My previous post covered how fun the wedding was, and I’m still aghast that it lasted less than an hour. What powerful emotion can emanate from such a blip in our lifetime! Now I’ve had time to process the events that came after the ceremony, it’s time to try to put into words what happened next. We had a little interlude between the ceremony and the reception, some rum punch and steel drums to fill the ‘tween time. Lots of pictures and hugs from our guests, James and I took a turn on the steel drums and Max told me (after some confidence nudging from his mom) that I “looked pretty.” My feet floating on air had been touch and go until this moment. I was now positively airborne. What followed next was really nothing short of the best party ever.
The path to the beach reception was lit with luminaries and the guests made their way to the site while James and I hung back for our grand introduction. It was even more exciting because we hadn’t seen the set up and Nadia had been hinting about all kinds of surprises in store for us. The wedding party was introduced and James and I snuck around the back end of the beach where an awesome set of stone steps afforded us a secret entrance to take all the guests by surprise when we were announced as Mr. and Mrs. Brogan. Awaiting our debut, this was the first moment when it was just the two of us for more than a day and words can’t express the wonder with which we stood and stared at each other for a solid three minutes of silent expression. We were speechless as we beheld this beautiful beach that held the most incredible group of people, all of whom came together for us. The silent electricity passing between us grew as we stood there on the bluff hand-in-hand, already aware this night was the best of our lives to date, and reeling from the knowledge that it was just about to get better. That moment hangs suspended in time for us, and then the snowball began to gather speed. Next thing we knew we were arm in arm down the steps, surprising the guests, hugging everyone, dancing to the full steel drum band and then whoa, it was time for dinner!
The food was incredibly good, all full of caribbean flavor like I hoped it would be. I ate until I was beyond stuffed, but the genius of the corset dress worked its magic. Shortly following dinner it was time for speeches, and to cut the cake. Truthfully, the night was such a blur the order of events is slightly fuzzy. At least I think we did the speeches first, so as to let our Best Man get his over with. Unbeknownst to me, our Kyle (always the life of the party) is deathly afraid of speaking in public, and hadn’t been eating for the two days leading up to the wedding. Good heavens. We’d only asked him to say a few things and make a toast, but facing his fear like a true hero, he went above and beyond and shared wonderful words of friendship that brought laughter and smiles and a thunderous round of applause. My sister Laura was genuine and loving and the tears were welling up before she finished her first sentence. Then Matthew and Laura sang a duet for all of us and the well of tears overflowed. Years of adoration and love tumbled out of our eyes as we all realized this was a moment we’d talked about since we were young and green. “Someday we’ll sing at your wedding” they used to say, and this was it. My wedding!
I was as full as I could possibly be, both in my soul and my stomach. Time to cut the cake. It’s a god thing I have a dessert shelf, because that cake was magnificent. So beautiful to behold, even more incredible to indulge. James behaved himself and didn’t cover me in cake, so I followed suit, if only to make sure no bit of that deliciousness was wasted. Hit fast forward again because my next fragmented memory is Matthew calling us to the dance floor for our first dance. This was a particular delight for me, as James had been alluding for months how much he was dreading it. The first dance song we managed to keep a secret from all but each other and I wish I’d looked around to see everyone’s reaction to our choice, but when I heard Jason Mraz’s voice begin our anthem I Won’t Give Up, all I saw was James.
The song seemed to last forever and yet I feared not blink to miss it. It wasn’t until after our dance that I discovered how many of our dear friends were brought to happy tears watching us share that moment. Then James and his wonderful mother Ada danced to Rascal Flatt’s My Wish and my father and I had a medley of songs special to us ending with John Hiatt’s Have a Little Faith. The moments were so special and kept bringing us higher and higher. The dance floor opened up to some fierce dancing, and many drinks imbibed. Matthew and I devised the signature drink for the evening: a blue curaco, coconut rum and pineapple masterpiece Matthew dubbed: “I’m Ruined.” It was a huge hit and cups of blue surrounded us all evening.
A particular favorite dance floor moment was James and my dedication to all the couples there for the evening, our unusual rendition of (of all choices) Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream, performed quite romatically by Boyce Avenue. I have snapshots in my memory of our three honeymoon couples Jenny & Trevor and Matt & Callie and Laura &Gary holding each other close and all of us singing aloud with the utmost joy. Oh what a night it was!
The excitement continued with great music, fun dance antics, more drinks and plenty of cake. But the night still hadn’t reach a pinnacle until it was time for the favors to be released. James and I first released floating wish lanterns in Thailand and we found the experience so moving and romantic, we knew we wanted a part of our day. We managed to find 100% biodegradable white lanterns and had them shipped to St. Lucia. They’d already traveled the world before they made their way to our beach, having bounced around cargo bays throughout the US before heading south to Central and South America, then Turks and Caicos and finally St. Lucia. Just in time for us to send them on their final voyage.
We knew they’d be beautiful, but we could never have predicted just how much all of our guests loved the releasing of the lanterns. There is no word in any language that can capture the joy in each of the faces as they watched their lantern soar and join the others in the night. Decades fell off of faces, as each was filled with delight and rapture. The magic of these moments was palpable, we held real magic in our hands and then sent it aloft. We were a swirl of carefree believers, a community of dreamers that just watched dreams we didn’t even know we had take flight. Very few words were exchanged between the exclamations of happiness but I know this experience made the greatest impact of the evening for all. Epic joy, true love and real magic are the three ingredients for our greatest adventure yet.