The Reception

We searched a long time for the perfect reception location. We finally found it when we walked into the City Club, which is a private club on the 69th floor of Bank of America Plaza, the neon-lined, tallest building in Dallas. It’s perfectly iconic with incredible views – you can see the buildings of Fort Worth’s downtown on a clear day, which is about 30 miles away. It was a short drive, about 15 minutes, but it was MORE than worth the inconvenience. As a sixth-generation Texan and a descendant of the La Reunion colonizers who helped settle Dallas, it was the perfect place to begin my married life.

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We took a private car there and chatted about the ceremony as we approached downtown. We ogled our new wedding rings, and I showed him the much-talked-about hair pin, as well as my grandmother’s white, silk handbag with tiny stitched flowers.

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We got to skip the long valet line and scoot right in, and we arrived far earlier than we planned for. That gave us a couple of minutes to walk through the space and see all the choices we’d made on paper come to life. We took a couple more minutes to sit alone and were brought drinks (champagne for me, and scotch for him) and canapes. We also pulled the best man and maid of honor aside and filled out the marriage license on top of a grand piano.

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We made our entrance and danced to Ella and Louis’ “Our Love is Here to Stay.” I had an extremely long to-do list leading up to this day, and only two things didn’t get done. One, I didn’t get back to the mall to buy the bracelet I wanted to wear, and two, I didn’t create an edited, shortened version of this song for the DJ. It’s kind of an awkward experience for everyone, the first dance; everyone stares at you as you share a fairly intimate moment with your new spouse, wishing you would finish so they can hurry up and eat dinner already. The fun part, though, during three minutes that felt like a hour, was finally getting to watch Barry dance. He hates it. Refuses to do any more than sway along with me, and even that is dangerous territory. For three and a half years, he always said, “I’ll dance on our wedding day.” And. He. Did.

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The rest was an incredible whirlwind, the best kind of busyness. All the people we love most in the world were all in one room, and our only job, after six months of SO MANY JOBS was to spend time with and enjoy them. After three and a half years, we’ve met most of each other’s important people, but some came from out of town or state and gave us the opportunity to finally meet each other. Our families got to meet our work families.

The main reason we chose City Club was the incredible view. There was so much going on that I didn’t notice the changing light as much as I wanted, but it was a prime spot to watch the sun set on this city that has been the setting for the White/Goetsell side of my family for six generations.

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The food was excellent! We had a tasting many weeks prior, but having eaten so little during the months leading up to the wedding, it tasted better than I remembered. The staff set up a table just for us near the windows, and they served us plates and drinks while the rest of the party ate buffet-style. We would have been happy with the cheapest package, but my parents very graciously went for the beef tenderloin, Madeira chicken, and grilled salmon with dill sauce. There was also a quartet of different salads and roasted vegetables, but my favorite of all was the Asiago cheese mashed potatoes. I lost 14 pounds in the six months between the proposal and the wedding, half of that in the last month, and I don’t think mashed potatoes have ever tasted so good. So many people complain they didn’t get to eat at their own wedding, but we made sure that would not happen to us. I’m pretty sure we even got seconds, and the staff brought me as much champagne and Barry as much Scotch throughout the night as we had time to drink! We consider ourselves foodies, and thanks to my parents, we and our guests ate and drank very well that night.

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Four people toasted us after dinner: my sister Lindsey, the matron of honor, Barry’s best friend Matt, the best man, Barry’s mother, Gay, and my father, Don. It was an honor to hear the nice, funny things they had to say and all the well wishes for our married life together (although I must admit, of all the day’s details, this is the most blurry). I’ve made three maid-of-honor toasts in the last few years, and after all that pressure to be appropriately witty and sentimental, it was really nice to just be able to stand there and drink champagne!

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Some aspects of wedding planning were tedious, but one of the most fun parts was the cake details. It was so fun to see all our choices come to life. Instead of a traditional bride’s cake, I wanted these petits fours a Grand Prairie baker has been making for our family events for years. They have always been delicious, and we had her make white ones with “G” monogrammed in navy and orange, our colors.  We also had a small, white square cake as the top layer. I’d seen it in a magazine and had to give it a try – when you cut into it, the layers are a rainbow!! We both went to SMU, and Barry chose red and blue for the groom’s cake. Go Mustangs!

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Cutting into the rainbow cake was a highlight of the evening for me. Helped alleviate the awkwardness of cutting and feeding each other cake in front of everyone.

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There was a lot of dancing happening for my taste…but it made for cute pictures, so that’s okay. We decided to combine the daddy-daughter and mother-son dances to the Beatles’ “In My Life.” It reminded us of all the people we love, those who were there that night and those who have passed. We remembered Barry’s father, Griff, and our grandparents, none of whom lived to see us get married. My dad’s mother, Mimi, got to be at Lindsey’s wedding, and both my grandmother’s were at Jeff’s. I never felt like I missed out on much not getting married until my 30’s, but I have to say, I wish it had been earlier in life simply to be able to share the day with those we miss so much. I know that hit Barry and Gay hard during this dance.

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The last hour or so was a really fun combination of dancing, talking, drinking champagne, and just having fun enjoying the party we’d planned. Barry appeased me, and the DJ played “Gangnam Style,” which was fun for everybody – okay, mostly just me. We also did an anniversary dance where the longest-married couple was the last standing. It was fun to see so many couples I admire dancing all together to Adam Sandler’s “Grow Old With You.” The DJ handed out glow sticks to the wedding party, and I was a little distracted at the time, but it looks like they had fun! My bridesmaid Emily, my cousin, helped us that night with Mia, our flower girl, and they did a little dancing, too. Emily is so good with kids.

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I was completely shocked when Evie, our planner, told us it was time to go. It was three hours long, and I wish we’d had 3 more. Before we made our exit, the staff cleared everyone out of the reception area to go downstairs and get ready to see us off. We danced in the empty City Club to Harry Connick, Jr.’s “The Way You Look Tonight,” and it was a really great way to soak up the moment without all the distraction, letting us focus for a moment on the most important part of the day – that we had just joined our lives together, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, forsaking all others, ’til death parts us.

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It was the most wonderful whirlwind of a night. When we made our exit, our friends and family showered us with Flutterfetti! We made our way through the fluttering colors to our car, which took us to the Magnolia Hotel, where a beautiful downtown suite and packed-up CAKE awaited. We were so lucky – it really was the best day ever, one neither of us will ever forget!

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