We rushed to the ring ceremony out of breath, afraid we were going to be late. We needn't have worried. As with everything else, it started about 45 minutes late. Mia and Lexi were looking so cute in their flower girl dresses, but they were having so much fun running around while the bridal party was getting organized that they were completely messed up and tangle haired by the time it was their turn. Mia didn't want to line up so Katie had to threaten her with no treats later.
Ashley came down to the area looking stressed. What was up? I decided I didn't want to know. Later on I found out that the hair stylist/makeup girl didn't come back for touchups before the ring ceremony (maybe it wasnt' a contracted request? Who knows...) The MIL called her up, the discussion deteriorated (sounds like the stylist was being flakey) and the stylist was disinvited to the reception. Unfortunately, she was the wife of one of the groomsmen...and the sister-in-law of one of the bridesmaids...and they both decided to not come to the ring ceremony/reception either. Even their families joined in in deciding not to come. Too bad... There's one friendship that's pretty much over, I'd say. Professional people should act professional and not let it become personal. That's my take, anyway.
The groomsman was one of Scott's best friends, and he called Scott very upset, feeling he should be there for Scott, but also feeling the need to stand by his wife. Tough decision, but not totally sincere. When Scott wasn't totally buying it, the tears abruptly stopped. It's too bad, but I think friendships should be give and take. Lately it had been pretty one sided. Unfortunately, the photographer was ALSO a sister of the stylist and she was in the same room when all of this arguing was going on. When the MIL realized this, she immediately apologized to the photographer, understanding the possible consequences of all of it. Luckily Amelia, the photographer, is a real pro, and she was able to put her personal feelings aside and finish the job. Kudos to her. So THAT was why the bride looked stressed...
The ring ceremony began with the parents and wedding party walking in, minus one bridesmaid and one groomsman. (Good riddance, I say.) The flower girls all walked in in a big clump - a gaggle of adorable girls, swinging their flower balls, scattering the blooms everywhere. The ring bearer had a different direction in mind, and his daddy had to come get him, starting a mini tantrum. Finally everyone was in place and we opened with a prayer. There were a couple of musical numbers, and then Ashley and Scott had prepared some words for each other. Scott's part is what I remember. He started to tell Ashley how much he loved her, and then totally broke down into tears, declaring that he would always do everything he could to love her and make her happy. It was a sweet, SWEET moment, and many of us had tears of our own. Scott has always been my sweet one. He was sweating up a storm, though, and his best man kept reaching over to mop his brow. So cute to see Bill taking such care of Scott. They've been friends for many years, and I've always loved Bill.
FINALLY it was over, and we headed over to the pool area for some needed refreshments and drinks. L and I were able to mingle in between photography calls. The little girls were slowly losing it, and so it was a relief to be called into dinner.
The tables were lovely. (You'll have to take my word for it - and my apology about the lack of pictures. By this time my mind was numb.) Each table had an Indian style lantern lit up with a candle, an elephant statue, a picture of Scott and Ashley, and each place setting had a tiny jeweled elephant to take home. Those made Mia and Lexi very happy. The dinner was good, the best man and the maid of honor each gave excellent PREPARED toasts (don't you hate those long, rambling ones?) and Ashley's dad also said a few really nice words. He is a class act, that's all I can say. An excellent host.
Mia and Lexi jumped and twirled on the dance floor, having the time of their little lives. Matthew alternately ran with them or rested on his back on the floor. They all fell apart at about the same time: just before the couple's first dance. Katie hated to go (she's always hated to miss a good party) but her girls had had it by then. Rex and Ronna took their little ones soon after.
I was pleasantly surprised by Scott and Ashley's first dance. It was pretty much the Basic Sway, but at a certain point throughout the song he got fancy and twirled her - it obviously had been practiced, and I was really proud of them. Ashley had her dance with her dad (the daddy/daughter dance ALWAYS makes me cry...) and then it was time for Scott and me. I've never been so proud of Scott as I was then. He looked so happy, and proud, and, and... I don't know what. I was just filled with love and pride.
When the dance floor was opened up, the event of the night happened for me. Scott came over to where my 99 year old grandma (his great grandma) was sitting in her wheelchair. Now, my grandma loves to dance. You could say it has been her passion. Being confined to a wheelchair is very trying for her. Scott started to wheel her backwards onto the dance floor. He took her by the hands and "danced" with her, twirling her chair around every so often. Her face was lit up with complete joy. EVERY camera in the room was on them (except mine, of course - I was in tears). As soon as I can get one of those photos I will post it. I've never seen anyone so joyful and having such a good time, and she will never forget Scott taking her for a twirl at his reception. (For heaven's sake - she still talks about dancing with Rex at his reception 8 years ago!) That was the sweetest moment of the night for me.
The party wound down, people started to leave, and the MIL asked if I could store the wedding dress and table centerpieces for her until she returned from Hawaii with her other kids the following Saturday. And of course, we are doing just that. It's been a treat for Mia to come into my room and see Ashley's "princess dress" hanging there. And she reminds me, every time, to not touch it and to be careful.
We said our goodbyes to Ashley's family, and then Ba grabbed me and insisted on getting a picture with me. She was going back to Kentucky with Ashley's dad the next morning. I told her I wanted to visit her and she said "Good and I'll come visit you here." We are buddies. Even the MIL, Beth, was feeling tender. I told her she'd done a magnificent job (and she had) and she hugged me when I told her we were sisters now. When she's not looking for scalps, I really do feel that way.
L and I came the next morning to pick up the wedding dress, etc. from Beth's sister, who had gathered everything up. No one could find the garment bag for the dress. This is not good. The dress is a Vera Wang very expensive dress, and I DO NOT want to be the one to have to tell Beth there's no bag to tote it back to Florida in. (Any suggestions? Anyone??) When I met Beth's sister during the dress pick up she told me that Beth had always been full of drama. I asked how the rest of the family coped with her. She looked me in the eye and said "I just hang up the phone." *blinking* Bwahahahaha! For some reason that just made my day.
So that completes the Saga of the Wedding Weekend. Something for everyone: sweetness, compassion, lots of love to go around, cute little ones, oldsters who are still up for a swing on the dance floor, drama, drama, blowing our top DRAMA, and the sights and sounds of two very different families and cultures being linked together by two completely lovable, beautiful, much-loved children.