I spent that valuable "free time" (Yeah, right!) home schooling my sweet children, traveling with the Fam, publishing my first novel, "Home" and being elected to our town's City Council. All of which have proven that one can never really stop striving to better one's self and that change really IS good.
It's been fun! I contemplated retiring altogether; but, alas...the brides keep calling. So, after much prayer, discussion with my family and following my intuition, I am happy to report that I'm still here.
Well, in getting back into the swing of things...I had the pleasure of producing a wedding for a young couple on the last weekend of 2014, Katie & Zach. Both hail from Houston, Texas and attend Auburn University in Alabama. They met in high school and this wonderful day has been in the making for six and a half years.
Their intimate, Jewish/Catholic Wedding Ceremony was to take place at the world renowned, Festival Hill Institute in Round Top, Texas. (If you've never been to Festival Hill...you MUST add it to your "Bucket List".)
As the week progressed, the weather refused to cooperate and our hopes for an outdoor reception were dashed. (Well, this IS Texas; and outdoor receptions can always be a part of the plan...as long as the weather holds-out.) Of course I had tents and even an old Texas dance hall on reserve. But, employing either of those back-up plans, meant that my Bride's vision for her wedding would not be realized.
Katie is a lovely, quiet young lady who reflects the exact environment of Festival Hill. A natural beauty... It was imperative that her day be every ounce of the "dream" wedding she had hoped for...
I knew there would be a perfect solution to the weather dilemma. I just needed to "let it swell". (A term that my husband, John is most intrigued by.) I had four differing event plans running in tandem with each other, because of the weather and one would eventually rise to the top as the best plan. (I feel it important to mention that as with every wedding that I produce, I pray a lot...for my couple, the design, my staff and the guests. You see, after thirty years...I truly believe that God's Plan is ALWAYS better than any plan I can create.)
So, after many additional meetings and design edits, we had it...
THE day began with a lot of rain. It was about 70 degrees and really muggy. Within 10-minutes, the temps dropped to 50 degrees and the rain kept coming. My staff worked tirelessly, accommodating guest concerns and continuing to install each décor application -- ambient lighting, directional signage, flowers, herbs and table settings...all in anticipation for a break in the weather. Then it came -- the rain stopped. Although it was colder now (40'ish), the rain had finally stopped. (Praise God!)
Katie and her Bridal Party were busily getting primped and ready for the Ceremony, while Zach and his Groomsmen were passing time, hanging-out and enjoying the close company of friends.
As the guests entered the historic, Bates Chapel, classical music filled the air, played from the mesmeric Erben pipe organ. Everyone was ready, and the procession began. The groom excitedly walked his mother to her seat and then joined the Deacon for the beginning of the best part...he would finally see Katie.
Each bridesmaid was escorted by a groomsmen to their spot near the Altar & Chuppah. The groom's family Tallit had been carefully placed above the very spot where Katie & Zach would say their vows to each other.
Katie and her father, Jim assembled outside the massive wooden doors to the church, anxiously awaiting Katie's music. (Rondeau by Mouret) We carefully arranged Katie's dress and train and the Bride's procession began. As the music swelled for Katie's entrance, the doors opened. She and her proud father stepped inside and were met by tearful smiles.
Katie's walk to Zach was memorable and graceful. Zach was so excited to see his bride & he looked so lovingly at her. When they finally met, he took her hand and they went to stand under the Chuppah. The ceremony was not very long and it included a unique blend of Christian and Jewish traditions. At the end, Zach smashed the Mazel glass and the congregation cheered and bellowed "Mazel Tov".
As Katie & Zach left the chapel, I was able to "stop the world" for a moment as they shared a few minutes alone together, to just "be". (Through the years, I have found this to be such a special moment for my couples. It allows them a moment to breathe and absorb what just took place. It also gives them an opportunity to change gears as they get excited to to go their reception.)
The wedding guests moved to the Green Room of the Festival Hill Concert Hall. The "u-shaped" space looked stunning with the added ambient lighting, a lounge with a fireplace and cocktail tables that lead to the bar. The Nosh & Cocktails lasted about an hour. Then...
Guests were invited to find their seats in the AMAZING, INCREDIBLE, GOB-SMACKING...Main Stage of the Concert Hall. (Did I mention how beautiful it is? Take a look...) As the grand, doors opened to the Wedding Banquet, some guests were stopped in their tracks. (It was quite comical how some froze, right in the doorway because they were so surprised at the beauty of such a place.)
After everyone found their seats, the wedding party were introduced and entered down the main aisle, leading to the stage. At last...the moment arrived when Katie & Zach were introduced. They entered to a standing ovation and enjoyed their first dance as husband and wife. ("L-O-V-E" by Frank Sinatra) Guests dined & danced all evening on the main stage.
At one point, I was fortunate to take a seat on the last row of the concert hall and direct the event from that vantage point. I recall how it was like watching a marvelous show...and I had the best seat in the house.
When it came time for Katie to toss her bouquet, she & I went to the second level of the stage in the elevator. At that moment Katie told me that her day had been "perfect". It was her "dream wedding" and she was so happy.
As for me, I am thankful to God for allowing me to have been a part of of Katie & Zach's new beginning and I am honored that Festival Hill trusted me to produce the FIRST wedding in their magnificent Concert Hall.
I wish you all a most prosperous New Year and thank you for reading this post...be well & be blessed! ~Deb. =)
To see photos from Katie & Zach's BIG day...click here!