Thursday, February 28, 2013

Two Wheels Become One: Our First Sway

Last February, I took Mr. Unicycle to a "free" dance lesson at a chain studio, thinking it could be a fun date night, and we might actually learn something useful for our first dance. The lesson was very basic, but when the instructor started doing the hard sell for more classes, I thought "why not? We could choreograph our first dance! We might even be dancing virtuosos with untapped potential! We might end up so good at dancing that, should we ever become stars, we dominate on Dancing with the Stars!" (I realize we could just go on a dancing show without first becoming stars, such as So You Think You Can Dance, or America's Next Top Dancing People or whatever it's called, but I dream big.)

So there I was, dancing a shoddy hustle with Mr. Unicycle in a dance studio, dreaming about our future in the ballroom dancing industry, when our overzealous dance instructor pulled us into her office for her own hustle if ya know what I mean. As it turns out, dance lessons cost (these numbers are approximate) $1.35 million dollars. Per person. Per lesson.

All that to say, we didn't end up taking any more dance lessons, and my hidden dance talent shall go undiscovered. Thus, we did the junior high sway. The song we chose was Josh Turner's "I Wouldn't Be a Man."

I feel I should give a little back story. I grew up thinking country music was stupid and embarrassing, because that's what my parents think. Mr. Unicycle grew up listening to it and singing along, because his parents like it. When we started dating, his affinity for country music was one of those things I assumed I'd change about him, because all women want to change their men, right?

Screenshot from Google
See? Google knows all, including my other favorite pastime, getting recourse.

But somehow, as my feelings for Mr. Unicycle grew, and our relationship history got longer, I started to actually like country music. Hearing it made me think of him, which was especially pleasant when we were apart. He made me a mix tape (aka playlist) of country love songs once, right before we were to be separated for a whole week of spring break (the horrors), and I haven't looked back since. So yeah, I will reluctantly admit that I sort of like country music now. It's not my absolute favorite in terms of car radio singing, but for our wedding, it was a must-have.

Josh Turner became my favorite country singer because he's hot and has a hot, panty-dropping voice. He's also one of Mr. Unicycle's favorites, for reasons I can't discern. We chose "Wouldn't Be a Man" because it had a better tempo than his other songs that we considered. I had some reservations about the lyrics. Mostly the refrain:

"I wouldn't be a man if I didn't feel like this. / I wouldn't be a man if a woman like you / was anything I could resist."

My mom found our swaying quite poignant.

I definitely overthought the lyrics on this one (unlike our last dance song), because I was worried it would offend men who don't "feel like this" about me. I mean, statistically, the majority of men don't "feel like this" about me, yet they are still men. Then again, maybe I should be offensive to men who don't "feel like this" about me, because how dare they resist me?!

Obviously, I got over that, and we ended up using the song after all.

How did you choose your first dance song?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Two Wheels Become One: How Do You Cut a Wedding Cake?

The cake cutting: one of life's many mysteries. Why do brides and grooms cut cake in front of their guests day in and day out? Why do we feed cake to each other while everyone watches? Why are we expected to smear it on each others' faces? And most importantly, how the hell do you actually cut a slice out without ruining the whole cake?

A quick trip to Wikipedia will answer the first few questions, but the last still perplexes me.

We got up to cut the cake with our fancy Kate Spade cake cutting set and toasting flutes (I was convinced I wouldn't have a good wedding/marriage without them, and, while I really enjoyed having them, they haven't seen the light of day in eight months. So no, you do not need a cake cutting set or toasting flutes. Unless you want them).

The DJ played Cake's "Love You Madly" during the cake cutting. I chose that song after reading Mrs. Prairie Dog's recap. I loved that it wasn't overtly about sugar/sweets, but it still technically related to cake, obviously. And I love that song. As far as I know, no one got the reference.


You can hear in our video that our photographer had to coach us through the cutting itself. I had learned through wedding blogs that Mr. Unicycle was supposed to put his hands over mine while I cut, but that was about the extent of my preparation for the arduous task. I made some pretty awkward faces and managed to mangle the bottom tier pretty badly, but we ended up with enough cake on our plate to feed each other with, so that's all that counts.

It didn't even cross my mind to smash cake in his face. Because I'm nice. But man, sometimes I really feel like smashing cake in his face, and I regret the missed opportunity.

Photo by Jennifer Shaffer Photography / GIF by me
There I am doing the ol' chomp chomp. Isn't the way I eat graceful and delicate?

After we swallowed our cake, we kissed it out and sipped some champagne. And that was the last alcohol either of us consumed that day.


So my advice to future brides is to practice cutting a cake together before the wedding. There is literally nothing worse in life than not knowing how to cut the cake at your wedding, so learn from my grave mistake!

