After surviving our neverending hora, our guests deserved to be fed. But first we asked Mr. HC's two uncles to perform the blessing over the wine (kiddush) and bread (hamotze).
When we asked for a challah for 200, we weren't quite expecting a five-foot-long monstrosity. But there it was. In its full, phallic glory. Seriously, this thing could have had top-billing in its own x-rated video.
As you can probably tell from the face I'm making, the challah tasted like burnt cardboard.
Over the salad course, there was a warm welcome speech from my grandfather and a beautiful toast from FIL HC. We were so touched by both of their toasts that we forgot to eat, which was probably a mistake, since right afterward I was spirited off for my first wardrobe change.
Chinese brides often change several times during the course of a wedding banquet. Sounds fun in theory -- three dresses! -- but unless you've got the ability to presto chango at the push of a button (or earring, a la Jem), the custom is actually less truly truly outrageous than truly truly exhausting. Ever see the backstage sequences at a fashion show, where dresses and shoes are flying, models are running and changing at the same time, handlers are putting on new accessories with one hand and taking old ones off with the other? Sort of like that.
We then participated in yet another Chinese wedding tradition: toasting all the tables. My family was very insistent that this happen early on in the evening, as it's considered impolite in Chinese culture to allow guests to leave without a proper thank you. My grandfather, who I'm sure was a sprinter in a past life, took this task very seriously, speed-toasting from one table to the next like his shoes were on fire. Angel, wedding planner extraordinaire, guided us from table to table, making sure that we hit each one.
SIL HC then gave the most touching toast, in which she talked about how, growing up with Mr. HC as twins, she always thought that they were going to be married . . . because they wanted to be living together forever, just like mom and dad.
Hottest Sister Cocoa then sent us into tears of laughter when she brought out the AP Chemistry review book that Mr. HC got me for our one month dating anniversary (as compensation for the fact that our four-hour-long conversations every night were seriously tanking my performance in chem)! She brought down the house by reading the dorky inscription inside: "Best of luck to you with the remainder of class, and happy four week anniversary!"
Sigh. Nerd love is so embarrassing!
The love and joy were so abundant! Mr. HC's best man, a poet, touched us with his eloquent, heart-felt toast.
One last outfit change and ten more tables to toast later, I was ready to shed my bridal obligations and spend the rest of night enjoying the party. Thank the open bar that our friends were a bit toasty themselves and ready to make fools of themselves on the dance floor.
Here are my college friends spontaneously busting out into the Princeton Locomotive (a ridiculous cheer that gets ever more hilarious when one is a) at reunions, b) drunk, and c) wearing orange). I think they (and by "they," I might mean me) might have also sang a rousing chorus of "Old Nassau," the Princeton college song.
And somewhere, in between the dancing with wild abandon and making fools of ourselves, my husband and I managed to fit in some dessert . . .
It was an amazing night. A there's-no-place-I'd-rather-be, no-moment-has-brought-me-more-joy kind of night.
A please-don't-let-this-end, but-if-it-must-at-least-I-get-to-go-home-with-my-new-husband-(yay!) kind of night.