The morning of the wedding was a lot like normal. We got up and went in for breakfast. We found out the plans for the rest of the day and we started getting ready for those plans. I went back to the room and took yet another cold shower, but this time I lay down on the bed with the space heater aimed at my hair so I wouldn’t have to deal with cold wet hair. While I was doing this, several people went off to see the Poas Volcano. It cost $10 to get in and I wasn’t all that excited about seeing it, plus the weather didn’t look very becoming, so Justin and I stayed back at the Lodge. And I am very glad that we decided to do so.
Around 11:00, a bus from the Peace Lodge arrived to take us to the park/lodge where the wedding would be taking place. The Peace Lodge is a combination hotel/zoo, so we were being given time to go check out all the attractions of the place before the wedding that afternoon. The people who went to the volcano still had not returned, but they’d taken their own vehicles, so we decided not to wait for them. After all, they knew when they left the time that the bus was coming. So those of us who were there climbed aboard and went. Maggie and Ian were already there, talking with the wedding coordinator and making sure that everything was set for the afternoon.
We arrived and were given really spiffy bracelets that let people know that we were allowed into the park (and probably also that we were part of the wedding party, since I don’t remember seeing anyone else with the bracelets—plus Maggie and Ian had really nice bracelets, too, showing that they were honeymooning there). And we set off to explore the park.
It was amazing. Some of it was totally silly (why put up fake, concrete trees when there are already so many real ones?) and some of it was fake but managed to look really nice and some of it was completely breathtaking. There was a trout lake, where people could actually fish with poles retrieved from the bar. Also, the lower part, where there weren’t fish, was a swimming pool. There was a bird aviary with all sorts of tropical birds like toucans and macaws. There was an enormous enclosed butterfly garden with hundreds and hundreds of butterflies. There were a few monkeys, a bunch of birdfeeders set up that attracted dozens of hummingbirds, a snake house, a frog house, and all sorts of exotic plants along the pathways, like pitcher plants and orchids. And leaving all that, you got onto a pathway that took you past natural waterfalls that were part of the property. It was really amazing.
Justin, Wendy, and I ended up walking most of the trail together. There were a few others nearby, but we ended up losing track of them when we got to the gift shop at the end of the trail. A bus came down to the gift shop and drove us back up to the top of the hill and the lobby of the Lodge. It was almost 2:00 and we were supposed to catch a bus back to the Volcano Lodge to get changed. Another bus was coming back at 3:30 to pick us up again to get back to the Peace Lodge for the 4:00 wedding. Maggie and Ian had told us that they’d meet us at the restaurant, but there were several and we didn’t know where they were. So we went back up to the lobby to wait for the bus. And wait and wait. Eventually one of the workers came up to Justin to ask if he was waiting for the bus. Because it had been rescheduled to 2:30, and Maggie and Ian were down at the restaurant near the reptiles.
So. We walked back down to where they were sitting. I was very tired by now. The hike through the waterfalls had taken a lot out of me and we hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. And by the time we got to the restaurant, there was just time to sit for a few minutes and then turn around and walk back up to the lobby. The bus collected us and dropped us off back “home” and we went in to shower. I had a few cookies left from the S’mores the night before and once again lay down on the bed with the space heater drying my hair. And I rested.
Justin, taking his role as a sorta-bridesmaid seriously, wandered around to make sure that people knew what was happening and where everybody was. Sarah and Jill went back to the Peace Lodge, where Wendy and Ian would be staying the rest of their trip, to help Maggie get ready. All the while, I lay dozing on the bed, drying my hair, and remembering how crazy my wedding had been. If us not getting lunch was the worst thing that happened, it was going to be a really wonderful wedding.
The bus came back to collect us and we all met up in the lobby of the Peace Lodge. They brought two vans up to drive us down through the park to where the wedding would take place, partially because of the footwear the women were wearing, but mostly so Maggie’s grandma wouldn’t have to walk that whole way.
The wedding took place in the butterfly gardens. There was a waterfall built along one wall and we all seated in a half-circle around Maggie, Ian, and their officiant standing in front of the falls. It really didn’t seem like there’d be seats for everyone, but it turns out there wasn’t really all that many of us. The ceremony was very sweet and very simple. Thankfully they turned off the waterfall after starting because it was nearly impossible to hear over the sound of the water. At the end, staff poured baskets of butterflies out over us and the butterflies went everywhere, landing on everyone. It was really a very beautiful ceremony.
I feel like I should say more about it, but I’m not sure what to say. I couldn’t really see Maggie’s face from where I was sitting, but Ian looked transfixed. Maggie didn’t start shaking like I had during my wedding. And her ring actually fit onto her finger, unlike mine. The kiss was wonderful because she basically pounced him. Wendy and Justin signed the wedding certificate as witnesses. And then we all stood around hugging and taking pictures and being happy. (And killing butterflies accidentally because they’d land on the floor and get stepped on. Or on the back of cardigans where they’d get smooshed when the cardigan was removed, leaving awful fairy-dust glitter from their wings. And, really, it wasn’t totally dead, so Justin took it and put it in a bush. I still felt terrible.)
After all the pictures were done, Maggie and Ian went off with their photographer to get a few pictures alone. The rest of us were free to wander and eventually all end up at the restaurant/bar near the trout lake for the reception. Justin and I decided to walk, even though it was raining a little, because I wanted some time alone with him. A short stroll through the park, his arm around me and holding the umbrella, a few stolen kisses and snuggles, and we made it to the reception. Because of the rain, the picture thing with Maggie and Ian hadn’t worked out, so they were already there. We stood around chatting and having fun for a while, looking around at the trout lake, congratulating the new couple. It was an open bar, so lots of people were drinking wine. I asked the waiter to bring me “something sweet” so he brought me a piña colada with a few of his own changes to make it more sweet, more banana-y, and not quite so strong.
It was really yummy.
Dinner was delicious, too, with soup, salad, and the main course, followed later on by cake. I had the filet mignon, Justin had the fish. And it was all wonderful. We took our time eating and chatting and, in some cases, drinking. Before the cake there were toasts to the new couple with champagne (which it turns out I really like!) and Justin said some very nice things totally off the cuff. We celebrated together until around 10:00 (except for those who left at 9:00), when vans came to collect us and return us back to Poas Volcano Lodge, leaving the bride and groom to stay at the Peace Lodge.
We made it home, some of us more drunk than others (not me or Justin, FYI—I may have been buzzed and tipsy, but I wasn’t drunk), and went to our rooms. A few people would be leaving at 5:00 in the morning, Wendy and Sarah among them, so we said our goodbyes before splitting up to our rooms. It had been really nice seeing Wendy again and getting to know Sarah and all the rest of Maggie and Ian’s family and friends.
Back in our room, part of me really wanted to get a start on packing. But the part of that really, really, really wanted to go to curl up in bed won out and we snuggled down to sleep.
(I have several pictures of this day in my photo gallery. Pictures of wandering around the park can be found HERE and pictures of the wedding can be found HERE. Sadly, I have no pictures of the reception, but it was lovely. I was just too distracted
drinking piña coladas having fun to take pictures.)