Also good to see were three of my four surviving first cousins and my only remaining aunt & uncle.
And I got to know the husband of one of my sisters' oldest childhood friends, who was packing a Nikon D2, and knew how to use it. I had the D300, which is significantly lighter artillery. There was also an official photographer, who was impressive in his politeness and ability to organize posed photos which looked almost candid. He had a super telephoto plus a standard zoom, on two separate cameras. I'll be looking forward to seeing what pix the newlyweds pick out.
The wedding was supposed to start at 5 o'clock sharp, but was maybe 15 minutes late. It was outdoors on the lawn in perfect weather. It was a traditional Jewish wedding, except the rabbi indulged in more Hebrew prayer than is strictly required. His cantor voice is strong and confident, and annoyingly high and nasal. I was tempted to yell out "don't quit your day job" but then realized this is his day job. His speech about the couple was articulate and touching, and there were even a couple of laughs.
As the couple exited up the aisle, the little bubble makers came out and most everyone made a stream of bubbles for them. My usually staid Israeli sister had a blast with that, and one of her sons told her "enough already" in Hebrew. :-) She kept blowing bubbles though.
After the ceremony my sister wanted me to take some photos of the happy couple, but the bride got sick, so that didn't happen, and the reception was delayed a bit as she rehydrated and got back to semi-consciousness.
The attendees were seven kinds of reunions, relatives from all four sides who had not seen each other in years, friends of the bride and of the groom, ditto. So instead of everyone going to their not completely intelligently assigned tables, the center aisle became a cocktail party. That took a while to fix. Then the principles made their grand entrances, toasts were made by the matron of honor, the best man and the fathers of the couple. Well, not really toasts, because they did not include the obligatory "raise your glasses" line at the end of each speech, so most of the champagne went untouched.
Dinner was a buffet, traffic jam style. Not too bad, except once again people wanted to stand & chat and eat their food where they got it instead of clearing the way for the next folks in line.
The music was constant during the meal, which was STOOOPID, it pretty much prevented cross-table conversation, and seriously maimed chat between people sitting next to each other. Nice choice of tunes, though.
There was dancing, and lots of places outside the dining hall to chat, so I was able to re-connect with cousins who are really quite amazing people who were very close when we were growing up, before my family moved to Seattle. My UK cousin was my big sister's pen pal through childhood, and he arranged for me to write to a little red-haired girl down the street, whom he later married. She and I have kept in touch on FB, as well as their son & daughter. The daughter was at the wedding too, overcoming MS and an ear infection to be here. She drives a mean scooter. Son and his wife volunteered to stay home and keep an eye on their grandfather, whom I think is 93. You wouldn't know it by talking to him, though.
We were among the last to leave - in fact we were the last to leave except for the groom. Mostly blame my baby sister, who claims to be non-social but put her in front of people she knows and she can chat forever.
I took a lot of photos and was surprised that I didn't need to change batteries despite using the internal flash for half the shots.
So that Big Adventure is over, and was worth full price.Maybe more.