3 daisys the nups


the wedding story

the wedding day dawned bright and clear, unusual for chicago in march. it had been a lovely week and we were crossing our fingers that we would continue to see mild temperatures and spring-like weather through the weekend.

michael had left the evening before for his parent's house, where he had spent the night with his mom and dad. it was 915am and sheila, my maid of honor, and I had just returned from getting our hair done, having gone to the salon at 730am wearing our wedding makeup, fancy underwear, and ratty old sweatsuits. the limo was already parked outside and waiting for the bridal party and tricia and jeff, my bridal attendants, were patiently relaxing in the living room with ares when sheila and I ran in the side door and into the bedroom to put on our dresses.

once dressed and ready to go, we spent a few minutes in the living room reviewing the expected events of the morning and preparing to go out into the world. sheila was wearing a deep purple, floor length dress of velvet and taffeta. it accentuated her statuesque figure and she looked wonderful. her hair was gathered in a sophisticated french twist and decorated with tiny jewels. tricia wore a slightly lighter purple floor length dress of taffeta. it had a low back line with a bow just at the small of her back. she wore a jeweled butterfly clip in her hair, which looked very cosmopolitan. they both looked lovely. jeff was wearing a formal morning suit, which he loves, and he looked handsome in it. he and the rest of the men had chosen the ultra-formal black cutaway suit coats, with striped ties and black pants, shoes and dove-gray vests.

I was wearing my mother's 1962 ivory silk and white lace applique wedding dress, "something old". after her wedding in 1962, mom had balled it up into a paper grocery bag and thrown it into the attic. she was shocked when she took it out and found that it had not be damaged in any way in its 36 years of storage. the seamstress said she had seen old wedding dresses that had been "preserved" by their owners at great cost years ago whose dresses were not in not nearly as good shape as mom's. I was thrilled to be able to wear it.

it was a full-length sheath with a sabrina neckline, long sleeves, an empire waist and it fit me perfectly, both in size and style. it had an ivory silk sweep train attached to the back of the dress just below the waist, with snaps and loops hidden underneath with which to create the bustle at the reception. it had taken the seamstress the past eight weeks to adjust the hem, repair all of the ivory pearls and lace and replace the hidden zipper in the back. she said she had not seen as beautiful and unique a dress in many years. it had just returned from the cleaners and a final steam pressing that thursday night - the finished product was breathtaking.

my hair was all in curls, with just the bangs pulled back and the veils on top. the veils were ivory with ivory satin-corded edging and double-layered as 24" and 29". they were attached to a long hair comb covered with ivory pearls and glittering austrian crystal beads. I had ordered the veil on the Internet (bridal headpieces by laura at http://www.bridalheadpieces.com/) and it had just arrived on time and in the mail two weeks before the wedding, "something new". laura was responsible for ensuring the perfect match between the hair comb I had selected from her collection, the veils and my vintage dress, which she then created herself as a custom order for me. my shoes were ivory satin mules with a sequined band and one of them had a small blue heart hanging from the instep, "something blue". sheila had lent me her lovely drop pearl earrings for the wedding, "something borrowed".

once dressed and with all of our purses (one small ivory silk and sequined purse for my makeup and neccessities, one larger ivory silk bag with a drawstring for envelopes) and my briefcase stuffed with scads of excel spreadsheets (for the ceremony musicians, for the reception, for the photographer, for the ceremony, etc), we headed out the door at 930am.

my parents had been waiting outside in their car for us to emerge from the house. they released elaine and grace who came running to us, screaming "mommy, aunt sheila, aunt tricia, uncle jeff!". they looked unreal in their darling ivory dresses, and floral wreaths of baby's breath and voilets in their hair. elaine's hair was done just like mine, with loads of curls and the bangs pulled back with a barrette.

mom and dad looked nervous and excited. I guessed that the spending the morning getting the two girls bathed, dressed in white dresses and their hair done before 900am had been no small feat. but mom looked ready for the celebration in a new purple velvet dress, her hair done and perfectly accessorized. dad was of course dressed in a morning suit like the rest of the men and looked debonair.

we were all ready to go. sheila held most of my dress for me as we piled into the limo and headed off to the church.

the wedding ceremony

the church was only about five minutes from the house, so it was a very quick ride. michael's parents had sprung for the limosine and had made all of the arrangements. it was a long, white stretch limo that seated ten and was decorated inside and out in purple crepe paper flowerettes and silver ribbons. we meandered our way to the large, stone church with the huge stained glass windows and large, heavy wooden doors and parked out front for ten or fifteen minutes, trying to figure out how we could get into the church without being seen by the men. we were giggling and peeking out of the tinted windows and the girls happily played along with us.

after watching many of our guests arrive and disappear up the stone steps and into the church, we were swooshed out of the limo by the driver, with sheila again attending to my dress (carrying the train was very neccessary lest it drag on the ground and get dirty). we ran up the church steps and into the foyer, ducking quickly to the right and heading down the stairs into the basement where we could wait for the magical ten o'clock hour.

