And onward. Saturday dawned as a rainy day, so I dressed accordingly. I knew that it would be Laura's only chance to get to the Festival this year. I drove down to Laurel to pick her up, where we drank coffee and ate danishes and I visited with her Mom and the animals while Laura got her stuff together for the next couple of days. The plan was for her to stay with me Saturday night, so that we could drive to rehearsal and wedding and reception together. It was still raining when we were ready to go, and it just got harder and harder as we got closer. We persevered, however. We parked the car and were soaked through, even with rain jacket and umbrella, before we reached the front gate. At this point, we stopped for a pre-ticket-purchase conference. Ultimately, we decided that a day at the Festival in the rain would potentially be fun, and we'd almost certainly chance it if we were guaranteed to be able to spend the evening in bathrobes, sipping hot drinks on the couch. However, since we had to be presentable and social in the evening for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, we ended up turning back toward the car.
After a stop by my house to change clothes and visit briefly with Sharif, we did head back out into the weather. We decided that while a visit to Historic Ellicott City would involve walking in the rain, it would also provide sufficient opportunity to dry off in stores and coffee shops. So we headed to Main Street, with lunch the first item on the agenda. Our first lunch choice had no electricity, and the second was closed. We ended up in Johnny's Bistro on Main, where we were the only customers for the first half of our time there. We got extremely personalized service, free soup samples, and excellent food. We started out by splitting the special crab & artichoke dip, which the waitress had (quite correctly) recommended. It was pretty amazing. Laura was thrilled by her crabcake sandwich, and I was made happy by my panini. Lunch was followed by a long time at the Forget-Me-Not Factory, and a brief stop at that hippie clothing store that we can never remember the name of. Then it was time to head back to the house to get ready for Ro's rehearsal dinner.
The dinner was at Mandalay, so I was happy. We filled half the restaurant and ate ridiculous amounts of food. It wasn't the kind of rehearsal dinner with speeches or anything- just a bunch of people eating and chatting. It was fun. At the end of it, after almost everyone had left, the staff brought out two huge shopping bags of leftovers and handed them to Will. I requested just a container to take back for Sharif, but Will gave me one whole bag. Awesome! We had some time before we'd be able to get into the church to rehearse, so some of us decided to walk over to CakeLove to get some cupcakes for later. Alas, once we got there, we found that they had closed early that day. Wedding ruined! (Or maybe it wasn't really that tragic.)
The rehearsal was a lengthy process of explanations and logistics, but we eventually made it through the program smoothly, and it seemed that everyone knew what they needed to do. The bridesmaids were released- with instructions for the non-Indian among us to be at Ro's house with hair done at 6:00am, so that we could be dressed in our saris. Laura and I went back to my house, visted with Sharif and Lacey for a bit and made them happy with the food from Mandalay. I got into bed around Midnight, setting my alarm for a mere four hours later.
Yes, it was a long, good day. But the longest, goodest day was yet to come! Stay tuned for part three.