A Really Long Post about a Really Fun Weekend

1217 1217_ () 1217 1217 My sister and her husband (!!!) called from Rome this morning to say everything was going great, they had seen the Pope, had their marriage blessed and now they were off for some lunch. All that by 8:30 a.m. our time, and I was still sitting around nursing my coffee.

The events of this past weekend were so wonderful, so incredibly fun, that I have put off writing about them because I don’t know how I could do it all justice. So much excitement and joy packed into such a short amount of time.

There were, of course, some highs and lows, some things I don’t ever want to forget, and some things I’d rather not remember… so of course I’ll tell you those first.

I think for every wedding there is always one hair fiasco, and as matron-of-honor that duty fell to me. Saturday morning we all went to a salon downtown to get our up-do’s, and as I had five boys waiting at home for me to dress, I was allowed to go first. That put me in the chair at 9 a.m., plenty of time to be home by 10:30 and at the church by 11:15. All I had to do was pop into the house, throw on the tux’s and be on our way.

Except 10:30 rolled around and I was still stuck in the chair with absolutely nothing to show for the last hour-and-a-half except a head full of shellacked hair and a racing heartbeat. I thought I was going to implode. Behind me in the mirror, girl after girl popped in and out of that chair, the lucky chair, each leaving with a most beautiful ‘do. The longer I sat, the more I looked like Ma Ingalls. And not when she was dressed up for Mankato. Later I found out my sister, in the chair next to me, whispered to her stylist, “do not let my sister leave looking like that.”

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the salon owner stepped in and within fifteen minutes she and another girl had me washed, dried and pinned, with a ‘do that I liked just fine. I paid my money and was on my way. My (soon-to-be) sister-in-law later told me I should never have paid, and I agree. Except I was so relieved to be out of that chair, on my way home over an hour late but at least with a hairdo I could wear the rest of the day, that I was willing to do whatever it took. Lesson learned.

The rest of the day was really glorious and fun. The Mass was beautiful — Joanna has worked with Steubenville conferences for years and had her friends from the retreats come do the music. The songs and singing were worshipful and absolutely honored the beauty of the sacrament. The priest, also from Franciscan, gave a wonderful homily and throughout Friday and Saturday he did an excellent job of keeping our focus on Jesus. What an honor to meet Fr. Dave after hearing so much about him.

All these events and details I took in as best I could. I am amazed really by the duties of matron-of-honor. There is so much dress-watching and dress-carrying and also the minor matter of caring for the bride. I felt there was only one time when I did a sub-par job: when the happy couple was recessing and Jo’s train folded over on itself. For a split-second I debated lunging toward her to fix it, but they were too far away by that time. And also I realized that would draw more attention to the issue than simply leaving it be. I shared duties with Mary, Maid-of-Honor, and it was nice having her up there to help make these kinds of important decisions.

Besides the hair, the only other real low/frustrating aspect of the weekend centered on Thursday afternoon, when I was racing to the tux place, on my way to the hotel where we had the lingerie/bachelorette party. I started feeling really ill, head spinning, heart racing. I knew I needed to calm down, but I was standing on this side of a weekend packed with events and relatives and caring for my boys in the midst of it all, and I was feeling quite overwhelmed. Once I got to the hotel (only to discover a suite much smaller than I had hoped) did I start to relax. My sister had such a good attitude about it all, and it was so energizing being with all her friends and bridesmaids (shout-outs here to Mary! Ria! Anna Franna! Tricia!). That was truly a highlight — getting to spend time with all these women who are so dear to my sister. A lot of these girls are either childhood friends of Joanna or friends from her alma mater, Franciscan (hi also to Katherine and Robin!). Here is Jo with some cutting-edge lingerie.

Since I’ve already gone on too long, I guess I can’t really give blow-by-blows. One friend did email to ask how I did it with all the boys, and my answer is two words: Baby. Sitter. I worked out a deal with our former sitter, now a college student, to pay a flat sum for a ton of sitting. It was worth every penny. Friday night, when the boys got worn out at the rehearsal dinner, Annie was able to load them up (we drove both our cars) and bring them home and put them to bed. Saturday, the wedding was at 2 p.m., and she cared for Henry from 12:30 p.m until after the Mass. Then we had downtime until the reception at 6 p.m., and Annie met us there to again take Henry (I’ll admit I started missing my baby by the end of it all, but I’m glad I didn’t try to shuffle caring for him and caring for Joanna).

