Monday, June 22, 2009

The Big Day for Mr. and Mrs. Wilkins

After a short float down the Comal River, it was time to get ready to roll to San Antonio for the wedding. As things would turn out, the easiest way for me to get there would be to borrow Whit's car and drive there myself. This turned out to be fortuitous--more on that later.

So I met Michael in the lobby at 5:30, per the instructions we were given to us, and we proceeded to do nothing but sit there at the bar while they took pictures, grumbling about how there was absolutely zero reason we needed to be there so early. Like the 5-year-old that I am, I got ADD and need to do something, so Michael and I wandered into one of the ballrooms which happens to have a white baby grand in it. After playing that a little bit, it was finally time for us to hop on the bus and go to the cathedral.

When we got there, we had to track down the florist, who was supposed to deck us out with our boutonnieres. The ceremony was sans-DN and, thus, went much more smoothly than either of the rehearsals. All the bridesmaids (especially sweetheart) did a great job, the groomsmen were nails, and Team Readers repped it big time. In all it was a beautiful and fitting ceremony (complete with some Pachelbel, which I of course loved and shared with Michael), but after vows and kiss, we were all ready to get back to the hotel and start partying.

The cocktail reception went fairly well, other than Michael and I kind of being a rudderless package deal as the two token single guys, so we wandered around together for a while, further cementing our reputation as a bromance couple (on which Nicole called us out at dinner). Nothing to do but embrace it. Anyway, we worked the room and talked to people while taking advantage of the open beer and wine bar, multiple cheese options and the friendliness of our bartender José (a salty vet of the St. Anthony Hotel), but then it came time for dinner.

Team Reader's seating (along with that of the other dates of the wedding party) was at Nicole's parents' table, which was a fun dynamic when we were all there getting hammered, but after dinner, as the room started to migrate to the dance floor, the two single guys were hanging around drinking and surveying what we had in the way of options. Halfway across the room sat three girls together at a table looking like they weren't really planning on moving, so I called the audible and we went in.

I think everyone who reads this blog knows that Nicole and I masqueraded as a couple for a while (she and Michael actually dated...for real), but I really didn't know any of her friends. What I found out immediately upon our approach to the three aforementioned girls sitting solo was that they were Nicole's Boston...when I broke up with her. After that initial awkwardness, I kept talking to them and being friendly. I either won the battle or they were kind enough to tolerate me...either way, I considered it a win. One of these girls (Julie), though, (the one who had actually shared the room with Nicole) lives in SoCal right now and apparently frequents the bar in Claremont that Topher had happened to roll into that night. Once this SoCal conversation opened up, I left the other two to Michael and kept talking to Julie. We exchanged numbers and are looking to do something next weekend.

Per the previous agreement, once "Amazed" by Lonestar came on, I was up to the dance floor with Nicole, which meant I had to bail on Julie. Heard the first two notes, excused myself and took off like a shot for the dance floor. It was a great time to just catch up with Nicole a little since everything had been such a whirlwind and we hadn't had a chance to even talk to each other since the night before. Once the song was over, I returned to my post at the table. As the group kind of thinned out, we were all more or less back to circulating the room, until I found myself talking to a couple rogue cougars who decided I would be a good person to ask about whether or not it was open bar. After I told them no and they were unsuccessful fishing for me to buy them drinks, I managed to get them to join the dance floor.

So with Julie and Michael laughing hysterically at me, I was out on the dance floor wondering if they were looking to maul me until I found out that they were there with their husbands (quitters). So then I gave Nicole a look, and she came, grabbed my hand and pulled me out of the spot where I had been surrounded by our two party crashers. I guess I don't need Grant to attract cougars...who knew?

Eventually, at around 2 a.m. the party closed down for real, and it was time to leave the St. Anthony. Michael, Julie and I were the only ones left who weren't staying there, so the three of us walked outside to the valet parking area. Since I had the car, I was going to give Julie a ride back to her hotel...except we didn't end up going back to the hotel immediately. We decided to go to Denny's (which was right next to her hotel), but we discovered that we're both somewhat hard-headed about things and didn't want to get violated pay for parking. So, we drove around San Antonio until we found a spot to park, not realizing that we were really nowhere near Denny's now.

So, we walked through San Antonio at 2 a.m. en route to Denny's where we saw all sorts of interesting people and spent more time chatting, telling stories and generally getting to know each other. Around 3, we figured it was probably time to call it and walked back across the parking lot to her hotel...where we, once again, got entrenched in our conversation and stood in the lobby talking as the guard made rounds multiple times. After he came by the fourth time, we figured (once again) that it was time to call it, so I walked her to her room, and we said good about 4:30 in the morning. Then I took the 15-minute walk back to the car and rolled back to New Braunfels, getting there about 5:15 a.m. That was one hell of an interesting night. Congrats Nicole and Chris! Safe travels to everyone (especially my brother in bromance, Michael), and see you in SoCal, Julie!

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