Monday, July 05, 2010

sean and adrienne's wedding!

about 8 years ago, my brother and adrienne met. and though sean knew instantly that that was the woman he was going to marry (in fact, ever since he was a little boy he had been looking for her: the girl who looked like the beautiful goddess in a painting at our grandparents house -- he found her when he met adrienne), adrienne needed some convincing... being the level-headed woman that she is, she wanted to make sure she was making the right decision. she wasn't just going to marry ANYONE -- she was going to marry her perfect partner, her soul-mate, her reliable and dependable and committed man. a few years back, they finally realized that they were in it for the long haul, and they should probably get married to make it "official." but for whatever reason, they always had a reason as to why they couldn't do it: not enough money, wrong time of year, school/work is too busy, etc.

but thanks to a large tax return for them this year (thank you, president obama!), they finally had the money to do it. and, after 8 years of living together anyway, they pretty much had no more excuses. so they bought themselves some tickets to the virgin islands with the plan of getting hitched while they were down there.

then, about 6 weeks ago, i got an excited phone call from adrienne. "hey, amber, you better call me! sean and i have some great news!"

i called her back right away. before she finished answering her phone, i blurted out, "ohmygod, you're pregnant!"

(laughing) "nooooo! but how did i know you would say that?"

then she told me that she and sean decided not to get married in the virgin islands, but to have a very small wedding on her grandmother's farm a few days before they were planning on leaving -- the VI trip was just going to be their honeymoon now. "can you come?" she asked.

without hesitation, i said i would be there. and i was. and it was amazing.

so, on june 26, i flew up to minnesota, just by myself. (now that gracie is 2 and has to buy a plane ticket instead of sitting on my lap, the poor little girl never gets to go anywhere anymore.) i rented a car, stayed with my mom, and had a wonderful wonderful wonderful time! every moment of every day i was there was filled with love and comfort and joy. (plus, the weather was AMAZING! and those poor minnesotans kept complaining about the heat, cuz it was like 80 or something. i LOVED it, and actually had to wear a shawl in the mornings because it was so nice and cool!)

i arrived on saturday around lunchtime. after picking up my car, i drove to my mom's apartment which was only a few short minutes from the airport. we both had lunch, then took off for a greenhouse down in burnsville to pick up the flowers for the wedding. my mom was in charge of them, so she had brought adrienne down to the same greenhouse the weekend before to pick everything out. so today, we went back to the greenhouse to buy the stuff that adrienne liked in order to bring it back to the apartment to arrange everything. what i loved best of all is that all of the flowers we got are perennials -- and since we got them all from a greenhouse instead of a flower shop, we can actually plant them and they can grow again! honestly, i remember the morning after my wedding, how deflated i felt after having such a fabulous time, and how sad i was that after a year's worth of planning, i was never going to wear my dress again and my bouquet was going to die and what was there to show for all the hard work of the wedding planning, other than some pretty pictures and our rings (and our marriage too, of course)? (i don't know if every bride feels that, or if it was just me being immature, since i got married at the tender age of only 23.) but with adrienne's bouquet, she can actually plant her flowers and they will come back year after year after year -- she can have a wedding garden, and maybe someday when her children get married, they can pick flowers from their mother's wedding garden for their bouquets too. isn't that lovely? i totally heart that idea.

after collecting the flowers (two varieties of lilies, sweet william, purple salvia, and some white flowers that were growing wild near my mom's place), we drove up to minneapolis to have a pre-wedding reception for the bride and groom. we met at a brew pub, out on the patio, and invited anyone who could come to just show up. it was mostly the bride's family, but sean had a good showing too: a couple of aunts and uncles, some of his friends from work, and of course me and ma.

after the party, i met up with some college friends there for dinner. and as we girls (plus one boy) all wrapped up our evening, i drove my homegirl teresa back to my mom's in order for her to help us with the flower arranging. i thought that since teresa did a flower-arranging class when she lived in japan, it might be a useful trade to employ in our task. and the flowers turned out beautifully. my mom did the bouquets, and teresa and i did all the corsages and hair clips. my youngest brother, victor, was busy in the kitchen making one of the two wedding cakes we would enjoy the next day. (we didn't know that adrienne's friend would make a beautiful cake for us all, so we wanted to make sure that we had SOMETHING at the reception! here is the pic of the cake that adrienne's friend made -- i neglected to take a picture of the cake that mom and vic made because it was SO delicious that i was too busy eating it to pick up my camera!)

