Friday, June 4, 2010

Congratulations Mandy and Billy!

WOA!! So I think I'm finally back to a somewhat normal schedule after the craziness that was this past weekend. Mandy and Billy's wedding was an amaaaaaazing time and I know I will remember last weekend for the rest of my life! I have about 20 million pictures I could post here to explain the weekend, but I'll try and keep it to the highlights. This post took me a good 3 days to write because it's soooo long but bear with me...there's text, pictures and even videos at the end if you make it that far!!!

Chris and I arrived at the Sofitel in Philadelphia around 4:30pm on Friday. After we settled into our room, we walked and walked and walked all over Philly exploring and taking in the city. We had trouble deciding on a place to eat dinner because there were just SO MANY OPTIONS, but we finally settled on a cute italian place near our hotel called Il Portico.
Il Portico
For appetizer we had mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto topped with a mushroom sauce. For dinner, I ordered linguine with Bolognese sauce and Chris ordered gnocchi in a cream sauce and for dessert we shared chocolate mousse! We were obviously stuffed after that, so after dinner we walked around Rittenhouse Park for a good hour enjoying the BEAUTIFUL weather, people watching (there was a couple rolling around in the grass, making out, for a good 40 these days!) and talking. It was in one word: perfect.

We fell asleep pretty early Friday night and were dressed and out the door by 10:30 on Saturday which I am still pretty impressed with! We must have still been full from our dinner the night before because neither of us were hungry. So, we walked around Philly and explored some more. We eventually made our way over to Devil's Alley for brunch, which was where our hotel concierge had recommended we eat.
Devil's Alley
Chris ordered their special which was a piece of french toast, corn pancake, 2 eggs, potatoes and bacon. I knew I'd end up eating half of Chris' breakfast with him (which I did) so I stuck with the yogurt with granola and fruit. Then I went to get my nails done for the wedding because I was nervous about making sure I'd fit that into our day, while Chris hung out in the hotel room. After that, we walked about 25 minutes down to old town Philly. We had done the whole Philly tour a few years ago when we went, so we mostly just walked about the grounds, went into the Benjamin Franklin Museum, and got a picture with the Liberty Bell ...because...well why not?
No trip to Philly would be complete without a cheese steak. Unfortunately, Geno's and Pat's were a really far walk from our where we were and even farther from the hotel, and we didn't want to get the car out of the garage just for that. So, we ended up going to a place right down the street from the Sofitel called Jim' soon as we walked in, we recognized the place! This was the same place we had gone to for cheese steaks with friends 5 years ago when we visited Philly! It was kind of a funny coincidence. Unfortunately, there was a reason we didn't remember the name of this place because the cheese steaks were not memorable...which was pretty disappointing.
Finally a happy boy!!

Now, onto the fun stuff. Mandy and Billy's Rehearsal dinner took place at a pub called Elephant and Castle. This was a great, laid back, casual place with buffet dinner (they had the most amaaaazing soft pretzels that were a cross between soft pretzels and funnel cake) annnnnnd KAREOKE!!!

The bridesmaids opened the night with some good old "Living on a Prayer"...
Followed by a rousing rendition of Billy Joel's "Piano Man" sung by...well everyone!
"Sing us a song you're the piano man..."
Soooo cute!

The night was a blast! I had decided on Friday that I was going to "twitter" my way through the weekend. I verrry rarely use twitter, but for whatever reason, thought I'd try and actually update it this weekend. It actually turned out to be sooo great looking back on my twitter account after the weekend and remembering certain phrases or moments, so I'm really glad I "twittered"...or "twatted" as we like to say. There were some great one-liners from the weekend that I otherwise would never have remembered. At approximately 9:30pm I wrote:
"Okey...I'm three huuuge margaritas in....this can't be good!! Wait it is!!"
So yea....that pretty much sums up that we all (well at least I) had a great time. 
Mal and Me with the Bride!
(Note: I'm really sad because I have a great video of Billy, Eric and Chris singing a boy band song...and I don't have it on my computer because it's still on Chris's I'll post it separately this weekend!)

NOW for the wedding day!!! 
The girls got ready in Mandy's room the morning of the wedding. We had two makeup artists set-up to help us out, plus two photographers and there was a lot of hustle and bustle going on!
Lizzy getting her makeup done
Mandy looked stunning in her dress. I can only hope I am half as glamorous and gorgeous on my wedding day:

We then drove all around Philly in a TROLLEY taking photos for most of the afternoon.

Mandy and Billy got pictures taken at the Eastern State Penitentary, but only a few people were allowed in at once, so we had to wait in the trolley while they got those done. I cannot wait to see how those pictures come out! After that, we headed down to picturesque old town Philly where we got some great photos!

