Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What a wonderful day!

As an old married woman (of nearly TWO months!), I still am glowing in the wonderful wedding day we had. Amazing, crazy, full of friends and family, utterly exhausting, full of love, and just absolutely wonderful.

Friends and family poured in from all over...the cousins from Ireland win the prize for furthest traveled, but we were amazed to have guests make the journey from Canada and 8 states outside Indiana. Thank you all so much!!

The festivities started on Friday, when all the wedding party girlies got together for girly fun stuff. Then off to the rehearsal and the best rehearsal dinner ever at the Milano Inn. Yum! Thanks to Doug's parents, Joy and Lorne, for a starting our wedding weekend off with fabulous meal for all the family that night.

For the girls, at least, the wedding day started crazy early. Valerie & I headed over to start getting our hair done at 6:30 am, and my sisters Erin & Deirdre, and Doug's sister Lynn Marie joined us soon after. Kudos to Art and Krystal at Mass Appeal for great job they did with the vintage hairstyles we asked for, and for opening up the salon for us so very early! And Sarah from MAC at Nordstrom also joined us at the salon to finish off my vintage look with an amazing makeup application that had me looking like a 1950s movie star.

Then we all rushed to get into our wedding duds. Doug and his groomsmen and groomsmaids were already at the church starting off with their photos. And I finally got to slip into the beautiful dress that my mother made for me. For months after we got engaged, I searched everywhere for *my* perfect dress. Most brides want the fairy tale floor length dress with a train...but not me...what I wanted was a dance dress. Tea-length and twirly. But, still able to make me feel like a princess. :) Sadly, these dresses are few and far between. But my mom is just amazing and created my perfect dress from a vintage Vogue pattern. And as an added perk, we used material in a stunning brocade that had dragons (which Doug loves!) in the pattern.

My sisters, Valerie and I just made it to the church before the downpour started. Rain on the wedding day is good luck, right? Well, luckily for us, St Mary Church is a beautiful place inside too, so we were dry and happy. After some more photos for me and my wonderful bridal party, I scampered up to the choir loft to hide away and watch as the church started to fill up with all of our friends and family. And then the music started. Wow.

Please keep in mind, that while I might be biased (since we picked the music and the musicians) the music was all I hoped for. When we started planning the wedding ceremony, I pulled out all the of the programs I've collected from the weddings I've sung for over the years. There were nearly a hundred of them...and more than half of them have probably been at Saint Mary's in the last 10 years. Joe Burrows was our pianist and made sure everything ran smoothly with all the unusual music I threw at him for our ceremony. Joe is an old friend, and has played many of those weddings I've sung at over the years, and he is a wonderful musician. Then there were the rest of the musicians--all friends and family. Our great friends, Jill on trumpet, David on banjo (yep, a banjo at the wedding!) and Priscilla, Garrett (nephew) and Tiernen (niece) on vocals. Tiernen didn't even blink an eye, two months before the wedding, when I dropped a stack of music on her and asked her to learn many new pieces of music. They all did an amazing job, especially pulling it all together for their first rehearsal at the night before the wedding.

Anyway, back to the wedding day. The prelude music. Wow. It was divine. And then the ceremony started. Four beautiful voices were singing "Panis Angelicus" as Doug and his parents walked down the aisle to start the procession, and as our mothers lit the candles at the front of the church. Then my three sisters, Siobhan, Erin and Deirdre walked down together, followed by our best friends Valerie & Darren, then Doug's brother Andrew, sister Lynn Marie, and cousin Carol. Finishing up the wedding party were my nephew Zachary and Doug's niece Emma, who stole the show as ringbearer and flower girl.

Then Jill played the trumpet fanfare of "Ode to Joy" and cousins Matt and David opened the big church doors one more time as my parents escorted me down the aisle. I was astounded by all the happy joyful faces of our family and friends. Then finally, I saw Doug, beaming and waiting for me at the front of the church. And then, of course, we sang. :) I will always think of the joy of that morning when I hear Beethoven's wonderful song.

If you've never been to St. Mary's church near downtown Indianapolis, it's well worth a visit. Beyond the beauty of the church building itself, it's a wonderful parish that I've been blessed to be a part of since I've lived here. Father Michael, the pastor, is a big part of the reason Doug and I chose to be married here. Michael allowed us to add many non-traditional elements to our ceremony, welcoming the blending our needs and beliefs, and family & religious traditions. Our friend Juliet opened the readings with a beautiful poem by Elliot Arnold called "Benediction of the Apaches". Then Tiernen led us in singing an old favorite hymn from Doug's family, "Unto the Hills".

