Turtle Trax Diary for November 30, 2000. Page #29
Gretchen and Mike's Wedding and a little other stuff!
by Lucky Magnolia (Susan Shie)
Here is Gretchen's bouquet, made by our friend Laura Saeger. Sterling and lavender roses with seeded eucalyptus, in an etched silver tussy mussy.
This is page one of this month's diary.
If you like, skip to page two of this month's diary.
Topics in this diary: The wedding...other stuff. Way more on the wedding tho, sorry to people who hate weddings! Let's see... Wedding on this page, and on page 2, reception and some other stuff we did in the last two months! Two turtle art camps, a new roof, little stuff like that! And with the wedding description, I'm throwing in some helpful hints to Mothers of the Bride, since I feel I learned a lot and only have one daughter to marry off, so I need to share my wisdom!
Note: The photos in this diary are a mixture of shots by Cheryl Dixon, Pat Cornelius, and me.
First of all, I turned 50 a little over a week before the wedding. I was so focused on the wedding prep, I hadn't expected 50 to be very profound, but it is! I love 50! Our friends Pat and Floyd Cornelius and we went to supper at a lovely place we'd never been to, and then Pat made me eat a piece of birthday cake. I don't eat desserts for now, but this was an important blessing ritual! Jimmy had a wonderful peridot and silver ring made for me, and I feel it has the right vibes for being 50! It's strong and very positive! I am happy to be as old as I am. And I didn't expect to feel so good about it at all! Pat will turn 50 next April, and she has a lot of close friends turning same age this year. So she's got us all planning a party in Hilton Head next August, to celebrate our oldness together! We're Pat's Ya Ya's!
Jimmy turned 47 on November 26, but I don't have those pictures back yet. His favorite present was the fancy Angler's Image Fly Fishing Knife I got him. Girls, ya gotta give those men TOOLS to keep them happy! We're going out to eat tonight at Oak Park Tavern near Mansfield, a kinda dumpy and funky fishing lodge kinda place that has the world's best steaks. Mama Wanda, Gary, Jimmy, and I will rendezvous there with our friend Vikki and her family and my birthday pal Jane and her sister. It's an annual event, to celebrate Vikki and Jimmy's birthdays, because they are wild and crazy Sagittarians!
My sister Debi gave me this wild sparkly jester's hat for my BD, along with some funny little gifts, including a great anti-Bush bumper sticker! She and I sat together one evening for hours and made bubble favors for the wedding. The bottles Gretchen had gotten have doves above the lid. She was fried from doing all the reception table favors of jordon almonds in tulle and ribbon herself, and told me if we wanted to decorate the bubble bottles, fine with her! Now Debi and I are not Martha Stewart types, but we really did have fun with the crazy out-of- controlness of the tulle, ribbon roses, and ribbon, and the hugeness of the project! By the time we'd done 120 bottles, we felt like real experts! Also kinda slap happy! Good thing Gretchen let us do purple, which we both are real suckers for anyway!
Along with the bubble bottles, Gretchen and Mike selected a lot of the rest of their wedding things from the internet. They had bought a little blueberry iMac early in the year, and got plenty of use out of it, surfing for guestbook, candles, napkins, invitations, goblets, cake servers, cake top decoration, dresses, tuxes, etc. They would send me links or images to look at. After the dress was located, Gretchen found a shop in Cincinnati to go try it on and buy it at. But many things were bought without actually handling them. The wedding sites are really elaborate!!!!!
When Gretchen and Mike got up to Wooster for the wedding, from their home in Cincinnati, they went to see my mom at the nursing home. In this photo, they had just told her that they're getting married. We all were really moved by the very obvious clarity she came to right then! She definitely registered this news, and with joy! It was amazing. You are moved to tears when you get to see her come out of her Alzheimer's fog! It makes it so special to know she's really still inside herself, only trapped by the physical destruction of the disease. I know the kids felt truly blessed to have had such good luck with communicating with Mom, whom the grandkids all call Panny.
