Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The wonderful weddings....

 Maria T.  is a tiny little division of my life, and of our real business, (the one that puts food on the table),  the “Electric Hospital”.
It was born after helping 2 of our children plan their weddings, one of the most marvelous experiences I have ever been a part of.  When my daughters announced their plans to wed, we started planning immediately. It was a positive journey in every way,  always remembering the reason for the marriage. It was not about things, or money, it was about love, family, friends.
Both girls decided to come home and marry in our family church, by our family priest, surrounded by loved ones, who came from near and far. Aunts and uncles, cousins, grandfather and friends...they all traveled many miles to be present on that special day..
Paula flew from Chile, with her Chilean fiancee Cristian and part of his family.  Christine traveled from Washington, with her fiancee Jake, whose family lives nearby.  Both weddings were “home made”, and a family affair. From the bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres, made in our dining room table, to the church and parish hall decorations and food set up. The DJ was their little brother, now a man, engaged to a lovely woman himself. Andrew has that wonderful DJ voice, and a great talent for taking over the task and getting organized without a glitch. He not only plays music, he knows music.
Wonderful friends and family gifted each girl with their generosity. Sally surprised each with a beautiful cake, baked in their colors and themes.

Christine chose white roses...
Paula chose a marine theme...

The cake topper, used on both cakes, was saved from my wedding
For Paula's ceremony, long time family friend, Linda, with the voice of an angel, sung a selection of hymns and love songs accompanied by organist Keryn,  including an a capella rendition of "One Hand, One Heart", from West Side Story, as the couple spent time in prayer in front of the Holy Family altar. And Aunt Judy played romantic music on her violin, from the choir loft, where notes resonated throughout the church. Keryn also played for Christine, and accompanied friend Barb, who, with her soprano voice, sung the "Ave Maria" making the church stained glass windows vibrate! I still get emotional remembering those sounds. Our family priest, Fr. Karl, having known our family for a long time, was able to provide a true, personalized wedding for each, and even added Spanish language to Paula's, so the Chilean part of the family could understand and participate in the ceremony.
All wedding announcements were carefully chosen and worded. Each girl decided on completely different themes. One wanted a blue marine theme, while the other wanted white and traditional. I printed, painted, cut and decorated each of the 200+ invitations each girl chose. I kept in mind a piece of advice a friend gave to me: “Remember, it is THEIR wedding”.... and I never crossed a “t” or dotted an “i” without consulting before. As a result, we had full trust on each other...what a gift for a Mother.

                                          The invitations...

The programs...

The younger sister married first. Christine chose a simple white gown, and then we proceeded to change it.  Over 80 hours of machine embroidery, with silver and white thread, more than 700 pearls and Swarovski crystals and a finger-tip length veil, with it's share of crystals, turned the simple dress into a beautiful wedding gown.

Can you feel the love?

Just get me to the church on time!
Two cultures united..
 Paula also started with a simple dress, which was transformed into a luscious gown by embroidering large blue motifs around the entire length of the train, over a span of 90+ hours and over 800 Swarovski crystals. But this sister wanted things simple...when it came time to design her veil, she asked:  "Where is my sister's veil, I'll use it!" So we dug it out of it's box and a cousin proceeded to steam it and bring it back to life ... and instead of a tiara, a beautiful hairpiece was fashioned from tiny baby white roses that aunt Lynn had purchased to decorate our home ... how lovely they both looked in that veil.
Younger sister wanted pretty shoes that did not hurt, older sister, helped by cousin Amber, decorated a new pair tennis shoes by gluing shells and marine decorations … after all, she is a marine biologist!
A good friend, owner of one of my favorite restaurants, the Pancake Mill, gifted me with over an hour of her time to teach me about foods. What kinds, how much, where to place them on the buffet table.....where to order and how much to order, and what not to get … she was a life saver. Being in the food industry, Bev knows her business! It was a valuable gift that  I used for both weddings. Son in law Jake, from Washington, made sausage and smoked salmon, and brought a generous and delicious platter for his sister in law's buffet.
Our Holy Redeemer Catholic Church has a lovely group of Altar Society Ladies who help with the organizing, food, serving, cake cutting, parish hall and church decorations ... what a marvelous group of supportive and giving women. We all have seen each others' children grow up, gone to the same schools, same church, same track meets and band concerts.... they are an extension of our family.
Funny things can happen at weddings … I remember the loud conga line, dancing around the court yard and church, while another Mass was taking place...and thinking, there is a Mass going on at this time....I wonder what the parishioners are thinking!
And then came the time to say goodbye.   At each wedding, we gave the guests tiny bells for the send off. They formed a line as the bride and groom entered their car on the way to their honeymoon.
Ding! Ding! Ding!   (See the decorated tennis shoes?)

Paula wanted an ecological, biodegradable, reusable and natural wedding. I ordered live potted lavender from a farm in Eugene. Large arrangements of different kinds of lavender, mixed with other greens, decorated the altar and lectern. After the wedding, I planted them in our yard, and over the years they grew to monumental proportions, each Spring bringing back reminders of a lovely time.

For this “natural” daughter, we made corsages and boutonnieres out of greens and flowers from our yard.  Her bouquet had blue lobelia, blue and white hydrangeas, camellia leaves and baby's breath. 

In between, there were shimmering Swarovski crystals and a single red copihue, the national flower of Chile.  Middle daughter had her wish, when we ordered 500 roses directly from Ecuador. There were white, healthy, luscious roses everywhere, in every lapel, every table, even on her cake. And both girls surprised the single women, as they prepared to catch the bridal bouquet, when 12 arrangements tied together, separated as they were thrown up in the air, making 12 women and girls very happy.

Visiting guests were delivered an embroidered bag or basket with goodies to their hotels.
Personalized linen towels and Mother of the Bride and Groom's hankies were designed and embroidered
And garters ... of course! One to throw and one to keep...
 What an experience. What joy. What a gathering of family and  friends, kindergarten teachers, high school teachers, long time school mates, a special  grandmother... I wouldn't change a simple thing. Our sons in law are the kind of men that we would have carefully chosen for our daughters. And as a bonus, Lauren, the lovely young woman engaged to our son, is also the kind of girl that we would have carefully chosen for him.
Lauren and Andrew
During both weddings we  hosted a family reunion. And as it is tradition, fun outings and a "skit night" took place.  

Cousins and uncle improvising....
The youngest and the oldest family guest, and a very special birthday
Cousins became re-acquainted
And there is always canoeing, LOTS of canoeing )
Uncle Mike and Andrew, musicians extraordinaire!
The cousins band
Andrew and cousin Willow
Skit night "A Wedding Reenactment"
 Maria T.   has embroidered many weddings and special occasions around the country. I treat each  wedding as if it were my own. And every time I receive a call for another embroidery, another wedding, another new baby, another grandmother, another Baptism gown, I rejoice... it is what I do! 

And more wedding memories...

Bridesmaids and groomsmen dancing
Father and daughter
You get the idea...:)

And a good time was had by all ....


  1. Wonderful to see the pictures of the family!! Wonderful and beautiful!!

  2. What lovely home-made memories. Thanks for letting us re-live the moments!

  3. That was wonderful. I can't believe she chose tennis shoes! I've never heard of such a thing :)
    Keep the stories coming!