Saturday, November 19, 2011

Amber and Evan got Married!

The story of this blog actually began over 10 months ago in the wine country north of San Francisco during the holiday season.  Amber and Evan were there with Evan's parents to spend the holidays with Evan's sister and her family who lives in Marin.  Evan had schemed with his parents and grandmother, gotten an absolutely amazing triangular shaped diamond that had been in his grandmother's ring and had it remounted as an engagement ring.  He asked Amber to marry him and offered her that amazing ring, and thus this story began.

Now I believe Amber has been planning her wedding for a long time, well before she ever met Evan or any other possible candidate. If you're the baby of the family, you're no stranger to weddings.  Amber's already been a bridesmaid in Marianne/Clint and Brandy/Will weddings, plus again for a college housemate. And I could never, ever keep track of how many weddings Amber has attended- not sure Amber could even keep a real accurate count..  So Amber is rather an expert in weddings- in an experiential sort of way. I'm sure it morphed over time depending on her dreams, but nonetheless, it was a plan in process.  When Amber described her dreams to us it involved an outdoor wedding in the fall in the Cincinnati downtown area and involved a museum if possible.  While almost everything she had thought she might like in a wedding changed- and especially changed over the last few months, the one thing that she was sure of- she wanted a wedding downtown Cincinnati, she wanted it in the fall, and she wanted it outside.  That's where the planning began! When we looked at the possibilities (and I assure you Max examined all of the possibilities) there was only one reasonable location to have this affair:  it needed to be in the garden of the Taft Museum .  Now Max and I knew that the Taft needed to be the choice, but Amber and Evan were determined that this wedding was going to be their wedding, not her mother's idea of the perfect wedding and the most important thing- it must NOT under any circumstance look like one of the siblings weddings- and if you're the baby of 7 there have been lots of weddings.  So after a trip to Cincinnati to look at sites and evaluate the Taft, Amber and Evan agreed, the date booked, the down payment provided and the planning was begun.

Now I must insert here that this wedding was Amber's (and Evan- though I think that probably it was mostly Amber that spent all the hours pouring over wedding blogs- and wedding ideas and wedding magazines- I think Evan might have been watching basketball or baseball instead- just saying...) wedding from the word go, although I'm sure she made an effort to involve Evan, regardless of whether or not he happened to be watching the Red Sox play baseball or the Celtics play basketball, or the Bruins play hockey or the Pats play football.  Max played a major support role, providing multiple suggestions about dresses, suspenders and bow ties and belts.  But the bottom line is that Amber was the architect and Max and I were the enablers.  In the end it turned out to be a beautiful wedding that had Amber's and Evan's signature all over it.  I believe it was a success. The challenge of a wedding is taking the same ingredients that are used over and over and over again by brides over the whole country and make your particular wedding unique- that ultimately your  wedding is unlike any that has been done before.  It's not an easy assignment.  Amber was amazing. She was absolutely successful.  Her and Evan's wedding was absolutely theirs- it was so very personal- so very much theirs! And so absolutely perfect!

Now there are things that involve men at weddings, but they are significantly in the minority.  The women seem to need to do lots of stuff in preparation.  There needs to be a Bride's lunch involving only women, there needs to be a "spa day" also involving only women, and of course there needs to be a hair and make-up event the morning of the wedding.  That's all female stuff and I'll leave the details to Max.

Well there certainly isn't a reason the guys couldn't have had their own Spa/Luncheon day- guess they just didn't think about it.  We started with nails!

We did let Weiler come even though he is a guy!  Why who can resist his beautiful smile- melts your heart for sure!

And then we were off to lunch at the Iron Horse Inn for the Bride's lunch!

I think probably this is the time to say that Jen- Amber's best friend since I suppose around 4th grade was the most amazing MAID OF HONOR ever!  She was always there when we needed her- she was absolutely supportive of Amber- And I understand planned the best bachelorette party ever! An absolutely perfect Maid of Honor for an absolutely perfect wedding!

