Tag Archives: Weddings

The First Big Trip — Part Two

Can it even be called “Part Two” when “Part One” was two months ago?  I don’t want to think about it.

Let’s instead focus on the wedding of the year.  This wedding was spectacular for a myriad of reasons: it was the marriage of one of my best, closest friends I’ve known since I was 13, it took place at an extraordinary farm on the same road as the farm my parents lived on during their first year of marriage (I mean, seriously!), and it was on July 26 — the twins’ first birthday!  All of this just further reinforces our life-long friendship connection.

Plus it was gorgeous.  But when this lady is the star of the show, isn’t that obvious?

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The ceremony was a Catholic mass, which was beautiful and solemn and celebratory all at once.  The bride’s brother sang, her sister served as maid of honor, and her parents radiated joy the entire day (that’s her happy mom Anne to the left in the photo).

Plus this was the jaw-dropping cathedral.

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Amy married Brian, who you may remember from Italy, and he is one of the funniest and most generous people I know.  Now, he’s also one of the luckiest.

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Side note: that dress.  I cannot even.  It is exquisite.

During the ceremony my family took care of the babies, one of whom fell fast asleep.  Hint: it wasn’t the one in the tiny tan suit, it was the one in the tiny Parisian dress.

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Their bridal party was top-notch — entirely supportive, hugely fun, and, if I may say, uncommonly attractive — check us out just working it during the photo sesh:

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They couldn’t have been more welcoming to this lone bridesmaid from the west, to the point that I’m keeping in touch with a few of them…this bride has great taste in friends.

Plus we really excelled at kicking back.

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The reception site was a completely updated and renovated farm.  It had a gorgeous hundreds-year-old farmhouse where the ladies got ready, a refurbished barn for the dinner and dancing, and picture-perfect grounds with lush weeping willows and a peaceful pond.

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I mean, look at that magazine-worthy barn.

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Amy is probably the most thoughtful bride I’ve ever encountered.  She told her photographer in advance to take family photos of us because it was the twins’ birthday.  We couldn’t believe it and we’re so thrilled with these priceless memories we’ll always treasure.

A little back story: last year, the babies were scheduled for induction on July 25, and I was so wrapped up in that it didn’t even occur to me that the following day was the one-year-prior-to-the-wedding day.  Once the babies were born on that day instead, I think it took a full day afterward, in my drug-addled state, to turn to my mom and say, “Wait, what day is Amy’s wedding?  Is it today next year?  Were the babies born on her wedding day?”  And as I said it I knew.  And I felt a mix of new-mom joy and anxiety, with an exclamation-ridden thought train that looked like this:

“Oh my gosh Amy and Brian and the twins are going to share this day forever!!”

“Amy will be with the twins on their birthday!”

“I’m a bridesmaid so I will be busy the whole day…away from my babies on their first birthday…I had these children hours ago and I’m already feeling like the worst mom ever for missing their birthday!”

“It doesn’t matter, this is her WEDDING day!  FAR more important than a million birthdays!”

“We can just have their birthday party the week before!  This isn’t a big deal at all!”

“I can’t be away from them on their first birthday!  I am just going to pretend this isn’t happening until it is.”

“I hope this doesn’t occur to Amy so she doesn’t worry about it!  It’s NOT her problem, she’s the BRIDE!”

You can see I didn’t over-think it at all.

Well, I shouldn’t have given it any thought.  Amy humbled me to my knees with a mini-birthday party right in the middle of the reception.

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Her parents announced that it was Henry and Arden’s birthday and out came custom cupcakes and the entire room of guests sang happy birthday.  I was so moved, so totally overwhelmed, I did a lot of the thrilled-while-half-crying face.  A lot.

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Who’s the luckiest boy in the room?  Usually the groom.  In this moment, Henry.

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In a moment I’ll always remember, Mike lifted Arden high in his arms and she did what she always does when he does that — she kicked her legs in unison and we yelled “swim swim swim!” while she went crazy with happiness.  To our surprise, everyone started yelling “swim swim swim!” and she just kicked her little heart out.

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My heart was so full.  Standing next to the new Mrs. Fuga, surrounded by her wonderful family and mine, amazed that we’ve been friends since she was 12 and I was 13 — and here she was yielding the spotlight on her biggest day to celebrate my precious babies.  It was just overwhelming and so undeserved.

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After dinner…the dancing, which was phenomenal.  It may be worth your time to inquire about this DJ.  He killed it.

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(Bridal party entrances are key.)

