As I have mentioned in the past, Anne and I have been friends for years. She is one of the most amazing women I know, and I was truly honored to be asked to be her Matron of Honor.
I decided that since Foster was going to be out of town and I had the title of MoH, that I would drive my butt the two hours to the venue to help set up the reception hall. Anne said that there were plenty of people helping, but she is not the most confrontational person. She was afraid that with all of the strong personalities helping, that her voice would be lost in the crowd. She knew that since I wasn't part of the in laws, and did not know them from Adam, that I would stick up for Anne when she was not comfortable enough to do so herself. Luckily, EVERYONE got along, the setup went quite smoothly, and I never had to speak out. I even brought everyone into the main bar area of the VFW for a celebratory drink after we were done. For those of you who are unfamiliar with a VFW, you are required to be a member to get in. My husband holds a VFW card, and since I had my military ID card, I was able to convince the post to allow us in for a drink.
Later Friday night, we went through the usual motions of the rehearsal in the church, and then went off for a great dinner that was provided by the groom's family. I quickly learned that weekend that Tony's family owned most of the town's businesses, it reminded me almost like a small Italian "mob". They owned the golf course, a dairy shack, and a catering company. His family is Sicilian, and LOVE food, and love cooking it. His mother provided the food for the actual reception.
Saturday morning we woke up bright and early to get beautified. We found out, AFTER the fact, that the stylist had never done wedding parties. Can I tell you she did an amazing job! She curled my hair so perfectly that the blond highlights spiraled through the red. she pinned it all up into a beautiful pile of curls on the back of my head.
The stretch Hummer met us at the salon, and we were off to the main event. It was at this point I started to get nervous. I was not nervous about standing next to Anne and Tony, I was not nervous about walking down the isle in front of hundreds of people, I was nervous about the speech!! I had stayed up until two in the morning rewriting what I already had. I realized the night before that I didn't like it. I wanted it to be more personal. As the wedding, and eventually the reception, was approaching, the more I started to doubt my new speech.
We arrived at the church and started getting our dresses on. There were some beautiful moments. Anne had a pink and white quilt that the dress was covered in to keep it clean. When it was time to help Anne into the dress, we spread the quilt on the floor and had her stand on it while we assisted her. I looked at her aunt and saw she had tears streaming down her face. I went to give her a hug and she whispered, "The quilt was sewn by my mother." It was such a touching moment for her to watch her niece dress on a quilt her deceased mother made. It was so fitting.
After we finished primping, getting a few pictures with just the girls, it was time. After I made it down the isle to the alter, I started to watch Tony. I wanted to see his reaction when he saw Anne walk down the isle. She was nothing short of breathtaking, and she literally took his breath away. He looked like he was on the verge of crying and passing out. His smile spread from ear to ear as she took his hand.
A few minutes later, I was standing in the perfect place to watch Tony say his vows. When the priest said "Repeat after me," Tony turned toward the priest and started to repeat the "I Tony take you Anne," to the priest! It was hilarious. The priest had to inform him to turn towards Anne and repeat after him. Classic! After he started talking to Anne, it was if everyone else in the church disappeared. He had a look of pure love in his eyes as he spoke from the heart. I started to cry for the first time.
After the vows, Anne and Brad decided to honor Mary. As Ave Maria started I started to sob. If you do not know why, you can read the last wedding blog here . The tears were flowing at this point. I was wishing Foster was in the seats so I could hug him when the ceremony was over.
When all was over, the wedding party headed back down the isle and we all blew bubbles as Tony and Anne ran out as man and wife. When they returned, it was time to start taking more pictures. The photographer started to annoy us all a little bit. He was very structured, very slow, and did not seem to have much creativity. We took the typical pictures on the alter, and then headed out to the beautiful gardens of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Instead of putting us in the colorful St Francis of Assisi garden, or in front of the many gazebos, he puts the wedding party in front of the woods. Anne was NOT happy, and was a little annoyed, so I approached him. I was familiar with the gardens, because I used to frequent them with my grandmother, so I suggested that he get some walking pictures on the paths, some pictures on the foot bridge, and told him there were some beautiful buildings on the property he could use too. Thank God, because after my little pep talk with him, the pictures came out beautifully!!!!
We all got back into the stretch Hummer, and headed to the party. Now my stomach was in my throat. I was starting to freak a little bit. My hands were sweating, my face was pale. The speech was getting closer and closer. Would I make Anne cry? would I get the laughs where I was expecting them? There were people present that regularly read my writing, and I think there were expectations that I was afraid of not living up to. I wanted to make Anne proud above everything else.
We pulled up to the reception and the wedding party was introduced. We twirled our way across the dance floor and took our seats at the head table. The moments were ticking by WAY too fast, and before I knew it, they introduced me. I stood up with my trusty paper in hand and started my speech. (If you do not want to read the whole thing, jump to the yellow highlighted part, and tell me if you read it the same way the ENTIRE audience heard it):
Good evening, For those of you who do not know me, my name is Erin, Anne’s best friend and matron of honor. I have known "Anne" for going on nineteen years….wow that really dates us! In fifth grade I walked into St Vincent straight from California thinking I was too cool for school with my poofy bangs and my side pony tails. I am sure "Anne" was NOT impressed! However, unfortunately for her she had to hang out with me after school because our moms both worked at St Vincent and "Anne" and I were left to entertain each other as they finished up their work for the day. I am sure there was some exchanging of money from my mom to hers to make Anne hang out with me, but quickly we became great friends….or she was just getting paid a lot.
