As the church service concluded we lined up outside the doorway into the main entrance area and graciously greeted our guests as they walked by and we felt such warmth and sincerity and were honored to see them all. It was tremendous how many people came and we felt very happy and relieved that we were able to have such a wonderful wedding ceremony. Everyone was great and the kids were so natural and so cute. Now it was time to pose for pictures outside the church. We couldn't ask for a better day. We had such beautiful sunny weather with clear blue skys and a very mild temperature. The photographers arranged a group shot with all the wedding party standing around Maria and I and all the flower girls and ring bearer standing in front of us on the steps of the church. It was such a great moment and would make a truly wonderful picture. Weddings are such joyous occasions and just being surrounded by so many family members and friends makes it all so special.
Maria and I knew we were expecting our son in December of this year so we were anticipating such good things ahead of us and were just so grateful. Maria was fortunate that she was able to conceal the pregnant look under her gown with a slightly larger gown and no one even asked or knew except close family members.
As the photographers wrapped up the photos at the church we were ready to head out in the limo to head for the reception in Oceanside but planned a stop at the Coral House by Milburn Lake in Baldwin to take some nice wedding photos outside. They posed Maria and I and the bridal party in some really nice poses right by the lake. They took lots of pictures using several roles of film and we were there for almost a half hour to three quarters of an hour. Now I figure my wife being at the center of attention as the beautiful bride had some perspective as to what it must be like to be a woman model. As we finished the photo session we headed for the reception to take more photos at the reception hall.
I was curious what our guests would say when they saw what was sitting on their seats in the main dining room. I remember when I was at the mall I got the idea and thought it would make a nice little complimentary gift in addition to our wedding favors. I must had cleaned out the store as I bought all different combinations of beanie babies which were pretty popular and for sure I knew the kids would love them and they were very cute.
The guests were still enjoying the cocktail hour as Maria and I were taking family pictures. In the photo session I made a special request to have a picture taken with a girl I became friends with on a group Contiki tour where we travelled throughout the countryside of the United Kingdom travelling in England, Scotland and Wales in the summer of 1997. Her name was Julianne Schumacher from Buffalo Grove, Illinois and I was delighted that she came to our wedding. I thought it was very kind of her as she made the trip from near Chicago, Illinois. It was all so innocent as I sent her a complimentary invitation not really expecting her to come. She really gave me a pleasant surprise when she accepted to come. Another friend who lived locally who I also became friends with on the tour, Robert Findaro accomodated her and drove her to the reception. He was the one who actually placed an ad in the local church bulletin looking for a travel mate for the tour and I was fortunate to reply. As a result I experienced a wonderful trip, making great friendships and this was proof of that. Julianne posed with Maria and I also and we were grateful that she was here to celebrate with us.
The cocktail hour was coming to a close as we were wrapping up with the photo session as well. The main dining room was now ready for the guests as they started to head for their assigned tables. The bridal party was instructed to line up outside the entrance way to be announced into the reception area to the applause of our guests. It was exciting and we waited for all in front of us to enter before we were called in to make our entrance for the first time as Mr. and Mrs. Iannielli. I believe they had the theme to Rocky playing as we were announced into the reception and we entered gracefully and were very overwhelmed with all the guests applause. As the DJ called for our first dance we lined up in the center and held each other tight as we danced to our favorite Shania Twain song "From this moment on" and I had tears in my eyes and I looked over to my dad and my sisters and towards heaven for my mom's approval. It was a very emotional time for me and I was caught up in the moment. I looked at Maria and I just felt so blessed to have her in my life and thinking about our soon to be born son.
As the song played we danced slowly and in step with the music as the DJ asked all to get up on the dance floor and join with us. It was very special.
As the ceremony proceeded it seemed like a dream at times and then friends would come up to Maria and I and talk and give us gifts and say how nice the service was and how nice a couple we are. The time seemed to go by so fast and we were enjoying the celebration and the company. My best man performed a nice tribute toast and the girls all looked so beautiful in their dresses. The staff started taking our orders as they brought out salads and pasta to all the guests. We were seated at the elevated dais with special bride and groom chairs. I ordered the chicken while Maria ordered salmon. We enjoyed the pasta and salad.
The guests all liked the beanie babies as it was a hit and as I suspected the kids loved them. I was going on a hunch and it was right. As the guests finished the 1st course the main course was being brought out to the tables.
At times I needed to just walk around and check in with family and friends and thank them for coming and ask how everything was going. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and were busy eating.
We posed for pictures for special requests from our guests and felt flattered. The DJ was doing a fine job as were the photographers and the hostesses. It was all going well and we were out on the dance floor with our guests on several occasions dancing to all types of music and all types of dances. The electric slide and the chicken dance were popular with the guests as was the limbo.
Now it was time for Maria and I to cut the wedding cake and do the act along with the DJ's coaching in feeding one another which got laughs from our guests.
Everyone was invited up to the dance floor while the staff brought out the cake to all the guests. I was a bit tired so I just sat at our table and requested a glass of milk to go with my cake. It was delicious. Maria was on the dance floor with all the girls having a wonderful time. It seemed like we were here for just an hour but it was nearing the end as we were approaching the 5 hour mark. We really enjoyed ourselves and everyone was out there dancing and having a good time. I couldn't wait to take off my tux as I felt Maria would probabaly want to stay in her gown the whole day as I feel it is every girl's wish to be the beautiful bride.
As the wedding ceremony was wrapping up and the guests were saying their good byes we were preparing for making final payment for the event and we were very pleased. I also wanted to make sure I tipped the staff properly. It was a beautiful day as we now prepared for gathering all our gifts and saying our good byes and embracing everyone and thanking them for coming.
Now we were ready to head home and prepare for our trip to Florida in the morning. We had a wonderful day and everyone was perfect especially my beautiful wife.