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Weddings with family are everything.

What a spectacular wedding filled with an enormous amount of love.

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And I have this girl to thank.  Seventeen years and counting, my friend!  Cheers to you on marrying the love of your life.  Thank you for allowing us to share in your joy.

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The Other Other Royal Wedding

Forgive me for not covering the royal wedding of Zara Phillips, I had another royal wedding on the brain — that of my little sister, Sam.

Sam and her new husband Aaron were married on July 22, and it was a fantastic day.


Sam and Aaron were engaged in November 2009, so this one was a long time coming.  We were all so thrilled and ready for this day, and we had a great time getting ready for it.

Sam hooked all of the bridesmaids up with the best bridesmaid gift I’ve ever received — a leather jewelry travel wrap, flip-flops for the dance floor, and a can of Sophia Coppola champagne to settle the pre-ceremony jitters.

Don’t we look relaxed?

Sam had the genius idea of choosing Tart dresses that can be wrapped dozens of ways so each bridesmaid looked unique.

But who cares about the bridesmaids?  The only one anyone wanted to see was the bride!

She was stunning, and the ceremony was really beautiful.

…and brief — just the way Sam and Aaron wanted it.  That thing was over in less than 20 minutes.

But that doesn’t mean it didn’t make me wish I’d carried tissues down the aisle instead of flowers.  When Sarge (Aaron’s nickname in our family) read his vows to Sam, I worried I would lose it — tears or wobbly heels, I wasn’t sure which would bring me down first.

Luckily, before I could fall apart, we were all cheering as they recessed down the aisle and headed for a celebratory photo session.

Some formal, some….not so formal.

That’s when it hit me the relief I was feeling;  I hadn’t realized that I was subconsciously holding my breath the entire day, wanting so badly for everything to go well.  After the ceremony many guests asked, “How are you feeling?” and I kept replying, “Relieved!  Everything went so well!”

And it only got better: dinner was delicious, the music was rocking, and everyone kicked up their heels for a good time on the dance floor.  In the middle of dancing around ecstatically, I tried to tell each out-of-towner how grateful my family was that they had traveled so far to celebrate with us.  Something about twisting and shouting made me realize how fantastic it was to have them there.  I looked around the dance floor so grateful to God for such incredible friends and family: Amy and Brian, Sarah and Casey, Beth, Debbie and Amy, and Grandma, Tom and Jackson.

Erin and I each gave a toast honoring our little sister, and it felt really special sharing about our unique relationships and our hopes for her future with Sarge.

Everyone says that your wedding day flies by in a blur, but no one warned me that it feels the same if you are a family member of the bride.  The entire reception felt like 45 minutes to me — it absolutely raced forward, and I kept trying to breathe it all in before it passed.

The most important thing, the best part to watch, was how much fun Sam and Aaron were having.  They were beaming the entire evening, totally overjoyed over their new marriage.  It was such bliss to witness.

After running down a sparkler-filled aisle to their classic Rolls Royce, they flew to Puerta Vallarta for a week of recovery.  That’s my word for a honeymoon– it’s therapy after planning a wedding.

They’re back now and settling into newlywed life in their new condo in Bothell.  From what they tell me, all is well.

Congratulations, Stanley and Sarge!

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Yawn (Amid Scandal)

Prince Albert II married Charlene Wittstock last weekend, and it really didn’t rise above expectations.

At least I prepared you — when you saw her signing her marriage license in the legal ceremony, her pantsuit didn’t alarm, did it? 

Thanks to some decent WBO fashion sleuthing, you were totally prepared for a wide-legged, powder-blue pantsuit.  Though it hasn’t been condemned adequately in the fashion blogs, the fact that you can’t find a full-length picture of it anywhere speaks volumes.  It’s like the Monaco police are trolling the internet, deleting the offense.

Despite the Eagles concert, fireworks show, celebrity chefs and oceans of champagne, the occasion failed to herald the kind of attention Wills and Kate received.  In fact, the event fell so low on the British royalty priority list that they only sent Prince Edward as a rep. 

(You know, Prince Edward, the youngest of Queen Elizabeth’s children, the groom in another forgettable royal wedding, the Earl of Wessex…OK I know you stopped reading half a sentence ago.)

Let’s take a look at the Armani dress in the religious ceremony the following day:

According to a press release, Armani explains his design:  “The idea was to go for a completely modern look, without an obvious sense of nostalgia or revivalism.”  I’m not sure what that means, except that apparently it took a lot of work.  According to multiple sources the dress took 2,500 hours to create and featured 40,000 Swarovski crystals and 20,000 mother of pearl teardrops.  The veil alone took 100 hours to embroider.

