Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Home-style Wedding Love

The love story that continues to inspire is the love story of families. Family love stories yield tales told and retold, at the next family wedding, around the Thanksgiving table, as the Christmas decorations are hung, and even sometimes, out of the blue, when you just walk into the kitchen and remember THAT NIGHT.

As I went through the invitations for the luscious winter wedding that's just around the corner, I was wondering who in the WORLD are . . . Well, what do you know, it's my lovely JUNE bride, only now...Mr. and Mrs.
This time last year we were deep in the process of ordering her wedding dress - which turned out to be a marathon road trip for MOB and me. It was awesome - 15 hours in the car talking, and shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue. What's not to like? Does anybody want to take a trip to buy a wedding dress? With me as your guide? Because I am FIERCE at that. Not kidding.

My June bride honored her parents by wanting nothing more than a wedding reception at her home. The first question her father asked me when we commenced planning 10 months out was "Are you seriously thinking we can put 300 people in my backyard?" Actually, 350ish, but who's counting?
So this gracious family opened their HOME to their guests - every single guest. THAT's a love story worth talking about.

This Mom is a meticulous homemaker and planner. She is a gracious hostess who loves to have her friends in her home. She is organized and thorough in ways I could only dream about. She thinks about things from so many angles that it could make me dizzy. COULD make me dizzy. Did not ACTUALLY make me dizzy. But she let me help her. What an honor! No pressure, either.

DAD is also incredibly meticulous and cautious and generous. He made sure we had plans A, B and C - and then a backup plan for each. (Note that he is WEARING a shirt, yet has another shirt in his hand... always a backup) He made me stretch my thinking in novel and often alarming ways. He also made fresh pesto from home-grown basil in the fall, froze and pulled it out to serve at the wedding. Seriously - a menu item was Dad's pesto on bruschetta.

I've done a lot of weddings, so FIRSTS are hard to come by - but that was a first. I dream about that pesto. I crave that pesto. I want that pesto....

SO....August, September...December -
buy the dress.....plan, plan, ...just so you know, by this point in the planning, I already knew where the Diet Cokes are kept, AND even more critical, this gracious family ALWAYS has limes cut for me, since - you know - what's a Diet Coke without a real lime? a party for another wedding. NO. BIG. DEAL.

April and May - - the invitation-frenzy in which the list is revisited as if it were a new and different document... JUNE wedding.

Plan, plan, replan, unplan, de-plan, overplan. Mother was concerned that I had the plans and the contacts and I might possibly get hit by a bus, and the wedding would somehow not come together. I actually have my own plans B and C, just for the bus-type contingency , but also, luckily did NOT get killed by a bus.

AND the week is here, when one must essentially turn a home into a country club/dormitory/gift shop/commercial kitchen/parking lot. Also, continue to live there. Not much to ask.
Since we were into CONTINGENCY plans, we had a tent wedged into the backyard. Not actually wedged, just fit into every available square inch. In case it rained that day.

Rehearsal night brings a drastic thunderstorm, along with a loss of power. All over town. Thunderstorm with high winds. NOT. A. PROB. LEM. We have a contingency plan, called a TENT. Often after a thunderstorm we will get a little cool down. Outside wedding reception + cool down = a good thing in my mind.

THIS night, the thunderstorm was not just a little summer affair, it was huge, long, loud, windy and damaging. Strong enough to possibly blow a tent into a pool, and then pile the tables and chairs all over it. The power out all over the city. When the power is out in the summer, it's not JUST the lights, it's the air conditioning. Also the fans.

Oh, yeah. Tent in the pool. Trees in the street. We would need a plan for that. Our Young Son had one.

BUT the tent was NOT in the pool! Morning dawned bright and clear and clean and this mom and dad had been up since REALLY early out in the yard picking up the trash from the storm, and neighbors stopped by to help! Neighbor love.

It got a little muddy - does anyone but me remember the mud? And the plywood we used to cover the walkway. Also, that Dad obsessively watched out the kitchen window to insure that no tire ruts were etched into the mud along the street in the front yard? Anybody? I remember that part, because we had to move a lot of cars. Problem solved by a line of luminaria and valet parking.

I love the moments where so much lies ahead. It's a midsummer evening ripe with possibilities, antcipation of family and friends, heavy with memories for the taking.

Everybody ready? Sun shining, photos taken....and, at last ....time to go to the church

Is it just me, but is that sort of like the very first time you put your baby in the carseat? When it takes a LOT of hands, and a lot of thought, and it's such a CAREFUL process.
And suddenly, it's a party! Candles, music, laughing, hugging, dancing, chatter.

