the reception.

Hi friends!

We've covered getting ready and the ceremony, but we've saved the best for last: the food! the dancing! the toasts!

The reception definitely involves the most planning out of any element of the wedding. From table seating to the run of show to picking floral arrangements, it's about a hundred plates spinning at the same time in the weeks leading up to it. But, for good reason. This when the party happens. You put in the legwork ahead of time so that everything runs seamlessly and breathlessly for the whole four hours.

And guys, it was all worth it.

But, as you can imagine, it goes by in a bit of a blur, so I'm dying to see our professional video and photos. In the meantime, God bless social media because I don't know what I would have done without all the amazing Instagrams and Facebook posts from our friends and family. I hope that none of you mind I'm blatantly using your pictures on the blog until we get our official ones. #sorryimnotsorry

Anyway, probably easiest to go through the night timeline style, so here we go:

Immediately after our ceremony, Mike and I headed back to a private room to sign both our ketubah and our marriage license. And yes, for all you Jews, I know that generally you sign the ketubah before the ceremony. In my head, there was going to be a large gap between picture taking and when we walked down the aisle, so I didn't want to see Mike at the signing and then immediately have to go line up for our processional. I'm all about the air of mystery.

In reality, we had about five minutes between pictures and the walk down the aisle, so I guess it wouldn't really have made a difference. Ah, well.

After the signing (thank you to Omar and Gretchen -- WHO ARE GETTING MARRIED THIS WEEKEND! -- for your help as witnesses!), two things happened simultaneously. One: I inhaled the many plates of hors d'oeuvres that The Plaza team so generously stocked for us. I told our planner Emily earlier that my only bridezilla request was to have a sampling of all the appetizers so that I wouldn't be hunting down waiters during our cocktail hour when I should have been greeting guests. I wouldn't have been able to control it; my hunger knows no bounds. Also, truffle mac. TRUFFLE MAC.

One of our food stations at the cocktail hour.

Two: Mike was dispatched to find my friends Liz and Christina, who came with me to my last fitting and were therefore designated as my official skirt bustlers. Those bustle buttons are really, really small, by the way. They also had to help me pee since I needed not one, not two, but three people to hold up my skirt.

Seven hours later, when that was done, Mike and I snuck into the ballroom before everyone entered to see our cake and the floral decorations. It truly felt magical: candles flickering on the tables, the whole ballroom bathed in amber light; it was beautiful.

One of our tall arrangements. Branches with dendrobium orchids and tea lights.

We caught the tail end of cocktail hour and by that I mean we stood in one place while being swarmed (in a good way) by our guests. This was actually one of my most favorite parts of the night because it was the first time I was seeing people from out of town that weren't part of our wedding party. I also love hugs.

What felt like 30 seconds later, ushers were leading everyone into the ballroom. We were officially announced as Mr. and Mrs. Michael Lewin and that led right into our first dance, which caught me by surprise. We opted against dance lessons and winged it, but, you know, we're really sick dancers so it's all good.

I liked twirling in my dress.

We chose Let's Stay Together by Al Green for our first dance song. Mike and I never really had a "song" (unless you count Sex On Fire, hiyo), so we went with something romantic that we figured most guests would recognize. Our band KILLED it, as I knew they would.

The first dance led right into the hora, which was absolutely my favorite part of the night. To have everyone on the dance floor, singing and dancing and clapping was stupendous. The chair part ended up being far less scary than I thought it would be, probably because Emily made sure we had chairs with arms to use. That's why she's Emily. Synonymous with awesome genius. Not to be confused with sweet genius, that's Ron's nickname.


For the father-daughter dance, I had my dad pick the song and he chose Eric Clapton's You Look Wonderful Tonight. Growing up, this was one of the tunes on repeat in my house, so it was definitely a wonderful (get it?) selection. And he's a wonderful dance partner!

Dancing with Daddy

Eventually we must have stopped dancing and sat down, because I do remember eating my first course (more on the menu in another post). Then, it was time for the first round of speeches: my dad and Mike's dad Marty.

If you know one thing about my family, it's that they -- mom, dad, and sister -- are BAMFs at extemporaneous speaking. It is more than a little intimidating to follow them in any speech situation, let alone in front of almost 300 people. So I say to you Lewins: Bonnie, Allie, Marty and Josh, well done. You guys held your own and then some and made Mike and me very proud. And Dad, I'm beyond grateful to be your daughter.

Watching my dad speak. Check out our hot moms.

Post speeches, there was much more merriment, lots of dancing, drinking of our custom cocktails and then Laura and Josh brought down the house with their maid of honor and best man speeches. Mike and I won the sibling lottery, you guys. We adore you.

The last big event of the night was the cake cutting. Did you know you're supposed to have a special cake cutting song? I certainly did not. When the band asked us, I went through my iTunes and searched for the word "sweet." We landed on U2's The Sweetest Thing. BAM. Surprisingly, neither of us smashed the cake in the other's face, and WOW cake tastes good when you haven't eaten it for two months.

After that we hopped on the mic to thank everyone to celebrating with us. I think I was speaking English but I kind of blacked out. I did love being in a balcony like Kate Middleton, however.

The night went by all too fast, but I think we squeezed every last exciting drop out of it. I still can't believe it's all over!

the rehearsal dinner.

the wedding cake.