The Wedding, Part 4: Dance, Dance, Dance!

Lauren's bridal bouquet with my mother's cameo and her mother's wedding dress lace -
Lauren’s bridal bouquet with my mother’s cameo and her mother’s wedding dress lace –

 By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi

Indeed, my niece Lauren and her Romeo [Justin, actually] tied the knot on June 8, 2013 at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church.  Happy tears, smiles, and wishes for wedded bliss abounded after Father Mike pronounced them “man and wife”.  After the pews had emptied of wedding guests, the photographer herded us back to the front of the Sacristy for family photos with the newlyweds.  The wedding planner and the photographer shepherded the bride, the groom, the five bridesmaids, and the five groomsmen on to the wedding trolley for photo shoots all over downtown Indianapolis.

I returned to the hotel on another trolley.  As I entered The Conrad’s foyer, I spied my aunts, uncles, and some of my cousins placing drink orders with a server.  Hastily I placed an order for a ginger ale just to whet my whistle, for the temperature had reached eighty-one degrees accompanied by humidity.  Cocktails were to be served in the Rhythm Discovery Center, across the street from The Conrad.  It was a most fascinating venue of rhythm history with spontaneous rhythm performances and flashing lights, which jarred me out of any weariness I might have otherwise felt.  After drinking a Sprite, at least I think that’s what it was, I gathered my aunts, uncles, and cousins, and we walked to The Indianapolis Artsgarden [this is the correct spelling!] for the wedding reception.  It had been three hours since I had last seen the bridal party.  However, they emerged from their extensive photo shoot intact, hungry and thirsty.  After the speeches and toasts had been made, the 250+ guests settled into a delicious sit down dinner, followed by cake and coffee.

Several weeks prior to The Wedding, Lauren phoned and asked me if I would let her use my mother’s cameo on her bridal bouquet.  The florist assured her that if the cameo could not be fastened securely, it would not be used.  I thought about how much my mother had loved Lauren, how she would have embraced Lauren and her new husband, how touched she would have been that Lauren wanted to include this exquisite cameo in her bouquet on her Wedding Day. Of course, I said yes.  Actually, I was moved to tears by Lauren’s request, for my late father had purchased the cameo for my late mother on a momentous trip to Italy our family had taken when I was sixteen-years-old. We had visited a cameo fabbrica outside of Naples, on our way to Pompeii.  Mama had been enthralled by the craftsmanship. The cameo was a prized possession of Mama’s.

Then the dancing began en force.  The live band, Endless Summer Band never stopped for breaks, though they did rotate their musicians in and out throughout the night.  We all danced like possessed maniacs; the music was that good, that foot-stomping, that adrenaline throbbingly great!  I haven’t danced that much since my graduate school days in the early 1980’s.  While there was an open bar, I imbibed only the soft drinks before the reception, a glass of champagne, and half-a-glass of vino.  Throughout the night I kept hydrated by downing glasses of water.  I simply was having fun to the hilt on the dance floor with multiple dance partners to fuzzy it up with alcohol, though I would have loved a Cosmopolitan!

Finally, my daughter-the-bridesmaid and I retired for the night, past the time for the end of the reception, only because after four hours, my dancing feet were screaming for respite.  I forced myself to shower and wash my hair, thinking that would help me sleep.  Besides, we had to rise and shine on Sunday for the 10:00 a.m. family brunch at The Conrad.  I must confess, when my iPhone4 alarm sounded at 8:30 a.m., I wanted to pound it into silence since I was so comatose I couldn’t find the phone right away.  My contact lens held my eyes open for the brunch.  Last hugs, kisses, and smiles were offered among us, as we scattered our separate ways hither and yon with the memories of a fabulous Wedding Weekend.

Ciao for now.

The Wedding, Part 3: “Goin’ to the Chapel…”

Lauren's getting married -
Lauren’s getting married –

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.