And here's another guest photo, this time of an artful slice of cake:
Lovely. We chose white cake with raspberry filling and it was delicious, as cake is.

Did you know what you were doing during your cake cutting?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Two Wheels Become One: We're Not So Different, You and I

I asked my dad to put together a slideshow of photos of me and Mr. Unicycle growing up for the guests to watch during dinner. Yes, I realized this was incredibly narcissistic of me. That is all.

I don't actually have a copy of the slideshow right now--I think my dad has it--so I put together my own photo groupings for you using the photos my dad used in the slideshow. As I was going through them, I realized Mr. Unicycle and I had a lot of very similar photos. I suppose our childhoods were pretty similar. As Dr. Evil once wisely said, "We're not so different, you and I." Without further ado:

(All personal photos)
We both demand more food.

We both got attacked by dinosaurs.

We both went to Disney World.

We both dressed fancily.

We both posed for creepy yearbook photographers.

We're both sassy.

We both brake for animals.

Except fish; we both kill and eat fish.

We both insured our legs like Beckham.

We both can't stand how cute our little sibs are.

We both know how to look fierce.

We both enjoyed America's favorite pasttime.

We both accomplished something at one point in our lives, in the very distant past.

The slideshow was a nice backdrop to the salad course, which was followed by dinner. We don't have any pro pics of dinner because our photographers had to eat too, but here's a guest photo:

Food never looks good when shot unprofessionally. I swear it was good.

Do you think wedding slideshows are cheesy and narcissistic? Or cute and nostalgic?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Two Wheels Become One: What the Cops Told my Dad

After my maid of honor's Titanic-laden speech, she handed the mic over to Mr. Unicycle's brother/best man. His speech was a little more ad-libbed, so it was kind of difficult to transcribe. You can watch it in our video (the speeches start at 17:15) but the sound is a little wonky during his toast. I'm not sure his mic was on. Anyway, Mr. Unicycle and his brother are so cute, and I really hope that if I ever bring demon Unicycle spawn into the world, they turn out like those two. Although, as you'll read in his speech, they weren't always so chummy:

"Well, I was a little worried for this speech--you know, you got all these people here. What am I gonna say, what am I gonna do? So I decided to sleep on it--[Mr. Unicycle fixes his mic]--he's still looking out for me! I decided to sleep on it, so I went to look into the mirror while washing up, and I said "I got nothing to worry about; I still got my hair." I'm not sure if it was medical school doing that [gestures at Mr. Unicycle's hair] or if it was Kari here, but...yeah."

"So Chris, it's a big day, so I thought I'd start off with when we were young. When I was younger, me and Chris, we liked to fight each other quite a bit. I gave him stitches, he gave me plenty of black eyes...we fought a lot. And as we grew up, we found things in common. We found video games we play together, and most recently, at his bachelor party, we went paint balling together. As we were paint balling (this will come together, don't worry), as we were paint balling, here we are sitting in a fort, looking over the enemy, he's watching my back, I'm watching his back, and what I realized was the important thing was just that--we were watching each others' backs. And here I am watching my brother's back, and I hope I can always do that. And there's nobody that I would be more proud of to be watching mine too."

"So as I go through life, I will use you guys as an example, as I always have with my brother here, and I really hope you guys have the best marriage, and I want you to have the best honeymoon you can and enjoy yourselves."

 Screenshot from our video
[Awkward reaction shot. We were like "Um. Wut."]

"Kari here, you're not off the hook yet. I can remember when I was a wee freshman going into Marquette, and these two were already a little older, a little more aged, and they kinda showed me the ropes. Aged--sorry. And so really, they showed me the ropes and I saw how much Kari cared for Christopher here. They made me some good meals, and I saw that Kari really cared for Chris and, it's really important to me that my brother's got the best girl in the world for him, and she is right here."

 Screenshot from our video
[I like when people point out that I'm the best girl in the world.]

"She even hooked me up with an awesome chair, by the way. [I gave him a crappy old armchair that actually used to be my maid of honor's, and it's the best thing in his life right now.] And so, it's the same thing. Kari here has my brother's back just like I do, and I know that they are perfect for each other. So, congratulations guys, I'm really happy for you."

The toast doesn't look as good written down, but it was so sweet and heartfelt, and if it weren't for the awkward line about enjoying our honeymoon, I may have shed a tear.

Up next was my dad:

"I'd like to welcome everybody here tonight to celebrate the wedding of my daughter Kari with my new son-in-law Chris. Welcome to the family, Chris."