michelle, the florist, (a grand flower shop in franklin park) brought our flowers to us and I was stunned at what a beautiful job she had done with them. the colors were vibrant with white and dark pink daisies, purple, yellow and white wildflowers, and sunflowers. there was purple tulling and fresh green ivy wound throughout. my bouquet was a very loose nosegay with a slight cascading effect, just as I had asked for. the girls' bouquets were long-stemmed and loosely tied ala martha stewart. they were all a perfect match for the style and feel of the wedding and looked perfect against the creamy ivory of my dress and the dark purple of sheila and tricia's dresses.

dr. grice came downstairs to see how we were doing and gave us reassurance that all was well with the guests and the men upstairs. of course I needed a status on michael's state of mind and everyone looked at me and said "he's fine! you'll see him in ten minutes, geez". mom said "put on some lipstick", as she knew that I would forget because of course I never wear lipstick on a normal day. but today was definitely anything but a normal day! dr. grice said that michael and his best man (his brother jeff) were waiting at the alter for our arrival and were doing just fine. I asked how the classical string trio was doing and dr. grice said that they sounded wonderful. everything was going according to plan.

as the minutes ticked by, I started to get more and more nervous. fortunately sheila, jeff and tricia did their jobs well and made sure that I stopped worrying about the ceremony musicians, the photographer, the guests, the schedule and everything else. sheila and jeff insisted that I put away the excel spreadsheets and/or hand over responsibility for them to someone else and tricia entertained the girls and tried to keep them neat and tidy for the ceremony only minutes away. dr. grice insisted again that the girls stay standing with him through the entire ceremony and said he was sure that they would behave. watching them running around screaming, I had my doubts, but resolved that I was going to give it a try since both michael and I had agreed to include them in the ceremony as much as possible.

finally the time came to assemble upstairs in the foyer. I and the cellist in the string trio had pre-determined all of the music for the ceremony and she seemed to be right on cue. the strains of bach's air for the g string were just ending, signalling that michael's grandparents, michael's parents and my parents had been seated. next would be elaine and grace, then the bridal party, escorted by the groom's attendants, then me and my father.

all I could think about was michael standing at the alter, waiting for me. I wondered what he was thinking, was he nervous, excited, happy? I couldn't wait to see him. then, pachelbel's canon in d began and tricia, my sister-in-law, was escorted down the aisle by my best friend, jeff. following them was my best friend and maid of honor, sheila, escorted by don. then, elaine and grace tred softly down the aisle, gently placing rose petals as they went. I waited with my dad until I heard the music end. there was a long silence, for maybe 30 seconds or a minute. my dad and I moved into the doorway. then, purcell/clark's trumpet voluntary began and we started to walk.

I could see the girls standing quietly at the end of the aisle, one on each side of dr. grice. I looked around and saw all of the guests that we had invited, smiling and happy. the music sounded wonderful, the strings were enjoying their work as the morning sun streamed through the stained glass and into the church. then, finally, I saw michael. it seemed like it took hours to walk down the aisle. I was smiling like crazy and looking into michael's eyes as we came abreast the first pew.

we stopped and dad gave me a kiss. he turned and shook michael's hand, then took his place seated next to my mother. I looked at michael and smiled. he smiled back. then, I noticed that he was breathing very rapidly. I reached out and held his hand. he held my hand tightly and smiled again. then we turned and listened to dr. grice.

dr. grice had a great sermon ready and we were enraptured with all of it. the girls were like little angels in white standing next to him and looking at us with great interest. my dad and michael's mom both had readings and dad's, in particular, was very moving. it had been written by tricia.

michael and I had our own custom vows and we said them to each other. michael had said weeks before the ceremony that he was going to say them at the top of his lungs so that they could be heard in california. we had a unity candle lighting ceremony (followed by a muscial interlude of mozart's divertimento) and each of the four of us had a white taper candle to use to light the single wick on the special candle I had ordered from waxman in kansas city, mo (my favorite candle manufacturer). michael and I helped the girls and we managed to avoid starting the church on fire in the process.

dr. grice concluded the ceremony by pronouncing us "man and wife" and then we and the girls walked back up the aisle as a family. michael and I had presentation roses for the moms and presentation sunflowers for the girls. we handed those out, gave kisses as needed and led the wedding party back up the aisle. all of the guests left immediately to the barn of barrington for the reception, while we hid in the basement waiting until it was time to take pictures.

the picture-taking portion of the program took about an hour, a little longer than I had planned, but we got all of the photos that the photographer wanted to take, as well as a short list of additional photos that we had added to his. after we were done taking pictures, michael, I, sheila, jeff, tricia, some of the guys and elaine & grace piled into the limo and headed to the barn for the reception. michael was very animated and anxious for his first beer as a married man. the rest of us went for the champaign.

the reception

(november 28, 2000 - to be continued....)

wedding photos

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