The reception can only be described as an absolute whirlwind. Following the ceremony is truly when the good times started to roll - we all mingled on the Beach Terrace Restaurant, munching on hors d'oeuvres and sipping on drinks as we celebrated and killed some time before dinner.
With our ceremony scheduled at 2pm, the reception would not kick-off until 6:30 that evening. During the planning process, I was a little nervous having such a big time gap between events, but the timing could not have been better. Our guests had time to jump in the pool and cool off, and freshen up before the festivities really began, and we were able to wait out the daytime heat, and have our photos taken later on in the day.
The reception area was romantic, and intimate, located off the main path, surrounded by palm trees, and the pool. The location could not have been more perfect, unlike the larger reception area which was a larger, open area where fellow-vacationers could easily walk by, this was tucked away, and felt like you had your own private room, under the sky.
DINNER + SPEECHES
Once it was time for Sebastian and I to make our entrance, we had this hilarious moment where our wedding coordinator asked if we wanted to be announced. It wasn't even something I had thought about! We hadn't picked music or anything, we just laughed and said "sure!" and then they hit the music and we danced down the pathway to lots of cheering and clapping, officially as husband and wife. After the high-fives, we made our way to our spots at the head table, and it was straight to dinner.
Part way through enjoying the meal, it was time to keep it going with speeches. This is the part where the wave of emotions really hits you, because honestly, by the end, ev-er-y-one was in tears at one point or another. There were many moments of out-right laughter, happy tears, and pure joy that just makes your heart grow exponentially in size.
The maid-of-honour and best man speeches were awesome! Sebastian's brother, Matt, had a killer of a first line, "So guys... how about that ride in?" and we all burst out laughing and seriously did not stop until his speech was over. Gold. My maid-of-honour, Julie's speech had me holding back some serious tears as she said the most beautiful things... to this day, as I watch her speech back, I get that little tingle and have to tell myself to hold it together.
A couple of our friends said a little something as well, which were completely unexpected and totally heart-warming. Our friend Valeriy had me in tears during the ceremony and during his speech. Hello, emotions! There you are. (I had been doing so well all day!) We were both so incredibly touched by his words, as was everyone there, as he spoke about friends being our chosen family. Funnily enough, my bridesmaid Sarah wasn't going to say a speech, and then in the moment, she proclaimed, "I HAVE to say something! I can't just sit here!" Up she went and knocked it out of the freaking park.
One of the most incredible moments for me was hearing my Dad's, and Sebastian's parents speeches. It's an amazing feeling bringing our two families closer together, but even more incredible when it just works.
Time and time again, I've said to Sebastian that I feel like I love him even more every time we spend time with my family. There's just something about seeing how both of my parents accept him like he's their own, when my brother starts up a sweet bromance, and when my sister-in-law gets him more than I do sometimes. (You know, those Eastern Europeans gotta stick together;)
And how I've always felt walking into Sebastian's home. Loved and accepted. Part of the family from day one. It's something that I will be eternally grateful for. These speeches were all about expressing that love, and everyone there that day was seriously feelin' it. The positivity, excitement, love kept on flowing and filled the air. It poured out in bucket loads, I tell you!
Being able to experience this time in our lives with the people we truly love the most had me in awe. I know it may sound cliche, but it's so true: it was magic.
DANCING + PARTYING
Once the speeches were over, it was time for the first dances and starting off the party right! We went a little against the grain on tradition and re-arranged the order of the dances with Sebastian and his Mom kicking it off with El Divo's I believe in you. A beautiful arrangement she chose for the two of them. (Those pictures say it all, don't they?)
My Dad picked our song, Louie Armstrong's What a Wonderful World. I honestly think I laughed throughout the entire dance as he got into character with the song, led me all around the dance floor, and I so gracefully stepped on his toes.
For our first dance, we chose Adele's Lovesong. Once the song started playing and we started dancing, it was perfection. The world fell away for that moment in time and it was just him and I.
Once our song slowly faded, we knew we wanted to pick up the pace - quickly. Everyone was forced (haha!) to the dance floor, and Hall & Oates You Make My Dreams Come True seriously brought it into high gear. There was no turning back.
The dance floor was packed all night long, the drinks and shots flowed endlessly, and we had a cigar roller on standby to hand roll cigars for all of our guests. Per-fect-ion. The party was more wild than I could have ever pictured in my mind - by the end of the night, shirts were unbuttoned (or off entirely), my dress was ripped, dirty, and both Sebastian and myself were covered in cake. Let's just say everyone's calves and heads were hurting the next day.
Thank you to everyone who made this day so special - our family, friends, you reading this right now - who gave their unconditional love, support, help, and advice. Without you guys, this day would not have been what it was. One giant party. Full of love, hugs, kisses, fist bumps, laughter, cheersing, booty shaking, wicked tunes, singing in unison, hands-in-the-air-give-it-all-you've-got dance moves, and more. Incredible. Unforgettable. The best damn party ever. We came. We conquered.
And now... the end of the reception... a photo that probably should be kept neatly tucked away in my computer archives, but I just can't resist because... well, c'mon. Can you blame me? Epic.
Stay tuned for more on the details of the day - everything from stationary to favors, and the extended cut of our wedding video. So excited to share all of this with you!! xx