Archive for June, 2011

Mother of the Bride, Chapter 15
June 17, 2011

The devil is in the details… – attributed to various sources 

What a difference a week makes! My last post mentioned our anxiety about many decisions yet to be made. Since then, we’ve made HUGE progress! 

Rehearsal dinner details? Check. Frankie Mandola is awesome. We will enjoy good food, good service, good times. It is such a pleasure to work with good people whom you can trust. 

This week has been a whirlwind of follow up appointments with the florist, cake baker, reception venue manager and clergy in turn, one per day. There was a point when we all got so tired of making decisions, but we soldiered on, and today, after the final one, we are feeling like there is finally a light at the end of this wedding tunnel! 

How interesting it was to go to the wholesale flower market with Lisa, our florist, on Monday; it was (and continues to be) a blazing hot day, but the heat felt really good after walking through the flower coolers to select the particular blossoms that we’ll incorporate into the bouquets and arrangements! I was absolutely quaking in the chill, but of course, I am a human popsicle, so it was to be expected. 

Susie Edwards is our cake “artist”, and she is so much fun! Previously, we’d worked out the wedding cake details, but this week’s visit centered on the groom’s cake design. Shannon and Kat drew her a picture, and she will make it happen! Of course, she once again offered us samples of her flavors, which, of course, we sampled. SO good! 

Reception menu? All good. Beverages, good. Details? The only surprise in the process was that the Cohen House will charge us to rent the pretty chairs that I thought were just a standard fixture there. Oh well, in spite of that, the estimate came in right at what I had projected. Other than that, we are pleased in every way. Every little thing we could think of, they will make it happen. 

It is amazing to me that the long ago budget estimates we made were spot on. How did that happen, given that we’ve never done a party on this scale before? What a blessing! I am so thankful that both Kat and Shannon are not frivolous by nature. 

Random MOB notes:

  • We’ve created a calendar of who is arriving when, who will pick them up and where they will stay. There will be a revolving door as various people sleep upstairs throughout the week before. Guess I’d better get some extra towels in!
  • Joel discovered that one of the toilet handles upstairs was broken; I am so  glad that he can fix it before everyone arrives! I think if it had happened next week, I’d probably have a meltdown.
  • I learned that you can’t just waltz into Bering’s and purchase a guest book with removable pages; they must be “special ordered” and take up to 6 weeks. We opted for the kind with a fixed binding; folks will just have to stand in line. Oh well! In the big scheme of things, that is but a blip. My dear Carrie, the calligrapher inscribed the front page for us. 
  • There were some bridal tears this week when Shannon was faced with an ultimatum of deciding about the ceremony music prior to our meeting with the church peeps on Thursday. After having everybody bugging her all week to decide on other things, she was just so tired.  But she sucked it up, and they decided, so that’s done!

We are so spoiled by the fabulous music ministry at our church. Believe me, the musical selections Shannon and Kat decided on are absolutely gorgeous, and I am so looking forward to hearing them, much like in a concert setting. Particularly the bride’s procession is an arrangement of a particular piece by Camille Saint Saëns that is very meaningful to us. We are so grateful to Rob Landes for his generous indulgence of our vision…

In addition to Rob’s outstanding contributions, we’ll also enjoy some special pieces performed by the musicians of Mercury Baroque; it will be a most memorable musical occasion! Thanks also to Antoine Plante, artistic director of MB, who will direct and perform along with his stellar ensemble.

I remember way back when we were discussing their vision of what Shannon and Kat wanted this wedding to be, great music was Shannon’s premiere focus. This will come to pass on June 25, and I hope that all who are present will enjoy this very special ceremony. 

So, moving forward, we only have tweaky little things yet to do. The list is written down, so it is out of my brain, which means I don’t fret anymore. Kat’s parents arrive this weekend, and then we will begin celebrating!

Pewperson will return on July 1. Next week, she will be too busy. Look for a post wedding report upon her return!

Oh!  p.s. The squirrel has left the building. Thank goodness!


Mother of the Bride, Chapter 14
June 9, 2011

When in doubt, wear red.  ~Bill Blass 

The days are flying by, and the list of things to do is snowballing. I think the worst part is  when all the tasks yet to be done weigh upon me in the wee hours of the morning. I keep telling myself that they all WILL get done, but it’s hard to make my brain turn off. So I get up, and feel better once the sun comes up. 

Today brought an unhappy surprise: some creature (likely a squirrel) fell down into the exhaust vent above the stove and was scrabbling about. You know, I really didn’t need this extra problem right now to add to my frazzled state. But I had to do something… which was to climb on the roof and drop a long extension cord down the pipe. I’ve tied it off, in hopes that the little creature uses it as a life line. All is quiet now, so it either worked or I killed it. Time will tell, I guess. 

Let’s see. Back to the wedding journey. Where were we? At the second dress fitting, the issue was that Shannon will be wearing red heels at the ceremony, but personalized Converse tennis shoes at the reception. At the initial fitting, the seamstress (tailoress? tailorette?) insisted that the dress should be hemmed to fit the red shoes. 