The day before the wedding, on October 6, Kate Arango and Laura Saeger came over to cut flowers from our garden for the wedding. Laura had been making plans for months for how she would do the flowers, and I had asked Kate to assist her, since it was turning into a big effort. It was so cold that month, we had frost to think about, but some of the flowers and herbs made it. We even got some purple flowers from our neighbors the Perleys' garden. Laura had grown some special things, and a florist was enlisted for the many roses. Ah! Lavender from our garden added a fresh scent to corsages and boutonnieres, but the purple basil I'd babied all season just couldn't handle the cold. Oh well! Laura and Kate managed to do incredible work for the bouquets, pew ends, altar, 34 vases on reception tables, and lots of flowers to be worn. The bride and bridesmaids' tussy mussies were a special challenge, but no one would have guessed it! They were so nice!
Here is Central Christian Church in Wooster, downtown, where the wedding took place Saturday, October 7, at 5:30 pm. None of us goes to this church, but our preacher friend Paul had moved away and "gave us" Rev. David Stout, and this is where he works! It was a lovely space for the wedding, and the people there all made us feel right at home! Esther Sweeney, the pianist of the church, practiced well for the music Mike and Gretchen wanted included with the classic wedding music. They added John Lennon's "Across the Universe" and "In My Life." The traditional wedding march and recessional made us all cry, which is what we wanted! Originally Gretchen and Mike wanted an outdoor wedding at the Art Center, but when we thought of possible bad weather in October, having a church seemed safer. It was!!!!!
Here are my two best friends, Pat Cornelius and Robin Schwalb. I had the brains to ask them both to come and be my extra hands and feet, in keeping this wedding stuff going smoothly. They were extra moms for Gretchen and the other girls that day! Robin came in from Brooklyn and stayed into Monday, really helping me a lot! Along with the hired photographer, Pat volunteered to take more pictures with her won really nice camera! Besides them and Laura and Kate, I got my friend Cheryl Dixon to be the professional photographer and my friend Marina Robinson to help Laura and Kate decorate the reception ballroom. Our friend Michelle Massaro was asked ahead of time to help us transport everything back to our house, when the reception would be over, and this worked out well. Ya gotta ask the night owls to help with that part! I am a firm believer in asking people you know well to help! These women have all known Gretchen a long time, and that mattered to me! Hiring strangers just wouldn't be the same!
Here are the guys with the preacher: From left. Mike's oldest brother Frank Miller, Mike's best friend and Best Man Matt Hawke, Rev. David, Mike, and Mike's brother Brian Miller. Mike is the youngest of the three Miller boys. See how sweet they are? They are! I think if it hadn't been so cold outside, we woulda gotten the girls to pose in front of this doorway, too, but it was VERY cold.
Quick: Back inside!!!! Gretchen with her maids: Maid of Honor and Gretchen's best friend Daisy Gard, Heather O'Brien (Brian's wife, so Gretchen's new sister-in-law) and Kristi Lambert (Frank's girlfriend, who's more like a wife really! So she's Gretchen's almost sister-in-law, and she and Frank live across the building, in the same building as Gretchen and Mike in Cinci. They're like Ralph and Alice, Norton and Trixi, but I don't know which couple is which!)
Now about these dresses: You will see them changing color a lot in the photos, but that is what they did. It is magic fabric, see!??? Aren't they all so pretty and sweet? Gretchen has always had the good blessing of having wonderful girlfriends around her! And these are the best!
More enlistees from my fabulous pool of hardworking and dependable loved ones! My next older brother and some of his kids. My nephew Jacob, niece Elisha, my brother Jimmy, and niece Sharon. The three kids did the guestbook and programs, bubble bottle distribution, car decorating, and greeting at the reception. Jimmy Shie did the video work. Aimee was to be there, too, but got there too late to help much. But then, she was having a date! So we didn't mind, and besides, I had all those great helpers anyhow. Note: always ask for more help than you think you need for a wedding! Way more STUFF will come up than you'd think possible, and time seems to speed up tremendously that day!
