Posts filed under ‘Wedding’
Our third full day in Washington State was Alex and Ryn’s wedding day! They got married at beautiful Swans Trail Farms in Snohomish, Washington. The gorgeous scenery was only enhanced by the scattered Pacific Northwest rain showers we had that day.
There were a number of things I loved about the wedding. I was quite a fan of their processional song. They picked No Doubt’s “Running”! They had another great musical selection for the joint Mother-Son/Father-Daughter Dance. They picked “Puff the Magic Dragon”. Unplanned, all the guests surrounding the dancing couples started to sing along. Although a rain shower started during the ceremony, you couldn’t stop the smiles of the bride and the groom and their immediate family. Everyone was so, so happy!
What was most impressive about the wedding was all the handmade work behind it. Alex’s fiance, Ryn, has proven to be quite craftsy. She handmade an American Chestnut Foundation/Port Discover Themed card for Ryan and I at our wedding. With her own wedding, Ryn took on an ambitious endeavor. All the flowers (not to mention invitations and place cards and table markers) would be handmade! Now Ryan and I had a lot of handmade stuff at our wedding…. BUT we had a whole neighborhood of kids on hand to help. Ryn did recruit a number of people across the country to help make flowers (One of my contributions were the Coffee Filter Roses), but I still think the logistics of that is significantly more impressive than walking out on your front porch and saying, “Hey, you! Wanna wrap this in tulle?” : )
Although Ryn admitted at one point feeling overwhelmed by the whole flower endeavor, it came out splendidly. The centerpieces were AWESOME! Each one was a mixture of handmade flowers from friends and family across the continent. They were eccletic, gorgeous and a nice visual representation of all the love for the couple! All the favors (handmade felt flower magnets) were adorable. The wedding party bouquets were unique keepsakes. Even the table napkins were origami lotuses!
On top of all that, this event also delivered on my two favorite parts of weddings. Cake (They had NINE different cakes to choose from) and Dancing! Lots and lots of dancing. It was a quite a blast and a very happy day!
The day Ryan and I went to The New York Botanical Garden was April 29th, which also happened to be the date of the Royal Wedding. Ryan and I didn’t watch the nuptials, but en route to the gardens on the Subway, Ryan perused Facebook on his phone.
“Oh boy,” he said, “Everyone is remembering their own weddings today.”
I thought I would be pretty insulated from such nostalgia in the gardens. However, as soon as I entered the American Desert section on the Conservatory, I was greeted by some familiar faces.
P.S. We still have bouquet and centerpiece succulents growing!
Happy Valentine’s Day! I have friends who are getting married in May. Instead of hiring a florist, they have recruited friends and family to help them *make* their flowers. They have all sorts of neat projects in the works– paper flowers, felt flowers, even flowers made out of feathers!
Every now and then I spend some time working on my contributions. Mostly I have been doing five-petal paper flowers, but this weekend I got back on the horse (I had a flop in November) and retried Coffee Filter Roses. I think I’m starting to make progress! Enjoy!
I may be intimidated by the likes of linens and flowers. But there is one thing I can get very enthusiastic about wedding planning– the cake. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE wedding cake. At the same time, I despise fondue. What’s the point of ruining the cake just to make it look pretty? When perusing cake vendors, this paragraph on Merrill’s Desserts caught my eye:
Unlike many wedding cakes – made for looks rather than taste – ours are truly delicious. We bake all cakes fresh right here and frost them with a special buttercream icing. They cut and serve easily, and their moistness will delight you.
That put them in the running immediately. One day in September 2009, Mom, Carolyn, Ryan and I drove to Suffolk Virginia to meet Sandra Merrill. We tasted numerous flavors and unanimously confirmed– they were indeed “truly delicious”.
We flipped through design pictures to get an idea of what we wanted. Mom and Ryan were sharing a book and at once they stumbled upon a promising design. It was a light blue cake with brown branches over it. The cake also sported leaves and butterflies.
“I think it’s a home run with our venue,” Ryan noted.
SOLD! We changed the light blue icing to light green and that was that. We could scratch one wedding task off the list!
