OUR NOVEMBER 2019 “SHANNON’S WEDDING AND A LITTLE BIT OF DISNEY WORLD” TRIP: DAYS 3 AND 4 (THE REHEARSAL AND THE WEDDING!!)

Hey everyone. I am back with another post-trip, um, trip post.

And I am gonna focus on both Days 3 and 4 in this recap. Which works out on account of Days 3 and 4 are full of love.

I mean, to be honest, most of my posts are filled with love unless I am talking about Larry the Cable Guy. But in addition to the normal loves I usually fill these posts with – love of my family, love of my friends, love of Disney, love of donuts, etc. – this one has A WEDDING in it.

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Yeah durr. I already told you. Shannon and Evin.

But fine – to refresh your memory, my niece Shannon and now-nephew Evin were getting married. It’s literally why we were partaking in this trip in the first place.

Pay. ATTENTION.

Day 3 was Rehearsal Day and Day 4 was the actual Wedding Day. So I mean, big days. Plus, we manage to have a lot of fun in between so I mean – buckle up. This is a long one, guys.

Our November 2019 Florida trip: Day 3 (REHEARSAL DAY!)

On Day 3, I woke up fully expecting to head over to the wedding venue to help get everything ready, but my sister-in-law Sheila texted saying just the girls would be going to do that so Nickie got ready to head out and I was on deck to stay back with the kids.

I took this as an opportunity to get a quick run on the treadmill in the fitness room downstairs. I told the boys I would be back and made my way downstairs. I did 3-miles whilst watching the first half of this the previous week’s Walking Dead. These days, the treadmill is the only place I am watching that show. Love me some old Walking Dead, but the newer episodes are a chore.

After my run, I saw they were still serving breakfast at the hotel so I grabbed a coffee and made a couple mini-waffles to bring up to the kids for a snack before our breakfast “main event.”

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I find it troubling how “waffle” rhymes with “awful.” On account of they ain’t.

After my run, I got in touch with my brother Jeff. He said he had to do some errands with his nephew Vincent and I mentioned to him there was a donut shop I wanted to try in Sarasota based on one of Evin’s recommendations. Since I didn’t have a car, he said he would pick me and the boys up and we could get everything done. Together.

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First stop? DONUTS. Like I said, knowing my love of fried circular dough, Evin offered up a donut recommendation for us in Sarasota – The Farm House.

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And double coolness? Jeff had never been there before so it would be a first for all of us.

Inside, the whole thing was very “country chic.” And every piece of furniture and décor was for sale here as well. It had a really cool vibe to it.

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Also, there were donuts. Lots of donuts.

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How it works at Farm House is you grab an order form and check off the donuts you want and in what quantity you want them. They have two categories of donuts – sort of these larger “special” donuts as well as smaller donuts, which also come in specialty flavors.

The plan was to each get a larger donut to enjoy there and a box of their smaller donuts to take back to the hotel for everyone else to enjoy.

Myles got the toasted coconut and Owen (of course) went for the Cookies N’ Cream.

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Vincent got a Fancy Cowboy (Vanilla Frosting and Fruity Pebbles.)

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Not 100% sure why this would be called a “Fancy Cowboy” tho. Maybe like, cowboys could only get Cocoa Pebbles out on the range? And then some city slicker shows up with some of them Fruity Pebbles and everyone be like, “What are you? Some kind of fancy cowboy?”

Jeff went for the Strawberry Shortcake and I of course went with the main peanut butter offering – Peanut Butter Cheesecake.

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INSANELY good. I love anything peanut butter anyways, but combining it with cheesecake? For a second there, I thought maybe this place knew I was coming. I also tried a little of the Cookies N’ Cream one and Myles’s Toasted Coconut. All of them were delicious. This donut shop is easily Top 5 material. Nice reco, Evin. My pumpkin cold brew was also incredz.

I didn’t get to try Jeff’s Strawberry Shortcake. He kind of ate it all up.

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Jeff likes donuts. Don’t you Jeff?

Like I said, we ordered up a box of donuts to go. We checked off 20 total.

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Oh, glory of glories.

But since the boxes better fit 25, the girl who delivered our box to us gave us five extra.

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I mean, I already liked the place. But getting five extra donuts? You’ve won, Farm House. You have won.

Hey guys. How about a quick joke?

Q: What happens when you leave a chocolate frosted in a car for too long under the hot Florida sun?

A: it melts, donut?

Pause for laughter.

OK, joke’s over. This was serious business. We had to get these donuts somewhere safe. If we didn’t take care of the donuts, who would?

