(Yeah, so I'm behind. I'm on vacation in Nebraska, so I'm hoping to post a few various updates while I'm here.)
I could probably make this post extremely long, but I've decided to try to hit the highlights...and even then, it still might be really long.
1. This is the first wedding where everything was done before the night before. There was no midnight flower arranging, or program folding, or anything. I got there a day early to help, and everything was done! I was very impressed.
2. Friday was the big "Getting Ready for the Wedding" day. We walked to Starbucks for breakfast, complete with bling.
We continued on to the nail salon, where everyone in the wedding party (as well as any moms that were around) got their fingers and toes done. We also talked to the Mary Kay lady about our makeup for the next day. This whole process took way longer than I expected. We had a little bit of time before rehearsal dinner, so Rachel (my cousin), my aunt, and I ran over to Nordstrom.
3. The rehearsal itself went well, and there was lots of spontaneous picture taking.
I would like to thank the lady at Dress Barn for picking out my dress. It was one of those situations where she said, "Oh, I know something on the sale rack in your size! Try it on!" It was something like 80% off, which is always nice.
4. Our transportation to the dinner site? Limos. There was lots of dancing going on in this particular limo.
5. We ate at Maggiano's, which was *amazing.* We made Kareem take a picture with us.
I wore my shawl, too! Here's an action shot.
6. Saturday was wedding day! We spent the day getting hair and makeup done, and taking lots of photos. We also found time to look for Dave Mathews, who was staying at the Conrad that weekend. I invited his bodyguard to the wedding, but they didn't show up. S-dogg (one of the photographers) became our paparazzi, and followed us around during this process. I'll talk more about the photographers later.
7. Finally, it was time for the ceremony. My uncle walked Aja down the aisle.
Their ceremony was really nice, and it was really neat seeing the way they blended cultures and faiths during the ceremony.
8. After the ceremony, there was a cocktail hour while Aja and Kareem signed the marriage certificate. This is traditional in Egyptian culture. As the maid of honor, I got to see this ceremony, but didn't take any pictures. As Aja was signing the certificate, she was required to cover her shoulders. The cool part? Aja asked to use my shawl during this part of the ceremony. :)
9. At the reception, we were served a 5 course meal. The meal ended with chocolate and vanilla wedding cake, and a white chocolate dipped strawberry dusted in gold.
10. At some point, I gave a toast. I'm not a fan of large groups of people, so I was a bit nervous. Mine was funny, while the best man's was more serious, so I think it was a good balance. Note the iphone that I'm using for my notes. :)
11. The coolest part about the wedding was the belly dancer. At the beginning of the reception, she led Kareem and Aja around the room while Kareem's mother threw coins at them. After they got to the front of the room, she did a short dance and left. After we ate, she came back for a longer dance. Partway through, Kareem's best man (who is also Egyptian) got up and started dropping one dollar bills on her as she danced. I don't think any of the guests expected this part, but it was really entertaining. The other groomsmen did this as well. You can see the bills scattered on the floor in this picture, as well as some falling through the air.
12. The night ended with lots of dancing. One of my favorite parts of the night was when the DJ played "Walk Like an Egyptian." (Aja said it was on their "must play" list.) I ran over to Kareem and said, "Kareem, you're so good at this!" He looked at me all confused and said, "What? I'm just walking." (he said this as he was doing the stereotypical Egyptian hands that everyone does when they hear that song) We danced until about midnight, and I really didn't want the night to end. Here's one of the photos that the photographers took close to the end of the night.
The photographers (Captured Art Photography) were absolutely amazing. The three of them stayed all day (over 12 hours) and took so many amazing photos. I've been in weddings before where you did the typical group shots, a few by yourself, etc. These guys? I felt like I was all of a sudden thrown into an episode of Next Top Model or something. I was sitting on staircases (with people around!), climbing into windows and boxes, and doing all sorts of crazy stuff that I had not expected. I hope to get copies of some of the photos, because they are fabulous. I won the award as the "least photogenic bridesmaid," (and I'm also really critical of my photos) but they managed to get some of me that I absolutely love. They were great fun, and I really enjoyed spending the day with them.
All in all, it was a great night, and the most fun that I've ever had at a wedding. I love Aja and Kareem, and was so glad that I was a part of their wedding.