Love, Luaus and TV’s Judd Hirsch: A Thorough Review of Our Wedding, Honeymoon and Life So Far

Justin November 23, 2015 1

A lot of shit has happened in my life over the past 4 weeks or so. Let’s review it all.

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My Wedding by Danielle (95%) and me (5%)

In the year or so leading up to the big day, almost everyone gave us 2 pieces of advice:

  1. try to take mental pictures during the wedding because it all goes so fast, you won’t remember it.
  2. make sure you eat

Well, I ate.

As for the rest of the night, it went by really quick and, at the moment, I’m having some trouble remembering. Here are a few of the highlights

I pulled a Justin

 Heading into the wedding, I really wanted to avoid pulling a Justin- which is telling a joke which, while both well timed and hilarious, takes some of the air out of a serious event.  I was especially conscious of this during the ceremony. For once in my life, I wanted this to be a serious and sincere preceeding. That lasted about 5 minutes. One of the buses from the hotel to the wedding venue was late, so the ceremony started closer to 6 than 5:45. This is a big deal when you’re getting married outside in New England in late October. It was pitch black pretty quickly. The Rabbi, who had asked everyone to turn off their cellphones before the ceremony began, made a comment about how she wished she had one of those cell phones with her to help her see.  That’s when I pulled out my phone, turned on the flashlight and handed it to her. It was a funny little moment. Everyone laughed. Then I made a joke about snoring during my vows. It let some of the air out of the serious event. Afterwards, a lot of people told me they liked that part. “It was so you,” they said. I pulled a Justin.

TV’s Judd Hirsch

Instead of having a guest book, we left mad libs out for people to fill out. I don’t think they were very well advertised. Most people didn’t even know they were there. But one person who did find them was TV’s Judd Hirsch, who randomly stayed at the estate where we got married for the two nights before the wedding. He said he couldn’t stay for the party, but did fill out a mad lib for us. He says Danielle and I go together like Taxi and Driver, which is funny because he was on the show Taxi, but also a little scary because Taxi Driver is a movie about a lunatic who falls in love with a 12 year old prostitute. I always preferred Dear John.

Toasts

When we were planning the wedding, I only had a few things I insisted on. I wanted to dress in fancy tuxedos, I wanted a band instead of a DJ and I wanted to make sure the maid of honor delivered her toast before the best man delivered his.  My reasoning was simple. I’ve been to a lot of weddings. I’ve delivered a lot of best man speeches. That means I’ve heard a lot of maid of honor toasts. And there’s never been a good one.  Each one starts, “I remember one time…” and leads to some stupid story about how the bride likes to watch movies or always wears the same type of shirt. Then, the maid of honor starts to cry while recounting what the bride said to her the first time she met the groom. Formulaic, generic, rarely funny and never memorable. So, in the name of showmanship, I wanted to make sure the best man was the closer, so the crowd would leave happy.  In the case of our wedding, Danielle’s maid of honor, Maggie, gave a really nice, heartfelt and touching speech.  Then, my brother got up and KILLED IT. Great speech-funny, personal and specific. Great work all around.

Toasts-Part 2

Does everyone know how Danielle and I met?  Well, we were introduced by my cousin, who used to work with Danielle. And, a week before the wedding, my cousin emailed us to say that she and her boyfriend had gotten engaged. So, we wanted to do something nice for her at the wedding . During the cocktail hour, we pulled the band leader aside and said we’d like to propose a toast of our own towards the end of the evening.  And so, at the end of the night, the bandleader said “and now the bride and groom would like to say something..”  GREAT! Only one problem. Danielle was nowhere to be found. I got up by myself and made a nice little toast.

Where The Fuck Is My Girlfriend… I Mean My Wife?

That was not the only time it happened. It was a real struggle to to keep track of each other during the reception.

Let’s Get It On

Danielle’s dad also gave a very nice toast. I expected him to talk about how proud he was of his daughter and how happy he was that she had found someone. But, what I was not necessarily expecting was him talking about me. And what a nice fit I am into his family. It was really very nice. He also came right out and told us to have some kids.  Danielle’s brother made the same suggestion in the card he gave us. Part of me wants to remind them what they’re saying.  “Hey, guy, you better start banging my daughter.”

 

Prop Bets

In an effort to keep my friends entertained and occupied, I came up with a set of wedding prop bets that I gave them before we got on the bus to head over to the Estate:

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The answers:

Final guest count was less than 210

The ceremony was definitely longer than 25 minutes

First Dance- The Luckiest by Ben Folds

Danielle Tears- yes, a bit

Brian’s face- not paralyzed

Did I leave anything out?  Oh Yeah.

