And so we move on, they story continues with the next chapter of our little wedding posts! Last we left off, Mariko and I were working on all the wedding prep at the beginning of the summer. I won't bore you all with the dirty details of wedding planning, but as I'm sure you can all tell we got things finished!
We'll do a little time jump around this point to July 20th, 2011. It is Wednesday before the wedding and people are starting to arrive in town. We had visitors from California, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington, Texas, Utah and even the far off land of Japan. We were lucky enough to have quite a few friends and family make the trip.
Since we knew that we were going to gone for some time, and people were making the long trek to see us, we tried to visit everyone as much as possible.... including turning the Bachelor/Bachelorette parties into more of a family time. Which also works because Mariko and I can be a little "boring" at times. We started off in Greenwood Village with some classic bowling, everyone loves bowling after all, right? We had a slightly smaller turn out for this event, but not everyone was quite in town yet. We had two people per lane, and I was paired up with my Best Man Josh. Though we were the slowest group due to little Brenden not liking his daddy letting go of him to bowl. Yes Brenden is a super daddy's boy and isn't happy with anyone else when Josh is around. A few high pitches and some fussiness, but overall Brenden didn't do too bad. One up side to the bowling was I was able to beat Josh at every game..... for those that aren't familiar with Josh and I, we are very, VERY, VERY competitive with each other. And I usually lose. But it was all in good fun. After bowling we hung out and played some video games for a little bit before moving onward to dinner!
Dinner was a slightly larger crowd as my dad, sisters and Rhonda were able to make it. Sadly Josh and Renee didn't make it out to Red Robin with us. It was their anniversary that day, and I don't begrudge them wanting to have some alone time together. We had plenty of people to keep us busy at dinner though. Sadly most everyone was looking rather tired, but it was a long day for people and I could tell they would be happy when the hotel was in sight. Dinner went rather fast and uneventful, though it was amusing to watch my friend Sara play with my nephews using her Asian voice (she teaches kindergarten in Japan).
Afterwards we all made our way to the hotel that we were going to stay at for the wedding, Ramada Plaza in Northglenn. Here's a tip for those of you considering staying there..... don't. The hotel itself wasn't overly bad, the rooms just looked liked they hadn't been properly maintained in sometime. The biggest problem was the service! Their were a lot of conventions going on in town that day and we were all lucky that we were able to get get rooms. The funny part about that is we ALL had reservations, a block of rooms actually, and some people were told that since they didn't check in before 6pm there rooms were given away. And even better is the fact that all the rooms should have been close together, the basic purpose of a block of rooms, but we were scattered on every floor.
Finally settled, a few rooms switched around, and we were ready for a drink, especially Mariko!! We met most of the family down at the bar that was attached to the hotel for some drinks and a little game of "Apples to Apples". Mariko went with a classic Fat Tire and I chose a Hurricane! Its amusing to find out that I was able to drink that night (you'll hear why I say that later). The evening was winding down at this point and we were all very tired so it was about that time we called it a night.
The next day started a little early for Mariko and her sister as all the bridesmaids were taking Mariko out for Mani-Pedis. And Mariko being the nail polish connoisseur that she is made sure to take along her own nail polish for the fun event. The girls spent most of the late morning and early afternoon out, going out to lunch at Olive Garden following their girly time. They met us all at the venue at 2:00pm for our rehearsal of the wedding.
While the girls were out being girly, I was relaxing a bit at the hotel with my dad and sisters. My eldest sister, Elizabeth, and I took a nice walk across the street to a lake that we would go to often when we first moved to Colorado. A light lunch followed that, and then to venue for us to meet up with the girls. The rehearsal went quite quickly and we were able to get a good feel for how the "Big Day" was going to play out. Dan, our officiant, gave us exactly all our instructions and what needed to happen when. And of course everyone knows what comes after the rehearsal... the rehearsal dinner!
We chose to eat at Old Chicago, mainly because it was safe for Mariko, but also because it has a fairly good variety for most people. Now you remember when I said that I found it interesting that I was able to drink Wednesday night, well here is why. As I was trying to order a very fun Pina Colada, the waitress kindly informed me that my Driver's License was expired.... and had been since June 22nd, just under a month ago. A very pointed look from my police officer father followed that. Sorry Dad! Minus having to switch table due to a leaky AC unit, the rest of the dinner went smoothly and was quite fun.
Dinner was finished rather early for us, mainly because we ate early, but there were still things for Mariko and I to do before she disappeared for the night. We sequestered ourselves in our hotel room for a few hours and finished some last minute plans for the DJ. Plus we decided that we should try and practice our first dance.... we didn't want to make complete fools of ourselves at our own wedding. After spending some more time with family in the bar and having a few drinks with some friends, Mariko packed her things and went off to spend the night with her sister..... all those pesky traditions and things. Luckily I crashed a little after midnight (I was worried that I wouldn't be sleeping at all).
And the next morning dawned and things began to move.... but that is a chapter for another time. Stay tuned for the last post, the one that I'm sure most of you have been waiting for. And I apologize if this post was rather long and boring... a lot happened, and I can never really tell exactly what people are going to want to read about. So I type what I think and say go for it. If you think I skimmed something too much, or want some more info about a certain time over those days, let me know and I add more!