Hannah and Peter’s wedding on 20 August was – obviously – the high point of the year. I certainly missed out on some of the planning and preparations by arriving home just a month from the big day, but there were still plenty of tasks to help with and special pre-wedding festivities to enjoy.
A good friend of Mom’s, Terri Felde, who is the most enthusiastic and gourmet chef I know, graciously hosted a brunch for the bride-to-be, bridesmaids and close friends, sisters of the groom, and Mom. It was a lovely and long morning enjoying each other’s company around a sunlit table set with cheerful Fiesta ware and a feast to remember. My, what a spread! Like all the events surrounding the wedding, the celebration was tempered by wishing so much that Mom could enter more fully into it. (More in the next post to explain.) She did manage to come along, sporting an uncharacteristic new outfit and her usual gracious self – eager to enter into the delight of others, even though she couldn’t enter audibly into the conversation or eat any of the splendid meal.
I hosted my own version of a bridesmaids’ party at Hannah’s place. I am prone to extravagant culinary imaginations, but rarely does a meal come off as happily as this one did – and I’ve never cooked a multi-course dinner for seven before! The rules were clear: 1) Everyone else stay out of the kitchen; 2) Hannah, take photos of what comes to the table; 3) Friends, enjoy – and make Hannah feel as celebrated as possible! We dressed up, which made it more fun.
I printed menus. And, between courses we drew questions from under the plates that I thought would encourage some intentional conversation, like “What especially do you wish for Hannah and Peter as they start their marriage?“
Besides the sheer fun of conversing with friends, the conversation spread out the meal, which included:
While we’re on the subject of cooking, the baking of the wedding cake certainly shouldn’t be overlooked! I spent quite a full day with family friend Mary Rochat, baking multiple lemon rosemary cakes. Such amounts of butter and so many lemons to zest! Thank goodness a friend has a copious rosemary patch, and she and Peter’s sisters provided us cake bakers with three or four cups of finely chopped rosemary – no small task!
The six layers for the three-tiered cake were a lot of cake, but we also made several more “normal-sized” cakes. Thankfully, Mary knew her oven well and had all the materials to work with. By the end of the day, the cakes were all safely stowed in the freezer, waiting to be transferred to the church the day before the wedding. (Note: The only photos on this post that are mine are the following few of cake baking.)
The rehearsal was preceded by an afternoon setting up at the church. Hannah was one organized and prepared bride, and a marvelous volunteer crew converged to iron tablecloths and arrange hundreds of splendid hydrangea blooms. There was, of course, lots of visiting meanwhile – college friends traveling from as far away as Alaska, and other friends and family gathering from near and far. The rehearsal was quite fun and relaxed (at least I thought so), and the dinner to follow was lovely. It was wonderful that Mom made it to both the rehearsal and dinner, but again she must have felt keenly the impossibility of entering in as she and we would have imagined.
The wedding day was wonderful! The morning was a bit rushed – I found out the evening before that neither of the two friends we’d asked to do the final cake decorating could after all. So, at the rehearsal dinner, I asked cousin Franci and Peter’s sister Margrethe to hazard the project, which they pulled off with style, even if it wasn’t exactly stress free. A friend stayed the night before the wedding with Mom – a night off for me, but a rough night for the two of them, as it turned out. Aunt Renie helped Mom get ready for the wedding, and friend Julie helped out pretty much all afternoon, too. …It was fun getting ready together with Hannah and the other bridesmaids at the church. I was pretty nervous about all the details, since I so much wanted Hannah, the consummate detail person, to be happy! But, everything came together well in the end! (Note: Most of the following photos are from the wedding photographer, Lillian Prince.)
The service was beautiful – the church building a lovely setting, the instrumental music marvelous (cello and organ), the array of friends and family representing unique connections to Hannah and Peter. Mom gave Hannah away, and Mike Kuhn gave a beautiful homily. I especially enjoyed witnessing the unhurried thoughtfulness with which Hannah and Peter exchanged their vows. They recessed – Mr. and Mrs. Weston – to the jubilant grandeur of Widor’s organ “Toccata.”
The reception was a lovely time, but I felt like I missed a lot of people I would have liked to talk with more. Various ones made toasts. Hannah and Peter are both fond of a good pun. So, Hannah told the guests that, while they were obviously anticipating seeing her become “Mrs. Peter Weston,” they probably didn’t think they would also witness him become “Mr. Hannah Holder”:
I figured, as maid of honor, I should come up with a toast, too. But, I couldn’t bear to write something serious, which would certainly sound cheesy. So, instead, I made a tongue twister based on the one Mom taught us a kids – “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,” but of course my versions was with a certain Peter Weston:
Peter Weston picked a pretty, perfect partner.
The perfect partner did Peter Weston plainly pick.
If Peter Weston picked this picture-perfect partner,
Pray, how did Peter Weston procure her as his spouse?
Hannah Holder headed up to Wheaton College.
Via High Road Hannah hurried up to Wheaton happily.
If Hannah hastened off from home up north to Wheaton,
Hey – how did Hannah Holder find her future husband there?
Well, they went one summer out West with fellow Wheaties,
Out West to South Dakota they wandered ad(w)enturesomely.
If woodsy walks and watching stars were weaving mem’ries,
Why, I wander how they wound up wedding now?
Time aplenty past, but friendship proved persistent.
If a trip south for Peter prompted a plethora of trips,
and a penpal-ship deepened a persevering friendship,
Pray, how did Peter propose that they promise love today?
Peter planned a private picnic with perfectest aplomb,
A perch in Maine proved the perfect spot to pop the question privily.
When Peter proposed, proffered the ring, snapped pictures,
Praises be! Surprised, but pleased, she promised him that day.
Today we’ve heard “We do!” We’ve witnessed Westons wed.
We want their best, we wish them well, we wish them a wealth
Of what wear’s well with time – peace and perseverance,
Health, happiness and hope.
I’ll end my rhyme and raise a cheer – to Peter and his palindromic Bride!
…A number of friends stayed after the happy pair had left to help tidy up and figure out what to do with all the leftover cake and flowers. In the evening, late, dear friends from Spain came over to the house for another hour or so of visiting, making up a bit for the way a wonderful event like a wedding means lots of two-minute conversations that one wishes could each be a whole afternoon.
The next day friends welcomed all of the out-of-town family over to their home to enjoy wedding reception leftovers and just more time to talk. Amazingly, Mom was able to go along, though she rested most of the time there. It was a long and happy afternoon, catching up with cousins and aunts and uncles and new in-laws. Even the newlyweds graced us with their presence.
Some more photos to conclude…