At the reception, the bride said it was all she could imagine … and the day was a lot like her: relaxed, unpretentious, family-oriented (even down to the design of her gown which was modelled on her mother's gown, which had in turn been modelled on her mother's gown, which had been designed by her mother - so in essence, the bride wore a dress that had been designed by her great-grandmother), joyful, and beautiful.
No thanks to the antics of the groom who, along with most of his party, had not arrived back at our house to shower and dress by the time we received the message that the photographer was on her way. To photograph what? The best man sitting and feeling awkward amongst the groom's family who were in various stages of dress? It would have made an interesting photo to say the least.
To give the females their due, we had all been up early organising hair and makeup and nails and had everything under control (well as much as things can be under control). Earlier I had taken up the hem of the best man's suit pants without him having even tried them on as I realised we were seriously running out of time (and they could have done with being taken up more but it couldn't be helped). And Sons#1 and #3 who were driving the bridal cars were exceptionally organised (despite a last minute request to one of them to drive a wedding car) and looked amazing with both wearing waistcoasts (totally unplanned on their part).
The groom and the remaining members of his party finally arrived and I literally shoved our two sons towards the showers despite their complaints of being hungry. You can eat with wet hair but it would have been terribly embarrassing to have not even have showered by the time the photographer arrived.
Which just left DH who, fortunately, had showered, but was literally getting dressed while the rest of us sat in the cars waiting. To be fair, he had been busy all morning with wedding preparations, including cleaning the cars, but this was really cutting it fine.
The youngest member of the family, who was undoubtedly also the cutest, slept through it all, only protesting at being woken when his mum dressed him at the last moment before we left for the ceremony.
There was no time for family photos but we managed to make it to the venue before the bride, so that must at least count for something (even if the only permanent record of that accomplishment will be this blog post).
And even though the best man realised as he was standing next to Son#4 that he had forgotten the rings, they were only a few metres or so away in his car. Phew!
One of the things I love about weddings is hearing how the couple's love story unfolded. I knew some of it of course, and was thrilled that my prayers for a godly woman for Son#4 who would appreciate the depth of character and personality and humour beneath a quiet exterior had been answered.
When we celebrated my MIL's 90th birthday three years ago we had no idea we were welcoming into our home that day our future daughter-in-law. As we have often joked, Son#4 met his wife in his own backyard surrounded by all his family - including his mother who thought it would be nice if he showed an interest in this attractive young lady, and a brother who, on viewing the two together, decided to rescue the young lady from what he deemed must be a terribly awkward and one-sided conversation. Thankfully, in spite of his family (and hers, too) the two become friends and from there a beautiful love has developed.
(Three years ago: Son#4 is the last one on the left in the back row and DIL#4 is the last one on the left in the next row … and now they are joined and will walk together throughout life. Can you spot two of the bridesmaids and two groomsmen in the pic?)
Years ago I had mentioned to a friend that if Son#4 were ever to get married, then the girl would probably have to do the chasing. I was surprised to learn that the bride's grandmother had told her that if she was interested then she would have to ring Son#4 (the bride's grandmother obviously knew a thing or two about our family!). As the bride herself said, "I didn't ring and yet here we are."
DIL#4 apparently appreciated the fact that Son#4 was so good with his nieces (who are now going to miss him immensely) and that he got on so well with her large - and noisy - family. Son#4, on the other hand, thought she was a great listener, not realising that she didn't understand a thing he was telling her about his job!
But from there, the relationship developed, mostly amongst the family of one or the other, but also under the watchful eye of a couple of hundred teens at Easter Youth Camp. It has been tested by long-distance and has involved many trips from home and as many late night telephone conversations.
When Son#4 returned home after four years at Uni he was disinterested in looking at jobs in the larger cities since he had no desire to live in a city. And yet, only a week ago we helped him move - and not reluctantly - to a city (one in which I would struggle to survive). Sometimes we do for love what we would not do for money.
The official photos aren't out and I don't like to share too many before the bride and groom get to view all the photos but I'll be sneaky and share a few and I can now share the photos of the quilt that took up a large proportion of my time since the announcement of their engagement.
The pattern is Hunter's Star which is a favourite of mine. I love stars and I grew up in the Hunter Valley and all our sons were born there so perhaps this is one reason I am drawn to this pattern. I used this pattern for Son#5's 13th birthday quilt and will likely use it again because it's so versatile. The top was machine pieced but the quilt was hand quilted. I used several different Aurifil 12wt cotton threads in solid and variegated colours to big stitch the quilt. A commercial stencil was used for the larger squares in the centre of the quilt, and a heart was quilted inside the smaller squares (I went back and added those hearts after the quilt was completed because I felt it needed something more). The border has large hearts which include their monogram and the small hearts have two entwined wedding rings quilted in their centre. The batting is wool, which is a material I love to work with. It generally is easy to hand quilt but I will admit to many blisters trying to pull a larger needle through the layers for big stitch quilting.
The quilt was finished January 17 this year: a whole month earlier than planned for which I am not ungrateful. As the previous weeks have shown, being involved in a wedding, even as the groom's parents, is stressful and time consuming. But it was all worth it and I would happily do it again. (Just this time I would have detailed lists and timetables so that I at least know what I'm meant to be doing.)
Congratulations, Son#4 and DIL#4!