But Shannon worried that she would trip over it at the reception in her Converse shoes. So I played bad cop and told her to make the bride happy and shorten the length just a bit. Who cares if the red shoes stick out during the ceremony? I mean, why buy pretty shoes if you can’t see them? 

Well, I was horrified when the lady whipped out her scissors and began cutting the hem of the dress off to shorten it to accommodate the reception footwear. She was so confident about it! I would have worried that I would totally screw up and ruin the dress. 

Some brides create a website that contains information about wedding particulars, but since the mother of the bride is a closet Luddite, we opted for the low tech method, which is “welcome letter” to out of town guests. It outlines hotel options and includes maps that indicate where each is in relation to the church/reception, along with a map of the Rice campus that shows where the Cohen House is, which entrance to use and where to park. I hope it is helpful to our visitors. 

RSVP’s are slowly rolling in, although the requested deadline was last weekend. HELLO?? Anyone out there forget to send in their little pre-stamped reply card? It’s a very easy thing to do! If you don’t, you may just miss out on some fun parties! AND you don’t get a welcome letter with maps. 

MUSIC!! We’re so excited that musicians from Mercury Baroque will be participating in the wedding ceremony! They are like family to us, as we have supported them from their founding in 2000, and we will be so honored by their presence. Shannon and I had lunch with director, Antoine Plante recently to discuss the details; it’s going to make the ceremony extra special.

But of course, the main musician at the ceremony is our very good friend, organist Rob Landes, who also has some special music planned. Shannon is all about music, and it was one of her primary wishes that it be fabulous and memorable. Her procession will be unique and one that is so meaningful to all of us; I’ll probably blubber. Note to self: wear waterproof mascara.   

We can’t wait! The only bummer is that the wedding party won’t be able to hear MB playing prior to the processional; we’ll all be outside the Sanctuary, waiting to walk down the aisle. I know the ceremony will be audio recorded; we are re-thinking the video option, as well. 

Details are getting checked off: order of worship for the ceremony, gifts for attendants, party favors (cowbells!!), groom’s cake details, menu at reception, wine selection, and so on and so on. Two weeks to go! 

Now if only that squirrel doesn’t croak in my exhaust fan…

Rub a Dub
June 3, 2011

To me luxury is to be at home with my daughter, and the occasional massage doesn’t hurt. ~ Olivia Newton-John 

Note to self: never apply makeup prior to getting a massage. Who knew? I have never had one before in my life, and I likely would never have one, except that I had a gift certificate for one, because I am supposed to be a stressed out mother of the bride. 

So I redeemed it today. It was blazing hot in Houston, but it was freezing cold back there in the “spa”, and being a human popsicle, I was a little concerned about that. But not to worry, they gave me a warm, comfy robe to wear and a pair of spiffy little flip flops. Then Helen led me to the quiet, darkened room where I was to be initiated into the ranks of massaged people. 

My gift certificate was for a special “anti stress package” that included a hot paraffin wax treatment. After I removed the warm, comfy robe and jumped onto the table, I was thinking that hot would be a good thing!   

About that table… The idea was to lie on my stomach, the better to massage my back, shoulders and neck. But where to put my head? Why, face down in the little donut hole that was built into the table! 

There were towels to pad my face, which is why I should not have worn makeup. Essentially the ring fit me like a scuba mask would have, and honestly, after I emerged, I looked like I had been wearing one, with the tell-tale red circle around my eyes and mouth! 

So first, Helen scrubbed my back with a dry loofah sort of thing. It tickled some, but I resisted reacting. Then she spread the hot wax all over my entire back, which felt really good, except I couldn’t get my face to fit in the donut just right. I recall wishing that I had a small pillow to rest my head upon instead of being stuck facing down. RELAX!!!

(another thought that I had while trying to relax was that my position was similar to the one in my initial MRI, during which I was very claustrophobic; happily, this wasn’t the case here, since I wasn’t encased in a tube! RELAX!!! ) 

After Helen finished applying the paraffin, she covered me with plastic wrap, pulled the covers up, then massaged my feet for quite a while. I think every little tarsal bone was squeezed! It was awesome. Ahhh.

Then she unpeeled the wax. My head was still in the donut, and my nose was stopped up, so I had to breathe through mouth. That made me worry about drooling through the donut down to the floor. Wait, I thought this was supposed to be an anti-stress package! RELAX!!!

Helen worked on my back, shoulders and neck; she was strong and sure, and I think I benefited from her ministrations; I have a chronic rope under my right shoulder from tensing up while running and carrying a water bottle in my right hand. Ahhh.

But I’m also very ticklish, and there were moments, I had to fight the urge to laugh out loud (which isn’t exactly relaxing when you think about it…). The same thing happens to me when I get a pedicure; I have to hold my knees when the pedicure person uses a pumice stone on the bottoms of my feet. RELAX!!!

When Helen finished, I found it difficult to move (in a good way), and took a long time getting back into my warm, comfy robe and spiffy little flip flops. 

Back in the dressing room, I DID look like I’d been scuba diving with a lovely red circle around my face. Except that I had smeared makeup, which I should not have worn… and will not in the future. After I cleaned up the mess and said thank you and goodbye to Helen, I then got passed off to get my nails done. 

It was a very good day. Ahhh.