When I arrive in Minneapolis on Wednesday I have a list of things to do to finish off the welcome bags for our out of town guests. There's very little I've had to do on my own for this wedding. My daughter and Erik have handled almost all the planning all by themselves. The wedding is in their town, and I live on the east coast, so it only makes sense. But it's also just the way it should be. My daughter has been a planner all her life, making lists of activities to do with friends, schoolwork tasks, chores; with little boxes to check off, from the time she was small. And Erik is a designer. He has definite ideas of what this wedding should look like, and is far from the baffled disinterested groom.
Mainly I has been the research assistant, since that's something that's easy to do from far away. Research hotels, research florists, dress shops, limousines. I do my best, send in the data, and Sarah and Erik make the decisions.
But the welcome bags are all mine. And I manage to throw a wedding's worth of anxiety into these bags. After I pick up the rental car, I drive downtown and park in what I hope is a fairly central location. Downtown Minneapolis always initially confuses me. There are numbered STREETS and numbered AVENUES, and which ones run which way? But soon I figure out where the river is, and then my mind is set to rights.
First I go to pick up copies of the Minneapolis Saint Paul magazine, but get sidetracked by a Caribou Coffee shop, cause I need 30 $5 gift cards. Will they sell me all of them? Sure! I hope the people behind me in line don't hate me, but I can check that off my list. Now back to the magazines. I need 18 copies. I'm afraid they will be really heavy but 18 magazines turn out to be compact and not very heavy at all. Drop those off in the car. Next the little candy boxes from Candyland. It is freezing in Minneapolis and I need to walk several blocks to get there. Their store smells fantastic. They make popcorn balls too and I'm momentarily sorry I didn't order some of those as well. Take the candy to the car, drive to Lunds. They have cases of water buy one get one free so I get two cases, which is way more than I need for the bags, but I figure we'll use it so what the heck. I want 30 bottles of a locally made soda, Joia. It comes in glass bottles and strange flavors, lemon hibiscus, orange nutmeg. Now those are heavy, but it's not far to the car. I pick up some stuff for dinner and then it's off to Sarah's house.
Sarah is busy putting names on the guest cards for the reception. Presents for the bridal party are spread around the floor. I put my welcome bag ingredients in the spare room and take a breath.
We are busy, but calm. We are pretty happy too. Aren't weddings supposed to be stressful? Shouldn't we be freaking out, snapping at each other? I guess not!
I set up an assembly line in the spare room and put together the gift bags. Now all I have to do is drop them off at the hotels, but that can wait until tomorrow.
In the morning I go for a run, get ready and lug my completed welcome bags back into the car. First I take most of the bags to the Best Western and drop them off at the front desk. We make sure we have bags for all our guests, and we do, almost. One set of guests must have registered after I did my final count. Dang! I feel badly but there's nothing I can do about it. Then it's time to pick Lee up at the airport and check into our hotel. As we check in I drop off the bags for the guests staying at The W too. This all goes smoothly as well. Our room is comfortable and quiet. There is time to relax before we go out for sushi at Origami with Sarah and Erik that evening. They have all their tasks in order and will check into the hotel tomorrow.
Daniel arrives very late Thursday night, I see his text in the morning, letting me know he has arrived safely. Friday morning Lee goes to pick up Gail and Michael, our dear friends from Nashville. After they are settled in their room they come down to say hello. I practically burst into tears at the sight of them. It's just been too long, and I'm so happy they have come all this way for the wedding.
|My Dear Friend Gail|
|The Wedding Party Shivers While We Get Our Instructions|
Once we have all of that in order it's off to The Butcher and The Boar for the rehearsal dinner. Suzanne has outdone herself. We have a great private room, the tables are beautifully set. I've managed to get the last of the welcome bags for the wedding party into the room and set on a table. This is a barbecue place, and Suzanne has managed to get paper bibs for all of us messy eaters, printed with Sarah and Erik 2014. It's funny, and practical as well. I've tucked one away as a souvenir somewhere.