Justin’s face was both blotchy and tear stained. A LOT OF FRIGGIN’ TEARS. I got choked up during my vows, but caught myself before I actually cried. No such luck when Danielle was dancing with her Dad, though. I was a tear stained mess. Thank god, everyone was looking at them and not me. Logically, you would think I also cried while dancing with my own mother. I did not.  Because…

My Dad Will Always Be My Dad

My mother and I danced to the Ben E King classic, “Stand By Me,” a wonderful song that makes me think of my childhood. And while we danced we were having a nice little conversation about what an amazing moment it was. Then I spun around a bit and saw my father, sitting at his table, signalling me with his hands that I WAS NOT DANCING RIGHT.  Apparently, I was not moving enough, thus not keeping the people entertained. I imagine this may have been the only Groom/Mother of the Groom dance in the history of weddings which featured the phrase, “You’re fucking husband better stop with those fucking hand signals.”

Honeymoon by 98% Danielle and 2% Justin

The Delta Lounge

Before we booked our trip to Hawaii, we both signed up for Amex Delta Sky Miles Cards. In addition to frequent flier miles, it gave us discounted access to the Delta lounge at both JFK and LAX. Free coffee and coffee drinks! Free Food! Pleasant airline workers! Free WiFi! Nice bathrooms!

Boarding

Another benefit to the sky miles card is that you’re automatically in Zone 1 when it comes time to board the plane. Which sounds awesome. Until you find out that there are only 2 zones and they both board after people with kids, people with wheelchairs, first class passengers, priority passengers, Delta plus passengers, Delta minus passengers, Norwegians, Drama nerds, red heads and people who own ferrets. Still, its better than Zone 2. Those people are animals!

Los Angeles-1979 Style

Remember that scene in Almost Famous when they get to LA and stay at the Riot House and David Bowie is in the lobby? That’s where we stayed! Although now its a high end boutique Andaz hotel on Sunset Strip. Still, it celebrates its past. There are pictures in the lobby of some of the famous rock stars who stayed there in the past. And each room has a couple of records on the desk.  We had a Jethro Tull album and what I initially thought was a Blondie record. I picked it up and checked out the track listing. “Well,” I thought,” I’ve never heard of any of these Blondie songs. This must be a later album. Isn’t Mad About You a Belinda Carlisle song?” Then I looked back at the front.

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“It is Belinda Carlisle. That’s not very Rock N Roll,” I thought. Then, I remembered the Go-Go’s Behind the Music. It was all sex and drugs. They were probably more rock n roll than anyone.

When we checked in, we mentioned that it was the first night of our honeymoon. The guy at the front desk was very nice about it. He said congratulations. We didn’t think twice before going out for a walk on the strip. First stop, Chateau Marmont, where we made some dinner reservations. 6PM! That’s when all the stars are out. We sat outside. We had an average but very expensive dinner. We tried to feel cool at an old timey Hollywood haunt. But, we didn’t see any famous faces. So, we left, walking through the garage. There were some very nice cars parked there and then I saw him. He was sitting on a bench smoking a cigarette by himself, BILLY BOB THORNTON. He was thin and quiet and menacing and weird looking, just as I always thought he would be! We ended our night in the main room at the legendary Comedy Store, which is tiny. There were about 30 people there. We saw  7 or 8 comics, each did about 15 minutes. I had heard of pretty much all of them, though none are really big stars. Then, we headed back to the hotel for the night. When we got to our room, there was a chilled bottle of Prosecco and strawberries with Chocolate and caramel dipping sauces. There was also a congratulations card, which was signed by every member of the hotel staff. Very classy move, Andaz. Very classy.

We Blew Through Pearl Harbor Faster Than The Japanese

From LA we flew to Honolulu. The plan was to spend the day at the Pearl Harbor memorial before catching another flight to Maui, where we were going to stay for the first few days of our trip.  But, here’s the thing about spending the day at the Pearl Harbor Memorial-a day is a long time. It was hot, we were both wearing jeans and, as it turns out, neither of us is all that interested in military history. We were in and out in 45 minutes. One thing I did have time to notice was that a large percentage of the other visitors were from Japan. I am not passing any sort of judgement about that fact. I’m just pointing it out.

And then back to the airport.

Stop Trying To Sell Me Something, Hyatt!

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Maui. It’s a really lovely place, with beautiful pools, nice ocean views and a number of great restaurants . It also has a section of time share units. And you can’t walk ten feet without someone trying to sell you one. The sales desk is in between the front desk and the elevators to the rooms. And they’re aggressive. There are also sales kiosks at every pool and throughout the entire complex. I found it off putting.