In high school we were attached at the hip. People would actually get us mixed up and call me Anne or call her Erin. They thought we were sisters instead of friends. And truly, we were. Anne was around for a lot of my firsts, including my first drink…but of course I was 21. We have had a way of reading each others minds which came in handy numerous times to prevent getting in trouble with our parents and teachers. Fortunately for us, it has translated into our adult life too, because although Life’s journey has taken us in different directions from time to time, we always seemed to be around for the moments that we have needed each other the most. She is one of the only people I know that I can call and will drop everything she is doing to help me in a time of need. I am very blessed to have a friend Like Anne. She is one of the most beautiful, strong minded, determined women I know and we have come to know one another so well, that we have an understanding that goes beyond words. We don't judge, and we don't have to explain. So, when Anne introduced me to "Tony", she didn't really have to say much to make it clear to me that He was The One. All the signs were there... the special looks ... the way her face would light up when he was around, the teasing and sarcasm. Tony fit so perfectly. Anne is an amazing mother, and Tony has come to love Nick and Matt as his own, and hopefully they can give Nick and Matt a few sister and brothers.*Wink Wink*
And I am truly honored to stand next them today as they become a family.
Now Tony, I am sure you know this already, but you have a spit fire on your hands, so I do have a few pieces of advice for you: 1. Never let her go to bed angry - you're defenseless when you sleep. 2. Don't let her know that you think your couch is comfortable - or you'll be sleeping on the patio. 3. If she says, "Do whatever you want to" - You'd better figure out what it is she wants you to do. 4. "Do it when you get a minute" - Means "It should have been done already, and without me telling you.” 5. Now that you have said "I do", she owns you from the nose down. What you think, and look at, is your own business. 6. What you think, and look at, can still get you in trouble - if she catches you thinking it, or looking at it. 7. Don't ever criticize your Pam in public - the world should know that you believe she is perfect. 8. Tell her you love her, buy her jewelry, and rub her feet. Everything else is little stuff.
Anne, we have always given each other advice, and although I have only been married for 8 months, there are a few things I have already learned already, so I do have some advice for you too: 1. When he asks if he can change channels - no matter how you answer, it sounds like "yes". 2. "Would you be mad if I decided to......." - means he already did it, and doesn't know how to hide it. 3. If you ask his opinion, and he says "I don't care", or "I don't know" - he really doesn't care, or know. 4. Let him pretend he's in charge. It may take him 5 or more years to figure out that he isn't. By then, it's too late. 5. If you catch him sneaking a peak at another woman - let him. If he just stares - smack the snot out of him. 6. The way to a man's heart may be through his stomach – however, you'll get further with back rubs, or new electronic toy. 7. Don't ever criticize Brad in public - the world should know that you believe that he tries really hard. 8. Tell him you love him, scratch his back, and let him have the remote. Everything else is little stuff.
I am ecstatic for both of you. You truly compliment one another. You met as friends and it evolved into a love that so many people rarely find today. Love after all doesn't make the world go around. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.
So, As you sit side by side through this roller coaster of life, remember to scream from the peaks, hold hands through the dips, laugh through the loop the loops, and enjoy every twist and turn. For the ride is much better when you share it together.
So can we please raise our glasses and toast to Anne and Tony and to love, laughter, and happily ever after.
I was THRILLED with the reaction from the crowd and Anne. They laughed, she cried, and this was pretty much the reaction from everyone about my "electronic toys" comment: That was NOT what I meant!!! Everyone thought I was referring to Battery Operated Toys, but I meant video games and electronics. They all had dirty minds!!
Obviously I stole a few common phrases for the end, but I think it turned out ok.
As I danced with Tony, he hugged me hard and thanked me fore being a great friend to Anne. He then said something I will never forget, "I hope Foster makes you as happy as Anne makes me. I love her so much" I almost started crying.
Foster Does make me the happiest woman on earth. I love him more than life itself, and am blessed every morning I wake up next to him. I wish he had been there to enjoy the evening with me, but unfortunately, the Army had other plans.
Of course Rosie was on my mind. This wedding should have been different. We were supposed to have her by now, and I would have been dancing with her on the dance floor. I only cried once, and it was when one of the other brides maids was dancing with her 5 month old daughter to put her to sleep. This hit me hard, and I had to step out for a minute. I realized that there will be moments like this for the rest of my life. Moments that I know Rosie should have been there with us.
Thank you Anne and Tony for allowing me to be a huge part of your special day! I love you both!
About two years ago I started writing a book, which from time to time I will probably post chapters from. I thought the most interesting part of my life had past. BOY WAS I WRONG! The story of how my husband and I met was an amazing, romantic, and almost too good to be true story, but as we two-step through life, we have endured more than one couple should ever have to in our first 3 years together. Each obstacle that we face, the closer we become to each other and to God. So if you want to join us and follow this conga line, I promise, you will not be disappointed. You may laugh, cry, but I promise you will at least be entertained.
I am a wife to the most handsome Army man around and a mother to the most beautiful angel baby Rosie who grew wings on April 20th 2010 and the most beautiful angel here on earth that I am blessed w/ Raising, Avaleen Rose. I am a Stay at home mom and a photographer after years of working in the Emergency Room and serving as a medic in the Army. To say my life is interesting is an understatement at times. I never do anything the "normal way".It is either all or nothing in my world. Please follow me as I take you through the life that has now become mine after the earth shattering day of April 20th. This blog will be funny at times,sad, but ALWAYS honest