It was so nice to see Gretchen and Daisy together again. Daisy moved out to San Diego after college, and they can hardly ever get together. They grew up in Wooster and went to college together in Kent. Most of the bridesmaids spent the night before the wedding having a pajama party at our house, so we got to see them all. The excitement was really infectuous and we truly enjoyed all the giggles, nervousness, and love between them. Jimmy made them his famous margaritas, and we gave Gretchen her and Mike's Mood Meter to take along on their honeymoon. I think I have to try now to find Mood Meters for the other girls, too! Jimmy and I wouldn't be without ours!
Gretchen really does have wonderful girlfriends. Here are Kristi, Daisy, Jennifer, Gretchen, Deana from college, Jan who works with Gretchen at the Cinci Art Museum (in the stunning green), Heather, and Jean from college. From the rehearsal dinner on, Gretchen and Mike had planned to not see each other til she came down the aisle, so the excitement was building a lot by now!
I think of this shot as a Beatles' poster. Jimmy is peeking out from between Mike and Matt, and I only noticed that the other night, when scanning the pictures for this diary! Mike has some very sweet and supportive buddies in his brothers and Matt, whom he's been best friends with since grade school. Mike, Matt, and Frank all play instruments and get together sometimes in Cleveland to record their songs or just jam. Mike is seldom far from at least one or two guitars!
I felt so happy, standing there with Gretchen, knowing that all the prep was done, and this was really IT! I was glad she had me sew the veil together and press the wedding gown and paint those crazy shoes. She had originally asked me to MAKE the dress and veil, and then to alter the gown, but I had cleverly bowed out on both counts! That dress woulda been tricky to make and fit, with us living four hours apart and me not driving! Noooooo! Wise Mommy just glad to be asked!
Oh, and I am wearing the pashmina shawl Gretchen bought me for my birthday, with the wedding in mind. I got her an ivory one on her half birthday, or rather Jimmy and I gave her money and she spent it on the pashmina she would wear on her wedding day to keep warm! No one knew how cold it would be, and the week before the wedding, we had to overnight mail more pashminas for the other girls! We didn't want anyone to get sick! (Bride also sent me and Jimmy out shopping at the last minute for pretty wedding-like umbrellas, in case it was raining when everyone had to go outside. They turned out to be not needed! Yea!)
This is the sweetest picture of Mike with his mom Eileen and his dad Bud. This isn't faked either. They just love this guy! This is how their family is! Irish Catholic! "I love you, Man!" We had so much fun with them at the wedding. We only live an hour apart, but hardly ever get together. If they would just move to Wooster! I remember how my brother Larry's first in-laws, Sam and Edith, became part of our family, when I was a teenager and Larry married Donna. Holidays were all spent together and we discovered the warmth of Italian Catholic family customs! That feeling of warmth is what I now feel with Bud and Eileen and their kids.
Anyhow then it was time for the wedding ceremony! Enough kissing for a bit! Gretchen had on her painted shoes that I had angsted over so much, when they had turned pink instead of ivory when they were dyed! I had painted the ivory roses, and you can kinda see the flowery lace brocades sewn around the bottom of the dress, and how they help make sense of the painted shoes. Baby Ruth was an extra special bride, with her Art Feets! Ready to step on down the aisle now!
Frank seated Eileen and Bud, Brian seated me, and then the bridesmaids came: Kristi escorted by Frank, Heather escorted by Brian, and Daisy by herself, while Mike and Matt waited at the altar.
And then ...
Jimmy told me Gretchen was shaking like a leaf when they came down the aisle, but I know how thrilled she was! She had her father Kim on her right arm and her stepfather Jimmy on her left arm - surrounded by Daddy Love! They had to kinda squeeze down the aisle, since the roses and ribbons on the hurricane lamps were fluffing out from the pew ends, but they made it fine! Kim and we contributed halfies for the bride's parents' costs of the wedding, and it really worked out well to cooperate. Kim and I had both been on the committee for our 30th high school class reunion two years ago, and we had made it through fine! So I knew we could do this. After all, it's not a child's fault if their parents split up, and everyone needs to be there and pulling together for the wedding!