Corny Fun

We went to a Luau. It was the cheesiest thing I have ever seen in my life. And it was fantastic. The host, the singers, the dancers, the band. All Great. The food-also pretty good. Not Poi, though. Poi is a disgusting vegetable pudding that tastes like nothing, if nothing had a really bad taste.

Time Is Just A Human Construct

Hawaii was 6 hours behind New York for the first 5 days we were there, then 5 hours after the rest of the country turned their clocks back (Hawaii doesn’t do daylight savings.) This meant we got tired early. Really early. For the first few days, we were asleep before 10PM. It also meant that on the Sunday when we left Maui for Kona, I was able to watch the Giant game at 8AM. They lost to the Saints. Still, it was cool.

The Smallest Plane That’s Ever Planed

“Oh, There’s no TSA here. How much do you weigh?”  That’s how you know its not a normal airport.

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We flew from Maui to Kona in a 9 seat propeller plane. Our pilot. who may have been named Kip, opened the curtain that separated the seats from the cockpit and said, “Hey, if you need anything, just ask.” Thanks Kip.

In A Condo Made Of Kona

When we were planning the Honeymoon, Danielle suggested we stay in a condo the second week. I had some questions and some doubts, but, since she had planned the entire the wedding and the entire honeymoon and pretty much our entire lives, I decided not to voice those concerns. And I’m really happy I kept them to myself. Because staying in a condo instead of a hotel is awesome. We were able to cook for ourselves and sit quietly on the back lenai and stare at the ocean, which was about 10 feet away. And there were no other people. Other people are the worst!

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough And The Invisible Cows

You see this? It looks like a couple of mountains with the ocean in between them.

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But that’s not the ocean. It’s clouds. We drove up the tallest mountain in, I don’t know, maybe the Western Hemisphere. And we looked at the stars near the national observatory.  And then we drove back down. And it was scary. Because of that observatory, there are no traditional street lights on the big island. So, driving down windy mountain roads isn’t super fun. And that’s before you factor in the invisible cows. Invisible cows? Well, they’re not really invisible. They’re just black. But, they walk out into the road and, if you’re driving on a dark road with no lights, it’s hard to see black cows. So, you drive slow. And your head is on a swivel. And you crave a burger because you want revenge on the entire species that is making you so scared.

Holy Shit. It’s a Dolphin

Since I was a little kid, I’ve wanted to swim with dolphins in Hawaii. I probably saw it on an episode of Facts of Life or Full House or something. It happened in a pool and the stars of the show rode the dolphins and everyone had fun. So, we signed up for a dolphin swim. But, not in a pool. In the OCEAN! Where there are sharks.

It was a 4 hour snorkeling trip. I realized a few minutes in that I haven’t really spent a lot of time on boats. I was worried I might get sea sick. I did not. I was also worried that I wouldn’t be able to snorkel correctly. But, its just floating and breathing so I was fine.

Here’s how it works: They just start driving the boat until they find a pod of dolphins. Then, the drive into the middle of that pod and tell you to jump into the ocean. And you do. And you have the coolest experience of your life. Because there are FREAKING DOLPHINS ALL AROUND YOU!

Later, they take you to a different area where you snorkel with tropical fish over a coral reef. It’s also beautiful. But less dolphinny.

The entire thing was done at noon. So, we drove back to the condo. I sat down on the couch and turned on the TV. And the Knicks and Cavs were on ESPN. So, I watched the game while Danielle took the car to Walmart to buy cheap souvenirs.  GREAT DAY ALL AROUND.

Being Married by social convention

So, What’s New?

It’s been about a month now. But, every few days either Danielle or myself will kind of laugh to ourself and say, “I can’t believe we’re married.”  It still feels weird to say that I have a wife. And that’s because I don’t feel any different. I honestly expected to feel some kind of change in myself once we got married. I expected to feel older, more mature, more adult. None of that is true. I’m still me.

 

Cover Me

Now that we’re married, I’ve added Danielle to my insurance. Well, I added someone. I did it over the phone. The process seemed really easy. I just gave them her name and social security number and that was that. Until I went online a few hours later to check.  My policy now included someone named Danielle Bowen. I’m sure she’s great, but my wife’s name is Danielle Cohen.

Enough About You. Let’s Talk About Me.

While it was great to get married and then, almost immediately, leave for our honeymoon, there is one downside. Everyone came to our wedding and had fun at our wedding then went home and returned to their lives. By the time we got back, everyone had already moved on. But we still haven’t been able to bask in how much fun the party was. We need validation. So, please, bring it up in front of us. Talk about it. Help us relive the night we can barely remember.

One Comment »

  1. Kimberly Schochet February 18, 2016 at 2:30 pm -

    Justin and Danielle-Congratulations on your wedding and honeymoon and all that is to come!

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