"I was gonna mention, although Lauren stole my thunder already, Kari and several of the bridesmaids, her mother, her grandmothers--both of them--and several of her aunts--yes Donna, you were there too--helped with all the decorations here, including the flowers that we're all wearing, the invitations you received in the mail, so I think they deserve a good round of applause for all the hard work they did. [My mother-in-law also helped a ton.] And then I think the father of the bride deserves a round of applause for tolerating a mess in his house the last six months, right Kar? [I actually covered that in this post.]"

Screenshot from our video
[I gave a hearty round of applause]

"Kari knows that I'm not much into making flowers, but she did delegate one task to me, and that is, she asked me to put together a slideshow with photos of Kari as she was growing up, and Chris's mother was nice enough to send some photos of young Chris growing up, and then I have some photos that Kari put together from their time together at Marquette. So, we'll show that in a few minutes, but first I want to say a few words about the happy couple."

"As I was assembling these photos for the slideshow I started getting a little emotional, thinking boy, time really flies. I can think back to when we brought Kari home from the hospital, and it seems like just yesterday she was crawling around on the floor with a bottle in her hand, throwing up everywhere. Every time she would take a step she would fall down. It seemed like just yesterday, but as we all know, that was last month at her bachelorette party."

"Thank you, I'll be back here next week by the way, so be sure to tip your waitstaff and bartender. But seriously though, I couldn't have picked a better husband for her than she picked in Chris. I liked Chris from day one. I mean, what's not to like about him? He's an Eagle Scout, an honor student, doctor-to-be, comes from a great family with really nice parents. But being the secret service-type guy that I am, I felt that I would be a little remiss in my duties as a parent if I didn't do a little background investigation. Look at Chris, sweatin' like a whore in church! That's alright Chris, we won't talk about that one. That'll be our little secret."

"So anyway, Chris grew up in [hometown], so I called my buddy, who is a police officer in [other town].[Other town] is right next to [hometown], so I figured he'd know a lot of the people at the [hometown] police department. By the way, for those of you who don't know [name], he's the guy at table 5 over there with the Bud Light stuck to his lips. So anyway, [name] said "sure I can do a little investigation, see what I can dig up on the kid." So he called the chief and the chief reported back 'Oh yeah, that [Mr. Unicycle] kid. You know, every time he's spent the night at our facility he was very polite and well-behaved.'"

"So, Chris, welcome to the family. That's good enough for me. So anyway, Chris, I just have six words of advice to you as you begin your life with Kari. Those words are "I apologize, and you were right, dear." Remember those words and you'll always be fine. So if everybody would raise their glass and join me in a toast to the happy couple. To Chris and Kari, may you live a long and happy life together, and may the love you're feeling tonight remain in your hearts forever."

Up next, we watch the photo slideshow!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Two Wheels Become One: A Toast of Titanic Proportions

Toasts are one of my favorite things about weddings, and I'm not talking about burnt bread. I love hearing what the bride and groom's friends and family have to say about them. And, now that I'm a sap, I've been known to tear up at wedding speeches, even when I've only met the bride and groom once before.

I was really looking forward to our toasts because, hello, it's a whole speech about me. Oh, and Mr. Unicycle. I mean, what's better than having someone tell a captive audience how great you are and how cute your relationship is? Answer: nothing.

After everyone simmered down from the reception entrances, my maid of honor kicked off the toasts. (To watch it in action, check out our video at the 17:15 mark.)

"First I'd like to thank [The Unicycles' parents], and everyone who has done so much to help Kari and Chris celebrate their special day. Kari, it's finally here. It's your day. It's your special day." [I think she was quoting me.]

"I know that quite a few of you are looking around at the flowers and centerpieces thinking "I wonder if that's one of the ones I made?" Kari and Chris, if there are this many people who love you enough to be willing to help you craft your wedding decorations by hand, I think it's safe to say that you won't have a difficult time finding a babysitter. You can literally look around this room and see how much love and support there is for this couple."

"The other thing I see when I look around this room is Kari's awesome talent and creativity. I think that if anyone is ever curious about what the inside of Kari's brain looks like, you can just take a look at that candy buffet over there, wow! Bright and cheery, isn't it?"

It really is.

"It just sums up so much of what I love about Kari. Her sweet, sunny personality, and her ability to take that joy and share it with every single person who comes in contact with her."

"I met Kari and Chris in the fall of 2006, around the same time as they met each other. It was a historic year. Twitter had just been founded, the song Sexyback was taking the country by storm, and Kari and I found ourselves randomly placed as college roommates. I don't think the world was quite the same after that moment. Chris lived on a different floor in our dorm building. I knew him as "that really opinionated guy from my honors seminar." But soon I would come to see him differently. I'd come to see him as "that dude who's totally creepin' on Kari." I still remember him coming around to our dorm room to see if Kari was around to study for their next big physics test, and turning away disappointedly if she wasn't around. Sure, Chris, physics. That's the oldest line in the book."

