Team McLeod : Down at The Top

The Top. A well-known Gainesville hot spot downtown, this restaurant/bar has been the site of many celebrations past. Both our 21st birthday's and Meggan's 21st were held here, the goodbye brunch sending Rachel and Kara off to move from Gainesville to NYC, countless dinners with Anna gabbing about wedding planning... I could go on.

Really all that mattered in the end was that it was clean, cool and big enough to fit us all. They also have a photobooth which sealed the deal.

The youngest guest at our wedding was baby Havana (the cutest happiest baby I've ever met) with the next oldest being at least 14. We didn't have too many kids at the wedding, but I still made sure to clearly state that the after party was for 21+ only. I would have hated for any of them to come just to be turned away at the door.

The bridesmaids headed over to the bar with Djamel right after the wedding was over. I don't think it took us more than half an hour to finish up at the Thomas Center and home. The walk down felt like it took forever though, I just wanted to get there! Besides, I had an entourage waiting for me out front.
Pay no attention to the jaywalking happening in this photograph.
YEAHHHH - let's party.
I know you! Hey door man, my wedding dress is my ID. Just kidding - you can't really get away with that in Gainesville.
Photobooth love. I had a hard time acting all excited in these photos. I think I would have had more fun if all the girls were piled in there with me.

And the husband arrives! Husband!! He and most of the groomsmen opted to change out of their rented tuxes back at the house. I don't blame him for not wanting to ruin clothing he didn't technically own, even if he looked damn good.
Someone had grabbed a big table by the door and I made a point to park it right by the entrance. If you were coming to hang out I wanted to make sure I saw you and got to say hello. I had been on my feet for so long already that day and all I wanted to do was sit and sip on a gin and tonic.
Sagar kept his tux but added his own jacket. The best suit jacket I've ever seen.

The whole after party was so much fun. We had our corner of the inside and eventually spilled out onto the porch too. I probably could have made more rounds to spend time with everyone but I really just wanted to sit and let them come to me.

The roommates. Awwwwww.
That's more like it.
The best shot of my shoes all day. You can really see the poof that bubble hem added to the dress.
We had strangers coming up to us and congratulating us all night! At one point two generous folks came up and offered up some shots! Later we found out that they are actually the owners of The Top - two really rad people who were so happy to have us that night!
They should be happy! I don't want to think about how much was spent on drinks and sweet potato fries that night.Collin spent some time catching up with Kevin at the end of the night.

See? I'm still in that same chair. This is the photo we chose to close our album. It sums up the end of the night perfectly; talking with friends in a bar, arms around each other and new rings on our left hands.
The bar was open for another hour when we decided to take off. It was time for Djamel to get going (he'd stayed well beyond our contract to hang out with us and keep shooting) and a nameless bridesmaid was way too drunk and hitting on one of the groomsmen. We said some long goodbyes and went back out into the street. There we stopped to say hello and goodbye to our many friends who'd made their way over to the Atlantic for the Joy Division/New Order cover show that was going on. I even posed for pictures with a few random guys who were visiting Gainesville for the first time - I'm pretty sure I made their night.

Inspired, Djamel asked us for one last shot. When he told us his idea, how could I object?
Goodnight Gainesville. Downtown, we love you so. Thanks for giving us gorgeous weather, a beautiful historic site and cheerful strangers on our wedding day.

We walked back to the house holding hands and broke out the leftovers as soon as we got in. We turned on the TV to find the wedding scene of one of our favorite movies while I took out the hundred bobby pins and brushed the hairsprayed nest that was my hair as I sat perched on the edge of our bed. It was the perfect quiet end to a glorious day; in our home with our cat we were husband and wife.

Team McLeod : This is the Day

There was a summer once, sometime in the late '90's, when the five of us girls hung out almost every day. Rotating among our houses we seemed to travel in a pack. One thing that was for sure - Empire Records was in someone's bag. That movie was played hundreds of times. So many times I am surprised the tape (yes, tape) didn't completely warp. If you've seen the movie yourself you should remember the ending scene. All of the friends, their movie-problems solved, dancing on the roof of the store to "This is the Day".

