Remember in this post when I said how loved I felt on my hen party?
As if it couldn’t get any better, the Brit and I were showered again with love on Saturday the 19th of January by about 35 of our friends and family here in England. Two of our most special friends and their kids were sadly unable to come to the wedding, and as their gift to us, they asked if they could throw us a party when we returned. We were extremely touched by this gesture, and they set off planning this party for us. All that we were told was the date and that we would be picked up at 7:30. The rest was a surprise!
Remember my love-hate relationship with surprises I mentioned with regards to the hen party? The Brit and I together to talk about and wonder is about 100 times worse than me on my own! Oh, it was a fun three weeks in our house. Regardless of how much we had attempted to find out the details prior to the party, we were very much looking forward to seeing what was to come on Saturday.
We dressed in our ‘rehearsal dinner outfits,’ which were completely inappropriate for the time of year as we had just had a snow storm. (As the Brit says, “Everyone should have a rehearsal dinner outfit!” Ha!) To make it even better, I wore my wellies to the party as I had visions of myself wiping out in my heels before we arrived. We were quite the sight!
Us with our amazing friends who planned the party for us!
We were picked up and whisked away to the unknown (okay, at this point it was known because we are super sleuths!) location, and we were both a little nervous just because of the unexpected. I walked into the room first, and it is such an odd sensation having a party thrown for you because you just do not know where to look. I realize that sounds completely daft, but when all of these people are there to see you and to celebrate with you, then you want them to all feel equally special to you.
So, in we walk to Club Tropicana by Wham! – me in my wellies and the Brit in what he has come to call his ‘game show host jacket’ – and we were truthfully surprised by how many people were there! Their kids, who are just great*, were waiting for us at the door with tropical cocktails, and you could tell how excited they were for us to be there and to see everything they had done. It was so sweet.
They decked the venue out with beach-themed decor, including our actual centerpieces and a sign we had made from the wedding day. Our professional photographs were streaming on the television. The amount of effort and love that went into the whole evening was so touching. We were overwhelmed! Everyone was so excited for us and really wanted to hear about the wedding day! It was really nice.
After lots of chatting, our friends asked the Brit if he wanted to say a few words, and so he said some very nice things and gave a big thank you to our hosts for the lovely night. Then, as if we weren’t surprised enough, they said they had some people across the pond who wanted to wish us well. (I tear up even thinking about it now.) What a shock! They had gathered video messages from my parents, my brother and sister-in-law, and three of my bridesmaids. It was so thoughtful. As an expat, there are a lot of things you want to share with your family and friends back home, but it just isn’t possible. It’s something you have to come to terms with when you live abroad and sometimes it is easier than others. I would have given anything for all of them to be with us on that night, so having them be part of it through their videos was extra special.
A friend of ours DJ-ed throughout the night, and we boogied the night away. There was a brief intermission in which we lit off sky lanterns, which we had bought to set off on the beach on our wedding day in the DR. However, it was fairly windy on our wedding day, so to avoid catching the palapa huts on fire that idea had to be nixed. This meant 20 lanterns came back to the UK with us. It was such a cool thing to do and the night of the 19th was very still, so the lanterns went up perfectly. (I wish I had some good photos of this, but the combination of alcohol and darkness hindered my photography skills.)
After the lantern lighting, it was back to the dance floor until last call when 8 of us decided we still weren’t done partying and we sauntered (the wellies came back on!) to the nearest dive club/pub. True testament to the divey-ness of this place…they didn’t serve wine, so some of our friends were drinking Smirnoff Ice. (I, by this time, was only on water.) It was an incredible night that both of us felt the effects of the next morning!
I don’t think I can say it enough that our friends and family (on both sides of the Atlantic!) are truly special people. I feel especially grateful to have been welcomed so quickly and lovingly into the Brit’s group of friends. It really does feel like I’ve been here forever when it comes to hanging out with all of them. We can’t thank our hosts and the people who attended enough for helping us celebrate our wedding one last time!
*The first time we saw them after the wedding, their daughter asked me if I was part of their family now…and then I melted into a puddle. Okay, really, I gave her a big hug and a kiss. But seriously, I wanted to cry big fat tears of happy — in their eyes, we are no longer Uncle Richard and Becky, but Uncle Richard and Auntie Becky.