Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A tale of two showers

For a very long time, I've know that I was blessed with a pretty amazing family. And now it seems that I am also lucky enough to be marrying into Doug's amazing family!
About a week after we got engaged last summer, I got a very fun phone call from Doug's sister, Lynn Marie. Their family's annual gathering was 3 weeks away, and it was going to be a perfect time to have a wedding shower! Seriously, who else is lucky enough to have their first wedding shower 3 weeks into her engagement?
Each summer Doug's family from his mother, Joy's side, gathers together at the Wonnacott family farm up in Ontario. There's hiking, swimming, singing, games, bonfires, plenty of great food, occasionally some dancing, and lots of great visiting and catching up done with all the aunts, uncles and cousins. In the midst of all this activity, Lynn Marie managed to pull together a wonderful bridal shower for me. There was a great game that involved interviewing Doug ahead of time, and then finding out if I could match his answers. Of course, I did this nearly flawlessly, except when Doug just plain answered wrong! Then there were the books! Since there were some space constraints on getting the gifts back home, Lynn Marie also craftily arranged for all the gifts to be books and the guest's favorite recipes. Definitely two of my all time favorite things! I was gifted lots of wonderful mysteries, cook books, and books about Canada and by Canadian authors. Oh and tea & punch and all sorts of tasty goodies!
And since all the menfolk were also at the Farm, they had a concurrent party hosted by Lynn Marie's husband John. Mostly it involved drinking mint julips, playing board games, and sitting around talking.
One of the other really sweet things about the day of the bridal shower, was that we also celebrated the fortieth wedding anniversary of Doug's Aunt Alma and Uncle Peter.
And last weekend, we travelled up to Chicago for the Solkowski family wedding shower. On my side of the family, it's become a tradition to invite (require) the future groom to attend the shower. I had pity on Doug and also invited Darren, one of his groomsman who just happens to be married to my maid of honor Valerie, to tag along for moral support. Darren and Valerie were sweet enough to drive up from Louisville for this party. They met us in Indianapolis, and then we all piled in the same car up to Chicago. At noon on Saturday, we were welcomed into a huge collection of my aunts and cousins at my sister Erin's house. Since Doug and I have just a bit of reputation for liking games, my sister Siobhan put together some fun ones for us. We played "Name that Spice", Fiona/Doug Boggle, and a group interactive "How well do you know me" questionnaire…Doug and I had to know (or guess) things about each other—but everyone else there had to decide whether we'd be right or wrong in our answers about the other. Lots of fun!

And wonderfully generous presents! Beautiful blue dishes, knives, potholders, a lamp, a lovely hand painted wineglass, camping gear, a special wedding home-brewed beer (dressed up as a bride and groom), an electric tea kettle, a theme present from Mom and Dad—Bailey Irish Cream, Polish Vodka, Canadian Whiskey and Chicago brewed Beer. There were also many wonderful cards and a keepsake box that immediately came in handy! I'm also forced to report that Doug somehow ended up with two pairs of underwear on his head during the opening of gifts. I'm not entirely sure how that happened. My niece Tiernen did a wonderful job as secretary, keeping track of all the gifts for us. There were also lots of great favorite recipes from all the guests.
My sisters and my mom did an amazing job cooking and organizing a wonderful party for us. And they had the fantastic help of 3 junior hostesses—my neice Zoe, and cousins Erica and Kate. They did a great job of keeping all the guests fed and tea and coffee cups full.
We also followed up a full day of partying (showering?) with a swing dance. I think this was the first time most of my family got to attend a dance event with me. It was great! My parents, all of my sisters, my brother-in-law Paul, my college roommate Andrea, Valerie & Darren, their friend Hannah, and Doug and I all headed out to hear an amazing 17 piece big band (the Outcast Jazz Band) that was playing at the Willowbrook Ballroom. We got just about everybody out on the dance floor. We also ran into a few swing dance gypsies there that we've danced with in other cities. Yay.
More photos from the Wedding Shower