Just like the first song of the night, I knew this was the tune to close the dancefloor. It's sentimental for us and the lyrics were more than appropriate on our wedding day.
"This is the day, your life will surely change. This is the day, when things fall into place."
We even used this song on our wedding website; one more element to add consistency. That also meant most of our guests knew the song even if they'd never seen the movie. Oh yeah, it was also in an M&M's commercial not too long before the wedding... that may have also been why people knew it. I still say it's because they couldn't stop looking at our amazing website ;)
It was almost like we couldn't contain how happy we were. I didn't want the reception to end but I was looking forward to the after party we'd organized downtown.
So we went out with a spin...
And then I stole Forrest's sunglasses.

And tried my hardest to freeze time.
Shouts of joy and laughter filled the room when the song was over and as if on cue, all the guests started moving toward their seats to collect their things. The house lights came up and the soundtrack changed to a metal guitar version of Canon in D (I know, we're awesome).
We didn't have a big send-off with all our guests - mostly because we knew we weren't leaving the Thomas Center right away. There were people to coordinate, parents to direct and Collin couldn't keep himself from helping to break down all the music gear. Those going to the after party made their way down to The Top and a few people stayed to help where they could. We walked back down to the house to relax for a few minutes and let our parents in. They generously offered to shuttle all the stuff from the Thomas Center back to our house. Things like gifts, centerpieces, coolers full of leftover food and drink, decorations, you name it.

Once everything and everyone was accounted for, we locked the door behind us and started walking downtown ourselves. Party #2 - here we come!

Team McLeod : The Good Life

We were both taken by surprise when groomsmen Sagar and Sam hoisted Collin up on their shoulders at the start of Weezer's The Good Life. Little did I know that I would be next.

Wahh! Pleeeease please don't drop me!
Safe in the hands of Gabe and Zack, I had so much fun. This was Sagar's first time attending and being a groomsmen in a western wedding. He's a Florida boy, but like I said before we're some of the very first of our friends to walk down this path and his family weddings have all taken place in India. I am so glad he got the guys to help him share this tradition of his own with us.
There was a lot of loud singing from everyone on the dancefloor.

After I stopped worrying about falling off their shoulders, I started worrying a little about my dress falling down off my boobs. Why didn't I put on some of that hollywood tape? I steadied myself on Collin most of the time to try and prevent both.Before we knew it, the song was over. Either that or the guys' arms were getting tired. Either way I was quite triumphant at my ability to roll with it in my wedding gown.
Congratulations on having awesome friends babe!
Then started the hugging. We all knew the night was coming to an end and I knew especially well because we planned the playlist, remember? I think I grabbed onto everyone in the hopes that it would keep the night going.
You can see I already grabbed my cute little clutch I carried at the wedding. It's barely big enough for a couple makeup essentials, my phone, and a slim stack of cash and cards, all a girl really needs.We had one more song left and I'd saved it for last.

Team McLeod : Passing the Torch

Apparently there are people out there who hate the bouquet toss. Hate. It. Being the first among our friends to get married, we didn't run into this problem whatsoever. I can't imagine having to try and coax our friends out onto the dancefloor for this, but like I said, those people do exist.

Here's my "Can I throw it yet? Are you guys ready for this?!" face. It's lovely.One, two, three...
Who will it be?!See how I had to practically drag those ladies out, kicking and screaming, to catch the bouquet?
And Anna takes it for the win. Honestly, she's the person I was aiming for in my mind when I tossed that baby over the rail. She doesn't want to get married right away or anything, but I know it's something she sees for her future - something that not every one of our friends does. A few others may have even stepped out of her way!
Coincidentally, she and her current boyfriend started dating just days after the wedding and have lots of future plans. Not one to casually date, when she starts seeing someone we know it's serious. She has one more year of grad school left before she'll be called Doctor and he's planning to spend the summer doing mission work in Africa. If anyone can make it through a long-distance relationship, it's her, and I have my fingers crossed in my mind that someday I can tell the story about how they got married thanks to Anna catching my bouquet.