The wedding had two receptions. That was the answer to the question I'd had when I saw that the wedding started at 2 PM, but the reception wouldn't be until 6. What were we supposed to do in the meantime? The answer was eat some more.
The first reception was at the church, out the door, to the left, and then down the stairs. The room was not really big enough for the crowd, but that issue worked itself out as the more agoraphobic among us cleared out. There were sandwiches and spring rolls and cheeses and tiny red velvet cupcakes. There was also wine, because this was a Catholic church. I recognized it as being left over from the rehearsal dinner the night before. I ate and drank and mingled, like you do at a reception.
Then the crowd really started to thin out, and I spied the groom carrying a couple of bottles of wine, full, but opened and recorked. He beckoned for us to follow. Josh was an usher that afternoon, which I have discovered as the sweet spot for wedding enjoyment. Very little responsibility, no posing for pictures, but full wedding party privileges. Actually, I guess being the date of an usher is the sweetest spot of all.
We walked outside with the rest of the wedding party and there, as if it were waiting for us, was a party bus. Maybe this was the answer to the two receptions. There were not actually two receptions, but one long one at three different locations: the church, the country club, and the party bus itself.
I have never been on a party bus. In fact, I don't think I even knew you could just rent one. It was a regular short-style bus, purple, with the name of the company on the side. The driver was separated from the party area by walls and a door. There was one long padded bench that ran along the inside. Beneath the bench were compartments where you could store your party supplies. Along the top were a variety of glasses - pint, shot, and wine. We passed out the wine glasses, which were all souvenirs from local vineyards. The lights and the windows were dimmed, and there was music. More than once, I caught the reflection of my flushed and happy face in the mirrored door.
The groom told the driver that we didn't have to be at the country club until 5, so just drive around awhile. He poured everyone a fresh glass of wine. Someone tried to pass around a flask, but it seems that we are all old enough to know how to pace ourselves.
So we just rode around for a while. There was a place to hookup an iPod in the back, so someone designated themselves DJ. We danced as well as we could in our seats and sang enthusiastically when we knew the words - our rendition of "Piano Man" was surely for the ages. Every once in a while, someone would raise their glass to toast the newlyweds, at which point the rest of us would go "Wooooo!" Once, I said "Woo!" out of pure excitement, which started up everyone else. We were in a woo-ing kind of mood.
After only a short trip on the party bus, we pulled up to a pristine golf course and club, our final destination. There was more wine, appetizers, wine, dinner, cake, and then dancing.
At 10 PM, I discovered the only drawback about arriving on the party bus - our car was still at the church. And since we had been woo-ing it up in the bus rather than watching the road, I really had no idea where I even was. Some club employees gave me a number for a cab, which I guess means that there is a hidden fee in riding the party bus. Whatever. Worth it.