And yet…it doesn’t wow me.  It is certainly beautiful, but it didn’t send me to the moon the way Kate’s did.  I’m pretty sure it’s the chest and stomach area — something about that just doesn’t win me over.

As for Albert, he looks like he’s on a float in an age-inappropriate Disney World parade, dressed as an unattractive version of Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid. 

But it’s not like anyone was looking at him anyway.

I will say the ceremony setting was beautiful, and the castle was a picturesque backdrop.

Something is amiss, however, when the bride is  the only one at the wedding who sheds a tear.

Though I don’t think we have to struggle to suppose what brought the waterworks.  It was widely reported that just days before the ceremony, yet another woman hit Prince Albert with a paternity claim.  According to The Telegraph, “Monaco officials privately admitted there is “truth” in a rumour that Albert faces a paternity test.”

Nothing like a paternity test to get you excited for the big day!

Did I mention the woman accusing him hasn’t had the child yet?  She’s still pregnant…I’m no mathematician, but I’m pretty sure that didn’t happen prior to Charlene and Albert’s four-year relationship.

See?  Even princesses have to deal with baby mama drama.

In the end, Charlene may be getting the last laugh.  After all, her new name is Her Serene Highness, Princess Charlene.  Even Duchess Kate isn’t an actual princess by title (though when you’re guaranteed to be queen one day, who’s counting?).

I, for one, am rooting for her, and will raise a glass in the hope that all of Prince Albert’s future children are Princess Charlene’s.

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The Other Royal Wedding

Pop quiz:

1.  Did you know that a royal wedding is happening this Saturday, July 2?

2.  If you did know, can you name the bride?

I didn’t think so.  And that’s my point exactly.

We’ve gone from the biggest royal wedding in history to a royal wedding two months later for which no one is even bothering to purchase new hats.  Let’s explore why.

First of all, the wedding in question is that of Prince Albert II of Monaco and former Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock.   Hmmm, a prince marrying a commoner…this sounds familiar and compelling…so why isn’t it?

Let’s look at the less-than-appetizing facts:

  • He’s 53.  She’s 33.
  • He has already fathered two children out-of-wedlock with two different women; his daughter is 19 and his son is 6.
  • Charlene has spent the last four years living in an apartment in Monaco, paid for by the prince.  She hasn’t had a job in that time, and seeing as she’s only just learning French, it doesn’t seem like she could have obtained one.

But before I get too critical, let’s not forget that she is going to be a princess.  Of MONACO, easily one of the most fabulous areas of the Mediterranean.  She’s going to live in a castle, with staff, with nothing more to do than produce an heir and appear at state events.  Sounds like a good deal to me.

Oh, and she gets a ring that takes up half her finger:

On second thought, I don’t think I would take all of that if it meant marrying him.  No offense, Al.

One advantage Charlene has over Kate is two sisters-in-law to turn to for guidance.  Kate married a man with one brother, while Charlene is marrying a man with two sisters, Princess Stephanie (shown below) and Princess Caroline.

One can imagine it would be quite helpful to have a few experienced princesses around to show one the ropes.

Though apparently they haven’t been jumping to serve as fashion advisors, seeing as they are both ill-qualified.  I can’t decide who looks worse — Charlene or Princess Stephanie.  No, Stephanie definitely looks worse.

Apparently Charlene agrees.  In a recent Vogue article, she spoke of this particular fashion misstep (at the 2007 Monaco Red Cross Ball),  “Finding my fashion feet has certainly been the biggest challenge,” she says.  “I was literally a fish out of water. I thought it was all fun, fun, fun, and didn’t give my outfit any thought. I had been playing beach volleyball all day, painted my nails red, and threw on a dress. I thought I looked great at the time, but looking back, I realize that my debut into Monaco society should have been better executed!”

When she’s that honest with herself, how can you not feel for her? 

I am the first to admit that any lady entering the world stage would probably fail in comparison to Kate the Great, but I can’t help but shudder at some of her choices.

Try not to jump back in your chair when you see this pantsuit:


But that’s all behind her now.  Soon she’ll be walking down the aisle in Armani.  Soon she’ll have designers at her disposal.   Soon she’ll be looking back at all of this and laughing over a glass of Veuve Clicquot.

Which leaves me with the final task of watching and evaluating the big day.  No matter how Charlene looks, one thing is sure: we know there will be hats.  Guests may be pulling them from the back of their closets, but there will be lots of hats. 

