Since many of you have asked about the big summer wedding, I will write about it here:
It was great to see my kids, my sibs and my parents all at the same time. This hardly ever happens anymore, due to my parents divorcing about 30 years ago, while I was pregnant with my second child...
My 81 year old mother, who has had a hip and a knee replacement was doing some walking without her cane, which was great to see.
We arrived in Kenosha just in time for me to dump the luggage in the hotel room and "skedaddle." Steve had decided not to attend the rehearsal dinner -- which out of town relatives had been invited to -- as he was worried he wouldn't be able to get to the room it was being held in, the guild hall of the church, due to stair challenges.
So I left him with a room service menu and his credit card, and headed off with my mother and brother, who were staying in rooms on the same floor of the hotel as we were.
Delightfully, our rooms faced the harbor, and the hotel itself is right on the harbor, so I figured he could watch the activity on the water if he got bored with the TV and laptop...
We arrived at the church just as the bride and groom were heading to the dinner, so we hugged them on the street and I was delighted to see that they looked serene and happy. No pre-wedding jitters, as far as I could see.
We had met Kate's intended, Lavar, last Christmas, but had not met any of his family, so this was my first chance. Meeting some of his family before "the day" was one reason Steve had really wanted me to get to this dinner. That way I would know "who was who" and be able to introduce him...
The meal was a buffet, so I picked an empty table, staked out a seat with my purse, and did some mingling with the crowd. Later I was delighted to find that Lavar's mother and his step-father were also at my table, so I had the whole meal to get to know them.
As I had anticipated, they are lovely people. I didn't find out what his mother does being as she was busy being MOG and the hostess of this event.
But I learned that his step-father had ended up in the family business in Chicago -- he owns a funeral home. Which means he is a business owner who is very good at making people feel comfortable with him as soon as you meet!
Apparently he was born in California and had youthful dreams of becoming a professional football player. You could still see the powerful athlete in him, even though, as he put it, he'd had to give up on his dream job many years ago.
Lavar and Kate met in high school, and I am pretty sure he was also a football player - but of a rival school. One of Kate's best girlfriends - -the woman who introduced them -- was one of the bridesmaids, which seemed appropriate.
Lavar is "ABD" in politics from UC Santa Cruz, with prior degrees in Political Science and English from Lehigh University. Kate has her MS from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California, and loves her job as Intensive English Program Coordinator at Kutztown, University of Pennsylvania. (As I understand it, she functions there as sort of an ESL teacher for foreign, non-English speaking grad students.)
Given that they have that much education, you know they are now in their late 20s and thus have known each other for quite some time, I am feeling very good about the marriage.
My brother-in-law Jim told a wonderful story at the reception about the time Kate, then known in the family as "Katie," came home from grad-school in California and told her parents, "Mom, Dad: Lavar and I are sort of a thing." To which her father replied, "Ya think?"
As you may have guessed by their names, theirs is an interracial marriage, and sadly, despite the gains our country has made in racial tolerance over the years, I'm quite sure it still remains harder for people to share with family members the seriousness of a mixed race relationship. I mean, it's stressful enough just introducing family to your intended to begin with -- without having to worry about prejudice!
I say this with some experience, as Steve's father married a black woman after becoming widowed, and I still recall his trepidation in introducing us to her.
In my case, it was not as difficult to comprehend having a new mother-in-law who is black as it was to get used to the fact that my new mother-in-law was my age!! (She is a wonderful woman, and we still keep in touch, even though Steve's father is no longer living.)
Lavar's mother also shared a story a reception about how SHE first got to meet Kate. Apparently the meeting took place at a Starbuck's. I have to wonder if they selected a public place so as to assure that everyone behaved themselves...But I digress with all this family background. I am sure you really just wanted to know what people wore:
The bride was lovely in a strapless white dress with an empire waistline. the fabric might have been a voile, I am not sure. But the outer fabric had a woven stripe in it.
The "back story" I heard from both the bride and my sister was that this was an "off-the-rack" dress from Nordstom's, which she and her mother had picked out a week prior -- and to which my MOB sister had ended up doing the alterations.
It seems that the very fancy dress Kate had previously selected months ago out in Pennsylvania at some fancy foo foo wedding store had finally been shipped to them, just a few days prior.
