Friday, August 24, 2007

the wedding of the year

A week ago my brother was preparing to be married.  Last Saturday was the big day, but the bachelor/bachelorette parties started on Thursday and the festivities continued through Sunday.  I was home all week, so I was able to be involved in the pre-wedding set-up.  Not that there was much left by the time I was home; Mary (the bride) was so organized that almost everything was done already! 

On Thursday we kicked Mary’s bachelorette party off with getting our nails done.  For that portion of the evening all the bridesmaids were present, as well as Mary’s mom and my mom (who is, of course, also the mother of the groom).  We had paraffin dips for our hands, which left behind baby-soft skin, and French manicures and pedicures.

I had never had either a manicure or a pedicure before and it felt so nice.  When we finished there we had some awkward moments trying to reach into our purses to pay without bumping our still-fresh nails.  We all made it out of the salon without ruining any nails and then the bridesmaids accompanied Mary to a wine cellar in town to do a little wine-tasting.  It was a bit different than the wine-tasting I did in Hungary, but the cellar had the same scent to it.  Memories came flooding back as soon as we walked in. 

My cousin Kate joined us there and traveled with us from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City, which is half an hour south.  Mary went to the University of Iowa in Iowa City and it is such a fun place: lots of restaurants and shops, not to mention people to watch.  We went to Givanni’s Italian restaurant for dinner and then to Steph’s (the maid of honor) house for desert, gifts, and a wedding-themed movie - “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. 

Some of Mary’s friends from college joined us for dinner and the rest of the party.  My sister had band camp the next morning, so we couldn’t spend the night, but most of the others did.
On Friday we had lots of preparation to do for the rehearsal dinner, which was in our backyard.  My mom made most of the food so I assisted her in the kitchen all morning.  Our extended family started arriving at noon and they also helped prepare food and the yard and house.  The rehearsal went off without a hitch, providing us all with a sense of calm about the wedding.  For the rehearsal dinner my brother had requested wings and ribs, so two of my uncles had been grilling while we were at the rehearsal, and soon after we got back to my house we started eating.  It was a festive backyard barbecue with the whole wedding party, dates of some, and lots of extended family already in town.  The final guests left around 10 and then we did a lot of clean up.
I wish I could say the wedding day dawned with bright sunshine, but in fact it was rainy all morning.  My sister Ann and I helped Mary set up in the reception hall first thing.  We placed goody bags by each place setting and flower arrangements on each table, and we helped “the cake lady” set up towers of cupcakes.  Greg and Mary had decided against having a giant wedding cake that would result in too much leftover and opted instead for cupcakes.  There were six different flavors and hundreds of cupcakes.

Next we had our hair done, and then had a little down time before we had to be to the church.  Once there we had to get dressed - a group affair - and help Mary get all outfitted.

Two hours of picture-taking followed.  Every possible combination of bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers, bride, groom, and families was done, indoors and out.  Then we had a little time to eat a few snacks before the wedding started.  Dinner was going to be rather late and lunch was pretty early so we had some crackers, cheese, and grapes to tide us over.
The ceremony itself started at 4 and was pretty near perfect.  Timing was right for everyone walking down the aisle, no one tripped, and everything flowed very smoothly.  My dad, a pastor, performed the ceremony which added a personal dimension that left most people in tears.  There was some tissue-passing among the bridesmaids and I saw all the groomsmen wipe away a tear or two. 
After the ceremony Greg and Mary greeted all the guests and then drove off in a borrowed corvette.

They didn’t drive as far as most people probably thought, though, because just around the corner was a park where the wedding party took more pictures.  My brother loves trains and there is a train caboose in that park so he and Mary took a number of pictures on it.

The weather had cleared up nicely by then (obviously), but there was still some mud in the park, so we had to help Mary bustle her dress.

Finally it was time for the reception.  Upon arrival at the reception hall the wedding party waited through the slideshow Greg had put together with pictures of him and Mary, and then went in upon being announced.

The food, when it was served, was delicious.  Salad followed by green beans, roasted potatoes, and cordon bleu.  There was a mini-wedding cake for the head table and cupcakes for everyone else.  That didn’t mean, of course, that the head table was prohibited from eating the cupcakes.  All except one of the cupcakes was cream-filled, and the baker promised that whoever found the creamless cupcake would win a free six-inch cake.  Bridesmaid Jen was very disappointed not to win.

Instead of the traditional glass-clinking, Greg and Mary had something of a game.  Whenever glasses were clinked, the names of a married couple were drawn from a hat and they had to demonstrate how Greg and Mary should kiss, and then they had to reproduce the kiss.  Some of them got pretty creative.

When the head table was cleared away for dancing to begin, Mary and her dad danced, Greg and our mom danced, Greg and Mary danced, and then everyone else got up to join them.  The dancing remained pretty steady until after 11 when Greg and Mary left, and then the rest of us kept dancing for a bit more even.

Between friends and family, the reception was a lot of fun.  The two extended families, Greg’s and Mary’s, meshed so well.  It was a fun way to welcome a new sister to our family.

Posted by Emily MacLeod on 08/24 at 09:57 AM

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