We arrived at the reception, which started out as a kind of cocktail hour. We stood in a short line to sign the guest book and were amused by the text that was printed on the back of our little tickets (I can’t find mine or I would reproduce it here for you. Suffice it to say it was very funny.) Once inside the small room, we found a table and Lisa quickly began consuming crab cakes. I can’t remember what she was drinking, but I had a Corona. Andy and Mandy joined us shortly thereafter, and AJ showed up as well. It turned out that we would all be sitting at the same table, along with Ken and his wife and children.
After a time, bells were rung and we all proceeded into the banquet room and to our tables. It was a large banquet room with a good sized dance floor and about 8 or 9 tables. The DJ was stationed at one end of the room and Norm and Vicky’s table was on a raised platform at the opposite end. There was an enormous wedding cake not far from our table. Disney music was being piped in and drinks were flowing from the bar.
Not long after everyone was seated, the big entries were made. Andy and Norm’s sister, Julie entered, followed by Scott and Vicky’s Maid of Honor, JJ. Finally, the DJ announced the new bride and groom, “Mr. and Mrs. Norm and Vicky Perreault!” and they entered to much fanfare, with Norm smiling and waving at the crowd like a seasoned politician. Immediately after entering, they made their first dance and I cannot for the life of me remember the song to which they danced (Lisa, can you help out!) Then they were seated and the toasts were made.
Scott, Norm’s brother and best man made a funny toast, with several amusing stories about young Norm and a rousing encomium to Norm and Vicky and their happiness together. I honestly don’t remember too much of what he said because I was finally getting nervous, which is unusual for me. When Scott was finished, the DJ announced that I would be making the next toast, and I pulled my notes out of my pocket, grabbed my glass of water, and made my way up to Norm and Vicky’s table. I was told to take the microphone and stand behind the bride and groom on the dias and that I did.
I can’t tell you exactly what I said. While I made notes, I spoke mostly off the cuff. I was unusually nervous because I really wanted to do a good job for Norm and Vicky and to be honest, I don’t remember much of what I said. I do remember one thing said at the beginning however. Vicky had joking told Lisa and I at dinner on Wednesday that she wanted us to let people know that she and not the Disney people did most of the table decorations, the placecards, and favors. So when I got up to talk, I said, shortly after I started, “By the way, I just have to say, in case you don’t know this, that just about everything you see on the table in front of you was done by Vicky.” That got a round of applause and Vicky’s jaw dropped. But I didn’t stop there. I said, “She put a lot of hard work into this. Norm helped. I understand he built this entire place by hand just for this wedding.” I do recall people laughed several times, hopefully at something funny I said and not at me. Never fear, however, for Lisa got my entire toast (which seemed to extend beyond the 3 or 4 minutes I had planned) on video and as soon as she gets it posted online somewhere, I will provide a link to it. I finished up with an old Irish toast that went something like, “May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door…happily ever after.” When I finished, Vicky turned to me to hug me and said, “You almost made me cry!” Almost! Darn it! I was aiming for tears!
The festivities proceeded. There was a five course meal. I can’t remember what all five courses were (by this time, I’d had myself a rum punch, but that’s not why I can’t remember), but I do recall there being an excellent salad, and the intermezzo consisted of raspberry sherbet in a glass slipper made of ice. (Apparently they are famous for this.) For the main course I had a bacon-wrapped fillet. And, of course, there was cake for dessert.
There was dancing! And I was lucky enough to have the privilege of dancing with not one, not two, but three good-looking girls.
There may be some people, who, upon reading my last statement, take offense at my referring to three women as “girls” but it is not meant in anyway to be offensive. I’ve always thought of “women” as meaning females who are older than me. I’ve always thought of “girls” as females who are younger than me, or equal in age. It’s just how I think of things inside my head and since I have been thinking this way for 35 years now, I’m not likely to change. But I mean no offense by it.
I got to dance with Lisa, who is a much better dancer than I am and who put up with my ambulatory awkwardness on the dance floor with grace. I got to dance next to Vicky who probably wasn’t even paying attention, and that’s a good thing, since dancing for me is an utterly humiliating process that I agree to do more for the enjoyment of others than myself. Finally, toward the end of the evening, I got to dance with Vicky’s maid of honor, JJ. We were standing awkwardly on the dance floor and the music started playing “Last Dance” and she said to me, “Maybe we should dance or something instead of just standing there.” I felt like a complete idiot for not asking her first, but I agreed at once and we danced to the last song of the evening. Once again, she was a far better dancer than I and I was simply outclassed the entire time I was on the dance floor. There are many things that I am good at and dancing is not among them. But I try.
And if you don’t believe me, Lisa can probably vouch for the fact that I am a pretty awful dancer. She also has video of me dancing in a corner in an insanely silly and embarrassing manner, which she has threatened to blackmail me with unless I meet certain demands…
By this time, hours had passed and the festivities were coming to a close. I made sure that I signed the big picture of Norm and Vicky–and as usual, I signed without evening looking at the picture so I have no idea what I was actually signing. We were told to head for the buses which would take us into Epcot for ring-side seats to the Illuminations fireworks display. Lisa felt the need to get some last-minute photos of these enormous paintings and then we headed off for the buses.
We came into Epcot through the back way and were escorted into the park by Disney personnel. They brought us to a roped off area at the water’s edge. There were tables and chair and desserts of all kind. Coffee and punch were also being served. Lisa spent most of the time acting as a surrogate mother to Ken’s children, and seemingly enjoying it. The fireworks display was spectacular, as one might imagine. It was towards the end of the evening that Vicky began to feel sick. We figured it was nerves and stress and everything finally catching up to her, but it turned out to be something else. She and Norm ended up spending most of the night in the emergency room, although she was better in the morning and they were able to head off on their honeymoon.
We made our way back to the hotel, spent some time up in the room with Andy, Mandy, and AJ. Lisa provided the entertainment for Andy, Mandy, and AJ while I was doing something in the closet. As soon as I heard the laughing, I looked to see what was going on, but I’d already missed it. I’ll tell you this, though: I’ve never seen Mandy laugh as hard as she was laughing. Andy said it was the best part of the evening.
We headed down to the hotel bar for a drink, and then Andy, Mandy and AJ headed back to their respective hotels and Lisa and I headed back upstairs. I was already beginning to feel sad that it was all over. We watched TV for a while, some Monty Python, and then turned out the lights and went to sleep.
It was an incredibly happy time, and one thing stuck with me through the entire evening. It was written on the inside of Norm and Vicky’s wedding program:
Once in a while, in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.
For Norm and Vicky, I can’t think of a better way to describe it.