We did three tiers and picked a different flavor for each tier. For the largest bottom tier, the “grown up” tier, we picked a yellow almond cake. Sandra mentioned the raspberry filling makes the almond flavor really pop out, and we took her council.
The next largest tier was geared towards the kids. Before we had met with Sandra Merrill, I solicited some flavor ideas from them.
One teenage boy didn’t have to think about the matter one bit. “PEACH!” he declared.
“Uh….” I said, “I don’t think they have peach cake.”
“Yes they do!” the boy insisted.
Lo and behold, I didn’t see Peach on the flavor list. But I did remember grocery shopping with one of the other boys when I let him pick out a cupcake mix for dessert. He chose strawberry cake, which Sandra did have. The second tier was strawberry with Bavarian creme.
The top tier was plain vanilla.
At the wedding, the cake itself seemed to go over well. BUT Ryan and I got booed!!! Apparently some spectators were less than pleased with our gentle manner of feeding each other. 🙂
An Unpopular Wedding Moment (Photo by Liza Franco)
I heard a surprisingly large number of people lament after the wedding that they “forgot” to get cake. My sister, little Malena, my new sister-in-law to name a few. That concept is so foreign to me. As soon as I enter a wedding reception hall, I am monitoring the cake status. When it is cut– I’m all over it, man! You’ve got to have your priorities!
The loss of those guests was Hunter Street’s gain. Ryan and I had a lot of leftover cake. When we got back to our hotel room and decompressed after the day’s events, our appetites returned with a vengeance and we sat together, reveled in the quiet and feasted on wedding cake… with our bare hands! In our neighborhood, one kid was on punishment and had to miss the wedding. Meanwhile a whole other family was thwarted by a flat tire. Thanks to the leftover cake, they all still got to experience a little part of the wedding.
Ryan and I got to have some sizable extra helpings too! Each helping was as moist and as delicious as the first. In fact, one could accurately say, “truly delicious.”
|Wedding Vendor – Cake
Merrill’s Desserts, LLC
211 E. Washington Street
Suffolk, VA 23434
When I moved from Blacksburg, I expected to miss the mountains. I expected to miss my friends. What I didn’t expect to miss was the food. In Blacksburg, I had a variety of options at my disposal. I’m afraid I took that for granted. When I moved to Elizabeth City, North Carolina, I found myself deprived of past staples. Elizabeth City doesn’t have Ethiopian food. It doesn’t have Indian food. It doesn’t have Thai. As a result, when we do venture out of Elizabeth City, that’s what I want. Ethiopian, Indian or Thai. Or Chic-Fil-A. We don’t have one of those either. 🙂
In the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area, Ryan quickly introduced me to Rajput Indian Cuisine. Absolutely delicious. Everything’s so, so good. I had found my new favorite restaurant. After that, anytime we were in the market for supper in that area, we were most likely going to Rajput.
When we started down the road for wedding planning, I didn’t make the connection at first… that you could actually have your favorite restaurant cater. We looked through a listing of caterers and reviewed menus and plate costs. Nothing really stuck out and worse– the whole idea of a “real wedding” was becoming more and more intimidating. Linens and flatware and silverware. Oh gosh, don’t forget the cups. That’s a lot of trouble for a meal you aren’t particularly jazzed about.
Enter Rajput and Paul Chhabra. They do full service catering! Suddenly, not only did we have a meal to look forward to…. but we had knowledgeable, unflustered Paul Chhabra in our ranks. Ryan and I didn’t know what we were doing and that was okay because Paul did know what he was doing. He took care of all those details that were so scary– the linens, the plates, the forks, the cups. He had questions we never would have thought of. He had recommendations. He had suggestions. He had answers.
He also had vision. Three weeks before the wedding, Paul and I met with Jennifer Turlington at the Virginia Living Museum for a walk through. At one point Jennifer asked where I wanted the cake table.
“Uh…..” I had no clue.
“What about right there? In front of that painting?” Paul asked.
That’s where we put it. And wow. Our nature themed cake looked so lovely in front of that backdrop.