|Lulu, Maice, Erik and Sarah|
Saturday is sunny, and a little warmer. In fact if you get in the sun it's very comfortable. We have a busy day planned. The girls are meeting in the bridal suite between 10 and 11. We are getting our hair done, and Sarah and I are getting our makeup done too. I'm a little apprehensive about this, but Sarah has assured me that the people she's hired are good, and enough people have told me it's a good thing to do for photographs, so I'm hopeful.
|Sarah Shows off the Food...And Her Curlers! Photo by Maice Scott|
Erik called Sarah. He said he couldn't find his socks and thought he had left them in the room! We started pawing through the piles of clothing and shoes scattered about. Sarah was mildly exasperated, I started trying to imagine what the groom would look like in a nice grey suit and no socks. But it turned out to be a joke; he just wanted to talk to Sarah one more time before the ceremony!
We also discovered the magic of something called dress glue. You apply it to your skin and press your dress into it. It keeps things in place and won't damage fabric. I used it on my shoulders to make sure my shoulder straps stayed where they were supposed to and it worked!
On with our shoes and jewelry. Sarah's dress looked wonderful and her earrings were amazing. A friend of hers at work had made her a beautiful bridal purse. Inside the purse one of my mothers handkerchiefs had been sown into the lining. I know mom would have loved that idea! Suzanne looked beautiful in her purple dress. My dress still fit, and my spanx were very comfortable!
|Sarah's Bridal Purse|
Time to troop down to the lobby. I wanted to drop my stuff off in our room so I went down a little early. I got to the lobby first, stood around a bit, and then realized I had accidentally left my little beaded purse up in our room. Back up I went a little panic stricken, but not to worry, I still was back down in the lobby before anyone else.
The limo driver was waiting patiently out front. I handed him the champagne and clambered inside. It's hard to safely get into a limo in a long dress! Sarah said she couldn't imagine doing it in a big poofy wedding dress. She was grateful that her's was slim and that she herself was tiny!
It was fun and exciting riding in the limo, but it was a very short drive. In a few minutes we were at the Walker. We clambered out. Sarah and Erik were meeting the photographer at the front door of the Walker, which was around the corner from where we were parked. Erik was waiting for her at the door, the scene of their first date, a blind date set up on Match.com. Sarah wanted to go there by herself. There went my little girl, down the sidewalk all alone in her beautiful dress. I couldn't help but think about one day in a park in St Louis long ago right after she learned to walk. We were sitting on a blanket but Sarah wanted to practice her new skills. So off she would go tottering down the walk as fast as she could. I would let her go until she was almost out of sight and then go grab her and carry her back so she could do it again. But this time I let her go. We all watched her disappear around the corner of the museum where Erik was waiting for her.
We took pictures before the ceremony. In between the picture sessions we would go sit in the conservatory, because if you weren't in the sun it was still pretty chilly. But the greenhouse was hot, so we would go out to cool off, get cold, go back inside.
|Theresa Models Her Bridesmaid Dress in the Greenhouse|
Guests started to arrive and sit in the chairs in the sunshine. The officiant brought the marriage certificates and Sarah and Erik signed them. The chairs were full of our family and friends, and it was time to begin. The music starts and we listen for our cues. When it is time Sarah Lee and I start down the aisle in the sunshine. Suddenly everyone stands up! I almost burst into tears, I have somehow forgotten that everyone stands up when the bride comes down the aisle! I have been to so many weddings, and once as a bride myself, but this is the absolute best.
The officiant welcomes us, talks about Sarah and Erik using little stories that Suzanne and I have given her. Kris, Erik's sister, does a reading from Jonathan Safran Foer's book, Everything is Illuminated. I need to find that passage in my copy, because it was great, all about the ups and downs, compromises and bargains involved in being married for a long time.