So back to the hotel we went, donuts in hand. And as luck would have it, my brother Chris and his wife Paulette were walking into the hotel as we were pulling up. And I mean, they were more than happy to take the donuts off our hands. True Samaritans they are.

Off to Walmart and Dollar Tree Jeff, Vincent, Myles, Owen, and I went to get some extra wedding supplies. And it worked out since Owen, Myles, and I needed some stuff as well. Actually, it ended up being a really fun trip. Lots of laughs.

And all these laughs culminated in this paraphrased conversation back at the room, after finishing up our errand, as we dug back into those donuts and watched some Hallmark:

Vincent: I don’t like Christmas movies

Jeff: None

Vincent: Well, except the one with “Merry Christmas, Rudy Halls!”

All of us: quizzical looks

Vincent: You know. The one where the guy is running down the street yelling “Merry Christmas, Rudy Halls!”

Me: Oh this one?

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So much best.

While we were all at the hotel, we also got MORE FAMILY!!! The Chicago Goodys arrived! My brother Scott, sister-in-law Carrie, and nieces Gwen and Matilda were in Florida!

And yes, I am aware. Those are a lot of exclamation points. But they are well-deserved. On account of excitement. And best part? There was still more Fam Squad to come. More on that later, though.

The Chicago Goodys said some quick hellos, ate some quick donuts, and then went to check into their room. Soon after, Nickie and my mom arrived with meatball subs in hand. Because of course. There is NO WAY my mom would ever show up without some sort of food in hand. It’s an Italian thing.

And I welcome such Italian-ness with vigor. Because it involves food.

Soon after, Jeff and Vincent left. My mom stayed and got ready at the hotel with us so we could all drive over to the rehearsal together.

The wedding itself was held at Oak Hollow in Arcadia, which was about an hour away from the hotel. It was a super cool setting though – like this big barn in the middle of nowhere. And I mean, of course we liked it. Nickie and I were married in a barn as well. So now Shannon and Evin are totez barn buddies with us.

BARN BUDDIES!!

It’s legit a thing.

Place was real pretty though. We weren’t in the wedding, so we just had to rehearse sitting down. Which I TOTALLY nailed.

But these guys were all for real rehearsing.

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This flower girl is NOT having it.

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The rehearsal dinner was held at Brett’s (Evin’s Dad’s) house. And it’s INSANE I don’t have any pictures of the food. Because it was RULL good. For the main, they served tacos from Screaming Goat Taqueria. Barbacoa. Chicken. Beans. Rice. Sauces of all kinds. It was like some sort of tacostravaganza. Lovely stuff. And don’t be too mad that I didn’t take pictures. I was too busy enjoying the food. I’m allowed to have a good time too, you know. I have a life outside this blog.

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And Brett’s girlfriend, Holly, made these incredible Tres Leche cupcakes. Of which I also have no pictures. I know. Now you can get mad, I suppose. They were very good. The cupcake situation was high-pressure though. We were asked to eat multiple cupcakes AND bring them with us when we left. I mean, we complied. But still.

While I didn’t get any pictures at all of the food, I did get pictures of the company. And at the rehearsal dinner, we met up with EVEN. MORE. GOODREAUS.

We now had my nieces Stephanie (sans Mikey, who was at home with Baby Sophia) and Holly and Holly’s soon-to-be-husband Brad.

So much family. Look, see…family….

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I tried to get a picture of all the Goody “kids” (Myles, Owen, Shannon, Stephanie, Holly, Matilda, and Gwen) but it was pretty much impossible to have everyone looking at the camera, with their eyes open, AND smiling at the same time. These were the best of the lot.

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The girls did a pretty good job on their lonesome though.

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And OF COURSE there was a Goody Brothers pic taken.

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And look at my mom. She’s so cute, right?

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It was a super duper fun night. We ate tacos. We drank beer. We laughed. We even cried a little. Pfft “even” he says. We’re Goodys. Of course we cried. Especially when Shannon presented Jeff with his gifts.

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The party started breaking up at around 9ish, so we headed back to Sarasota. And this time, we actually made it back in time to hit the liquor store so I grabbed some more beers, wine, White Claws, and whiskey for the room.

Which came in handy, because most of those of us staying at the hotel wanted to get a quick soak in before going to bed. And I mean, what’s a soak without whiskey?

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Oh us? We’re just mad pimpin is all.

Ha, that picture is awesome.

Onto Day 4!

Our November 2019 Florida trip: Day 4 (SOMEBODY’S GETTING MAREEEEED!!!)

On Day 4…

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Yup, allll the way to like past 9AM. Look at us.

