No Tears Allowed!
Photo from BM B
At the last minute, we made a brilliant strategic move and presented gifts to each bridal party pair instead of letting Mr. Snow Cone work through all the guys followed by me gifting all the girls. This back-and-forth gift presentation style was immensely helpful when it came to planning what you were going to say and collecting yourself before/after a particularly heartfelt speech. I have no doubt that we would have been weepy without the intermittent moments of recovery during the gifts. To be honest, I was so glad to have this part behind me. I knew how emotional it could get, and on top of that, I had nothing prepared. I foolishly assumed we'd be spit-balling it up there, talking freely about our closest friends and family. And then Mr. Snow Cone, ever the preparer, whips out a sheet with talking points for all of his people. Thanks for the heads-up, babe. :)
Caught red-handed with his talking points
Photo from BM E
We worked our way through each pair, thanking them for all of their help and support over the course of our relationship.
We gave the BMs a crystal bowl from Tiffany's and we gave the GMs a tie/pocket silk/cufflink set to wear to the wedding. After finishing up with the bridal party, we moved on to my two younger brothers, who served as ushers. Mr. Snow Cone presented them with ties for the wedding as well, remarking how he knew he fit in with the brothers once the good-natured teasing about college football began. His comment was met with some laughter and high-fives.
Finally, we gifted a Crate & Barrel gift card to my older brother and sister-in-law, who had given us infinite pieces of wedding-related advice over our engagement, and had, in some sense, become our last-minute DOCs. We decided to newlywed-group-hug.
And, just like that, we made it through our gifts! A few teary moments, but no tears were actually shed, so we considered it a clear success. I think everyone in the crowd was relieved to make it through those emotionally choppy waters, too.
(Favorite part of this photo is definitely my dad cracking up)With the gift presentation over, everyone moved down to the tent so FIL Snow Cone could offer a toast to kick off the dinner portion of the evening. He kept it short and sweet, offering three mini-toasts. First, he thanked my parents for hosting the event and for the role they've played in caring for and shaping Mr. Snow Cone. Second, he asked us to take a moment to reflect on the empty chairs around the tables, signifying the loved ones who have passed on. Finally, he stated that every morning when he wakes up, he knows that he is going to love MIL Snow Cone even more than he loved her the day before, and he wished that same love upon us as we started our own marriage.
Photo from BM E
Even though we made it through the gifts without any tears, the same most definitely cannot be said about the toast. Everyone had a little glint in their eye and a sniffle in their nose as we reflected on his message that special evening. Fortunately, there wasn't too much time to be sad or sentimental, since we had a feast waiting for us!
All photos by BM J unless otherwise noted