Thursday, August 6, 2015

the barn raising

All photos, unless otherwise noted, are by Honey by Hive Studio.

As for the wedding itself, we decided to hand it over to our very talented and capable friends. We aimed to hire as many of them as we could to be our vendors, gave them total creative license, and detached ourselves from the details. I don't have an eye for design anyway, it's just not one of the tricks that came in my tool box when I was born. How it would all come together, in terms of aesthetics, is not something we worried ourselves over. We wanted our people to feel happy, involved, and proud with their work, to understand that they are integral to our wedding and to our lives.
As it turned out, it all came together. It was simple, elegant and relaxed, with thoughtful consideration poured into every detail. On the precious occasions I had during the reception to stand back and observe the scene- kids dashing through hazy green fields, bright dresses swinging like flowers opening on the dance floor, aunts and uncles around the fire pit, jars brimming with flowers on white tabletops, the tent glowing like a ship lit up in the evening- I felt the way pioneer families must have felt after the whole town raised them a new barn overnight. Such awe, such pure gratitude, the kind that leaves you with the sensation that your heart might flap right out of your chest, soar above your head and you'll never see it again.

Our friends, our parents, our family- they raised us a barn.
We hired Colleen as our florist. For those of you who have been reading the blog for a while now, you may remember Colleen as the black-clad roommate in the shittiest apartment in Seattle (which has now been leveled and replaced by a pair of slick townhouses), the one who used to give me pep-talks decrying my affinity for wallowing in self pity while I lay face down on my bed. When I left for work, she'd go into my room and tidy up for me. "The first step to being back on your feet is an organized room!" she'd chirp, like somebody's no-nonsense mom.

But I've known Col long before those days. She was my first friend in Vermont. As second graders, we used to explore the river that runs through Woodstock as our moms did aerobics in the Little Stone Theater. She used to carry around a little Tupperwear of grapes.

The arrangements she created were soft, cream and pale yellow roses with bold strokes of blue and tiny sprays of white daises. They were gorgeous. They looked like a watercolor rendition of Vermont in June. Colleen's company is called Whiskey Daisy Floral. Her specialty is flowers for men who've really screwed up and are trying to win back their girlfriends. Her bouquets come with a shot of whiskey.
David as the groom could not decide what to wear, and we went back and forth in our house for months, me growing decidedly edgy about the topic, until Ann Tilley swept in and saved the day. Ann is this fabulous and very talented textile designer by profession, one of his closest friends from childhood. For christmas she knit him this big piece of art that says TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE IT. And so she rescued us and offered to sew his groom's vest as a wedding present. 
Lee Timmons Photography
Back in May, she took him to Charlotte for the day so they could wander around one of those great big fabric stores. David had his heart set on one pattern and Ann wanted another, so in the end she made his vest reversible. He wore her iridescent blue diamonds during the ceremony and then flipped it around to his swirly floral for the reception. Dave called his pattern his Party Time look.

David was over the moon about his vest. He's saved it, pressed neatly into the back of his closet, so that one day our son, if we have a son, could wear it at his wedding. I suppose our daughter could wear it, too, if we have a daughter. (She can't wear my dress though; I went swimming in it. )
Ann also painted our chalkboard signs and was very nice about it, even though we'd forgotten about them and didn't ask her till the day before. I'd also forgotten to buy a veil, although it's more accurate to say that I could simply never muster the strength to shell out $80 on a piece of gauze, so my cousin Alison sat down with a hot glue gun and made one for me with $5 of material from JoAnns fabric. She even added little beads to the comb. If I ever travel to Africa it will be the most elegant malarial prophylactic anyone has ever seen.
For a long time before the wedding, I had no idea what song I would walk down the aisle to. Sea chanties, The Decembrists, Yo-Yo Ma with Bela Fleck, Patti Griffin, Riverdance (yes, and proud), Alison Krauss, the Beatles- there were too many to choose from.

So I kept waiting for a song to choose me, and I finally settled upon "Here, there, and Everywhere" by Paul McCartney after it came on the radio during a particularly winsome evening in North Carolina. David and some of our friends were playing a card game on the back porch as I did the dishes, summer air breezing in, and everything felt very certain and nostalgic and easy.

But then, just a few days before the wedding, I heard the most gorgeous piece of music that I've ever heard sailing out of the living room in my parents' house. My sister, who is a musician, was working on mastering one of her songs that she was producing for another singer.  The melody was hypnotic, haunting, all cello and piano with crescendos that peaked and fell like waves.

 "This is it," I told her, running into the room. "This is the song- whatever this is!"

"The song for you to walk to, or for your wedding party to walk to?" She asked.

"All of us. Tell the DJ to loop it if he has to."

Anna also sang during the ceremony, wearing a lace dress that looked to die for, a song about ships from her album The Wasted Ocean. "I'm singing this one for my sister, who is obsessed with sea chanties," she said, "and for Dave, who kayaks."
I ended up with two bridesmaids, Anna and Alison. I had three- Lisa, of course, Lisa was my bridesmaid, and she flew fifty hours from Vanuatu where she's serving in the peace corps just to be there. But at the last moment there was an emergency, something really rotten. She got as far was Washington, DC. She was so close.
Our flower girl, Charli, was the star of the show. She seems to have been constructed out of peach skin and silk, and would consistently come up with the most serious and earnest little pieces of advice:

"Excuse me, but I was just making sure that you've taken the time to grab a bite to eat this morning."