Stay tuned.

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Finding What We Were Looking For

Our journey to the U2 concert two weeks ago was more complicated than driving from our home to the stadium.

I bought the tickets for Mike in October 2009.  No, that is not a typo.

I gave them to him for Christmas that year, as we had always dreamed of seeing U2 live.  Seeing them in Seattle was second only to seeing them in Dublin, so we were both thrilled it was finally happening.

Like thousands of other fans, we were crushed when we got the email in March 2010 that Bono had hurt his back and the concert would be delayed.  We were absolutely slayed when they decided to delay it by an entire year to June 4, 2011;  it felt like they had said, “Whatever date sounds like it will absolutely never arrive — that is the new date of the concert.”

Toward the end of 2010, a couple in our Bible study announced their engagement.  We were utterly thrilled for them and so excited to watch them take the next step in their relationship.  We didn’t give a thought to the date they chose, because their wedding seemed close, and we thought the concert was impossibly far away…

…until one day in mid-April I was driving to lunch from work and heard the announcer on the radio excitedly mention the concert coming up on June 4.  I nearly careened off the road as I dove for my phone to call Mike in a panic.  He said we could talk about it that evening.

Talk we did.  Many times.  We even prayed about it, because the last thing we wanted was to hurt our friends’ feelings.  Finally, after much discussion, we figured out a way to honor their wedding and make one of our dreams come true — we would do both.  Thankfully, the fabulous bridal couple graciously understood.

I forgot to mention one little factor.  They planned to marry in Yakima, which is 2.5 hours outside of Seattle.

The wedding was at 4PM.  The concert was at 7PM.  This was going to require some James Bond Mike Reph driving skills.

We dressed for the wedding, packed alternate clothes for the concert, and made sure our tickets were in the glove box.  We hauled tail over the mountains to Yakima and made it there at 3PM so we could help with wedding duties.  The wedding was beautiful and we were so thankful we didn’t miss it.

We pulled away from the church at exactly 5PM and by 6:55PM we were circling Qwest Stadium.  Mike shaved 35 minutes off the drive time.  If that’s not James Bond, I don’t know what is (luckily Lenny Kravitz was the opener, so we took our sweet time snubbing the $50 parking lots in favor of the $15 spots half a mile away).

After arriving at the stadium, we realized we couldn’t find our section.  We walked back and forth between 236 and 238, but section 237 started to feel like the 13th floor of a hotel…nonexistent.

A concerned stadium guide saw my baffled expression and asked which section we were looking for.  “Oh!” she said.  “You’re on the club level!  It’s one more flight up!”

Club Level?

I didn’t buy Club seats!  I am far too cheap for such extravagance.  But buying them without knowing I was being a spendthrift was too good to be true.

We walked inside and gaped at the difference — 75% fewer people, no lines for the bathroom, and a far greater selection of food and drink.  Then we found that our seats were a mere six rows back from the balcony, our view was stellar, and we were on the aisle.

The whole situation was beginning to feel like a winning lottery ticket covered in sprinkles and delivered by carrier pigeon with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus in the background.

Without a doubt, the concert lived up to what we had hoped it would be.  I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but I actually cried — more than once.  I couldn’t get over our deep sense of gratitude, the beauty of the music, and the magic of seeing the greatest band on Earth.

Knowing exactly how cheesy it would sound, but unable to contain myself, I turned to Mike in the middle of the concert and said, “Merry Christmas!”

He just laughed and pulled me in for a hug, which is how we stood for the rest of the song.

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A Royal Wonder

It was, to borrow the popular British expression, absolutely brilliant.

I shot awake at 6AM PST, an hour ahead of my alarm, and I literally only had one thought in my head, the way you only have one thought in your head on Christmas morning, “It’s done!  They are married!” 

I know this should be embarrassing to admit, but I got over that admission about a decade ago.

I turned on my DVR and fast-forwarded through Bah-bra and Diane’s two-hour pre-wedding coverage to get to the point of the day — her dress. 

Needless to say, it did not disappoint.

I always wagered that she would use lace, if only because it matches so perfectly with her style and grace.  And, it must be said, she had grace in spades on her wedding day.

If I were an alien visiting Earth on April 29, 2011 and happened to land my spaceship in London, I would never imagine that this lady in white was joining the royal family; I would assume she was leading it.

And as she joined her prince at the front of the abbey, I was only thinking one thing: it’s a shame he couldn’t keep his hat on for the duration of the ceremony.

