So by 11:00, Dan and the dogs (along with 95% of our family and friends) were on their way home, prepared to sit in labor day traffic on route 16. I, on the other hand, was headed up up to the fairgrounds with my parents, my new in-laws and my grandparents to clean everything up.
The benches that had been moved for our guests to sit on at the ceremony needed to be transported back to their original spot. All the presents and cards had to get packed up along with EVERYTHING ELSE.
All of a sudden I realized why people rent things like lanterns and cake stands. So the following things were removed from the building: 6 strings of lights, 15 centerpieces, 5 bar table centerpieces, the drink dispensers and all of the alcohol and drink mixers we purchased. All of the mason jars that people didn't take home, 40 or so cupcakes, lobster lollipops that people didn't eat, 30 lanterns from the ceremony, programs, scrapbooks, a photobooth and all of the props that were inside it. Leftover snack packs, table runners, 50 origami stars, all of the old wedding paraphernalia from my relatives and in-laws, about 120 "napkins" that were actually grill towels, a huge cupcake stand, all of the plants we had purchased to "beautify" along with about 30 birch tree limbs we had tied up to the posts. The cake that was about 95% un-touched, the table signs and the ceramic cups that held them, the patio furniture and tent that went completely unused, all the gifts and cards... and 120 place settings consisting of a dinner, and salad plate, soup bowl, saucer and tea cup.
Oh yah, all of those 120 settings had to be washed first... by hand, with a hose.
So while the men took truckloads back and forth to the farmhouse, my Mom, Nana, great Aunt Jean, new mother-in-law and I washed dishes in rubbermaid bins outside the resource center. Luckily the weather was fair enough for us to get through it. Though admittedly, after about 80 settings I had to sit down on the ground and dry the dishes to re-pack them so my friend Amy could use them at her wedding in September, 2012. I was exhausted and started to get a bit cranky. When I thought about Dan driving home after having done almost no clean up, I got mad... only to be calmed by the fact that he was definitely sitting in bumper to bumper traffic.
Though the work wasn't quick, eventually it all got done, and everything that had been transported to Maine in the numerous weekend trips leading up to the wedding was all back in my grandparent's barn. My new father-in-law swept the floor and with that, we were out and it was all over.
Back the house, we found that Texas (my grandparents black lab) had eaten our wedding cake... all of it. We didn't really want to eat frozen year old cake anyway! We all sat down for a drink and after a little while my in-laws started to head for Connecticut, hoping that they had missed most of the traffic.
At the farmhouse, my Mom and Dad, my sister, Nana and Papa, Aunt Jean and I sat on the porch watching the rain roll in. All was quiet and calm, signaling that yes, it really was all over. My Mom made everyone dinner (not sure where she conjured the energy, but God bless her soul for it!) and we looked at the photobooth pictures on my netbook.
When the rain cleared, my sister helped me pack up the jeep with as much as I could fit in it to take home. I couldn't even believe the amount of stuff that all had to be transported back to Connecticut eventually. (As of April 29, 2012 there are still items in the barn).
By about 8:00 p.m. I was fast asleep on a twin size bed with my sister in the twin beside me and my parents in the full-size bed across the room. My new husband was 250 miles away with our dogs at our house in Manchester. Not your average "day after the wedding" sleeping scenario, but as tired as I was, I didn't care.
The next day I would go back with my sister and spend a week at home before Dan and I went on our epic 20-day honeymoon. My Bride days were over - and I was actually quite pleased to be settling back into a normal lifestyle that I had so enjoyed before all of the wedding madness.
Oh yah, we're obviously living happily ever after.