|The Fairy Godmother Speaks: The Wedding of the Decade
||[Feb. 24th, 2010|01:09 pm]
I started writing this up quite a while ago, just came across it. Thought I might as well put it up.|
I feel a bit intimidated, trying to add my version of The marriage of a Bard and her Beast. It's already been written about by several people, most notably the bride herself, and the lovely tithenai, who has written about it in fabulous detail. It's hard to know what I could possibly offer in the way of new insight.
So this is not the tale of wedding itself, which was magical and brilliant and perfect and filled with joy. This is the story of the fairy godmother and what she did. It's very selfish and solipsistic. If that sort of thing irritates you, then this is not the entry you're looking for. Move along.
The tale of the Fairy Godmother begins more than a year ago, when Bard and Beast were preparing to leave Ohio for their sea-bound home in Maine. Cat approached me with trepidation: she hoped I wouldn't be hurt that she was not asking me to be a bridesmaid. It was just that she had all these other friends coming from a distance and the wedding party was getting unwieldy, and--
I stopped her with an upraised hand. I appreciated her trying to be diplomatic, but it was not necessary. She had a lineup of beautiful young people as attendants. I am not a beautiful maiden. I am mother, verging on crone. If she had asked me, I would have said no. I told her my place was not among the attendants. It was backstage, making sure everything ran smoothly, everyone had what they needed, any last-minute disasters were handled.
I would be her fairy godmother.
Before they left for Maine, Cat and katspaw156 and I went out to Patterson Fruit Farm to scout the location for the wedding. I can't even begin to express how perfect this location is for weddings, and how wonderful the staff, particularly their event coordinator, Betty, is. Her enthusiasm and excitement is wondrous, and she is filled with terrific suggestions to help make the day perfect. And the site is beautiful. I can't recommend it enough: weddings, anniversaries, bat mitvahs, birthdays, Arbor Day. Here's the place for your event.
The weekend reserved, and a year away from the wedding, Cat and Dmitri moved away, and then the wedding was kind of back-burnered in the face of a massive book tour and settling down on the island. Bit by piece, Cat was chipping away at the Things That Needed to be Done - the wedding dress was picked, the origami paper roses were requested, the food situation was dealt with, undealt with, redealt with, and finally settled. Plans were being hatched and coordinated.
Then the first week in October I got to go visit Cat and D's island home, which is magnificent, sleep in Cat's writing cabin (there are bunk beds on the other wall), and hand over a key to my house as they would be getting to Ohio before Ferrett and I returned. They were going for the wedding of mishamish and babymonkey, which we sadly missed, then Cat was staying with us until their wedding, while Dmitri returned to the island for two weeks of working and holding down the fort.
We had three weeks to put everything together for the wedding. I was braced for this to be a stressful and chaotic time. What I hadn't taken into consideration was that the bride had coordinated a number of coast-to-coast book tours. "I thought weddings were supposed to be hard," she remarked one day. "Compared to a book tour, this is a piece of cake!"
And she was right. We had a lot of fun. There was shopping at Michael's and JoAnn fabrics for the beads that we strung for her hair. Stringing the beads turned into a little craft party with puckathon, xhollydayx, gieves and a generous helping of wine. There was the arrival of Janice, the seamstress, who flew in with a suitcase stuffed with tafetta, satin, and brocade, turned first my dining room and then my sewing room into her own sewing studio, sewed at the speed of light, turned out Cat's magnificent dress and D's fabulous coat, and then flew back home on Friday to finish her daughters' Halloween costumes. SHE is a force to be reckoned with! tithenai arrived while the sewing was underway and the house was filled with beauty: music and craftwork and excitement.
Oh, and tithenai shall forever be known as the Tea Pixie in our house. Not only did was she masterful at keeping ahead of the dishes, she brewed and brought us tea throughout the day. It felt very luxurious to be so pampered.
On Thursday Cat, the Pixie and I were joined by Cat's mom, grandma and aunt for manicures and, for Cat and me, pedicures. (My pedi is still in lovely shape, too. I'm definitely going back to Nails & Co. in Fairview Park when I feel like a bit of pampering.) Then Friday night we had the rehearsal cocktail party (dinner? bah!) at the fabulous Velvet Tango Room. As always, the atmosphere and the welcome we received matched the incredible quality of the cocktails served by Paulius and his staff of amazing artisans. We were a big enough group to have the secret room all to ourselves for the evening - I didn't get a headcount, but there must have been at least 30 of us there. And it was fun sharing the VTR experience with novices as well as our friends who already know and love it. The evening was beautiful, so we were able to spill out into the patio and garden area as well. An amazing evening of drinks and visiting.
Saturday was the great bride kidnapping, which ended at our house. We have a pretty small house, so 50 people jammed into the house was quite the experience. There were people in the living room, in the kitchen, in the bedroom, in the family room, even in the laundry room. It was great getting to visit with so many friends and to meet so many new and awesome folk. But the party showed no sign of breaking up, like, ever. And we had a wedding the next day. I was finally reduced to turning out the lights to get people to leave. And even then it was another 15 minutes getting them out of the house.
Day of the wedding, started packing up early. The job of the Fairy Godmother is to have everything that might be needed for every eventuality. So into a large tote went sewing supplies, bandaids, feminine hygience products, deodorant, a razor, new toothbrushes and toothpaste, safety pins, Advil, benadryl, hairspray, clear fingernail polish (for stocking runs), and probably a few other items I can't remember. And into the trunk went my professional steamer.
Once we arrived at the venue, I cast around for a place to set up the steamer. I had to be able to hang clothes against a steamproof surface and plug in the steamer. As it turns out, the only place that fit the bill was the men's bathroom. Which I commandeered.
We used some items from my bag of tricks - a couple sewing repairs, a couple temporary tailoring jobs with safety pins - but the steamer was the most essential thing I brought. Not only did I steam the bride and groom's togs, but it turns out that when you are a couple of 30 with lots of single friends, those single friends have a tendency to show up with dress shirts that have apparently been wrapped around a stick and stored under a rock for a few months. The men's room was like a sauna as I worked my way through a wedding party's worth of formalwear. The steamer really is a miracle tool. Tuxedo pleats that were standing straight out or bent backwards suddenly lay flat and trim. Curled up collar points curled back down.
And between steamings I ran back and forth between the dressing area and the site, carrying messages and stuff for the ceremony, helping set up the altar and the space, walking the flower girl(who'd missed the rehearsal) through her part in the ceremony, helping lace the bride into her dress, and countless other things I can't even remember. In the meantime, xhollydayx was doing makeup for the bride and members of the bridal party, and Dmitri's cousin was doing the bride's hair and, after she was finished, the hair of a few other family members. At last Cat and the bridal party walked out to get a few pictures before the ceremony. I took a deep breath and changed out of my jeans and into my fairy godmother-of-the-bride (complete with the awesome corsage Cat made me) dress. Dima's cousin looked at me and said, "You've been running around here doing for everyone else. Please, may I do your hair?"
Her kindness brought tears to my eyes, and while she did my hair, Holly did my makeup. It was really sweet of them both, and I am still thankful to them.
At that point, my job was done. I got to stand back and enjoy one of the most amazing weddings in my life. It was beautiful and I am so happy to have been part of it.