One of my favorite things about the service was that those leading it managed to use the word “betwixt” not once, but several times.  How utterly English is that?  For the remainder of this post I shall now use that word in place of “between.” 

Though we all know I could write the entirety of this post about HRH The Duchess of Cambridge alone (just writing her new title makes me happy), I’m afraid that if I start down that road it will prove as endless as some of the hymns sung during the service.  So let’s move on to the attire of the attendees, shall we?

First stop: cannot be avoided, must be mentioned and condemned immediately:  Princess Beatrice.

I don’t care that she’s wearing Valentino.  I don’t care that her hat is Philip Treacy.  It is absolutely abhorrent and she should have been escorted out upon arrival.

On the other end of the fascinator spectrum lies that other British princess, Victoria Beckham.  Now THAT is a perfect topper.

On a sadder princess note, my former favorite mistakenly thought this was an Easter service and got a little carried away with the color peach:

Without question, a real winner of the day was the bride’s sister and bridesmaid, Pippa.  Wasn’t it obvious she was doing all of the work?  And she was doing it in a difficult-to-walk-in, awkward-to-bend-over-in dress.

She had to escort the little royals down the aisle, which could have gone wrong a hundred different ways in front of two billion people.  She had to carry her sister’s train for what seemed like weeks, and looked like she was happy to do so.

Also, did anyone else notice a little flirtation betwixt Harry and Pippa as they walked down the aisle? 

And who could blame him, when he’s used to dating this:

Let’s just say the difference in level of sophistication betwixt the Davys and the Middletons is akin to the difference in hair coverage betwixt William and Harry.

But I digress.

When they arrived at Buckingham Palace and the crowds were given permission to surge toward the front gate, the sight of a sea of humanity filling the entire mall was overwhelming.  It’s no surprise that Catherine was seen saying “Oh wow!” when she stepped onto the balcony.

In true break-the-mold style, the couple kissed two times.  It almost seemed like they were saying “We actually like kissing, because we actually like each other!  This is not just for show!”  Anyway, I bought it.

After all of the fashion analysis fades and the wedding stops making headlines, I think those who watched it will remember it one way: as a happy event.  It was undeniably exciting, and despite the grandeur it managed to feel strangely intimate.  Somehow Will and Kate brought us all along for the ride, and as silly as it sounds, this fan-since-she-was-13 is grateful.

Here’s hoping the love betwixt The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is as strong and long-lasting as the stone pillars of Westminster Abbey.

To read about the wedding from someone who was actually there, check out my friend Maggie’s post.

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A Final, Fashionable Farewell (to Life as a Commoner)

I was running on the treadmill this morning when I caught a news story about Kate and Will’s final public appearance prior to the wedding (and yes, I will refer to them with her name first, because frankly, who is he in comparison?).

The lucky location for their final wave was the Darwen Aldridge Community Academy in Lancashire, where Wills was presenting the Skillforce Prince’s Award to…does it matter?  Kate was there.  And she looked brilliant, as ever.

I am finding that she is in possession of the most occasion-appropriate wardrobe I’ve ever seen.  I never see her in a dress when a suit is more suitable (har har) as was the case today.  And despite being more attractive than most brides, she always dons stellar outfits that somehow manage not to scene-steal (seen here in a 2008 and 2009 wedding).

I must also give her my nod of approval for modesty.  She is a rare woman who can resist the urge to show too much thigh or cleavage, especially when she has such a camera-friendly physique.  This is quite the turnaround from her commoner college days of walking the runway in lingerie for charity (which is what famously prompted Wills’ interest in the first place, so I doubt she regrets it…but still).

The only tragedy about there being 18 days to the wedding is that it is unlikely we will see her again until she re-emerges as certified royalty.  Although, as the news report this morning mentioned, we can always entertain ourselves in the meantime by calling our bookie and placing bets on such things as: what color hat will the queen wear to the wedding?  which designer will Kate choose for her dress?  what are the odds she jilts William (clearly the person placing this bet doesn’t understand the lottery Kate is winning by showing up)?

For other pre-wedding festivities (since I wasn’t invited to the bridal shower), a dear friend reminded me yesterday that on April 18 we can tune in for the Lifetime movie, “William & Kate: Let Love Rule.”  However, I struggle to get onboard with the lady below portraying Kate the Great:

I can’t begin to list all the ways this woman can’t compare to our bride-to-be, but for now let’s let the chunky heels speak for themselves, shall we?

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