The evening before we rehearsed for this event.  I have heard that dress rehearsals for major plays sometimes are disasters that make you realize the play will never work.  Our rehearsal was somewhat similar in some respects.  We pretty well figured out what the event would look like, but when you have a 5 "little ones" from 2-5 years old participating as flower girls and ring bearers (although we would never trust a 3 year old with a ring), you never really know how it will work out.  And at the rehearsal, only one flower girl (Reeder who is 5 and is actually an "experienced" flower girl) even agreed to walk down the aisle; the other little girls absolutely refused.  And the two boys who were going to carry a sign announcing the bride mostly wanted to swing the sign around as though it were a weapon.  But we did work out the process involving who was where when, and we came away with a plan. Well since there was not even a little inkling that any of the "little ones" but Reeder would make the trip down the aisle we mostly made a plan for what we would do with the 4 that weren't really showing any signs of walking down that aisle!  

Jen, maid of honor, was there beside Amber all the way, providing her experience and expertise in event planning...

The group was all there as we learned and practiced our parts. 

So after the rehearsal we were off to the party! Al, Evan's dad,  decided he needed to get into character for the upcoming cruise down the river. 

Max assumed responsibility for holding Mikayla...

Evan's parents provided the rehearsal dinner which was a 3 hour cruise down the Ohio River on the Yacht Destiny, with a meal of local Cincinnati fare.  We had appetizers from La Rosa's Pizza and Skyline Chili and then a meal from Montgomery Inn BBQ.  The boat ride was wonderful, the food was delicious and the event exceeded all expectations. I have lived in Cincinnati for 17+ years- never more than 20-30 minutes from the river- but this was the first time I have ever been in a boat- in a boat on the Ohio River.  It was absolutely wonderful!  What an outstanding way to start the weekend of parties!

This is Amber with Annie- one of her friends from the semester she spent in Spain.  It was so much fun to finally meet Annie (and then the next day Natalie)- friends I'd heard so much about but never had the opportunity to meet!

Evan and his best friends from growing up in Las Vegas...

The ride back to the dock with Cincinnati lit up on the banks and the bridges spanning the river  in full glory provided a great finish to the ride.

Now while Don was up on deck taking these incredible pictures of Cincinnati I was down below (it was just a bit too chilly for me to spend much time on deck) and I took pictures of some really special people who made this a great party!

Now I want to stop here and talk about the "back story" of this wedding- GETTING MY FATHER TO THE WEDDING! Dad hasn't been in that of great of health this past year- which still is a bit surreal for all of us- Dad just always seemed quite indestructible.  In fact he was in the hospital the week before the wedding was scheduled.  But I was ABSOLUTELY DETERMINED!  Part of the reason for selecting this particular "fall weekend"- October 1- for the wedding- was because it just so happens that my Dad would have his 87th birthday- and my beautiful stepmother her 77th on October 2!  And what better place to celebrate than at the wedding brunch on the Sunday morning after the wedding.  It was perfect.  But then Dad just wasn't feeling well.  Finally he perked up about 5 days before the wedding (3 before the flight) and Fay and Dad successfully made the BIG EVENT!  Fay tells me that she actually told the doctor that I was so determined that he make the wedding of his youngest granddaughter she thought I might actually bring him here on a stretcher!  Well the stretcher wasn't necessary- didn't even need a wheelchair.  And he had a great time.  And for me- it was PERFECT!

 Don with Michael and Liz!

 Fouad and Oliver!

 Earline- a dear friend from Norman for better than 30 years..

 Gay and Marianne! (I would like to mention that Gay was my "maid of honor" and did she ever live up to the responsibilities.  I highly recommend that every "mother of the bride" have their very own "maid"!

Mary Ezra (the other half of Fouad) and Will!

Finally, the wedding day, and many thanks to Sarah for all of these pictures.  Max and I were a bit busy with other business, and Sarah was on focus to record the events.  

Now if you go to this website: you can see the preview of the pictures taken by our photographers.  Now if you'd like to see more pictures than these then just email me- the photographers took a little of 2000!

This was a bit of an unusual wedding in that it was interdenominational between a Jewish groom and an Episcopalian bride.  We were able to find a Rabbi and a Priest, both women, who knew each other and agreed to jointly officiate this wedding.  So the wedding was a unique blend of language, tradition, and ceremony. 

