This year my mom had not just my brother Lane's wedding on her plate, but also his rehearsal dinner, which much like our wedding, operated as a big welcome party for all of the wedding guests at the family rental house. Lane told my mom he thought it'd be fun to have a loose Jamaican theme, with jerk chicken and a playlist of his favorite reggae music playing. That sounds like a fun party, right? To Mimi, this sounds like an opportunity for major upgrade. Midly pleasing 80 people is not enough... our family must blow their minds. After months of consultation with the Interwebs and actual Jamaicans, the party started to look a little like this:
- A wagon piled high with chicken parts, put into jerk marinade by yours truly to soak for two days before they were cooked.
- Gallons upon gallons of homemade jerk sauce to accompany the chicken, which involved me fine-dicing jalapeno for two hours one afternoon.
- So.Much.Rice. cooked with coconut milk and beans.
- Sides galore, and a long table with ten different cheesecakes.
- The aforementioned "Love Potion #9.10.11," which was a potent and dangerously delicious Jamaican rum punch. (Did I mention dangerous?)
- Kiddie pools full of Red Stripe... and also a Kid Craft room staffed with a babysitter.
- Tropical-colored decorations galore. True to form, Mimi thought of everything - from lights to tabletops to banners to lanterns to... you get the picture.
- Forget the iPod. Nicole's wedding gift to Lane was secretly hiring his favorite local reggae band Jah Creation to play the party.
Might I recommend clicking over to Jah Creation's website for the remainder of this post so that their music can set the proper vibe? Trust.
So imagine some of us piling into a boat after the rehearsal, knowing that when we pull up to the dock of the rental house, Lane's mind is going to blown when he sees the band there. Lane has no idea, by the way... here he is just chilin', being his handsome groom self.
And here we are nearly bursting with excitement at the big reveal that's just moments away...
As we're getting close, Lisa and I tell him that he's going to get his wedding present when we pull up. So he definitely perks up and starts paying attention. And then he spots them.
"No way. No way! Is this for real? Nicole did this? They're here?" And Nicole runs down to the pier, and sources say their embrace might have gotten a little dusty.
Remember how I mentioned the danger of the Jamaican rum punch?
Additional romance alert! Lane gave Nicole her wedding present that night... and surely someone I haven't located had a camera out, right? He gave her an heirloom family ring down at the end of the pier, while all 80 partiers cheered wildly at them. It was magical. So is this ring. It's been in our family for ages, but I think it was made for her.
Such a great party. I wish we had an original Family of Five photo from this night, but this one of the three sibs serves the purpose pretty nicely. Our family rocks. Here's to another Made-by-Mimi success!