We've been pinning to a Pinterest board (I love that. June 15th, 2013), making trips to Sheboygan for dress fittings, folding doilies, drawing maps, making invitations -- all of that & then some -- for months.
Hey, planning (pinning) a wedding is so much fun!
I took photos of Ali+Rod in their back yard in mid-May, when their cherry tree was in full bloom, using the photos and a Shutterfly template to create a guest book for the wedding. There's a book preview here, if you'd like to take a look.
And, for me, that's when the quickening began. Then Ali called and said that she'd been having terrible nightmares about the wedding. She said that everyone had been telling her for so long that it would just happen and it would all work out, but she was dreaming that it was wedding day and nothing was done, there wasn't a plan! We had to get together and plan something!!
The fun & games were truly replaced by work & dread when the calendar flipped from May to June. And by dread, I really mean it... I had to force myself to smile and be excited about this thing that I'd never done before! By June 1st, I just wanted it all to be over!! Cupcake tasting a week before the wedding helped, ever so slightly, to take the edge off; and the wine. :)
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On Thursday morning, two days before the wedding, I made the last trip to Sheboygan to pick up the finished dress. The tent was scheduled for delivery and set-up that morning at Rod's parents' farm -- site of the wedding -- and I had some questions about the tent and what we could do, so decided to stop by there on the way.
The sight of that tent as I came up the road, and then down the drive, made me feel... well, as I shared on some other platforms, "Shit's gettin' frickin' real!" I could not believe how beautiful it all looked! And excitement was in the air!!
After a day of driving/pondering, with cars & trailers loaded -- bolts of tulle, strings of lights, tablecloths, a million little things -- and a vague plan in mind for it all, we made our way out later in the day to begin setting up.
It took a village, for sure, but one of the village people stood out from all others. Friend of the groom's family, Pete was the eye of the storm -- the doer, the enabler, the troubleshooter, the rock -- and I don't know what we'd have done without him! He was everywhere, doing anything and everything that was asked of him! Always cheerful, always calm, there wasn't a single moment in four days that I was there and he wasn't. I don't know how many times I hugged and thanked him... I do know it wasn't nearly enough. Every mother-of-the-bride needs a Pete!
My first order of business was tulle and lights. Working from the top-down, Pete climbed the ladder and stapled one end of a bolt of tulle to a post, while I swagged and draped along the perimeter.
I had a plan for the lights, but when we opened the boxes and discovered that what I thought I ordered (pluggable end-to-end) and what I actually ordered (curtain lights... plug at one end only) were two very different things, well, there was a bit of an engineering pow-wow to come up with a new plan! Pete told me what was possible electrically, and we worked it out. I think it turned out even better than the original plan. It helped that those curtain lights were 32' long!
Among other things, Rusty strung clothesline between trees for quilt-hanging. We had about 10 beautiful quilts hung in a couple of locations. After testing, we realized how heavy the quilts were, so old-fashioned props were made from 2x4s to provide extra support! Rusty planned out the photo wall, too, and built/wallpapered a fabulous prop photo wall with empty frames for posing.
A giant puff-ball pom-pom and lantern assembly line appeared on the lawn!
Hm. I spent a good part of Friday at my computer & printer with programs and whatnot, taking time out for some relaxing fun -- manis and pedis with my girls.
Having never decorated even a pup tent before, nor even been in a decorated tent, I don't think we did too bad. The whole far end was filled up by a trailer that served as stage for the band and was Rod's domain, as setting up lights and sound for bands is his business, and that helped to provide some oomph & drama in the lighting department.
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The girls all met at my house on Saturday morning and together we headed for the salon for hair & breakfast -- the girls made egg casserole, muffins and brought along champagne!
That's Kate, our favorite stylist among favorites, at Shear Chaos applying Ali's make up. Originally, Ali was going to do her own, but was so happy that she let Kate convince her otherwise -- not only for timing, but also because she didn't have to worry a single second about it all day. She looked as fresh and beautiful at 11 p.m. as she did at 11 a.m., though I imagine a good deal of that was the happy natural glow of love. (Too sappy?) (It's absolutely true, though; she glowed so hard it makes me teary to think of it.)
I had my hair done in the first round so I could dash back home to get ready and then out to the farm to oversee preparations. First, though, I dashed across the street, through the first Downtown Appleton Farm Market of the season, taking note of some lovely yarn bombing along the way, to In Times Past gift shop where a good number of my favorite handknits are on display as part of the Fiber Rain project.
With wedding prep and all, I've had to keep my blinders on about that project, but it was fun to participate in some small way! (Truth be told, while I love to see yarn bombs, I'm not too keen on spending my very limited knitting time making them.)