The actual ceremony took place under a chuppah that incorporated an old lace table cloth from Max's Aunt Annie Mae.  I especially love the chuppah (not just because it was so special because of Aunt Annie- but because under this chuppah stood Don and I as well and Evan's parents and Amber and Evan.  How very special for parents- much more significant than sitting on the front row.

As you can see, Amber loves sunflowers and they were incorporated throughout the wedding and the reception.  The bridesmaids were all beautiful.

This is Adrienne, Evan's sister!

The flower girls performed their petal dropping without any hitches.  It seems the secret of encouragement involved the fact that we had a candy buffet for all of the guests to partake of, but the candy remained in our preparation room until after the dinner.  Thus the parents of the flower girls and sign bearers were able to leverage the gummy bears, jelly beans, and Swedish fish as rewards for performance in the wedding.  Each of these children knew that their parents (who were all groomsmen or bridesmaids) had a supply of treats in their possession awaiting them once they performed their duties.

And although the "ring bearers" weren't trusted with carrying any rings, they did announce the arrival of the Bride.

And finally Max and I brought Amber down the aisle for the hand off to Evan.  I would be remiss if I did not add that the Bride was absolutely stunning in a dress of ivory lace. Amber was absolutely the most beautiful bride ever- and of course I am an absolutely impartial judge of that!

And Evan didn't look bad himself, even though he wasn't dressed in the sweater vest he had originally suggested for this affair.

The ceremony that Amber and Even developed with the Rabbi and the Priest turned out to be one that people actually listened to and appreciated.  It was a wonderful combination of the two customs and perfectly reflected who these two young people are.  It was uniquely them.

Rings were placed on fingers, a unity candle was lighted, wine was shared, a glass was stomped on and the bond was completed.  Then the party began.  The bar opened, hors d'oeuves were passed, the photo booth was opened for business, and lots of pictures were taken.  

There were traditional first dances... 

Cupcakes of four different flavors from our favorite (and local) bakery- the Wyoming Pastry Shop (you've seen them before when we take our "little ones" for the cookies! and our own local Graeter's Ice Cream were provided in place of the traditional usually flavorless white wedding cake.

And there was the traditional Hora which had Amber and Evan wondering if they were riding a roller coaster as they held onto their chairs while being lifted above the crowd.  We probably should have planned the Hora a little better by balancing the size of the lifters on the front and back of the chairs, but they both held on to the finish and maintained their positions without the use of seat  belts.

As it got later, the party went on even though some of the little ones didn't.

 And we finally sent the newlyweds off in their horse drawn carriage after exiting through a gauntlet of sparklers.

It was a night we will all remember, and most likely the last big party celebrated by this nuclear family.  Amber was our last one to get married and weddings are events that bring families together for celebrations.  I'm not sure what we could have done to make this a better celebration.  We celebrated with family and friends, young and old, from nearby and from far away.  This new family has been  established and they will start a new limb on this family tree. Amber is a perfectionist- always has been- always will be.  But life isn't perfect- it's often messy and cluttered- but for Amber time stood still- life wasn't as it is ordinarily- and for Amber it was indeed a perfect wedding.  Every detail was arranged- her thoughtfulness was amazing- and on that day she and Evan were the most relaxed of brides and grooms- and happy- that deep, come from the soul happiness.  And I had the most amazing time.  Sometimes I feel a little sad- I'd like to go back- just for awhile to that perfect moment... But then I just go back in my memories and feel so very lucky- to have such a beautiful daughter- and her wonderful new husband- and our amazing family- and friends- and I realize how very, very lucky I am- even when I'm not back in that perfect moment again.

But if all of this was not enough, we had a birthday to celebrate on the next day.  We had a brunch at our home and invited all of the wedding guests to come and see the wedding couple one more time before heading to their homes.   Max's father and step mom both had birthdays on the next day so we had birthday cake and balloons along with our wedding brunch.  

We are always grateful to our close friends (and honorary family members) Fouad and Mary Ezra who always pitch in to help us celebrate.  Fouad is always in charge of the balloons and he never fails to have a circle of children around him.

So in our quite exhaustive state- we finished that beautiful weekend celebrating my father- Seems quite appropriate don't you think...