Sarah and Erik say their vows. Erik's goes first, and he starts to cry. Well that sets off my sweet soft-hearted husband, and before long he is crying too. Daniel is standing up in front of the congregation with the other groomsmen, and when his father starts crying, well HE starts to cry too! I had tears in my eyes until that point, but then I started to laugh! All these men crying ....it was so touching, and kind of joyous too. I often cry at weddings, but at this one I was just too happy to cry.
|Sarah and Maice at Bryant Lake Bowl|
We piled in the car and arrived at Spill the Wine right away. I got myself a French Cocktail (gin, lemon and champagne) and started greeting people as they arrived. Suddenly my phone rang. It was Suzanne. "Where are you?" She asked politely. "Are you still at the Walker?" "Why no," I said "we're at Spill the Wine!" Suddenly I realized with horror who it was we were supposed to bring to the reception - the mother of the groom, my co-mother in law! Dang! I feel awful and apologize profusely but she insists that it's no big deal and gets a ride with one of her cousins.
Things start hopping; almost everyone has arrived. There are hor d'oeuvres and drinks, and music playing in the background. There is a fun guest book with a Polaroid camera where everyone can take instant photos of themselves, glue them into the book and write their comments. Everyone finds their tables. The table numbers are held up by Erik's father's beer can collection. These are old, heavy steel beer cans so they serve the purpose well. Erik's father passed away when Erik was 12 so this is his memorial to his dad.
At each table setting are two recipe cards. One holds Erik's grandmother's Swedish rice pudding recipe. One holds my Mom's plum pie recipe. These are the memorials for the two grandmas that both passed away this year.
The various dishes come out, one after another, interspersed with toasts. First Theresa, then James, then Suzanne and finally Lee. Everyone did a great job but I really only remember Lee's toast, since I edited it for him several times. He told two stories. The first was about Sarah. When she was about three years old one day she asked me, "Mama, how do you get to be a princess?" "Well," I told her, "you have to marry a prince." You could see those little wheels turning. "Mama, are there any princes in Columbia?" Then Lee said that he was glad she had found her prince.
The second story was about Daniel. On a visit to Chicago the men were off doing manly things together. Daniel was about 8. A friendly bus driver took a shine to Daniel and was talking to him and kidding around. "Son," he said, "You have a choice. You can be right, or you can be happy. Ain't that right dad?" Dad of course agreed, and Lee wished that both Sarah and Erik would have many years of happiness.
Soon the tables were cleared and the music was turned up a notch. Erik danced with his mom, Sarah danced with Lee. Sarah had picked Wildflowers by Tom Petty for their dance , and THAT made me cry. So many family car trips, so many memories. I hugged Daniel and told him how lucky I was, how incredibly lucky and blessed to have such an amazing family.
After the traditional dances everyone got out on the dance floor. I danced with Lee a little, but I also just got out there and danced danced danced, and hoped I didn't look too ridiculous. I danced to Michael Jackson, Nsync, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Arcade Fire, and lots of music I had never heard before. I only stopped when my feet hurt too much to continue. It was lots of fun!
Finally I sat down and put up my feet. Whew! It was nice to just relax, but then the late night ice cream came out and I had to try it. Salted caramel gelato and Strawberry Vanilla gelato. Yum! There was some lemon sorbet too but I never saw it, nor did I get to try the flourless chocolate cake. Oh well!
When the night was over, we remembered Suzanne and everyone else that needed a ride back to the hotel. It was late, way way past our bedtime. What a day! Truly one of the best days of our lives. I have to laugh, thinking of that hideous little newborn girl, so very annoyed at being born, and how my first thought when I saw her was "wow we're going to have to love her a lot, she'll never get any dates!"
The next day I actually got up and ran along the river, took a shower and then walked across the street to help host a brunch at the Hen House. Just. Give. Me. Coffee. Oh yes, and blueberry yogurt pancakes. Thanks.
We were so, so, so very tired, but later in the afternoon we went for a walk around Lake Calhoun with Gail, Michael and Daniel. A few leaves were turning, but the air was warm and there were wind surfers on the lake. Gail and I admired the asters and I took a few pictures. Time to send Sarah and Erik off on their honeymoon. Time to go home.