Thursday, January 3, 2013

Our Wedding Made us Want to Flip the Byrd

Since Emily and I are about to have a baby, I've been reflecting on what started it all - the wedding. 
The Proposal
I'm not sure if you've gotten the message yet, but we love a good story.  To follow suit, the proposal was just that.  "What better way to start our love story than with a book store." I thought.  I called the book store and said, "I hope you can help me.  I'm about to propose to my girlfriend in your store tonight."  I heard a loud "YES!" from a middle aged woman on the other end of the phone.  "Oh, how romantic!"  I continued explaining my most ingenious plan to the woman.  My plan was in set in motion.  To Emily's surprise, I arrived at her house unexpectedly and grabbed her by the hand and said, "You're coming with me."  Unaware as to what was about to happen, her mind was swimming of different ideas, "Maybe we'll go to a fancy dinner, or a romantic walk through Colonial Williamsburg."  But, as we pulled up to the book store, I saw her face change from an excited smile to a puzzled, confused look.  "What are we doing here?" she asked.
"I thought we could look at some wedding ideas."
"Oh.  OK." she said.   We walked over to the wedding section and I started loading her up with books to look at.  Then, I grabbed a small book with red leather binding and said, "Hey, look at this one."  She opened it and realized it was a journal.  An empty journal.  She flipped to the front page and there read.
With these pages we will write our own Fairy Tale.  And what better way to start than,
 Once upon a time, there was a beautiful girl who married this boy....
She looked up, saw me on one knee, and of course she said yes!  We even had a standing ovation from the shoppers and workers around us.
Things became much more interesting after that...
If you have been married, you know what happens after the couple gets engaged.  One minute you're happy and smiling, then you're so stressed out you think pulling out your hair is a good idea.  Who should we invite?  How much is our budget?  Flowers cost what!?  It's enough to make you want to take a hostage.  It's interesting that when planning a day which is supposed to be all about the bride and groom, everyone comes out of the wood work to put in their own agendas.  My number one rule for weddings it to make sure the bride and groom are happy, and everything is what they want."  We love you family and friends of the bride and groom, and we love that you want to help.  But remember, you had your wedding already, or you will have one in the future, and that's when you have the right to do what you want.
The Venue
One day as we were at Emily's parent's house, we were talking about different ideas of where to have the wedding.  We had a budget of $2000, so it had to be somewhere reasonable.  We talked about places in Williamsburg, which quickly turn into something quite different.  Before we knew it, we were joking about bowling alleys, movie theaters, white doves, circus performers, a bounce house, or anything crazy and unrealistic.  No offence to the bride and groom with the bounce house, of course.  But in this crazy whirl wind of ideas, one stuck out - a movie theater!  Why not?  I knew of just the place - The Byrd Theater.
The Byrd is a Richmond, Virginia landmark of pre-war decadence.  It was once was a silent movie theater, now turned into a regular movie theater.  It was perfect!  Gold mirrors, chandeliers everywhere, huge red velvet draperies.  There was only a couple problems, they didn't do wedding receptions, and if you remember, we only had $2,000 to work with.
Tip: if you have a small budget, try places that have never done weddings before.  These places don't always know what their space is worth, so sometimes you can talk them into giving you a good deal.  Due to my never-take-no-for-an-answer mind set, I called up the theater and explained in detail what we wanted and what we were planning on using the space for.  Somehow, we got it!
The Wedding Day
Emily and I were happily married on October 14, 2011 in Washington D.C.  It felt like a movie even though it was raining.  As we were taking pictures, kissing in the rain with over sized umbrellas over head. the rain started to subside and blue skies quickly followed.  After a lovely wedding came four hours of traffic, and the luncheon that sparked a fight between the bride's family and the groom's family.  Not to mention the wedding plague that was staring to go around to different members of both families.  Emily an I traveled back to Richmond in the traffic previously mentioned and stopped off at the apartment to grab our things before heading to the hotel.  Emily then, gracefully threw up in the apartment building's elevator.  I guess this is what they meant by "in sickness and in health?"  So, our first night as man and wife was spent with chills, sweats, and vomiting in our hotel room.
The Reception Day
I was very grateful we planned to have our reception the day after the wedding since we had the unfortold traffic the day prior.  I woke up that morning to the most unsettling feeling in my stomach, much like what Emily had described the day before.  But I couldn't think about that.  The show must go on!  Emily and I both got to the theater and all of our hard work came together.  We had one of our favorite restaurants cater the reception, New York Deli (which we still go to at least once a week).  Our guest could roam anywhere in the two story theater as well as in the lobbies, while listing to Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.  The concession stand was open for our guests to enjoy popcorn and soda while the main spread was in the upstairs lobby.  Many guests  were quite surprised at the venue since it was very different from most traditional weddings.  It's a tradition at the Byrd to have the Wurlitzer (or organist) from the silent movie days play every Saturday night.  The management at the Byrd surprised us by entertaining our guests with a performance from the Wurlitzer.  He played a mixture of love songs and wedding songs.  When the songs came to an end, both the Wurlitzer and the organ lowered down into the pit, and the velvet curtains on the screen behind him went up.  Our guests got another surprise!  The lights dimmed and a silent movie that Emily and I made started playing.  It was called "When Chris met Emily" and was a representation of our love story.  Even though throughout the reception Emily and I were both sick, and other guests started to catch the Wedding Plague, the wedding and the reception were nothing short of memorable, and what's a party without a little drama?  Now, one year and  two and a half months later, we will shortly have our daughter, and our story is just starting to begin.
 To be continued...

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