We ended up doing a buffet dinner featuring chicken, vegetarian and vegan options. I was concerned about the children and my boss Larry, so we added in a special selection for the more finicky souls. Greg Z went into the buffet line with a plan. “Save room on your plate.” He instructed his wife, “The best stuff on a buffet is always last!” Greg stayed true to his own strategy. He kept plenty of open space on his plate, only to discover the last item was… chicken fingers and french fries. 🙂
When I arrived at the reception, I could smell the aroma of delicious Rajput food. I saw Paul and I was overwhelmed with gratitude. For months, he had squelched all my worries, alleviated all my stress and then he delivered a fabulous meal. With that, I just had to give my caterer a hug!
Paul and I had another bonding moment. At the very end of the reception as everyone started to clean up, the DJ put on Slumdog Millionaire’s Jai Ho. A young man started to dance and put on a phenomenal show. A small crowd gathered and found themselves mesmorized. Paul stood next to me and we both watched with big smiles.
“That’s my son!” he said. He said that statement with pride. It was well-founded pride.
I truly believe Rajput was the turning point of our whole wedding planning process. I think it is very possible that if Rajput had not come on board, Ryan and I would have ended up with a very different, smaller event. With food to be excited about and all Paul’s expertise, we got to stay calm and relaxed and celebrate with so, so many more loved ones. Ahh, and I got Chicken Tikka Masala and decadent rice pudding to boot. 🙂
|Wedding Vendor –Caterer
Rajput Indian Cuisine
742 W. 21st Street
Norfolk, VA 23517
Phone: (757) 625-4634
Shortly after the wedding, Ryan and I had a number of kids over to walk them through reinstalling their laptops. It was a lengthy process, so we put movies on in the background to provide some entertainment while the various progress bars ticked by. One of the movies we watched was “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. From the lack of laughter, it was safe to say the movie only appealed to me and me only. There was an exception. Near the end of the film, you can see the family arguing in the kitchen.
“Hey!” I pointed at the screen, “LOOK!”
While the characters were arguing, they were also hard at work…. wrapping wedding favors in tulle.
And that I think was the only part of the movie we ALL got a kick out of. Wrapping things in tulle was a process we were intimately familiar with. In the two weeks before the wedding, Ryan, the neighborhood kids and I made 130 chocolate Pis using ThinkGeek Ice Cube Trays. We then placed 130 chocolates on 130 little squares of purple cardstock, wrapped them in tulle and tied them with a purple ribbon.
We selected Chocolate Pis as wedding favors because, well, Pi is pretty geeky. It works with science and nature. Plus Pi made a cameo in our ceremony.
A perfect circle contains an element of infinite complexity. Like circles, your rings have no beginning and no end and in the sacred tradition of marriage, rings have come to symbolize eternal love and the endless union of body, of mind, and spirit. The circle, like marriage, was created to be forever, and endless. Just like the number “PI” a number that goes on without end. To quote Lisa Hoffman, “Marriage is like PI – natural, irrational, and VERY IMPORTANT.”
Interestingly enough, the Pi Chocolates had a lot of male contributers. Khalif and Tyrek helped squirt chocolate in the molds. Tyrek cut up purple ribbons. Khalif, Armani and Ryan all helped wrap.
Here’s another surprise. While Khalif, Ryan and I all struggled at tying the ribbons, Armani, who had seemed to be pretty indifferent about the wedding, waltzes in and puts us all to shame. He was by far the most effective wrapper! His innovation– twisting the tulle before tying.
Opportunity for Improvement
Our little Pis were cute and fitting, but there was an opportunity for improvement. When shopping for chocolate, I noted that almost all the selections included partially hydrogenated oils. That did not please me. So we used some Baker’s “Dipping Chocolate” instead. It didn’t contain partially hydrogenated oils, but it melted a lot easier than the other chocolates.
This melting issue turned out to be a source of stress for me. The day before the wedding, Ryan and I loaded up two vehicles full of wedding stuff and headed up to Chesapeake Circuit Court to get our marriage license. It was a pretty warm day and as we headed into the Circuit Court, I was conscious that our vehicles would warm up. I was concerned. LUCKILY, that ginormous white wedding dress with its incredible amount of layers—- it made for perfect insulation! The chocolates not only survived that stop, but they also survived a late lunch as well.