So when everyone got to the altar, the sun came out!!!! Mike said it felt like a true blessing, to have that cold and rainy day go sunny, just as their ceremony began. The church was full of people who have known these two all their lives, there to witness their solid commitment to one another. They had been together for over six years, and no one felt this was a bad or hasty match! They were and are just charming together!
Rev. David gave a good sermon, and Kristi, Brian, and Heather Gurley gave nice readings. Then they did the traditional wedding vows, and after that, they lit the Unity Candle that Eileen and I had lit the side candles for.
The kiss! OK, actually this is a staged kiss after the ceremony, because the ceremony's kiss came out a teensy bit out of focus. It was a more all wrapped up in each other's arms kinda kiss, and you couldn't really see their faces anyways, so you get this picture and you like it!
The newlyweds! This is the picture we put in the newspaper later.
After going through the reception line, my two aunts, Mary Jo and Pauline Snyder, were gearing up for the Bubble Blessing. It was pretty cold out there, but the bubbles were still working OK, and Aunt Mary Jo was getting a pretty good handle on making the perfect bubbles!
Everyone had been through the reception line and I'd had time to find my coat! The crowd outside was keeping warm by being very playful with those bubble bottles! Here are my nephew Matthew (Debi's son), Bud and Jimmy (the head Monkeys!), John (Debi's husband), Eileen and me (perfect ladies, too!) Trying to get those bottles open!
Here they come and go! Gretchen and Mike were almost unable to get down that long flight of stairs, with so many people waiting to Bubble them! And once again, the sun came out!!!!! We were cold but contented with ourselves, for sending lots and lots of good bubble wishes to our little Bride and Groom! Give a bunch of grownups bubble bottles and you get fun!
Back inside for formal photos and to warm up, while the guests headed over to the hotel ballroom at the Best Western for the reception! Soon after Heather Gurley (the Bustler) put Gretchen's train into a bustle, one of the loops broke. They had thought I was over-preparing, when I got a sewing kit together to take along to the wedding, but we ended up using it on every bridesmaid's little train, plus Gretchen's. Next time Gretchen and Mike get married, I will make my kit with my sturdy and trusty embroidery floss! This wimpy thread in the sewing kit didn't hold well at all! By the time Mike carried Gretchen over the threshold of the B&B, the last of three loops gave out on the bustle! But that was hours away at this point!
I loved Heather's dress, too, and see? She's wearing one of the nice warm pashminas! Without it, she coulda caught a nasty cold! Pashminas rule! Do you know what they are? They're lightweight shawls made in India or Katmandu or Tibet or somewhere exotic like that. Children collect the soft downy wool that the yaks or goats or something shed in the spring, and this downy wool is spun with silk, I think, to make this really nice stuff. I heard a woman, being interviewed about travelling with the candidates, say that you should pack a pashmina, because it's so warm for its size. I head this AFTER the wedding. Gretchen is the smartypants who turned me on to pashminas!
Here's the full wedding party, all warmed up again and holding still. Kristi, Heather, Daisy, Gretchen, Mike, Matt, Brian, and Frank.
And here are all the charming parents! Kim, Jimmy, me, Gretchen, Mike, Eileen, and Bud. We had made it this far and were still standing! Next would be the reception, and we wouldn't have to cook or wash dishes or anything!
Jacob and Elisha had decorated the car, while everyone was going through the reception line. Kristi, Daisy, Heather Gurley, and I had made the decorations. They say people don't much do the tissue paper flowers anymore, but we thought it was important! I made the sign out of fabric and airbrushed it, taking time to teach Kristi and Heather enough about it that they made little designs on the sign, with the airbrush, too. And all the decorations were made the day of the wedding! THAT is not part of my recommendations for planning a perfect wedding! (I really mean that surprises do come up in weddings, and you have to row with the flow! We all thought each other was making decorations!!!!!) But it got done and later I made the sign into a pillowcase for the kids. (Only the big lesson is that from now on, I'll make wedding presents of readymade pillowcases I'll paint the Just Married sign on, and will give to the couple ahead of time! Now if Martha S. can learn to airbrush, she may swipe that idea from me!)
Off to the reception!
Go to page two of this month's diary.
Turtle Moon Studios
Susan Shie and James Acord
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