airboating through the Everglades with Dave and Ginny. Following a quick stop at Wendy’s, the gang picked Ginny and Dave up from the Hilton and headed out to the same spot that Addam and I went airboating when Ben last came to town.
The car was packed on the way to Jungle Island, but everyone was so excited that the tight quarters didn’t bother anyone. As soon as we got there Addam and I headed up the to second floor for our cocktail hour, as it was already underway and we wanted the bridal party to enjoy the reception as much as possible.
Caterers were passing around nine appetizers, but since I’m vegan I could only enjoy the vegetable spring rolls with ginger plum sauce. I hadn’t eaten all day, so I scarfed down a few of them as soon as I got there. Just so everyone knows, our hor d’oeures included:
- Large fried shrimp with apricot-horseradish sauce
- Conch fritters with key lime mustard sauce
- Brie and raspberry en croute
- Lobster fritters with red pepper aioli
- Beef empanadas
- Assorted dim sum with ginger soy sauce
- Vegetable spring rolls with plum sauce
- Sesame chicken with oriental ginger sauce
- Crabmeat turnovers
After welcoming everyone to the reception, Ana pulled Addam and I aside so we could check out the reception room before guests had a chance to make their way in. Everything looked absolutely perfect, and we were very pleased with how everything came together. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was completely blown away.
I could see droves of brightly colored bridemaids and groomsmen as JoAnn drove me up to Club Paradise in Crandon Park. We dropped Katie, Courtney and Emily off at the site’s entrance, and I tried to bury my head as much as I could to prevent Addam from seeing me before the ceremony. Once we were in the clear and Ana, my wedding planner, had handed me my bouquet, JoAnn drove me around the corner so I could enjoy some air conditioning while waiting for the ceremony to begin.
At that point I hadn’t had a chance to check out the set up, but Ana really did a great job. She tied bushels of baby’s breath around many of the palm trees and a few of the chairs. She added little touches of jade wherever she could and, since it was such a hot day, placed handheld wooden fans at every seat. With the ocean backdrop, I don’t think anyone who came could deny that it was a beautiful ceremony.
I was up late hanging with John and Krysti the night before, so the morning of my wedding came quickly. As soon as I got up and hopped in the shower I gave Emily a call, who arranged to have her Uncle Keith transport Heather and I to the Hilton. (Thank God for Uncle Keith. He was one of the only people who rented a car for the weekend, so he quickly became our personal taxi. All jokes aside, I really don’t know what we would have done without him.)
As soon as we got to the Hilton, the girls (Heather, Emily, Courtney and myself) hopped in JoAnn’s car and headed to a beauty school to get our hair did. Katie met us there shortly after, and by 10:30 or 11 a.m. we were seated and ready to go. JoAnn surprised us with manicure and pedicures, so we definitely got the star treatment.