The week since the wedding evaporated without any details from me except about my crafting. I apologize. After a year of planning, previewing, looking forward- the vacuum is enormous. I wanted to give details, but I didn't have good pictures to illustrate the days with. Plus, I just wanted to marinate in the joy that a spectacular celebration creates. Here I am, still lacking pictures- but needing to share some of the highlights. Bear with me, because I have to do this in chronological order. So, I will start with the rehearsal dinner, an event that I can take little credit for, but which I loved.
The run through for the wedding was at 4:45 at Old St. Pat's, the most beautiful church in Chicago, both in architecture and spirit. Their volunteers are devoted to the parish, and made us feel welcomed and honored all at once. Our wedding would be celebrated by Father Terry Keehan, on loan from his new parish, Holy family in Inverness. He is tied by heartstrings to Old St. Pat's: his father retired from International Harvester, and became the financial officer there. Father John Wall was the pastor/shepherd who sought young, committed adults to come to worship on the edge of the Loop. They succeeded wildly, with an active, dynamic and accepting congregation. Today they are headed by Father Tom Hurley, who continues the impressive mission statement that welcomes saint and sinners. Who knew what the World's Largest Block Party would spawn? Father Terry loves the church, knows every Celtic embellishment. In keeping with the Irish vibe, there is a story for every detail. He loves being there, and we did too. I am pretty sure he gave Mike's application to wed there an executive push, but he just twinkles when I try to thank him. I can never thank him enough.
After our run through, we were off to Trader Vic's for a feast. Full disclosure: Steve owns a sliver of this restaurant, and so we were given a discount on the food. Buoyed by this discount, Steve the non-drinker ordered the all inclusive (non discounted) beverage package: three hours of everything they poured. Mike warned that his buddies all drank beer, and it'd be cheaper to pay by the cocktail/bottle. The cartoon drinks toted by all guests gave me the feeling that Steve chose well. It is just no fun to order a beer if there is a Scorpion or Tropical Itch to be had. Plus, you get the garnish to eat as a bonus. I stuck to Mai Tais, and had the sense to limit myself to two. Otherwise, I would still have been toasting at midnight.
I sent the invitations, featuring a tiki hut, but Steve did all the arrangements. We had cocktails and pupus in the Mai Tai bar so that we could mix and mingle. My Detroit family, including a nephew who migrated from West Point for the festivities, met the Parolins; the out of towners met each other, and Father Terry met everyone. This was something I relished- there is so little time to visit with your family when your child is getting married! (The Dahl family was unrepresented: Steve's Dad, Roger, had aortic valve replacement recently, along with a pacemaker inplantation, and Rick stayed in California to be with him.) Then we went into the luau room for a buffet. Steve picked the entrees- thai chicken, pork tenderloin, and sea bass, with wasabi mashed potatoes and asparagus. All great. Steve welcomed everyone, I toasted the kids and their families, and Fr. Terry prayed. We ate, visited, celebrated the bride and groom and were on our way by 10:00.
The Detroit contingent and other out of towners went back to the Fairmont Hotel, which was the headquarters for the weekend. Kathryn went to her parents' home, where she would get ready for the wedding, Mike went home alone, we headed for the suburbs. Father Terry headed to Gibsons for some sing-a-long, demonstrating great endurance as well as the spirit that made the weekend so great. The rehearsal had blended into a relaxed celebration of young love, good food, new friends and expanded families. It had done its job.
About the wedding....next time.