Monday, November 12, 2018

The Wedding Day (Part 2)

This is a long-overdue continuance of my memories around my only son's wedding. For those who are stopping by for the first time, you can find the background, preliminaries, and photos of everything else at these links:

I Want to Remember These Moments (The bridal shower) 
Re-Remembering (The week leading up to the wedding)
The Wedding Day (Part 1)
My personal Photo Album of it All (with commentary and captions)

Arriving at the venue, we park under the trees at the far end, knowing the forecasted heat this day will make the car an Easy Bake Oven. We test the temperature in the reception hall and I get a little nervous, knowing there will be a lot of warm bodies in there later on, but by the time the dancing starts, there will be darkness and the cool breezes off the mountain.

The clubhouse is adjacent to the golf course. It's flanked on the south by a beautiful waterfall, and on the north by a stunning view of the 9th green and the mountains. The venue for the ceremony is on an outdoor platform overlooking this view. I nervously rehearse the song we are to sing during the ceremony as a quartet with my brothers. It is a song our dad wrote on the occasion of my parents' 25th wedding anniversary. If you'd like to read the full lyrics and hear a snippet from another occasion, click here. But why so nervous, you may ask? For all the years I've sung, it seems I can never render a flawless performance and of all days, I'd like to get it right. Perfect or not, this day is not about me, so I keep smiling when I glitch and move on.

It's a near record-hot day, so we try to stay in the air conditioned pro-shop as long as possible, then as the ceremony start time approaches, we move to the outdoor shade and drink lots of water while we waited for our time to be seated.  Finally the time comes and I am escorted by my dear son, with Henry to sit on the front row as mother of the groom. I'm at peace, yet excited for all that is to come. Everyone looks so stunning and everything is just so beautiful.

Except the heat, which can't be helped. And the platform, which was so hot it could burn your feet if your soles were too thin, which mine weren't. And the blazing sun, which, thankfully, I could shield from my sandalled feet with the long drape of my skirt. Those poor men in their suits. I pray no one passes out. (The things I remember!)

After the mothers are seated, the music begins, the handsome men arrive, the lovely '40s retro bridesmaids, and then the curtains are opened to the most beautiful bride. I watch Andrew's face, and see all that a mother longs to see on her son's wedding day: he is totally captivated, moved deeply with emotion, and has a significant twitch on the right side of his face that belies his otherwise calm exterior.

This is the moment he has waited for since he first realized he had feelings for Rebecca so many years ago. Everything is as it should be. All is right with the world.

A special item is wired into Rebecca's bouquet: a small framed photo of Andrew's dad, their favorite photo from our visit to Venice. He's feeding the birds in the piazza and totally rocking his aviator sunglasses. "We wanted him to be with us at the ceremony," Rebecca said.

As it should always be.

The ceremony seems flawless, I really don't notice anything going wrong except me jumping up a little too soon for the quartet. Pastor Brad, Andrew's uncle, does a superb job officiating. I suppose if there are glitches, there is laughter to lighten the moment and no one is judging.

Then it's over and it's on to photos under the shade of all the family groupings. The photographers are well organized and we don't have to chase anyone down, so once that's done the Really Cool Thing happens: a helicopter lands to scoop up Andrew & Rebecca. They go with their photographer to the top of the mountain for an intimate portrait session. How stunning!

While they are doing this, the rest of us have hor d'oeuvres and drinks on the patio at the clubhouse. I was honored that our long-time friends Cheryl and Arnie Miller are in attendance. It is also their anniversary! How sweet they wanted to celebrate it with Andrew & Rebecca. Then Henry and I zip back to our vacation rental to nap and he changed out of his suit into cooler clothes.

The reception is filled with good food, many toasts, lovely decor, and much laughter. Rebecca's mother has made traditional Danish wedding cake. Speeches are given by the maid of honour and best man, the parents of the bride. Many tears.

Then it is my turn. The mother of the groom speech. I had written and re-written this for days prior, still editing on my phone even while sitting at the reception. I had practiced reading it and timed it, wanting to honour the 5-7 minute timeframe they had given me, fully aware of everyone's desire to not have a long program and get into the music and dancing. So, at the last minute, I decided to cut out the middle section about my remembrances. It's highly unlikely any person sitting there that day would have minded too much if I'd taken another five minutes to tell the highlights of my memories of life with Andrew, but in that moment, it felt self-indulgent. After all, it is their day, the two of them, not mine. And it's always better to leave the audience wanting more than to give them so much that they want to leave. So, if you would like to read the entire speech, including the memories I didn't say out loud at the reception, you can click here to read the blog post for his 23rd birthday in which I include the entire original transcript.

Andrew and Rebecca had asked me to put together a "memory" video to show at the reception, but the venue wasn't set up properly for projection so we bypassed that and moved on to music and dancing. You can view the video at this link.

Andrew and Rebecca's first dance was a rehearsed, fun, performance that showed their partnership and their love for each other. When I find the video I took of it, I'll link it here. Father and daughter dance, then Andrew invites me to the mother and son dance. I don't know why but I hadn't thought this far. I don't really dance, I just sway. He taught me a few steps on the fly and I loved the experience. So sweet, he finally said, "Ok, Mom, you can stop looking at your feet and look at me." I hope I do that for the rest of my life.

Julia, Rebecca's sister and maid of honor, sang a song with the band. They had two or three bands switch out through the night. Bill, Rebecca's dad play the drums with his band, and all Andrew and Rebecca's friends are having a great time.

The night ends with a fun farewell to the couple, then we all begin to wind down, sitting under the stars in the cool evening breeze, then go back to the rental house to play board games with my brothers and their wives till we can't stay awake any longer.

Rebecca and Andrew open gifts at the house the next day and fly off to Mexico for their honeymoon.

I'm sure I've left so much out, but now that I'm blogging every day, you never know when I'll remember something and talk about it again... Subscribe to these blog posts in the right hand margin so you can get them in your email in box.

Please feel free to click all the links I've highlighted above and thanks for wandering with me through the memory lane of a mother's love for her only son.

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