Lovely Ladies
Handsome Men
The whole fam!
Then we went to Reading Terminal Market which was so much fun! We were actually all STARVVVING by this point so it was the perfect pit stop for us. Time for cheese-steaks!!
They were actually out of bread when we got there!! But luckily, some of the guys went to go buy bread at another food stand, brought it back to the cheese-steak place and told them to make us sandwiches...which they did. And boy was it worth it!! These were so much better than the ones Chris and I had the day before.
Dan saves the day!! Here's the bread..make us sandwiches!!
So worth it!!
After the fun of Reading Terminal, we were off to the Mutter Museum (with an umlaut) for the ketubah signing, ceremony, and of course... reception! The ketubah signing was really neat and I'm so happy that I was able to sit in during it. Mandy and Billy were officially married after this!! But it was still onto the ceremony!
Yea...Billy has a kazoo in his mouth....
I was actually really nervous walking down the aisle! But, thankfully the aisle was short and I got through it just fine and took my post up in front. Once all the girls, grandparents, parents, and groom were in, the music changed to Ben Harper's "Forever" and it was at this point that I full-out burst into tears.
Mandy's entrance with her parents
During the Ceremony
Sam leading the way as we walk out after the ceremony. The second we hit those doors we all immediately took our shoes off!
After the ceremony we headed downstairs for cocktail hour. For cocktails, there was a guitar and trumpet player playing jazz music, who were great, it set an excellent vibe for the evening. We were served Asian inspired food, (dumplings, lo-mein, etc.) and my favorite part of the night was Mandy and Billy's signature drink...the "Syracuse-Tini"!! Not sure what was in it...but it was good, strong and what I drank for the rest of the night!
I think these are what Ben drank for the night, too...but before we were in too many..we got some nice pics! So glad the boys were able to be there, this is one of my favs!:
We also got to walk around the Mutter Museum (or museum of medical oddities...which always makes for a romping good time!) We saw skulls, enlarged colons, skeletons, entertainment! Around 8:00 we headed back upstairs for the reception where the band was great, the energy was great, the food was great....and Mandy and Billy's first dance was great:

And what Jewish wedding would be complete without the Chair Lift followed by the horah dance?

The rest of the time we danced our asses off until midnight, with of course some intermitten wedding things that always need to be taken care of the cake cutting:

Mandy danced with her dad, Billy danced with his mom, My fiance practiced what it's like to dance with a true bride (I think he also wore his yarmulke longer than anyone else there!):
I think I did a few splits on the dance floor, Sam had to fix Mandy's bustle on her dress a few times, I spilled a Syracuse-Tini in front of Mandy's Dad which provided him with a good laugh, Mal and Eric tore up the dance floor (I have a video of that somewhere too!!!) Ben and I totally broke it down to Single Ladies (another video I'm currently tracking down)....I got mad at Chris for giving me dance instruction, Matt and I shared a dance..where I constantly grabbed his tie and did a spin (?), plus lots more craziness but I think these pictures followed by the video sum up the party pretty nicely:

Bottom Line....everyone had a great time and I am so so so happy for Mandy and Billy. After the wedding, we walked back to the hotel, hung out in the hotel lobby bar for another hour or so. It was also Ben's 25 Birthday at the stroke of midnight!! (it was so very nice of Mandy to throw a big huge birthday party for him wasn't it???) So we showered him with the necessary love and affection that Ben requires and hopefully he wasn't too overshadowed!

Finally Ben, Kyle and I went to get a pizza, and snuck off to our hotel rooms with Chris in tow so no one would steal it...(though Mal and Eric still snuffed us out!! It's ok..I forgive you two). The next morning there was brunch in the hotel for anyone who stayed over night. It was reallll rough getting out of bed for the 9am brunch, but the lure of wonderful brunch food got us up and moving, however slow that may have been. I'm very sad it's over and...

I can't believe that by this time next year, it'll be us!!!!
(Disclaimer: Thanks to all who's pictures I used in this post. Some of them were too good not to include!)


Kate said...

This looks unbelieveable! Lovely pics, lovely bride. It looks like it was soooo much fun. Excellent documentation and I really enjoyed the video!!!!

LWoodsNY said...

Thanks Kate!! You are my biggest blog supporter!! :)

Mom said...

Looks like you all had such a blast and it's hard to believe that you and Chris are less than a year away from the same celebration. Can't wait!

Molly said...

What a great post, Laura! Just got your email and will write back as soon as I can today :) Love and miss you and this looks like such a wonderful weekend, my congrats to Mandy & Billy!!

Mandy Strassman said...

LOVE THIS!!! Thanks for capturing all of the great moments of such an amazing weekend! I can't WAIT to catch up now that I'm back from the honeymoon :) I miss you!!!