So, this weekend I attended Sam and Claudia's wedding. It was, of course, awesome!
Due to a slight communications mishap I couldn't go to the shabbat service that started off the weekend, but after arriving in Boston and renting a car I did get there in time for most of the subsequent dinner. Afterwards, a bunch of us went to the Thirsty Scholar in Cambridge (not my first time there) for a little while en route to dropping off Coree and Mike at the place they were staying. Heading back to the hotel (after picking up my car at the temple), we took 128 to the Middlesex Turnpike and went north. And we drove. And drove. And after what seemed like much too far, I pulled over and asked Rob and Angela if we had gone too far, but we thought not and resolved to go at least to the next major intersection. It was about a half mile further down the road. :)
The following day, we all went in to Cambridge again, and we walked to Harvard Square where we had an excellent lunch at the Finagle a Bagel, and then browsed at the Coop for a while. We went back to the hotel fairly early because we (or at least, the wedding party) didn't want there to be any chance of rushing and being late for the pictures at 5:30. After they left, Mike and I finished watching Clash of the Titans (ha!) and then went to the cathedral of reading---that is, the ginormous two-story Barnes and Noble's just off of 128 in Lexington---before going back to the hotel to pick up my forgotten camera and then proceeding on to the temple.
We were still pretty early, so we stuck around outside and chatted with the non-occupied members of the wedding party and the few other people that were there at that point. Eventually, people started arriving for the pre-wedding reception; we helped direct people for a while until it became very obvious where the party was, and then went in. The hors d'œuvres were fantastic (of course), and I met several members of Sam and Claudia's family that I hadn't previously. Eventually, we were directed to enter the sanctuary.
The ceremony itself was relatively short, and since it was bracketed by a reception and a dinner it almost felt like it was just the middle part of the larger event. At the same time, there was not at all a rushed feeling of "hurry up so we can get to the reception" that some weddings seem to have. The whole ritual was entrancing, with the rabbi switching fluently back and forth between Hebrew and English, and the cantor singing beautifully in Hebrew. When they got to the "Do you?", Sam and Claudia both responded more loudly and clearly than I remember hearing at any other wedding, he with an "Absolutely!" and she with a "Yes I do!". The ceremony closed with a really catchy song and then we went back out to eat dinner.
Dinner, too, was excellent. There were no less than eight speakers (best man, all four parents, the maid of honour, and then Sam and Claudia themselves), but while this might have been a cause for dread in some places, here it certainly was not. Many of them ran long, but they were all witty and clever and made some really nice speeches. Two of them brought out emails that Sam had sent them just after meeting Claudia, and it was really sweet. Eventually they got everyone out on the dance floor to dance the hora, a circle dance not entirely unlike one I learned at a Greek (meaning Hellenic) party once, except for the lifting people up on chairs part. Anyway, the band kept playing until 12:30, and then the party broke up for the night.
It reconvened the next morning at 10 or 10:30, depending on who you talked to, and Rob needed to go pick up Coree and Mike in Cambridge, so Angela and I drove. Except, we left the hotel at 9:20, so we got to Sam's house ridiculously early and decided to drive to downtown Lexington and walk around a little before returning right about at 10. It was at this brunch that I finally met Sam's sister and her husband, who everyone assumed I already had met and so never bothered to introduce. The food served, catered by the same group as the other three food events, was again great, featuring omelets, blintzes, and some really good lox and bagels. After a long stretch of hanging out at this party, I finally departed with the last of the non-family-members around 1:30. I dropped off Rob's tux at the pizza place (which was next door to the rental place, which was closed on Sundays) and proceeded to Cambridge, where I dropped off my stuff and drove my car back to Back Bay, drove around for about twenty minutes looking for a gas station, and finally returned it.
"The closest I get is the first 10