the morning of the wedding, i had brunch with the same group of friends from the night before, and left around noon in order to make it over to ma's house in time to get dressed and ready. then over to the mother-of-the bride's house to hand out corsages, hair clips, and bouquets. we were just headed over to adrienne's grandmother's homestead, a few miles away, when ma got a call from victor: he was stranded at work because of a flat tire. so, off i went to collect him. as the ceremony start-time came and went, we were still on the road; i got a call from a very calm and surprisingly patient (and uber-excited!) bride, wondering where we were and when to expect us. we were only a few minutes late, thanks to vic's dressing in the car to save us time, and moments after we arrived the wedding began.

as the guests lingered before the ceremony, i was shown how to work the music: i was put in charge of the processional and recessional so that dad (who brought the dj set-up) could be standing nearby when sean and adrienne met up front.

this gave me a perfect opportunity to snap some pictures "behind the scenes", including this photo of adrienne and her dad as they exited grandma's house and entered the ceremony. i LOVE this picture, because it looks so universal: the beaming, glowing, excited bride, and the sad and resigned father, escorting her towards her future life in another home. what a very precious and tender image this is.

the ceremony itself was simple and sweet: only a few dozen guests, including parents, grandmothers, and siblings. our uncle wayne, who officiated adam's and my wedding nearly 10 years ago, officiated my little brother's wedding as well. (uncle wayne also baptised us when we were babies.) the vows were absolutely moving (something about how "i promise to love you more tomorrow than i do today.") and i LOVE how the words spoken during the ring ceremony were the EXACT words that adam and i spoke to each other a hundred years ago. and speaking of circles, it was uncle wayne's 51st wedding anniversary, and my gramma and grampa's wedding anniversary was the next day. how perfect!

the bride and groom looked absolutely amazing. of course. i've been telling people that i think sean must have sprained his face because he could not stop smiling the entire day. the poor guy was just physically unable to close his mouth or take his eyes off of adrienne. he was adorable. and adrienne! never in my life have i seen a bride more radiant! (and i've been to dozens of weddings!) she was so calm, composed, and confident in her decision, and that peace radiated out of her to the point where she was literally glowing. she was utterly a queen.

as the wedding ceremony ended, the entire wedding party plus guests entered adrienne grandma's kitchen to sign the marriage certificate.

we all went outside afterwards to snap pictures of family, and mostly of the bride and groom. after what seemed like FOREVER (omg, they took SO MANY pictures!) we FINALLY went out to eat and celebrate. sean and adrienne had made arrangements at their favorite restaurant, and reserved the back room for all of us. it was set up just perfect for a wedding reception, with the bride and groom at the head of the table and everyone else with a clear view of them. the room was so large, in fact, that we were able to have a little dance party afterwards, thanks to my dad and his dj equipment. sean really got into it, dancing his happy little butt off all night long. we even danced the chicken dance (cuz what's a wedding without a polka?) and the macarena (once we remembered how to do the macarena, that is).

speaking of dances, this is hilarious: so, i don't know if sean and adrienne's "song" is "angel" by shaggy or not, but whenever i hear that song, i think of them. and i know a lot of other people do too. so we kept asking my dad if he could play it, but he didn't actually have that song on his computer -- he had it for karaoke, but not just for a song. and since he didn't have his karaoke equipment with him, he couldn't play it. so, the night is going on, we're all having a good time, and we start eating the cake and wrapping up the party. when all of a sudden, "baby got back" comes on. i look over at my dad, and beg him to turn that song off, since i am sitting right next to my lutheran minister of an uncle and mortified that "my anaconda don't want none unless you got buns hun..." dear lord, uncle wayne is RIGHT HERE! when i look up, and there's sean and adrienne, enjoying a slice or two of cake, and then starting to bounce their heads up and down and shake their butts a little bit... OH MY GOD, IT'S THEIR FIRST DANCE! toooootally fitting, and hilarious all at once. (and in the video you hear me asking my dad to turn it up. i guess i got caught up in the moment!)

there were toasts made, and dances danced, and food eaten, and hugs given, and it was such a PERFECT wedding reception, i don't think i could have asked for anything else.

after the restaurant closed, we were still in the party mood, so we found our way to a bar in the area called nina's -- owned by a russian immigrant (nina herself) who kept bringing out shots of homemade raspberry vodka for us all. it was so good, i just kept sipping mine, while everyone else was downing theirs. we plugged endless quarters into the jukebox, playing song after song for the happy couple. at 2:00 a.m., closing time, we were still going strong -- but there was no where else to go, and sean and adrienne had a big trip coming up and needed to pack, so we all went home and smiled ourselves to sleep.

seriously, you guys. it was SO MUCH FUN! i've never seen my brother happier in his whole life. and my whole clan is THRILLED THRILLED THRILLED to add adrienne to our family tree. it was seriously -- seriously, you guys -- seriously. i'm like, seriously. freaking awesome.

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