By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi
The wake-up alarm sounded all too soon last Saturday morning. Yet the day dawned with golden sunshine set in dazzling blue skies. On the late night heels of the rehearsal dinner the night before, came this morning’s call for scheduled professional makeup and hair appointments in Broad Ripple. It is a rare day indeed that I imbibe coffee but I felt I had better partake of potent caffeine. I wanted to be cognizant when my niece exchanged wedding vows with her worthy groom. Fortunately, friends of the bride’s mother had provided nutritious breakfast food to help us jump-start the long wedding day.
We all emerged from the salon airbrushed and glamorous. After scrutinizing myself in the mirror, I contemplated how an airbrushing device might not be a bad investment since it could, like vintage wine, help me improve with age. The bride was the belle of the salon, as she should have been, for my niece, a beautiful young woman by any standard, glowed with happiness in her enhanced airbrushed state. The wedding planner hustled our entourage back to The Conrad in Indianapolis to change into our wedding finery. My daughter donned her JCrew Newport Navy bridesmaid dress, nude patent leather shoes, jewelry, and stuffed salon lip-gloss, brush, compact, and tissues into her new ivory jeweled dress clutch. Off she went to the suite where Lauren the Bride and the bridesmaids were gathering for photos. Soon the bridal party would board the wedding trolley to Saint Mary’s Catholic Church for the 2:30 p.m. nuptials. The professional photographer had been snapping photos at the salon, in the suite, in the classy foyer of The Conrad, and now of the bridal party on the wedding trolley.
Alone in our hotel room, I savored the silence as I carefully pulled the new black tea-length dress with side slits over my head. I stepped into my stylish black leather shoes with the black patent trim. The black and white lace jacket I put on added a dash of panache to my dress. Lovingly, I placed my late mother’s double-strand of pearls around my neck. How she and my father would have relished their eldest granddaughter’s special day. After placing my pearl earrings in my pierced ears, I put tissues, lip-gloss, and pressed powder into my black dress bag with the jeweled accoutrement [borrowed from Anjelica], t glanced in the mirror, said a prayer for this happiest of happy days, and descended in the elevator to catch the second wedding trolley bound for Saint Mary’s.
I took my place with family members near the front of the church. Soon enough, the bridesmaids began their walk down the aisle. When I saw my daughter, tears welled in my eyes, but a smile also took over, for it struck me forcibly that she was an elegant young woman, on the brink of graduate school, who could easily be making this same walk in the bridal gown within a few years. And the enormity of it all took my breath away. Suddenly, the music change heralded the arrival of the bride and her father. Lauren’s elegant gown, veil, flowers, joy, coupled with my brother’s dapper appearance in his tux and, gasp!, his well-polished black cowboy boots, made the tears appear again. Had I not been so afraid of mascara running down my face, thereby ruining the airbrushing, and fearful that my makeup would not last the dinner and reception that night, made me take a series of deep breaths to regain my composure. After all, I had to read the second Epistle! As Aunt and Godmother to my dear Lauren, I had to pull myself together and rise to the occasion. All of those years of musical performance provided a discipline that had taught me how to rise above emotions and focus completely on the task at hand.
The sheer beauty of Saint Mary’s was a magnificent setting for this splendid wedding. Yet this was all secondary to what transpired there that day. I had rehearsed reading Saint Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, 12:3 -13:8a, the one where most people remember only the line, “Love is patient; Love is kind…” A dear friend, Sister Marie Morgan, of the Order of The Sisters of St. Francis, had sent me not only the text of the passage, but our Bishop’s commentary on its significance. As I read and re-read Saint Paul’s words, I wanted to stress the significance of how Love transcends romantic emotion, how Love affects all relationships, “For without Love, we are nothing…without Love, we gain nothing…It [Love] bears al things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” So too is this my wish for my darling newlyweds, for my beloved daughter and nephew.
Ciao for now.