So yeah, Day 4 started pretty awesome-like. And it only got awesomer. Because after waking from our long slumber, we went out to breakfast. With a bunch of people we love, too! Holly, Brad, Steph, Chris, and Paulette all joined us.

Breakfast is great. Breakfast with family, though?

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We decided to walk across the street to First Watch based on a recommendation by Jeff. That recommendation, by the way? It turned out to be stellar.

First off, though they looked busy, they were able to seat all 9 of us rather quickly at a big round table. Fair warning – I got no pictures of actual people at breakfast. Only food. It’s like some sickness I have where I can EITHER take pictures of food or people. But no food/people combos. Probably some deep-rooted cannibalism thing.

Actually, to be fair, my picture game during this entire breakfast was weaksauce.

Anyways. We were seated. And erm, I mean of course I started with a coffee.

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And for the table, we ordered some Million Dollar Bacon (Four slices of bacon baked with brown sugar, black pepper, cayenne and a maple syrup drizzle.)

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And we got some Holey Donuts (Cinnamon sugar-dusted cake donut holes with chocolate sauce, mixed berry compote and vanilla crème anglaise for dipping.)

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Both starters were good but I mean, gun to my head, I would choose the donuts if I only had one option. They were super good.

Also, though, imagine that scenario. Like if someone put a gun to my head and was like, “YOU CAN ONLY HAZ BACON OR DONUT. NO OTHER THING.” I am all for gun control, but if guns were used more in this way to help cure both obesity AND breakfast-based indecision? I mean, I dunno.

Stephanie and I went splitsies. Stephanie ordered the Avocado Toast and I went with the Elevated Egg Sandwich (Fresh, over-easy cage-free egg with bacon, Gruyere cheese, fresh smashed avocado, mayo and lemon dressed arugula on a brioche bun. Served with fresh, seasoned potatoes.)

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Yup, only got a picture of the sandwich. But I mean, you know what Avocado Toast looks like.

Oh, you don’t?

OK, Boomer.

The sandwich was the better of the two anyways. That gruyere was like whoa.

My picture-focused apologies seem to know NO end in this post because the next picture in my phone is at the wedding. So, sorry.

And it’s a shame because we had a really fun afternoon. I went for a run and then joined all the hotel people at the pool – Nickie, Myles, Owen, Steph, Holly, Brad, Chris, Paulette, Scott, Carrie, Gwen, Matilda, and Koaly.

Oh, Koaly? That was Matilda’s free-spirited, pot-bellied new doll. We spent a lot of time with her. She really likes to swim.

But yeah, we spent the afternoon at the pool. And like drank a bunch of White Claws.

Oh, and Steph ordered Chik-Fil-A for delivery for all of us.

It was a pretty glorious day and I am glad to commit it to text since no photo evidence seems to have survived.

But soon after we needed to start getting ready.

FOR THE WEDDING!!!!

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To get a bunch of us to the wedding, Scott rented a big van. Like, a REALLY big van. In which we drank MORE White Claws and sang along to Myles’s phone. On account of I guess big vans don’t have Bluetooth? Gwen ended up recording our singing session unbeknownst to all of us and I believe she described it as sounding like “singing cats.” So there’s that.

When we pulled up in our GIANT van, the driver drove right up to the barn. Where all the other guests were standing. When we got out, we be like…

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But keeping our eyes focused squarely on the ground for a good five minutes or so, we were able to pretend none of that happened as we made our way towards our seats.

Look at us though. We clean up nice.

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My wife is a legit smoke show. Rawr.

We took our seats and waited for the show to start.

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And soon enough, it all started….

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Shannon was such a beautiful bride. You look good too, bro.

It was a very pretty ceremony, officiated by one of Shannon and Evin’s best friends. Which is always a nice touch.

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And check out their flower girl, Ava. She is wearing the same dress Shannon wore to mine and Nickie’s wedding when she was our flower girl. Amazing.

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The ceremony lasted about ten to fifteen minutes or so. So in addition to it being lovely, it was also quick. Quick & lovely. That’s the way.

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I am so insanely happy for both Shannon and Evin to have found each other and be starting this new chapter of their lives together. I mean, I feel like it’s a given but I love Shannon and think she’s just such an awesome person, so full of kindness and life and so much fun to be around. And I am ecstatic she has Evin to spend the rest of her life with. He’s a really great guy and someone I am more than happy to now be able to call family.

Sappy stuff over (for now, at least.) Let’s party.

The reception, as I said, was at the barn. Which was a short walk (like literally one minute) from the ceremony.