My cousin Sam and my brother’s girlfriend Jacklyn were both helping with the wedding setup. I warned them about the easy melting. They knew to hold the little tulle contraptions by the top as they set the tables. And I do remembering mentioning to more than one person at the reception, “When you decide to eat your chocolate Pi, eat it fast!”
Alas, there was still a mishap. My friend, Tony, decided to put his chocolate Pi in his pocket to save for later.
Yeah, that didn’t quite work out as planned. He ended up with a pocket full of melted chocolate. 🙂
So the improvement I would recommend is to select a chocolate that wouldn’t melt when exposed to body heat as easily.
When I was a young girl, one lesson my father frequently reprimanded me on was the value of commitments. “You can’t renege on a commitment!” he’d bark at me, “You can NOT renege on a commitment!” This usually happened when I was trying to get out of a bridge game.
I was married before and when that marriage disintegrated, I returned home to stay with my parents. Although I can look back now and see with clarity the correctness of my decisions, it was extremely tough at the time. I cried almost all of the 250 mile drive to Occoquan. And when I finally arrived at my parents’ home, my stomach sank before I walked in the door. Here was this giant commitment getting reneged upon. What commitment could be more important? Most certainly, I would be disappointing my father. I braced myself for the loud opinions that were to come my way.
And I got lectured… but not about commitments. Dad expressed some strong feelings on the importance of happiness and how it isn’t something to forfeit. I cried and cried and cried.
“You only live once,” he said, “You’ve got to do what makes you happy. You’ve GOT to!”
On more than one occasion, Dad would pause his lecture and look at me absolutely dumbfounded. “Why are YOU crying?!?” To him, the situation was so clear-cut. My sadness baffled him.
I would still have internal conflicts and doubts to come, but Dad’s reaction helped immensely. I understand now why he was so opinionated. It’s so easy to see just how much happiness I had been forfeiting.
Since my sophomore year of high school my father always seemed pretty oblivious and indifferent of the comings and goings of my boyfriends. When Ryan Somma came along, my father took an unprecedented interest. And sometimes his attention was a little… awkward… like the time Dad started to grill Ryan with questions.
“Why do you have tattoos?”
“Do you go to church?”
“How are your finances?”
“Do you have a retirement fund?”
“How much is in your savings account?”
“Why did you get a divorce?”
“Did you cheat your wife?”
“Did she cheat on you?”
But then, there were the pleasant surprises.
“Vicky looks so happy,” my father reported to my mother one Thanksgiving, “It’s like night and day.”
Or the time Dad brought out his cellphone and snapped a picture of Ryan and I. He evaluated his work on his phone and smiled. “I had to get a picture of the happiest couple I know,” he explained.
When Ryan proposed, I had a rare occurrence show up in my email inbox. A very sweet, sentimental message from my father. He apparently still felt strongly about happiness. In an eight sentence email, he referred to it four times.
When you contacted me about your last marriage, I could only give general guidance. My advice to you then was that you only live once, and that you have to make the decision what would make you happy. When you are with Ryan I see just happiness. I like Ryan. Forget about the financial background check, as I suggested. You picked the perfect person for happiness. I greatly endorse Ryan to be our to-be-son-in-law. He is a very great person who will give you happiness for the rest of your life.
When it came time to pick a song for the Father Daughter Dance, I selected an accoustic cover of Stand By Me by Jonathan David. My father was by no means the only one who supported me during my divorce. But he was the biggest surprise. I’m where I’m at now and as happy as I am in part because my father knew what was important and stood by me. I certainly hope I can do the same for him.
At the wedding reception, when my father and I stepped out on to the dance floor, the sentiment was much different than the night I was lectured on happiness. No tears were shed and actually there was very little dancing. Instead my father did what he does best– in his animated manner, he told me funny stories.
I laughed and laughed and laughed.
Dad Cracking Me Up (By Liza Franco)