"Make sure that when David comes in from the camp fire tonight to go to bed, that he does not disturb you. You need your rest."

Charli belongs to our friends Sarah and Charles, who performed our ceremony. She was like a little piece of moonlight.
For the readings, we asked the two women who we consider to be the wisest amongst us: Molly Milroy and Elissa Koop.  Molly and David have been friends since they were two and stuck with each other even through college, living side by side in the dorms and then as roommates until David bought his own house. Now she has this little job where she herds great swarms of surgeons, doctors and nurses through places like Ethiopia and El Salvador with Operation Smile.

And Elissa, she used to push me off of the sidewalk into the street when we were in middle school, although she hates when I bring that up now. She is the most brilliant writer I've ever met.
And finally for now, our indefatigable photographers, Cassie and Austin of Honey By Hive Studio. They have been two of my dearest friends since middle school, through Woodstock and the Academy at Adventure Quest. They are so extremely proficient and competent, I remember Cassie directing the elaborate series of shoots involving the extended families, all while the holding two glasses of champagne in one hand that she later delivered to Dave and I, and never spilled a drop. And she had just delivered her second baby a few weeks back.

I read something in Ann Lammot's book Operating Instructions that said if you truly knew what a person had gone through in their life just to make it to the place they are today, you would fall to your knees at their feet. Whenever I read that, I think of Cassie and Austin.
That's enough for today.

I'll be back later to write about our ceremony, the reception, the officiant, the six cakes. There are so many gorgeous photos to share. But I wanted to begin with the behind the scenes, our friends who built us that heavenly day, what surely was the most beautiful wedding in the recorded history of White River Junction, Vermont, perhaps even on earth.


Pauline Heyne said...

Absolutely gorgeous! I am excited to read more! Congratulations lady - now let's go grab a drink!

Jess said...

This is so stunning, and so filled with love and happiness! :) Congratulations to you and your mister!

Liz Stout said...

How ridiculously beautiful. All of it. I adore David's vest! And reversible?! Too cool.

My favorite line in this whole post: Such awe, such pure gratitude, the kind that leaves you with the sensation that your heart might flap right out of your chest, soar above your head and you'll never see it again.

Congratulations to you two - yet again.

colleen said...

My heart just melted.

CorporateHippy said...

This post makes me want to get married all over again, being older and wiser about who and what is important. What an amazing set of memories you've created. This post makes my own heart sing and I don't even know you personally.

Melina said...

@pauline. YES, we have so much to catch up on!

Sara Molskness said...

Oh Melina- This is so beautiful! I absolutely adored the song you walked down to. Hope to see you soon. Muah! Sara

Sara Molskness said...

Oh Melina, this is beautiful! I absolutely adored the song you walked down to, it was perfect. Hope to see ya soon-xo -Sara

Amanda Towne said...

So beautiful. I'm so happy for you & David, which seems so silly, because I don't really 'know' you. But I'm thrilled for you both. You look so happy.

Jill said...

This one brought the tears. The gifts of time and talents bestowed on us are the most meaningful ones.

Rachel said...

This made me fall in love with love all over again. I am hungry for more; what a sublimely happy day that you have captured so well with photographs and words.

Susan Bennett said...

Absolutely stunning!!! Love, love, love!!!!

Mrs.T said...

Beautiful. All of it.

Sarah said...

I hope you're enjoying this "omg, we're MARRIED!!" and the "holy crap, you're my HUSBAND!!" phase!!

meg bird said...

"although it's more accurate to say that I could simply never muster the strength to shell out $80 on a piece of gauze" hahaha oh Melina, you are golden. I feel so warm after reading this. Seems like the most perfect wedding. And how could a vest suit anyone more than that vest suits your husband? Good gosh.

Melina said...

It's true Meg, there are some beautiful veils out there, but I felt tapped the ff out after everything else! So glad you're keeping up here, you talented woman. xox

Melina said...

@ Jess- thank you! It was a stunning day. I miss it. Thank you for reading!

Anonymous said...

gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! love how everybody was included.

Win said...

You look so very Beautiful. And really, I don't think Beautiful is a bold enough word. You must have taken the breath of every guest away.

Elissa said...

I DO hate when you bring that up, but, thanks for immortalizing it here. (karma I suppose)

Shellie said...

Love this! Your wedding looks lovely and personal. Just as a wedding should be.

There is something magical about White River Junction. 5years ago my husband and I spent a week at the Inn at White River. We ate at local places, shopped at local shops and had the very best time. I lost my young husband 4 months ago and thinking about the time there brings a much needed smile to my face.
There is another happy thing your wedding did for someone. Even someone you don't know.
Best wishes to you and David for a long and happy life together!

jkonway said...

Looooove it! Love seeing you so happy Melina. What a wonderful ceremony. Can't wait to meet your man one of these days!