Last minute details that require action and sleep deprivation might be inevitable when putting on a wedding. They were for me. Writing a blog and I just weren’t in the same orbit. Thank goodness our orbits and time zones have re-aligned.
Just a month ago, I attended a wedding that will dwell in my heart forever. It wasn’t an over the top blowout: there were no ice sculptures, the band didn’t have an international following, the guest list lacked celebrities. But it was perfect. My daughter, Bree, married her best friend and love, Joel.
Rather than gush about the gorgeous setting, on a lake edged with tall trees draped in Spanish Moss, the beaming bride and groom, or the two euphoric mothers; I’d like to share some personal highlights. Although personal to me, I hope this may spark ideas when you have an event. Here’s my list:
The wedding was a constellation of events each with it’s own capstone.
A Friday night soiree sparkled with chatter, drink and nibbles as enthusiastic women followed the instructions of a professional artist. Step by step, she showed us, how to paint wine glasses whose burgundy contents almost spilled with the slope of the glasses. What made this memorable, other than the works of art born of happiness and enthusiasm, was the connection people made with one another. This influenced the entire weekend and made attendees not just guests, but part of a “family”.
Saturday, after a Bridesmaid’s brunch and an afternoon of indulgent mani/pedis for the bridal party, fun at Disney world for others, or lounging by a pool in the middle of winter for some, 130 people gathered at the lakeside home of the newly-weds-to-be for a bar-b-q. Several highlights stand out. One was watching the southern sun set into December‘s darkness, a second was the compelling beauty of the candle lit walkway to the boat dock, a third was the patio, complete with fire pit and “outdoor kitchen”. It had been finished being built just that morning! The best highlight, without question, was being with so many people I love and who love Bree and Joel. This was worth every ounce of effort it took to get this far.
Another highlight was having my hair and make-up done professionally. Now that’s something I could definitely get used to! (Why wait for a special occasion for pampering? There are long-lasting mood-effecting results!)
The ceremony was definitely the “it” moment. Guests found seats to Frank Sinatra type music. As soon as the seats were filled, the musicians broke into the James Bond theme. A red speedboat buzzed the shore twice then landed. Out stepped the groom and groomsmen, who nonchalantly and confidently walked up the aisle to greet the bridesmaids. There was so much “cool” in the air everyone froze in an instant of awe.
During the ceremony, my daughter walked down the aisle, stopped before me, and took my hand. Tears traveled from my heart to my eyes. The two of us approached the Chupah. I think the rabbi asked “Who gives the bride away?” and I answered, “I do”. The moment was overpowering and the memory of it hazy. I do remember giving her a kiss, saying I love you and… “now do I sit down?”
As Bree and Joel held hands and spoke their vows, a score of thoughts passed through my mind . It was stunning.
Appetizers representing food from the places the newlyweds traveled together were served. Africa, England, Bolivia, Spain and the Caribbean were some of those places. This definitely added to the personalization of the celebration.
The cake was beyond fabulous―pina-colada and raspberry chocolate. Not a single crumb was left and we bought a cake big enough for a week of leftovers! No Kidding.
The bon fire on the beach and s’mores with giant marshmallows was an outstanding addition.
To end the night with a happily ever after, we saluted the couple with fireworks The lake mirrored the bursts of color, though the true highlight was the reflection on the faces of Joel and Bree. They out-shined the fireworks.
These highlights warm me, which in the middle of winter in Chicago is lovely. I like that I can read and re-read this blog to my heart’s content. The trick is to remember the highlights that couldn’t be tasted, seen, smelled, or heard–the ones that can only be felt.
It’s kind of sappy and unnecessary to say, but the best of the best is that family flew in from all around including: the United States, New Zealand and Thailand. Friends came from across the country. The past couple of months have had many highlights, but none as meaningful as the gathering of those who add love and light to our lives. This is the pinnacle on which everything else is measured.