"Soon Chris became a fixture in our circle of friends, and I could see Kari falling--hard. And as I've gotten to know Chris better, I've realized not only what a loving, caring, funny guy he is, but also how amazing that you two complement each other. You support each other. You challenge each other and broaden each other's horizons in a very good way. Knowing Kari years ago, I never imagined her attending a country music concert/hockey game. And Chris, I'm sure that you never expected that the Milwaukee Jingle Bus would become a yearly holiday tradition for you. And in a weird way, this is how I know it works. In these small, funny ways and a ton of bigger ways, I've already seen both of you giving yourselves over to each other. This wedding is a momentous occasion, and I'm sure it's going to be a very fun night. But it's also just a small step in the amazing journey that's in store for you two. I can't wait to see all of the amazing things that the future holds in your new life together."

"This is the part of the speech where I'm supposed to give you guys advice for your marriage. Due to my inexperience, I'm gonna leave that up to the actual married people who probably had some great words of wisdom for you guys in their RSVPs. But I'll leave you one nugget of advice: Remember to make each day count."

 Screenshot from our video
[The night before the wedding, the bridesmaids and I had been drinking a little wine, and we got to talking about how we should all say "here, here!" at the end of my maid of honor's speech, like the mustachioed man in Titanic. And while we're at it, wouldn't it be funny if her speech was the speech from Titanic? And she actually did it. You can see above that the girls were already going apeshit while the guys looked around confusedly.]

 Screenshot from our video
[One bridesmaid was actually brought to tears.]

"Because things move fast. Just two nights ago, Kari, you were spending your last night in your childhood bedroom, and now, here you are, in the finest golf club in Hoffman Estates drinking champagne on your wedding night with these fine people. You see, life's a gift, so make sure not to waste it. You never know what hand you're gonna get dealt next. Kari and Chris, make sure to take life as it comes at you. Make each day count. To Kari and Chris!"

I love how no one else in the wedding had any idea why we were laughing so hard.

What's the funniest maid of honor speech you've ever witnessed?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Two Wheels Become One: We Arrive

The guests were shuffling upstairs, finding their escort cards, and seating themselves at their respective tables. The wedding party was cloistered in a super secret bridal room off to the side. There was a plate of cheese and crackers in the room with us, which went largely untouched. The photographers and videographers were getting in position. The caterers were prepping the salads. And in just a moment, we would have our grand entrances.

By this point, the entire wedding party was pretty trashed except Mr. Unicycle and me, so I was excited to see how the entrances would be. I had asked everyone ahead of time to choose a song to enter the reception to. My only specifications were that no one was allowed to pick Don't Stop Believing, Who Let the Dogs Out, The Final Countdown, or anything by Nickelback. Pretty standard, really.

First up were my two brothers and sister-in-law to Bad Romance.

I love that the sunglasses made another appearance.

They were followed by my high school friend and Mr. Unicycle's college roommate, who chose Eye of the Tiger.

My friend and I were oddly obsessed with this song back in like 2004, so I'm glad she chose it. They also did a little choreographed fight scene as they entered (it was choreographed mere moments before, next to the cheese and cracker tray).

They even got all Matrix-y on us. Needless to say, they literally put their back into it.

Next was my grade school friend and another of Mr. Unicycle's college roommates. My friend had chosen The Price is Right theme song, and I thought she was joking. But since I never heard otherwise, we went with it. Turns out, she was not joking. They both high fived guests as if they were on the show. It was great.

In our video, it looks like the groomsman high fives our photographer. I don't think he actually did, but we'll go with it since it's funny.

And finally, my college roommate/MOH and Mr. Unicycle's brother/BM came out to Blue Orchid by The White Stripes.

They, too, put their back into it. Keep in mind that Mr. Unicycle and I couldn't see any of these entrances because we were hiding around the corner with the cheese and cracker tray. We could only hear the music and the crowd cheering. When we got the photos back, we laughed so hard at the wedding party entrances, especially this last duo. I have to admit, when we finally got our wedding video back, I was most excited to see the reception entrances.

I think you can see why I was excited to see the video.

Finally it was our turn. We had chosen Ray Lamontagne's You Are the Best Thing because it was the perfect mix of romantic, classy, and upbeat, and I really like the intro as an entrance song. Fun fact: I once used this song in a post as an example of a song most people wouldn't recognize, and I got schooled by the hive.

As you can tell, we were the most sober of the group, and I was also starting to feel awkward again with everyone's eyes on me, so we didn't do anything except walk to our seats. Oh well.

Oh, and then we kissed.

You can see the entrances in action in our wedding video, around the 13:35 mark, but the videographer had to replace all the music online for copyright reasons.  

Which is your favorite reception entrance song?