How my day began

by Joey deVilla on March 17, 2015

how i started my day

Click to see the life-giving elixir at full size.

Pretty nicely, I must say. The background is the view from my yard this morning; the foreground shows part of my complete breakfast.

In case you’re wondering, the cold brew mix that Trader Joe’s sells is pretty decent. Cut with water or milk, it makes a decent iced coffee, livens up a protein shake, and I’ll bet that it makes for some good mixed drinks and shots. At about $8, it lives in the cost-benefit middle ground between brewing your own and going to your local coffee shop.

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The unofficial photos from Anitra and Joey’s wedding

by Joey deVilla on March 16, 2015

anitra - joey wedding 01

The blog’s been quiet for the past couple of weeks, but I have a good excuse: I married Anitra on Saturday, March 7th, 2015, and the wedding and everything related have been keeping us busy. It’s been a week since the big day, we returned from our honeymoon yesterday, and we’re both back at work this morning after ten days well outside reality.

We won’t get to see the official wedding photographer photos for about another week, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any photos. I’ve compiled this “album” from pictures snapped by Yours Truly, best man Eldon Brown, “father” of the groom Dr. Domingo de la Fuente, bridesmaid Elizabeth Cannon-Dang, Rob Strickler, and guest and unofficial wedding cruise director Marichka Melnyk. Thanks for the photos, folks!

We had the big event at the Grand Plaza Hotel, which hosts its wedding ceremonies right on the beach:

grand plaza

Here’s an overhead view of their ceremony areas. There are two sets of palm tree “aisles” down which happy couples can march:

birds eye 1

Here’s a closer look at ours, the southwest-facing aisle:

birds eye 2

Here’s a scene from the wedding rehearsal, with Anitra’s uncle and our officiant, Rabbi John Fischer giving best man Eldon some instructions:

anitra - joey wedding rehearsal

Fast-forward a day to the next morning, and we’ve got Eldon giving me the traditional best man gift of booze, which in this case was a hard-to-find and very delicious Canadian whisky, served in the most appropriate vessels we could find:

drinks 01

And here I am with my father-in-law, who was greatly amused by the whole thing:

drinks 02

Male bonding:

drinks 03

We don’t buy into this “you can’t see the bride before the ceremony” nonsense. With a bride like this, I want to see here as often as possible!

anitra - joey wedding 05

Here we are from another angle:

anitra - joey wedding 05b

Time to head to the lobby, where our big event was already posted:

lobby sign

A quick gathering of Team Groom, featuring my mom, Yours Truly, and my groomsmen Eldon and Richard (who’s also my brother-in-law):

anitra - joey wedding 05d

I was ready to get the party started:

anitra - joey wedding 06

Here’s the last photo I snapped as a free man! It’s of my view of the “aisle” before I made my way to the front:

anitra - joey wedding 05c

And here’s my last walk as a free man:

anitra - joey wedding 05aa

I was raised Catholic, she was raised Protestant, the officiant’s a rabbi, and the ceremony combined Jewish and Filipino wedding traditions. Here’s a Jewish tradition, where the bride walks around the groom three times, in a process I call “circling your prey”:

anitra - joey wedding 05a

Post-ceremony parasol pix with the bridesmaids:

anitra - joey wedding 02

And now the bridesmaids and groomsmen:

anitra - joey wedding 03

Here’s the mandatory “Ocean’s Eleven” pic:

anitra - joey wedding 04

Here’s where we had the reception: the Presidential Ballroom, located on the Grand Plaza’s penthouse level:

ballroom 1

As my friend George put it, it’s a classic James Bond villain’s lair waiting to happen, and it’s also reminiscent of the reclusive billionaire’s hotel from Diamonds are Forever:

ballroom 2

ballroom 3

Here’s a closer look at the “sweetheart table”:

ballroom 4

A quick welcome to the guests before we all descended on brunch:

speech

Here we are at our Star Trek-like table, with me sitting at Mr. Sulu’s post, and Anitra as Chekov:

anitra - joey wedding 09

Of course there was some accordion playing:

anitra - joey wedding 10

Anitra looked amazing, but in my opinion, she always does:

anitra - joey wedding 07

love this photo:

anitra - joey wedding 08

Here’s the wedding “cake”:

cupcakes

At the end of the reception, a couple of hours before sunset…

sundown

…we made our way to Bongo’s Beach Bar, where we had the less formal, unofficial part of the day that stretched well into the night:

anitra - joey wedding 11

aftermath 2

anitra - joey wedding 12

anitra - joey wedding 13

anitra - joey wedding 14

Here’s a view from the bridal suite the next day:

suite view

Before we left, we went for the first of many walks on the beach as husband and wife:

beach next day anitra

beach next day joey

…and when we got to our car, we saw that one of the guests left us a geekily appropriate gift: a pair of twenty-sided fuzzy dice:

dice

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you had me at the proper use of youre

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Our wedding site, for the curious

by Joey deVilla on March 13, 2015

wedding site 1

Now that the event has taken place and we’re husband and wife, I’ve opened up the Anitra and Joey wedding site to the public. It wasn’t all that hidden in the first place, since it lives at AnitraAndJoey.com.

It’s got all the details about where and when, plus a little background info about each of us and how we met:

joey met anitra

 

The location was the wonderful St. Pete Beach, located on a barrier island just off the coast of St. Petersburg, Florida, and the venue was the Grand Plaza Hotel, a striking building reminiscent of the Whyte House, the hotel owned by reclusive billionaire Willard Whyte from the James Bond film Diamonds are Forever. The wedding took place at 11 a.m. and was followed by a brunch reception, which in turn was followed by an after-party at Bongo’s, a bar right on the beach:

wedding site 2

wedding site 3

If you’re feeling particularly wacky or generous and have a couple of bucks to spare, our Honeymoon Fund is still open:

honeymoon fund

Also: if you’re thinking about having a wedding in the Tampa Bay area and want to know about my experiences talking to various vendors and venues, feel free to drop me a line at joey@joeydevilla.com.

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white house wedding card

Click the photo to see it at full size.

This was in our mailbox when The Missus (I can really call her that now!) and I got home the day after our wedding: an envelope with a White House return address. I’m so pleased that my close personal friends Barack and Michelle, while they couldn’t make the ceremony, took the time out to send me a lovely card, complete with a coupon entitling me to a free drone strike to be unleashed on the person or location of my choosing.

But seriously: if you’re looking for an interesting goodie to add to your wedding scrapbook, send a wedding invitation to this White House address…

The President and First Lady
The White House
Greetings Office Rm. 39
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20500

…you too can get this official response, as well as an addendum to your record in the NSA database. All this for the price of a stamp!

I still have a couple of invitations left, so I’m going to try these addresses:

Mickey and Minnie Mouse
The Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, California 91521

Pope Francis
Prefettura della Casa Pontifica
00210 Citta del Vaticano, Italia

I’ll let you know what I get back.

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My second-last dinner as a single guy

by Joey deVilla on March 6, 2015

second last dinner as a single guy

The barbecue was nice, the company of best man Eldon was good, but I’m ready to get married now, thank you very much.

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bleaching clamshells

And by “bleaching clamshells,” I’m not speaking euphemistically (a la this not-safe-for-work scene from Bridesmaids) this, but literally. They’re table decorations, and a few of them were looking a bit grungy.

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