At about 8 p.m., my boys were ready to go home, actively asking if they could leave, and Paul helped load them up and off they went with Annie. Annie, you are wonderful!

We toasted, we laughed, we danced (some of us danced so hard that we fell on the floor. But I don’t think anyone was looking). One of the funnest parts of the reception was the Apron Dance, where people would give money to dance with the bride and groom. The best man and I wore aprons made by the groom’s mom — and Mary helped collect money to put in the apron pockets. I think I burned a few bridges there when I started limiting time based on donation amount ($1 should not equal as much time as say, $100, no?). But it was all in good fun.

And one last point: when people offer to help, take them up on this offer! A good friend of mine called to see what I needed and I had one thing left I really wanted done before all our relatives came to our house Sunday for brunch. Two pots of flowers on my deck had been zapped by frost and I really didn’t want dead plants on my table. Colleen happily replaced those for me. I felt silly even asking, but had decided if anyone offered help I was going to ask. I just had no time to get that done.

Another old family friend offered any help at all and Saturday morning, thanks to the hair situation, I took her up on that offer. Ginny and her husband Bob came down, while I was stuck at the salon, and helped Paul sort out tux’s and iron pants. Bob even gassed up the Suburban for us (which made him very grateful he drives a sedan). What a blessing.

All right, enough! For those of you still reading, a toast! To Joanna and Jordan! And to you — for reading this excruciating post.

If you have any questions, you can ask them here. Like did I break an ankle wearing my incredibly high heels? The answer: no. But I did have to get Paul’s sister to give me a tutorial in high-heel wearing, and also I walked like a robot for most of the night.

More pix later; I didn’t bring my camera to any of the events. It was too much to think about. 1217″ .



  1. Sounds like a really fun weekend and just a really special time for you sister!! BUT the big question on everyones mind is: do you have a picture of how your hair ended up turning out?? I’m glad it all worked out! 🙂

  2. Kansas Mom says:

    You certainly look calm and beautiful in the picture! Congratulations to your sister and her husband. May God bless them in all the years to come.

  3. Ruth Anne Adams says:

    When I had a maid- and matron-o’ honor, we divvied up the duties at the waist. Matron did all waist-up duties [veil, bouquet] and Maid did all waist-down duties [fluffing the train, bustling the train, and tending to the throwin’ garter]. Sort of a bridal Mason-Dixon line.

    Sounds splendid and you look MAHRvelous.

  4. You are gorgeous! Sounds like the perfect family wedding weekend.

  5. Beautiful! Great picture, you’d never guessed Henry is just a few months old!
    Sounds like a perfectly perfect wedding, thanks for sharing all those fun details…I eat that stuff up!

  6. Is there anything more fun and joyous than a wedding? And it sounds as if your sister’s was very special. Blessings to the new couple. God bless.

  7. The way your hair turned out was worth every penny and every extra excruciating moment….fabulous!
    You look like a million! (Course, you always do.)

  8. Beautiful! One question…Did your sister and her husband have their marriage blessed by the pope himself? I know JPII used to do that…

  9. Andrea,
    Yes, they had their marriage blessed by the Pope. Have not heard any details about that as yet.

    Thanks all!

  10. you look stunning!

  11. You look great!

    –About the marriage blessing thing… At the Wednesday audience, I think that if you wear a dress and have a marriage certificate, you can sit in the newlyweds’ section, which is very near from the Pope and when he walks down the aisle, he greets some couples! He doesn’t do the couple by couple blessing like JPII used to do.
    It’s still a beautiful, blessed experience though!

  12. happy appy wife says:

    Rach – Congrats to J&J! Sounds like you all had a happy, wonderful, exciting weekend. Many blessings! T.

  13. Sounds like a truly blessed event! Glad you had so much fun. You look fantastic – how is it possible that you have had five boys? I used to think mine would keep me young, but having the last two boys at ages 39 and 41, I’m feeling very old dealing with the sleep loss. Thanks for sharing your weekend.

  14. hypatia 370 says:

    Hair, gorgeous.
    Dress, impeccable.
    Recalling a mountain of joy in the stream of life, priceless.

    Thank you, Rachel, for taking the time to collect your thoughts and post it all. Nary a word was “excruciating”. May God continue to bless you all with abandon.