Monday, June 9, 2008

A Luau Americana

We have waited since October for this day, and it finally arrived! Cricket and T were married last October on a beach in Maui. It was beautiful. They are so happy, and so perfect for each other (T you rock!). When they came back they said that they wanted to share a piece of their wedding with their guests, Luau style.

The plans were best laid, and they were perfect. Every detail. Except one.

That biotch called Mother Nature.

She has been opening her wrath on us for months now. Two weeks ago we knew it was going to rain because well, that is all it has done for months. And when it rains it pours. And blows. And twists. And storms. Its not pretty.

I remember the day when thunder and lightening meant a bad storm. Remember the term electrical storm? It was all we feared "back in the day". We unplugged everything we didn't want damaged, and we stood in our windows and watched the spectacle.

Now however, we find ourselves hiding in our basements. Watching the skies between flashes for large swirls of debris, and hearing phantom sirens in the night air. Our favorite shows are interrupted by weathermen and their maps. Red flashing lights telling us "you are in the path of this dangerous storm"... Its becoming so much the norm that we have a back up plan for our back up plan. And we use the guest room as our alternate sleeping quarters during the summer months.

And last week was no different.

With more rain than one state, let alone one country needs in a given day, it fell and fell and fell. And it blew and blew and blew. And it threatened to send us into a musty basement in Iowa. As it being in Iowa wasn't already insult enough! ; )

Thursday rolled around and there were predictions of a catastrophic natural disaster somewhere in southern Minnesota or Northern Iowa (I live in S MN, and Cricket lives in NW Iowa). After a day of hit and miss storms we all started panicking. Saturday went from 20% chance of storms to 40%. Then on Friday morning we received a call that it was now predicted to be 60% chance of storms. By late Friday afternoon, the prediction was 80%.

Did I tell you the party was in a tent outdoors???

Oh, yeah, the party was a Luau. In a tent. Outdoors.

The tent people first wanted to set up on Thursday. But it was storming so they asked to wait until Friday. Friday the wind was over 40 mph, so they asked to wait until Sat. Late Friday they called and asked if we had a back up plan. Its never good when the tent people want to know if you have a back up plan.

So T called around. And we all continued to remind Cricket that it would be just fine. But its hard to convince a Bride that her dream Luau - outdoors, was no longer in the plans. Luck was on their side, and late morning on Friday there found a Legion Hall that was available in town. While Crickets mom and I made salads, she and T made calls to all those they invited. Over 150 people - in one afternoon. Because this was Friday, and the reception was on Saturday.

No small feat.

So after telling her over and over that it would be just fine, even I panicked when we walked into the American Legion in their home town. As Cricket put it, "it looks like Uncle Sam puked in here". Picture stars and stripes, red, white and blue everywhere. A floor that looked as though it hadnt seen a mop in 50 years, and a ceiling in the kitchen that was peeling, flaking and hanging on for dear life. Add to that the basket ball hoops, mis matched tables and chairs that were missing pieces and various games and do dads tucked in every corner.

She was very stoic, but I could tell it was scaring the living daylights out of her. So I continued to say, "It will be just fine".

And it was. We transformed that nasty run down musty old gymnasium into a Luau - a Luau Americana as T's brother put it.

Thanks to V, Crickets friend, she bought out all of the rafia grass skirts in Sioux Falls, and we bought out all of the green plastic ones we could find, as well as every silk lei we could find, and we plastered the place with them! It worked. And it ended up being a grand success.

We lined the ledge of the stage with grass skirts and table liners. We lined the tables with the same. We then overturned tables on their sides and covered them with fabric on the stage to hide the fooseball (sp?) tables and old piano. You can still see some of the taller stuff, but it wasnt as distracting.

The kitchen had a built in set of bar windows. We spent most of Friday night and Saturday morning trying to figure out how to cover up the nasty ceiling in the kitchen so people wouldnt see it when they were getting drinks. Then V had the "ah ha moment" that saved us. She suggested we close the windows and use the rental bar we were using as a Guest Book table for the bar in front of the kitchen windows. No one would be the wiser! (and yes, that is a very pregnant bar tender. The poor thing worked her butt off along with her friend). We used a grass skirt, a fish net, and left over sea shells from the centerpieces to hide yet more red, white and blue.

The cake straight out of paradise. Simple, elegant and tasty.

Even our 92 year old gram got into the groove and busted a move with Crickets younger older brother.

I will add a photo of the centerpieces, the bride and a few more room shots tomorrow.
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