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And then we had a wedding!
Ali could not custom order nicer in-laws! I think Jillian is getting used to us, too, and is a bit more comfortable when we gather-babble.
Cupcakes and cake pops were made by Ali's friend, the adorable Amanda Cupcake, along with a lovely little cake for cutting (possibly with a plastic knife)!
One of the (many) highlights of the evening was when my brother, Michael, joined brothers Rod (groom) and Paul on stage -- bandmates years ago, it was a delightful reunion of their band, the original Bad Haji! Karen's the groupie right by the stage taking photos.
And, hey, speaking of Karen, we threw a helluva birthday party for her on Saturday! The band played Happy Birthday and the crowd sang along. It was sweet.
Have you read Katie's Artsy Abroad post about the wedding yet? You must -- even just to look at the pictures. She took some fun photos.
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HIGHLIGHTS and LOWLIGHTS, depending upon your point of view (heh), and (some borrowed) photos all out of order:
It was a blast helping Katie put together a playlist for the wedding. Originally, we thought it would only be played during breaks in the band, but it turned out gettings LOTS of play and it was so much fun!
Everyone looked so beautiful and/or handsome! There were 7 bridal attendants - Jillian, Katie, Maddy, friends/baristas Abbey, Janel, Kristin, and Noel; and 4 groomsmen - Rod's brothers Paul and Mark, my brother Mike, and friend Jon. Jillian wore a pretty white floral dress; Maddy, Katie and Abbey wore red dresses; Janel, Kristin and Noel wore light blue; they all carried simple white hydrangea bouquets. The boys all wore white shirts, turned up at the cuff, with simple gray vests and daisy boutonnieres.
I want to cry -- tears of happiness and joy -- whenever I think of Alison. She was simply beautiful and radiantly happy, beginning to end. My mom's dress was spectacular on her! We'd been trying to figure out a way to incorporate a "something blue" beaded necklace of Sharon's, a remembrance of her, and it was perfect to finish off the bow on the back of the dress!
How fast do Model Ts go? We finally realized "not very fast," and had no clue how long it would take to get from our house to the farm! We decided that she'd text me when they were at the end of the road. That's when I'd queue the father-of-the bride, the groom & the bridal party to take position, and then be seated myself.
When the last of the attendants began to make their way up the aisle, I texted her, "NOW!"
Then, I watched. Everyone waited. And wondered. More watching, waiting, wondering... I heard Mom & Joe behind me, Mom asking where Ali'd be coming from, Joe telling her, "Vicki knows. Look how she's looking... watch where Vicki's watching..."
When I saw the Model T, I gave Katie the nod and she started the music.
Alison was breathtaking as Rusty helped her from the car! Beaming smile, gorgeous hair, beautiful dress, red bouquet and shoes. It was a fairly long walk from the drive, through a thicket of trees, and down the aisle to her beloved, and the last note of the song played just as they arrived!!
'Twas a very quick ceremony! It might have been the quickest in the history of ceremonies, except that when Jillian was asked for the rings... which I was given the night before to hold... but never thought about after that...
OMG, I FORGOT TO GIVE PAUL THE RINGS TO GIVE TO JILLIAN!!
Horrified! "They're still in my purse... SHOULD I GO GET THEM?"
What kind of idiotic question was that? I still laugh. I dashed -- honestly a 50-yard dash -- back to the tent to get the rings (in my purse, under a table) -- and while I was there heard a low plane fly overhead and my first thought was, "Oh no, they're not crop-dusting today, are they??" It was a neighbor doing a fly-over tribute in his cute red & white plane (so they say, because I didn't see it)!
Ever since Wendy The Bookish Girl told me that "Happy Together" played at their recessional, I've told my girls that they had to, too! I believe it was officially okayed at the last minute, but it was! It did! They listened!!
It was fun to visit with aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. My mom did wonderfully!!
It was a pot-luck wedding (just like Rusty & I had), with a couple of roast pigs and coffee shop sandwiches for the main course. Guests filled out the menu with contributions of favorite hors d'oeuvres and side dishes. Everyone was encouraged to bring a dish and the recipe, an adorable vintage recipe box ready to receive.
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So there it is in a very big nutshell! Now that that's out of the way, I'll share Jena's gorgeous photos when they arrive, with permission and with minimal commentary.
I am still recovering. Ali & Rod are off on a little honeymoon in Door County.
There's still a bit of the afterglow...
*Sneak peak of Ali's Mexican Wedding Shawl above! My niece, Jena, was the official wedding photographer and she took some photos of us with our shawls! I am not used to being on this side of the camera... we are all beside ourselves with anticipation for those photos!!