The two-hour episode had us laughing, crying and hoping that Ronnie Ortiz-Magro's baby mama, Jen Harley, wouldn't do anything to put a damper on the day.
Last episode, Ronnie and Jen went at it on social media over the black eye she allegedly gave him, so Pauly D and Vinny Guadagnino sat Ron down to give him some tough love before Mike's big day. Pauly was the toughest, telling Ronnie, "She's provoking you. You got punched in the face, you got dragged by the car, now your teeth are f--ked up. How much more can you take? You're physically getting your ass kicked."
Ronnie opened up about how him taking his private matters to social media was actually a cry for help, which saddened Pauly and Vinny. After hashing it all out, though (and agreeing not to joke about Ronnie's life as often), the guys sat down to start writing their speeches. The best they could come up with at the moment was having Ronnie read "the note." (Classic.) They also practiced their dance moves.
We also got to watch Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Jenni "JWoww" Farley's mini-mes -- Giovanna and Meilani -- practice walking down the aisle in preparation for their role as flower girls. Our hearts! At one point, though, Meilani fell, and Snooki belly laughed. "That's Mommy after tequila!" she shouted. Accurate.
But more than adorable, the situation was also "full circle" for Jenni, who admitted neither she nor Nicole invited Mike to their weddings. "Some parts of me regret not inviting Mike, but he wasn't who he is today," she told the camera. "It's just this great feeling to know we set all that bullshit aside."
Elsewhere, all proud, Mike showed Lauren his groomsmen gifts. Among other trinkets, the box contained Italian flag dress socks, bobble-head dolls of the four guys and a bedazzled whistle.
"This is cute. What is this?" Lauren asked.
"That is technically a grenade whistle, yeah," Mike replied reluctantly. "Anyway, just put that down. We don't need that."
The night before the wedding, Mike pulled Lauren aside to ask if Jen Harley was still invited to the wedding. After all, she and the baby were already at the hotel across the street from the big castle venue, so it's not like anybody had a real choice in the matter. Lauren said of course, kissed Mike goodnight and went into her hotel suite. Mike stayed in a different one, per tradition.
Once alone, Big Daddy Sitch took full advantage of almost the entire room service menu. No, seriously. He ordered a Caesar salad with shrimp, a steak sandwich, a spicy tuna roll, a rainbow roll, chocolate chip cookies, a slice of cheesecake, French fries and "two diet sodas," because he was still technically "sweating for the wedding."
While waiting for his 14-course meal, Mike went downstairs to have a little heart-to-heart with Ronnie. He told him how much he appreciated that he ended up making it for his big day, and the two agreed they'd come a long, long way since their early days.
However, Mike also had to make sure his soon-to-be had a drama-free wedding, so he touched upon the whole Jen situation as carefully as possible.
"I've been seeing some shit lately on the 'gram and whatnot. Is everything cool?" he asked.
"Everything's good, but when I don't get a reaction from somebody, or the reaction that I want," Ron began to explain, but Mike interrupted. "Why don't you call me next time? And I'll be like, 'Put the phone down!'" he urged, echoing Pauly's earlier sentiments. "I've never seen somebody more on TMZ than you, son. You crazy." (This coming from a guy who had just been sentenced to eight months in prison for tax evasion.)
"Everything's good, but we both feel embarrassed right now," Ronnie replied. "It's not a proud moment for either one of us." Ronnie said he wasn't sure if Jen would be coming to the actual wedding but did want her there. He felt having Jen and the baby come would be a "good thing" for their relationship. He was cautious, though, because "every time Jen's around, it just becomes a big joke."
In his confessional, Mike said he definitely noticed Ronnie was missing some teeth, which Jenni pointed out last episode. "This motherf--ker got no teeth? Like, word? Straight one two, to take out the bottom teeth," Mike said laughing. "Ron, I love you, but take the 20k back from Jen and get some new teeth."
The next day was the day, and Mike was beaming.
"The last five years have been tough. I was in rehab three times. My legal situation I've been dealing with -- I lost all the money I had earned. I had to build myself back up from nothing," he told the camera. "But today makes all that hard work worthwhile. I'm finally getting the girl, and at the end of the day, that's how my chapter's gonna end."
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In their suite, the guys shot the you-know-what together, just like old times. Except instead of "T-shirt tiiiiiiiiiime," they chanted "Tuxedo tiiiiiiiiiime" because, according to Mike, they "grown." It took the "guidos in tuxedos" an embarrassingly long time to figure out how to tie their bow ties, and YouTube was absolutely no help. To all the stylists and producers on set that day who saw the boys struggling and didn't step in: Thank you. (Meena, the wedding planner, eventually helped.)
While Mike went off to go take a zillion more pictures, Prank War Champion Pauly revealed to the guys that he got Rob Base to come crash their reception dance and perform his 1988 hit with DJ E-Z Rock, "It Takes Two." Mike had no idea.
In the meantime, Ronnie went from jolly to serious in a matter of seconds. Buried in his phone, he was incessantly texting who else but Jen Harley. Pauly and Vinny could sense there was tension, but they refused to say anything out loud. They just hoped Jen wouldn't be coming. But Ronnie's pretend trip to the bathroom -- aka when he went to go talk to Jen on the phone while forgetting to take his mic off -- made it seem that Jen had other plans. And when Meena dropped by to ask Ronnie less than an hour before the wedding if he wanted her to hold a place for his plus one, he said yes, and added that his daughter would be coming, too.
As guests made their way into the castle, they were greeted by acrobats decked out in gold, hanging upside-down from chandeliers and pouring champagne. Casual. Word began to spread that "Ronnie's Jen" would be coming, and everyone started mentally (and physically) preparing themselves. Nicole and Jenni's makeup artist/friend, Joey, wondered if it would be appropriate to get drunk with her and start beating people. Aside from not wanting her there, the roommates were all quite shocked she'd even show her face after exposing text messages on Instagram that seemed to show she wanted $20,000 from Ronnie, or else.
But back to the happy stuff! It was finally time. Mike, Pauly, Ronnie and Vinny made their way down the aisle and to the alter, followed by Giovanna ("Sissy") and Meilani. They looked PERFECT, and we're SCREAMING. So were Nicole and Jenni.
"Two weeks ago, I was walking into federal court in a really serious situation. Now, I'm walking into a castle, about to marry my queen," Mike said during a confessional, as footage rolled of Lauren approaching the big doors. "All those court days I was nervous about, it was a lot of hard work to get here today. I wouldn't be the man that I am today without Laurens. It's the happiest day of my life. I actually can't even believe that I made it. I can't believe that I made it to this day right now, and I'm trying to hold it together right now. I really am."
Fighting back tears, he added, "It was many nights I wanted to quit, man. Know what I mean? But I didn't."
The moment the doors opened and Lauren appeared, there was not a dry eye in the room. She floated down that aisle like an angel. Hair, makeup, dress -- all perfect. She was glowing. Mike was, too. When they finally met up at the alter, they whispered aloud, "You look fire. No, you look fire," because after all, this is a Jersey wedding.
The I dos were perfect. The subsequent photos were perfect. The reception was perfect. There were many bars, a fresh mozzarella station, a pasta station, a sushi station, a whole seafood station, the works. Pauly described the wedding reception as "a bar mitzvah mixed with a Sweet 16 at the Emmys with the Grammys in the background," and he wasn't too far off.
Ronnie then got a text from Jen saying she and the baby were outside, leaving their car with valet. Dressed in a long, black gown with long, dark hair and a dark lip, Jen met up with Ron and walked into the lion's den. Nicole and Jenni were pleasant and cordial, but the tension was palpable.
Ronnie, Jen and Ariana (who looked adorable, by the way) then walked over to where a very pregnant Deena Cortese and her husband were sitting. Deena wanted nothing to do with the situation but did the whole fake-hello-and-air-kiss thing anyway. Angelina Pivarnick was close by, mouthing, "What the f--k?" to the camera.
Pauly and Vinny were off on their own, away from the drama, talking about why on Earth Jen would show up to the wedding.
"Just so you know," Pauly said, "if somebody punches you in the face, they're not allowed to come to my wedding. I'm putting that rule out there now."
"What if it was only two days before?" Vinny asked. "What if I get dragged by a car? Is that okay? What if I get extorted for 20k? Then can she come?"
After throwing back a few more drinks, they were ready to take the stage.
But we'll have to wait to see how that goes down next week.
"Jersey Shore: Family Vacation" airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on MTV.