Friday, August 31, 2012

Wedding!

It couldn't have been a happier weekend! Alex and Aly were married last Saturday, and I need to write everything down before I forget - although my friend Jeani assured me I never would.

Aly's mom, Lucy, made these flags. Everyone had them at the ceremony and waved them when Alex stepped on the wine glass. The "Mazel Tov!" was resounding!
After arriving from Michigan last Wednesday at dinnertime and spending Thursday running errands and other wedding preparations (little things like the marriage license), the girls arrived from Iowa and we had a wonderful family dinner. With wine. Lots of wine. And then some of the kids' friends came over, and it was like old times when they all lived at home - except with wine. And LAUGHTER! My stomach and face seriously were aching!

(I should preface this all by saying that the summer here has been horrible - no rain for 70-plus days, with temps in the 90's and 100's. It was a cool week (80's) leading up to the wedding with an increasing chance of rain - and we were planning an outdoor wedding at Lauritzen Gardens.)

We had a lovely bridesmaid / mom luncheon (thank you, Cari, for arranging such a great menu!), and while the girls had their nails done, I went to the hotel to check in and visit with family and friends. We had decided to stay downtown where all the fun was instead of driving the half hour out to West O. (Good decision!)

The rehearsal was at 4:00. It had sprinkled a bit during the day, so walking in the grass wasn't the easiest:
On my tippy-toes trying not to sink
I know there are incriminating photos of me somewhere in my Catholic schoolgirl uniform (with or without slide rule), so you know I'm not Jewish, but as this was to be a Jewish wedding, I'll do my best to explain some of the traditions.

After the rehearsal itself, Alex and Aly signed the ketubah, which is the marriage contract. The wording is beautiful, and the ketubah itself is a work of art. It was witnessed by both sets of parents. At this point, they were basically married.


We had a few minutes between the rehearsal itself and the rehearsal dinner, so we went back to the Embassy Suites and had time for a quick glass of wine with the fam before we headed the two blocks over to the restaurant. And oh - it had started drizzling.

The rehearsal dinner was a wonderful time; we met all of Aly's extended family, her family met ours, and our out-of-town guests were able to be there too. And at the end of the evening, we were joined by some of our in-town guests. (I love our friends!) The slide show was fabulous - Lucy had warned me to bring extra kleenex, and she was right. Seeing those two kids as little babies had me in tears. As did Dwight's toast:


As did MY toast. I apologize to everyone who had to wait for me to regain composure. But as I prefaced my toast, they were HAPPY TEARS!


As it did on our wedding day 31 years ago, it rained on Alex's and Aly's wedding day. (I know it's supposed to be good luck, but I think they just say that so the bride doesn't feel bad about it raining on her wedding.) But unlike Dwight and I, who got married in a Holiday Inn conference room because our outdoor wedding was ruined, Alex and Aly had the beautiful atrium of the botanical center:


One of my favorite parts of the ceremony is that Dwight and I both walked Alex down the aisle, then stood outside the chuppah.


The bridal party then followed, and then Aly was escorted by both her parents, who also stood outside the chuppah. The two of them then entered together, to signify the home that they will share. I can't even explain how it felt to look at Alex and Aly, surrounded by their parents, their best friends, and siblings, who were all in the wedding party. It was such a circle of love. And in the audience was everyone who loved them best.

Aly's mom, Lucy, made the chuppah cover. No one at the wedding saw this except the bride, groom, and rabbi, as it was embroidered in the center. I took this photo before the wedding, looking up:


No one saw this, either, unless you were under the canopy:


Time to stop blathering and just look at pretty pictures:

I love this photo!
The wine is a 2006 vintage, found by Lucy. It is the year Alex and Aly met.
The newlyweds!
Proud parents
MY groom!
My beautiful daughters
6/7 of the Harder kids. Missed you, Mick!
Mother-son dance (What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong)
Just one of the beautiful tables
The reception could not have been MORE FUN!!! The room was beautiful, the flowers were gorgeous, the food was delicious, and everyone was JUST SO HAPPY!!! Several of my friends have told me it was the most joyous wedding they had ever attended. I could not stop smiling! (And to be honest, I still am!) The Hava Nagila was everything I expected - and more! I knew Aly and Alex would be lifted up on the chairs, but I didn't know that they would first get Lucy and Kirk, and then me, followed by Dwight. It was incredible! (When Dwight sat down, he said that Alex said, "We're going to need some help here!") I am just glad for the sake of those boys that we both had lost some weight before the wedding!

All in all, it was a magical night that didn't end until about 3:30 a.m. Thanks to Kathy and Dave for sharing a bottle of wine with us when we got back to the hotel, and to the remnants of the wedding party who just needed some pizza because they hadn't eaten all day, to Lucy and Kirk for the gorgeous wedding, and to our boy and his beautiful bride for falling in love all those years ago. Mazel Tov!

(And thanks to Lucy and my brother Jeff for sharing their photos. While a few of the above are mine, I have relatively few. I will need to correct this before Erin's and Tim's wedding next summer!)

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