And Renee, who has been my friend since we were four, did a reading from Ecclesiastes. Father Michael finished with a scripture reading from John. Doug and I actually were a bit surprised...this was a reading that we'd considered having in the wedding, but had decided on another. But this reading never got corrected in the program. Ooops! But thankfully, it was still one that we liked.

Michael gave a wonderful sermon. I've heard many of his wedding homilies over the years, and he didn't disappoint us. He referred to the author Kathleen Norris, and expanded on a quote from her book-- "The very nature of marriage means saying yes before you know what it will cost. Though you may say the ‘I do’ of the wedding ritual in all sincerity, it is the testing of that vow over time that makes you married." He continued speaking on the importance of affirming that 'I do' through our lives, and reminded us all that the are no "return policies" in marriage. Doug and I managed to ruin the solemnity of the moment by getting caught whispering to each other at this point, and causing great laughter as folks wondered what we were conspiring about!

And as many others have before us, we stood before all and exchanged our vows and our rings. And I could see how much Doug loved me, and I hope he could see how much I love him. Even though I put his ring on the wrong hand.

We lit our unity candle and heard Tiernen sing "Ave Maria". My dear friend Meredith lead the prayers of the faithful and after the final blessings, Michael finally exclaimed this wonderful sentence, "It is my privilege now to present to you for the very first time, Mr. & Mrs. Doug and Fiona Becker!"

And we kissed...

and kissed

and kissed
and kissed

and jumped

and then kissed some more!

And then the real party started! Well...technically we went to our house and took more photos, but then the party really did start!

There's a gem of a place, the Latvian Community Center, where we held our reception. Lots of grassy and tree lined grounds surround the building and we were the only ones there. And it was a big enough to have dinner and dancing and board games (and hula hoops). And we had wonderful friends who schlepped all the supplies there, decorated, set up table and sound equipment. Our dear friends Susan and Tony were organizers galore, and really made everything perfect for us that night. We will never be able to thank them enough. And the food by AlliCarte Catering was divine yumminess. Jamabalaya and Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Risotto. Wahoo! Allison and Daniel were a joy to work with. The wonderful Cindy Hawkins of Circle City Sweets made the heavenly wedding cake. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the gorgeous flowers were arranged by Meredith and Erica at Posh Petals in Broad Ripple, and they are also a joy to work with.

Then the speeches began. But before I get there, let me relate a funny story. My maid of honor, Valerie, wondered early on in the wedding planning, if we were going to force her to make a speech. And since public speaking is high on her list for utter terror and sleeplessness, of course we wouldn't. We'd like it if she could, but we were okay with no speeches at all. Which was a relief to Doug's best man, Andrew, who was also pleased to be relieved from public speaking duties. Fast forward to the night before the wedding, when Valerie tells us that she's be losing sleep at night, but she's ready to give her toast! What!?!? It seems that we were all confused, but dang it, if Valerie's worked this hard on a speech, she's going to give it!! Which led to the uncomfortable conversation with Andrew, who valiantly decided that he could also give a toast as well.

And Valerie and Andrew both were fantastic, despite their misgivings. Valerie's toast is something that I wish I could keep in a bottle and open whenever I've had a bad day. Two months later, the memory of that speech still fills my eyes with happy tears and the joy of the most amazing friendship ever. And Andrew opened with one of the funniest Doug stories that I've heard and finished with wonderful words of love and welcome to the Becker clan. And finally, my sister Siobhan spoke about about our families and our histories, the parallels between them, and of course, love. Beautiful words from all three of them. Thank you all so much!

And then there was dancing. Oh yes, there was DANCING!

And then everyone danced...

And then there was cake! And many many desserts...

And a lovely duet by David and Pri--a mashup of "I Could Have Danced All Night" and "I Can't Dance".

And MORE dancing!

And Zombies

And then it was over...and we were tired. :)

But we had all the family over for a lovely brunch in the garden the next day. And the sun shone. And we breathed. And then the house was empty.

And then we went on our honeymoon...but that is for another post!

So wow, our friends and family LOVE to take photos. And, our photographer, Daryl Hemmings took many of these photos and was just wonderful! All told, we ended up with more than 2000 to choose from. We've whittled those down to a mere 400ish favorites. They can be viewed in this album. If anyone would like higher resolution for prints, just let me know!

And, thank you one and all, to all of the wonderful people who made this amazing day happen--our wonderful parents, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends.