Our daughter Clare married Kyle Konrad Oct. 12, and oh, what a lovely occasion it was! We booked a block of rooms at the Marriott Residence Inn in Alexandria, within walking distance from the ceremony and reception at the Carlyle Club, enabling us to connect with out-of-town guests at breakfast. The oldest wedding attendees were Tom’s 95-year-old Aunt Mary, who with ten children and loads of grandchildren and great grandchildren has probably attended more weddings than the rest of the guests combined, and my mother Josephine, while the youngest were 11-month-old baby Pax, and my nephew’s 6-year-old son Isaac.
We lived in South Korea until August, and Clare and Kyle did almost all the planning themselves. They did a great job picking out the venue, with its supportive staff, elegant ambiance, and exceptionally delicious food. The excellent photographer they chose employed an assistant who positioned a large, oval stretch-fabric saucer by getting underneath it like a turtle to reflect light onto the subjects.
The Jangling Reinharts band played favorites we requested like Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”; Pure Prairie League’s “Amie”; and Tommy Tutone’s “867-5309”—O.K., so a tune about finding Jenny’s phone number on a bathroom wall isn’t particularly cerebral, but it’s fun to dance to. That song has a fascinating afterlife, by the way, which you can read about here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/867-5309/Jenny.
Clare was gorgeous in her mermaid-style bridal gown, which surprised Kyle when he saw it because that was the one style she’d said (before trying it on) that she wouldn’t choose.
They staged the wedding out of our house. We received the wedding gifts people sent from the registry, and every day was like Christmas. I’m going to miss opening the front door and finding boxes on our stoop. Turn about is fair play: we gave out Clare’s phone number when we lived abroad and she fielded numerous calls for us. We also received wedding supplies, including the candy they ordered online, which we put in glass jars for guests to scoop into bags and take home as souvenirs. I took this job seriously, sampling for quality control from time to time.
Everything went off smoothly, but as with every wedding, we faced our share of challenges. Would you like to go behind the scenes, from a mother-of-the-bride’s point of view?
Clare had ordered her wedding veil online and received it in August, but first took it out of its box five days before the wedding, and discovered it was torn. Fortunately, David's Bridal in Rockville had another one on hand, and a housemate was driving up to Baltimore anyway, so he picked it up. "Mom, the veil is wrinkled," she told me, on her way to a bachelorette party. "Could you iron it?" "Sure," I replied.
Fortunately, I googled “how to iron a bridal veil.” Websites said: Do not even THINK of ironing your veil. It will melt. Instead, steam it. I hung it in a bathroom with a hot shower running for fifteen minutes and the wrinkles fell right out.
One event Clare and Kyle planned for the wedding ceremony had me on edge. It’s called a “ring warming ceremony.” Audience members would be told to pass the wedding bands among themselves and bless them, then the best man was to retrieve them during the song “Morning Has Broken.” “What?” I shouted in disbelief. “You’re adding in an opportunity for the rings to get lost?" “Mom, I’ve seen this done before, and it’s really sweet,” my daughter assured me. The rings were placed on a ribbon so they couldn’t get separated, and off they went into the audience. But the song was ending, and the best man still hadn’t retrieved them. Sitting in the front row, I practically bored holes into his eyes to goad him into action. From the stage, though, he could see the rings were right behind me, and waited until they passed along the front row so we could bless them, too.
My daughter and her fiance folded and strung together 1000 origami cranes for good luck, a tradition Clare picked up when we lived in Japan. They wanted to use them as a backdrop for the ceremony onstage at the Carlyle Club, but there was only so much time to hang 55 strands of cranes the day of the wedding. Their solution was to buy five dowels, spray paint them black, tape the strands onto the dowels, then hang the dowels from the ceiling. Kyle’s brother A.J. was the Crane Captain, managing groomsmen who climbed a tall ladder and hung the dowels. The effect, once the club added colored lights, was stunning.
My husband’s cousin, a Japanese language professor, thought the strands were purposely patterned and cut to resemble a hanging kimono. They weren’t, but we’re starting the legend now. Yes, the strands of cranes intentionally resembled a Japanese kimono.
Even after a wedding, the unexpected can occur. Beforehand, I had made raspberry shortbread cookies and chocolate peanut butter bars, and placed them in Tupperware containers to be taken to the hotel for use during our “Hospitality Suite” on the afternoon prior to the evening wedding. I wasn’t there to play hostess most of the time, though, because I was off with the photographer and the bridal party.
When we returned home after the wedding, we noticed the treats were missing, and realized they hadn’t been served, nor had they been left behind at our house. I dubbed this the Tupperware Treats Mystery. Detective Donna had seen too many crime dramas on T.V. to let this get the best of her. I called the hotel, asking staff members to keep their eyes open, then emailed Tom’s brother and sisters, noting that pranksters who had short-sheeted our beds and put our remote controls in the refrigerator were capable of additional mischief. They swore they wouldn’t fool around with food, and one sister remembered seeing the containers on top of the full-size fridge in our room.
Ah-hah! An eye witness! With that, I called the hotel again and insisted that they send someone to check the room we had stayed in. The treats were still on top of the fridge, and my daughter Andrea picked them up on the way down to Richmond to share with the friends she was visiting.
To recap, at my daughter’s wedding, challenges included a wrinkled bridal veil, figuring out how to hang 1000 cranes, and solving the Tupperware Treats Mystery. Of course we face challenges throughout our lives, it’s just that weddings are an opportunity for them to bunch up. They say that if you can survive the wedding planning, you can survive the marriage. Clare and Kyle gracefully did so, and I expect them to have a long and happy marriage.
To view more photos from the wedding, click https:MurphyKonradWedding.shutterfly.com/pictures/8. (If clicking on the link takes you to an ad rather than the photos, try clicking on it again. When it doesn't work the first time, it usually does the second.)