I imagine there were a few people who were taking pointers for their OWN upcoming wedding. There is almost ALWAYS someone who falls in love at a wedding. Someone who meets someone REALLY cute, who sees someone and a conversation starts....

I love the part where the parents - the hosts - do their hosting thing. This family greeted and hugged and danced and talked and hugged more.

Father of the bride? took the microphone from the band and said a blessing for the marriage and the food. In the tent in his backyard.

Mother of the bride? Danced with her brother like nobody's business. They were gracious and cordial and gave their guests the run of the house, the yard, the driveway,the shower, the patio, anywhere and everywhere. They LITERALLY opened their home to their guests - that's a LOT of LOVE.
High school friends - yep, gathered together in the living room for a picture, just like this group of girls has done on so many occasions. If nothing else, when you graduate from THIS girls school, you know how to line up as a group and get a photo. They know who is tall and stands in the back and how to huddle in so everyone is in the picture. This pose looks a lot like their Kindergarten class photo. Not so much. Nobody was wearing a silk dress and heels in Kindergarten.

Then, it's over as fast as a thunderstorm and with as much energy expended. It took 9 months to plan, we were about 3 deep on back-up plans and contingency plans on EVERY. SINGLE. FACET. It took about 16 hours to set up, and it takes about 30 minutes to break down on the night of the party - with another 3 hours to follow the next day or two. Does anybody know that math on that equation?

I do - the answer is INFINITY. Always. Forever. As well-worn as phrase is, this wedding journey was about 'making memories' in the grandest way.
No matter what happens at that kitchen island, it will ALWAYS be the place where the beautiful antipasto bar was.

No matter how much WORK is done on the desk in the study, the definitive picture of the study is a wedding day picture, and the definitive use of the desk is the day it was turned into a bar.

There was the whole episode of the groomsmen who left his phone on the bus....he thought...the bus company was called, located the phone on the floor of the bus, and we had a cab bring it to the reception. Our Young Son was the point person on that, waiting in the side yard with the valet parking guys to pay the cabdriver, retrieve the phone and find the guy it belonged to. And yes, that worked out perfectly, as if it had been choreographed since March. (Don't tell, but actually I have had to do just that thing before-only we were looking for a person, so it was choreographed 4 years ago, but the illusion of spontaneous, on-the-fly improvisation works well for me.
Those very cool greenish-bluish bottles are vintage bottles, from Mom's own collection. Mom's bottles - they are on the kitchen table now, but remember that we used them at the wedding? Where did we get THAT MANY bottles? That, my friends, is HOME-STYLE wedding.
As many times as you look at a single picture, it calls up a story. June bride's cousin was married a few weeks later, thus memories to cherish and build on. Forever, cousins married that hot summer, just weeks apart.

Hey, Brother, who by the way is a champ at tying the elusive perfect bow tie ...."do you remember the night after the wedding when the back of your truck was filled with wedding trash bags, and the boys drove around til they found a dumpster behind some grocery store? Two trips! And you didn't even have to haul the trash away.....who did? Oh, yeah, those two guys."

Remember the BAND!!!! It was awesome, because the people from the band were long time church friends, so they not only entertained, but sat at the kitchen table, had their own dinner and wedding visits. Church family love.

Stories around the Thanksgiving table? Tablecloths?"Remember that we had plans for a sheer white overlay over the burlap cloths at the wedding, to make it more wedding-ish? Remember that we pulled every single white overlay, because the plain burlap was just so...RIGHT? Did we PLAN that?"

Christmas lights? "Remember all the twinkly lights that night? It looked like the Magic Kingdom. It WAS the Magic Kingdom" Love stories every one.

Family dinner in the dining room? Remember the wedding cake? The orchids in the chandelier? And feeding each other the cake? Carrot cake, cream cheese icing.

SO....back to the contingency plans. We DID have a plan B and a plan C. It was a hot summer night after a big storm. All over the city the power was out. At each of the other locations we considered for this wedding - country clubs and public venues were our PLAN B - the power was out. The weddings that took place at those locations - our plans B and C - took place in the dark. Also the HEAT. Club food was prepared in the dark, without the benefit of refrigeration or stoves. If we had gone with Plan B, the country club plan, we would have been in a mess. As with most things, there's no place like home.

Home is where the love is.

P.S. The pictures. Yes, the really, really clear and awesome pictures - courtesy of Mr. Zanone. The others - Facebook snags, my little P+S, etc.

1 comment:

Kat said...

WOW!!!! What a treasure to have those memories. It looks like the PERFECT wedding. :)