We then finally had the chance to sit down and the first course was served. I was a bit dismayed to have to sit on the head table with the out-laws and some seemingly distant relative of Dear's. But it was OK, I was able to eat (though the jellyfish was so chewy that I almost choked, or was it my nerves?), unlike Dear who went around like the town mayor to make sure the vegetarian ppl were OK and that they had stuff to eat (totally different menu for them).
Just when I started my shark fin soup I was whisked away to do the cake-cutting. Unfortunately we chose a really short song for this (Sarah McLachlan's "Ice Cream") and our photographer wanted to set us up with a million and one different poses. When we finally got to the cake, we had no idea how to cut it (at first we were cutting the cardboard in between the layers) and for some reason I made a very thin slice before Dear said we should cut something bigger, which was a bit of a struggle. We also had issues sliding the piece out onto the plate, but with the help of my fingers, it made it to the plate. :P Somehow or other we finally got a DELICIOUS bite of the cake. I totally wanted to stuff the rest of the slice into my mouth but only made away with a lick of my fingers. [VH1 "Pop Up Video"-like sidenote: I got the cake knife and server 2 days before the wedding because we weren't sure whether the restaurant provided it. We looked high and low (OK, not very high, nor low) for a plain one. There were a lot with frilly patterns or porcelain handles, which I totally didn't want, nor did I want to spend a buttload of money on it. I finally found a plain one at Macy's for about $20 -- woo hoo!]
AFTER: the lovely cake mutilated and yummified in my tummy
We sat down for a brief instant and I was called to do the bouquet toss thing. Dear got to finish his shark fin soup while I did this ritual that I was really torn about. On the one hand, I've always hated being singled out (why should you be 'punished' b/c you're single?!) but I also didn't want to exclude anyone in case they really wanted to participate. I once went to a wedding where all the single women were called up (I went reluctantly) but I was pleasantly surprised to see that instead of the embarassing garter toss, etc. the bride gave everyone who went up a mini bouquet. I was thinking of doing the same thing but it was hard to gauge the number of people who would go up, plus I kinda forgot. Anyway, a few women went up and the MC (completely against my wishes -- I explicitly told him I didn't want to make it a big deal and that I didn't care if only a few ppl went up) tried to get me to coax more ppl up, even asking me if I saw anyone sitting who should have been (I barely looked across the room and said I think that's it). When the MC was finally satisfied with the group on the floor, I did my toss and I guess everyone moved away from it (the dance floor was huge so they had a lot of places to run) so I tossed it again... and again. The MC then made all the girls form a circle with their backs turned so that I could choose someone. Great... such pressure!! I looked for my friend who's getting married next year but she wisely chose to remain seated (or hidden) and I thought long and hard about who would enjoy the flowers the most without being embarassed to the heavens. I finally settled on the person who was closest to the bouquet last (it landed by her feet but she refused to pick it up). In pictures, her expression at getting picked was total shock/mortification (classic!) but when she found out there was no garter toss she was all OK (afterwards she said that if she knew there was no garter thing she would have gladly accepted the flowers the first time around).
By this time, my soup was cold and starting to congeal but I had to go change to my red qi pao. I grabbed BM (I normally have no problems changing on my own but I needed someone to add the flowers to my hair) and all the other BMs followed me to my little chamber. It was nice to be waited on (one person fixing my hair, the other two adding on some of the gold jewelry that I received at the tea ceremony). :D I was also very grateful when I had to pee earlier on and one held my dress up and another watched the door. :)) And to continue this TMI stream (no pun intended -- haha!), I forgot to put on my SPANX (to flatten my gargantuan tummy and slim my tree-trunk thighs so that I could sit in the tight-fitting dress) and I had to put it on after the fact. It was no easy task, so word of advice, remember your SPANX ahead of time!!
If my red dress fit better, I'd be more ecstatic about it. But for less than $100, I was satisfied. My mother helped me pick it out and she really liked it (yes, I finally did something she approved of). I also really liked the different look of the keyhole opening in the front and the delicate gold embroidery all over it. Anyway, when I came out, we danced to "The Lady in Red."If I had my druthers, I would have put more effort into choosing a song for this part b/c it just seems so cliche but I've always liked that song, so it wasn't that terrible. After the quick dance (and requisite snapshots), we went around to toast the tables. The restaurant manager had already mixed Coke with Sprite in goblets for us, though I would have enjoyed seeing some ppl do silly drinking games with liquor. :)
One of the things that I appreciated about the MC was his introduction of this toasting by saying that the table who makes the most noise when we come around would get a special treat (don't know if he followed through on this) b/c it got us some really good reactions. Unfortunately we had a schedule to keep and we couldn't chat longer with some ppl and the restaurant manager kept moving us along. He also tried to keep us in the right order -- groom's parents, followed by bride and groom together, then bride's parents, and the rest of the bridal party -- but we wanted to stray at times like when Dear was catching up with his friends but no one else knew the ppl on that table and they wanted to move along.
After the toasting, the banquet was pretty much over. The photographer took off soon after (so it must have been around 9:30), the fried rice and noodles came out, and the cake was put out, along with the ice cream. I'm not sure how many ppl knew about the ice cream but there should not have been an excuse for the cake, except that the MC was remiss and did not mention it at all. I changed into my final dress of the evening (perhaps my favorite) and rested/hid a while as ppl did the conga line outside. Call me a party-pooper but I don't dance and I don't like being forced to, so I may not have partied as much as I should have but it looked like other ppl didn't mind and had fun anyway. The MC did pull us out at the end when everyone formed a circle and cheered us on. We came out and stood in the center of the circle but had no idea what to do (were we supposed to dance? laugh? sing?) and eventually the MC made everyone give us a group hug.
Oh, did I forget the toasts? I don't remember at all when they took place (after the cake cutting? after the bouquet toss?) but all three were really nice and full of sweet sentiments. It was good that none of them were really embarassing (my poor BM seemed extremely nervous!!) but had humor nevertheless. The only bad thing was that ppl are crazy RUDE and continued to talk as the toasts were given so some ppl said they could barely hear anything. I also somewhat regret not giving a toast of our own, thanking everyone for coming. We were so busy (and such slackers w/ the MC) that it completely slipped our mind. :T
And before we knew it, ppl started leaving and we were saying good bye to them by the door as they left. At one point, the aunt and uncle that came too late for the tea ceremony rushed over and put the necklace they bought on me. It was a bit weird but I remember their gift most clearly. :) As the restaurant cleared of people, our wonderful helpers cleaned everything up and packed stuff away. I sat like the little diva that I am, resting my aching feet until almost everyone was gone. At the end, some of my friends stayed behind to keep me company and it was good to chat with them. When my parents were leaving, my brother gave a little speech to Dear welcoming him to the family and said some mushy stuff to me too. He then gave me a bear hug (even lifting me off the floor), causing me to leave a smear of runny makeup on his rented tux.
Eventually Dear and I drove to the church where we dropped off a whole bunch of stuff at FIL's office and we went to Pathmark to get some drinks (completely parched and someone had packed away all the leftover drinks by then) so that we could properly chow down on the leftovers from our table. :)