It looked amazing. And I have to give big ups to Shannon, Sheila, Nickie, my mom, Evin and his mom, Jeff, Sheila’s sister Susan, and everyone else that got the place looking so good. Nothing really “came with” the venue so it was up to Shannon and her crew to get the place looking wedding-ready and put the whole party on. And they did an incredible job.

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When we went to grab a table, these maniacs were already sitting there.

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Thankfully, they said we could share it with them. By the way, that’s the aforementioned Koaly in Matilda’s hand in that picture. Thankfully, she decided to throw some clothes on for the wedding.

As we were sitting down, we noticed the light was pretty perfect. And that, combined with our overabundance of vanity, brought us outside to take some pictures.

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But I mean, not JUST of us. We also took pictures of the Chicago Goodys (Scott, Carrie, Gwen, and Matilda)…

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…Chris and Paulette…

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…and the boys couldn’t get enough of the camera so they also posed with Steph and Nannie.

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And I mean, even at the table we just couldn’t stop taking pictures of ourselves, so I snapped a quick pic of Chris and Paulette across from me…

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…and a selfie of Stephanie and me.

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The wedding party was announced soon after. And I swear I tried to take good pictures of them all coming in, but literally every single one of them is blurry. It basically looks like everyone sprinted to the dancefloor. But trust me – they came.

Evin and Shannon then had their first dance to “I Danced to Stay Awhile” by Erick Baker. Look at these two. Stop. With the cute.

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Jeff and Shannon danced to “I Loved Her First” by Heartland.

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Well, I mean, it started as just Jeff and Shannon but Sheila soon made her way up to the dancefloor to join them. And I mean, this was the sweetest. I don’t wanna say everyone cried at this point.

But also everyone cried at this point.

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Evin and his mom shared a dance to “He Gets it From Me” by Reba McEntire. And I apologize to both of you because this was legit the best pic I got of the entire thing.

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But trust me. It was SweetTown, population: Evin and his mom.

After some heartfelt toasts by the best man and maid of honor and some heartfelt Irish Car Bombs, it was time to eat.

For dinner, we had full-on barbecue – pulled pork, roasted chicken, corn, cole slaw. The whole thing. And I swear I took a picture of my food. Let the photo apologies continue.

I do have another picture of the cake, thanks to Jeff…

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Can you spot the hidden Mickeys?

And of Shannon and Evin cutting the cake. And no, they DID NOT shove it in each others’ faces. Which may be the oddest wedding tradition of all-time. So good on you guys.

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So that was it, pretty much.

Pfft. No. Of course it wasn’t. The party was just getting started. You know the old wedding saying – “Once the cake is cut, you get out there and shake your butt.”

Right? Doesn’t someone say that?

But yeah, the party commenced hardcore after that. Lots o’ dancing. And lots of this…

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Yeah, LOTS of ties on heads. But in our defense, it was in honor of our dad who was often found with a tie on his head at weddings. Also in our defense? We were drunk.

But seriously, what a fun night. Some of it was a blur but I KNOW it was a fun night because:

  1. We ended up paying the DJ to stay beyond his initial end-time.
  2. I had no voice by the end of the night.
  3. We smoked cigars. On the dance floor. I actually distinctly remember yelling at my nephew John at one point for NOT smoking a cigar on the dance floor.
  4. A number of guys ended up with no shirts on for no reason other than because.
  5. Nickie did three tequila shots. And she hates tequila.
  6. Did I mention we had ties on our heads? Because we did.

Plus, I mean look at the fun on everyone’s faces…

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Shannon also had a Polaroid camera set up for us all to take selfies, which really captured the drunk fun.

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Butttt they also captured the inevitable womp-ness of the end of the night as well.

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Because, yes…the night HAD TO come to an end at some point. And OF COURSE there were tears. Saying goodbye legit always sucks. There is really no way around it. I think that’s just because of all the amazing that leads up to those goodbyes. Not just tonight, which was a HUGE BIT of amazing, but every moment that preceded it. My family is pretty frakkin great. So knowing we have to let go of all that being together is always hard. But thanks to Shannon and Evin for letting us be a part of their special day and giving us so many more memories that, in turn, will make the next goodbye even harder but make every hello all the more meaningful.

Ahem…

So the night was over. Those of us Hampton Inn-ites that were left piled into the Nissan Rogue and Chris drove us home. Also, I sat in the trunk.

Worth it.

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Shannon and Evin Williams, founded 11-9-19

Stay tuned for the next post because while the wedding portion of the trip is over, the Disney World is about to begin!

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