And that's when they found out that it not only didn't fit right, but according to my sister -- who thankfully had worked her way through college doing wedding dress alterations for a store in our home town -- there was no way it was possible to MAKE it fit right.
Yowza! As any of us who have been brides or mothers of the bride can guess -- my niece apparently had a huge cry over the discovery. Who wouldn't? But then they picked themselves up and found a solution...
The bridesmaid dresses were strapless, though one wore hers halter style. They were short and in a floral print fabric. A new concept for me. My recollection is that they were a light gray, with fairly large scale yellow and white daisies strewn across the fabric.
The flowers were yellow and white -- mums or daisies, I am not sure.
Lavar, by the way, wore a lovely black suit with a white shirt and white tie. It wasn't a tux, but from what I gathered when my daughter got married 3 years ago -- the trend these days is for the men to wear formal looking suits. He was extremely elegant.
He had one groomsman, someone who had known him for decades. She had three attendants. Again, it seems weddings don't have to be so "matchy matchy" anymore.
In fact, when our daughter got married, she selected her brother as her "best man," as opposed to having a "maid of honor."
As for me, I was not sure what to wear, as I knew the church would not be air conditioned and thus, if it were one of those beastly hot August days, I did not want to be an advertisement for someone who should have used Secret.
It was a morning wedding, with an early afternoon reception, so the word from my sister was to wear something I already had in my closet.
Clearly she hasn't seen my closets -- I don't own any elegant pantsuits nor do I wear dresses very often.
In the end, I wore a newly purchased sleeveless jersey dress - violet in color -- and paired it with a hand-painted silk wrap my mother had given me several years ago -- so "something from my closet" did end up being part of my ensemble. The wrap is turquoise and purple. Taupe pumps and hose. (Sorry, my legs are too white for me to feel comfortable going bare legged.)
Steve did as she suggested and wore comfortable clothes from his closet: a tan pants, white shirt with no tie, blue blazer.
The wedding went off without a hitch, except for the fact that one of the bridesmaids tripped when trying to move over to the lectern to provide a reading from the Bible.
I wasn't close enough to see what happened, but those who were closer think she tripped managing the stairs due to the very high heels she was wearing.
Talk about aplomb! she picked herself up from the floor with a bit of help from the groomsman, continued on -- and gave her reading without as much as a tear or a hitch in her voice!
Probably a good thing the bridesmaid dresses were knee length. I'd hate to think about getting up from the floor gracefully once I - and my high heels were tangled up in the skirt of a long dress!
So there you have it!
Oh, rain was forecast for the day, but it only rained during the early part of the reception. So none of us got wet, and the wedding party was able to get some nice shots outside.
Oh! for any of you who ever thought of attending a private girl's school when you were young -- the reception was held a Kemper Hall. Once an Episcopal girl's school, it is now owned by the City of Kenosha, and used as a conference center. It is a beautiful older building, looks a lot like a mansion, and is also situated with Lake Michigan frontage.
As for other things that caught my eye: There were 10 tables at the reception, and each had a round two-layer cake as a centerpiece. White frosted with yellow roses on top and blue decorations on the sides of the cakes. Each cake was decorated uniquely.
The bride and groom came around to each table to greet the guests and be photographed with the guests at the table. Before doing so, they announced that each cake was a different flavor. So they encouraged the guests to mingle -- and if they didn't like the flavor of cake on their table -- to go try another table's cake!
Our table's cake was red velvet. The one at the table next to us was lemon, and I saw a marble cake, too.
The bride and groom had a two tiered cake at their table, so there was a more traditional cake-cutting ceremony, too. THEIR cake was devil's food...
I recall that I wanted flavored cake at MY first wedding, but my mother insisted we had to have the traditional white cake... When Steve and I married, we had a better, less dry cake, but still didn't go 'wild" with the flavors.
Our daughter had a bride's cake and a smaller groom's cake. The groom's cake was chocolate as I recall. But the bride's cake was a delicious tiered cheese cake with a strawberry filling.
Wow! How times and traditions change!
Finally, I didn't take any photos, but I'll see if I can share some when I start to see those that were taken. My son was the official photographer, so i have an "in" - hopefully they'll put a few up on Facebook. That makes photo sharing so easy!