Monday, October 16, 2017

A Year of Wonderful Weddings

I've been to a lot of weddings during the past few years - & 2017 has been no exception. In fact, I think this year, I attended more weddings than in any other year past. In addition to planning for our own big day, Mike & I have attended five weddings this year, just wrapping up the final event last weekend!

Now that we're done attending weddings for the year, what strikes me is how different each of them was - & just how well each event represented the personalities & lifestyles of the couples they celebrated. As Mike & I try to plan a wedding that, we hope, does the same for us, it feels deeply comforting to realize that each of these weddings, different as they were, were all phenomenally representative of the couples behind them - & certainly ours will be, too. There's no right way to have a wedding - & so there's no wrong way to have a wedding, either.

Not sure exactly what I mean? Here's a look at each of the weddings we attended this year.

In April, we flew to New Orleans to celebrate Jill, a former coworker from my D.C. days, & Michael, a urologist who knows every word to "Back That Ass Up." Their wedding was held at a beautiful old theater near the French quarter, & the band led a festive first line through the lobby before cocktail hour, where, fittingly, the specialty cocktail was a French 75. In other words: It was a very upscale, classy event... that ended with "Back That Ass Up."

The party ran well after midnight, & when it ended, the groom literally cut his new wife out of her silk gown so she could put on more comfortable clothes & meet up with a hard-partying contingent of wedding guests at a nearby bar. (Mike & I didn't make it to that part of the evening; we ate late-night falafel with friends before retiring to our hotel.)


In April, we traveled to D.C. to celebrate my friends Allison & Ryder, who held their slightly unconventional ceremony & reception at an art gallery in the trendy Shaw neighborhood.

Their Reform Jewish wedding ceremony was short & sweet & personal, performed by a local rabbi beneath a chuppah (wedding canopy) held over the couple by four friends. They had no wedding party, no program, & no wedding cake, but they did have Greyhound cocktails (an ode to their adopted greyhound, Cole) & a table overflowing with tiny, gourmet desserts that each represented some aspect of the couple's life together.

The farm-to-table meal was served family-style, the very hip DJ mostly played songs we didn't know, & the wedding toasts all referenced the couple's many quirky interests, including bread-baking, ice cream-making, & saving the world.


We didn't attend a single wedding over the summer, but our events calendar started up again with a (joyful) vengeance as soon as fall arrived, beginning with Callie & Trevor's reception at the groom's parents' gorgeous summer house in Geneva, OH, right on Lake Erie.

Their private ceremony took place the day before, so we just attended the party, where the food was a buffet of both American & Italian foods & the bride soon changed into a tank top & shorts so she could better get her groove on. The weather was perfect for an outdoor reception that went late into the night, but there was no professional photographer, just the groom's sister with a fancy camera, & a bunch of us snapping iPhone photos of an incredible North Coast sunset.

We stayed overnight in cabins in the Geneva State Park, & those of us who weren't too hungover got brunch in the morning at a hilariously named diner called Best Friends Restaurant.


The second weekend in October, we headed back to D.C. - this time with my mom - to see my cousin Patrick's marry his longtime girlfriend, Claire. 

Their wedding was a classic, traditional affair with a simple elegance, starting with an Irish Catholic mass held at the stunning Dahlgren Chapel on the beautiful campus of Georgetown University; the reception was at Woodend Nature Sanctuary in Bethesda, MD, in an historic mansion owned by the Audubon Naturalist Society. The bride & her attendants wore crowns of roses, the dinner was a gourmet tenderloin topped with crab, & the pomegranate/vodka specialty cocktails got me a liiiittle bit tipsy - & yet it was my mom who hit the dance floor the hardest.

(On a personal note, I feel very good about how I looked at this wedding, except for the part where I immediately became incredibly sweaty & had to leave my hair up for the remainder of the evening.)


Last weekend was our final wedding of the year (as guests, that is) & it was pretty nearby, considering some of the year's other wedding locales. We drove an hour south to Canton, OH, for Mike's former roommate Trevor's wedding to Natalie, whose family is Romanian. (Yes, we have two friends names Trevor.)

Their traditional Romanian Catholic Byzantine ceremony including a beautiful crowning ceremony & a great deal of chanting; their cocktail hour in Romanian Village included Romanian spirits & lots of cigar-smoking; & their reception in the church's social hall included a traditional Romanian meal (those cabbage rolls, though!) & a live band playing very modern music. 

Speaking of music: To start off the reception, the groom performed "More Than Words" for his new bride - & the event continued until almost 1:00am.


Next up: our own wedding, taking place November 11th here in Cleveland. As I put together this blog post, I couldn't help but wonder what I'd write about our wedding if it weren't my own. How would I describe it? 

We're in the home stretch now - 26 days to go! - & I can't wait to share the day with you here when it's all said & done. 
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