What’s that you say? You thought my talk of all things wedding was over? Not just! (In my defense, I hate being that girl who’s still going on and on about her wedding three months after the fact, but you guys keeping asking! And I like to give the people what they want.) Because, you see, after a week of action-packed festivities in San Francisco, followed by a week of unwinding before the ‘moon, followed by three weeks in Asia, it was time to fly back to Tennessee and do it all over again!
I come from a tiny town. Thus, trying to get away with simply throwing one small, intimate coastal affair on the other side of the country just isn’t possible. We could only have 85 people at the inn, which meant approximately 18,950 of the 19,000 residents in my hometown didn’t make the guest list. So! We had party number two and invited them all! (Kidding. A little over 200 people showed up…still, a good crowd!)
I was most excited about the dress, I’m not going to lie. I searched and searched and searched some more for a white cocktail dress that was a) appropriate for a backyard reception and b) wouldn’t break the bank. But, despite the fact that my search overlapped with San Francisco’s Black & White Ball—meaning, for once white cocktail dresses filled the storefronts—I couldn’t find anything that didn’t look like it came straight off the mannequin at Jessica McClintock, full-on bling and all. In the end, I turned to my oh-so-talented mother-in-law Joan, who has worked miracles on many a garment in her days. And I was giving her the biggest test of all: chopping off my wedding dress. That’s right! I had her cut the skirt off my beloved gown, which I went back and forth on for days, but eventually decided that it’s not like I’m never going to wear it again (I’m only planning on getting hitched once, after all, SVV will be glad to hear), and not only that, I paid just $500 for it (it was a $5,500 couture gown, too!) as it was a sample, so really I’d already gotten my money’s worth. Behold, the finished product:
It was absolutely perfect. And no simple task: After chopping, she had to remove the crinoline and take out the boning before putting it back in the skirt. The woman’s a dress miracle worker. It had come with two different sashes, so I used the other one, the clasp belt I didn’t wear on my actual wedding day. Because the dress is more of a pink-y champagne hue, I could theoretically wear it again. But where? Will someone invite me to an appropriate celebration—please?—as I’m just dying to button myself back into this baby.
Now back to the actual party itself. My mom had wanted to go all out and rent their Country Club for the occasion, but I maintain that my parents have one gorgeous backyard, resting on an acre-and-a-half property and backed by a pasture and barn. Why wouldn’t you use such a setting for a wedding party? Besides, my parents had done more than enough with the actual California affair and I didn’t want them to spend another penny on a site rental. Alas, we didn’t get any great pictures, as just as we were done setting up, the skies opened up and it poured all over our set-up. The rain lasted until about 15 minutes after the party started, which was good as we didn’t exactly have a back-up plan.
My mom pretty much did everything herself. She rented the tables and chairs from a local equipment rental service, she ordered all the table cloths and sashes off the Internet, and she even had these custom-made hand towels and napkins printed for the event.
Oh, and she designed the invites, too, because my mom’s crafty like that.
Our next door neighbor JoAnne came over and helped put together centerpieces leftover from her own Kristin’s wedding the week before mine, and my good friend Andrea’s mom Nancy spent all day ironing the table cloths. SVV set up candles around the fountain (my parents have a fountain! and a fire pit! how awesome is that?), and the whole place looked magical.
There was even a rainbow in the background, which many of the older party-goers said was my grandmother stopping by to join in on the fun. She never did like to miss a party.
My mom kept everything in the same colors—varying shades of purple, SVV’s and my shared favorite color—as our California wedding. It helped, and was merely a coincidence (I think), that even the flowers in their backyard followed suit!
There was a band, too, of course, and cupcakes, naturally.
The cupcake lady catered, too, so there were lots of yummy finger foods—which, once again, I didn’t get to sample until the next day (and the day after that…every day for a week to follow!). The party was set to last from 7 to 10pm, but at 1am there was still a sizable crowd in the driveway sucking back the tequila shots. My dad’s right-hand man Pete doubled as bartender and made sure only the DDs left the place sober. This is the South after all; it would be blasphemous to imagine an alcohol-free affair.
Mom took a ton of pictures of everyone else, but I only actually appeared in three—at the end of the night, too, when I wasn’t exactly in my prime. (Thanks, Mom.) The lack of photographic evidence is probably for the best, though. If you live in the South, you know this year has been one dreadful summer—it was still in the 90’s by the time the party started at 7, and it didn’t take long for my makeup to melt straight off and my hair to plaster itself to the sweat on my face. Beautiful.
I’m pretty sure SVV was at the party, but I can’t say for certain as I didn’t so much as glimpse him all night. (I know what you’re thinking: Married three months and it’s already beginning!) Or maybe it’s just because my sister and her friends hogged the camera.
I was touched, though, that people such as my dad’s college pal Neal came all the way up from Auburn for the event. People like us (or rather, my parents) that much?!
(Also, my dad is the tannest white guy you ever did see. Year round, too, despite the bazillion hours a month he spends in the office.)
One of the best part of the whole ordeal is that all my mom’s side of the (immediate) family—my aunt and uncle, my cousins and their spouses and kidlets—made the trek over from Memphis, up from Birmingham and down from Nashville, despite the fact they had been kind enough to make the journey all the way to San Francisco the month before. And even though there was a bit of a catastrophe when it was thought my uncle had a heart attack midway through the party (they airlifted him to Murfreesboro), he turned out to be OK and we were all able to spend a little bit of quality time together the following morning before everyone parted ways once again.
I’m kind of liking this getting-married business—this from a girl who, prior to getting engaged, had never so much as leafed through a bridal business—and am sad it’s coming to an end. Who knows, maybe we’ll wind up being those people who renew their vows every year like clockwork. Don’t put it past us.