As the ink started to dry on the marriage certificate we just signed inside the church, the minds of Sidney and I started to shift to something else: the reception!
It was now time to enjoy an event that was literally a year in the making. Our reception was held at the Waterway Palms Plantation clubhouse, a beautiful and elegant structure right off of River Oaks in Myrtle Beach. To get there we jumped in the vehicle of Sidney’s parents. With my new in-laws up front, Sid and I sat in the back with our niece, Russell, who was absolutely mesmerized by the day’s activities and specifically by her aunt.
It took us about ten minutes to arrive. We drove through the gate and followed the road that took us right up to the clubhouse. On the sweltering hot day we stood on the sidewalk as we waited for our full wedding party to arrive. Once that happened, we walked right up to the entrance of the party where we were greeted by our DJ. He confirmed some name pronunciations and then he hit the music and introduced the wedding party in couples.
With Sidney and I following the four different groomsmen/bridesmaid pairs, we all strutted down the main lobby area as our guests watched us. The procession then took a sharp right to where the head table was. We all stood in our places because there was no time to sit down, it was picture time! As the guests started to get food, the wedding party went outside on one of the clubhouse decks to take photos. The photographer did his best to make sure he didn’t take more time than necessary. But even though a second wasn’t being wasted, the South Carolina heat and the magnitude of the event that had just occurred had me feeling some type of way. This is why I didn’t mind it one bit when my cousin brought me an ice cold beer to help push me through to the end of the photo session.
With the pictures complete, Sid and I walked back into the reception to enjoy our special party. We got separated at first just because so many well-wishers wanted to congratulate us. After about 15 minutes we ended up at the head table. With us both together and the reception well underway, we were prepared to do our first dance. However, Sidney’s mom and the DJ made the wise decision for us to eat something first.
We went up to the buffet line and started to load up. Chicken tenders, meat balls, mini ham biscuits, mushrooms, veggies, cheese, and so much more was waiting for us. We fixed our plates and took our seats right in the middle of the head table. This period was extremely nice. We were able to sit down, relax, eat, and share a few moments together. With food in our stomachs and some relaxation time taken, we were ready for our first dance.
Sidney and I chose “How Long Will I Love You” by Elle Goulding. The choice just seemed perfect for us. We are both big Elle fans and the lyrics spoke to our hearts. As I looked in the big brown eyes of Sid as we danced, I had never been more sure of our decision to marry.
Immediately after the first dance, my mom and Sidney’s dad came onto the dance floor. We did our father/daughter and mother/son dances jointly. I held onto my mom and Sid held onto her dad as Elton John’s “Your Song” played. The song is special to Sidney and I and as it is from our parents’ era we thought it was appropriate.
After those two emotional dances we took a few minutes to go back to the head table and relax. But the emotions started right back up again as the toasts soon followed. My brother went up and gave a heartfelt best man speech. Next came both of Sidney’s sisters who worked together to deliver a great maid/matron of honor toast.
Before we knew it, the two of us were back in the lobby area where the cake was. When it came to the cutting, I told Sidney to take the lead. She helped guide my hands as we cut the wedding cake. It both looked and tasted fantastic (no cake shoving or tossing took place).
Immediately from the cake cutting we went back to the dance floor for an Italian tradition. Have you ever heard of the coin dance? The bride and groom hit the floor and the guests throw coins while they dance. Kids then rush the floor and pick up the money. It is the only way my parents could convince me to go to weddings when I was a child. Sidney and I danced to “Amazed” by Lonestar as the coins started to fly. We couldn’t stop laughing as the children at the reception got to their hands and knees to haul in every coin they could.
Next came the bouquet toss. In the biggest surprise of the wedding (hint of sarcasm), Sidney’s toss found its way to her sister, Courtney. I followed the bouquet tradition by removing Sidney’s garter. Then, in an extraordinary stroke of luck (a tiny bit of sarcasm again), Courtney’s longtime boyfriend, John Henry, ended up catching my toss. John put the garter on Courtney and the two danced. My favorite part of the reception then occurred as a bunch of the couples at the reception then joined Courtney and John and started dancing as well. It was such a cool scene.
Just like that, it was time for the final dance. Sidney and I walked onto the floor and danced to (are you ready for it?)…..”Don’t Blink” by Kenny Chesney. The song concluded and it was time for us to make our exit. As guests blew bubbles outside the clubhouse, we went off into married life.
I want to thank Brenda (mother-in-law) and the entire Mathis family for organizing such an amazing reception. So many memories came out of it that Sidney and I will forever cherish. I have said it before and I will say it again, we are so blessed. Don’t Blink.