adventures of an american housewife in the south of france

Celebration Vacation: Part 2

Even though I had already done plenty of celebrating during Part One of my trip back to the States, the real party was about to begin: My Sister's Wedding!! I'm not going to lie, there was still a lot left to be done for this event when I arrived back home.  But thanks to the help of friends and family, everything got done and the wedding was spectacular!  The weather was great, the party was rocking, and most importantly, Tori and Patrick had a wonderful day.  The festivities started at the Friday rehearsal dinner when all our family and friends came together.  I was especially happy to be reunited with Michael, who had spent the week in L.A. being an absolute rockstar.  (Seriously, check him out.  My man can rock a mic, even in a theater full of thousands of people during a live broadcast to millions.)

reunited and ready to rehearse!

We started the big day on Saturday with a lovely champagne brunch for the bridesmaids, courtesy of GSV Salon, where my mom has worked for years.  We had a great, relaxing morning of mimosas, updos, and make up.  Tori was happy and excited and we all left looking fabulous.

a great way to start the wedding day!

We continued on to the church where we finished getting ready, had some bubbly, and helped a little someone get into his tux.

getting the little man dressed!

lovely ladies of the wedding

Did you notice that I'm wearing a totally different bridesmaid dress than everyone else?  I am. That's because, just like I feared, the bridesmaid dress that I ordered 2 sizes up back in February did not fit.  Like, at all.  I couldn't raise the zipper more than a half an inch and there was definitely no way to alter the dress to fit me.  There was not nearly enough fabric for that!  I was a little freaked out about it, but of course, my very easygoing, laid back sister was all, "Meh, whatever.  We'll get you a different dress.  You're the Matron of Honor after all."  Isn't she the best?  No Bridezilla moments for her!  We found another dress in a complimentary color (her colors were pink and purple) that required little alteration and that, quite frankly, looked better on my big belly than the original.  Everyone was happy!  Not that it mattered.  No one was looking at me, obviously.  I mean, could my sister have looked any more beautiful??  All eyes were on her!

photo by the amazing Justin Ketchum Photography

And how about that dress! The ceremony was special.  To me, what makes a great ceremony is when it's personal.  Tori and Patrick wrote their own vows and were married by Pastor Gary, who they've known for years.  Pastor Gary is the father of one of Tori's best friends (and bridesmaid!).  He knows our family well, married Tori and Patrick the first time, and also presided over Brighton's dedication.  It's nice to hear a wedding sermon that's actually about the couple getting married.  I like that.

how awesome did my mom look? she's being escorted by my cousin Mike

love this one of Tori and my Dad. photo by Justin Ketchum Photography


I just had to include this picture because it cracks me up. I look like a flamingo and David, the groomsman in the back, looks like he's escorting a ghost.

a very blurry picture of two of my favorite people - Michael and my cousin Greer

my Dad has a long history of showing up at events in a crazy's a story for a different time...

After the ceremony, the wedding party took a party bus over to the McKinley Monument and park to get some pictures.  Michael had worked with Ryan, the best man, to make sure that the bus was stocked with booze and snacks so we all had a great time.  Well, basically, everyone got drunk and I ran around like a psycho trying to make sure no one spilled their vodka-cranberry on Tori's dress.  Who allows cranberry juice near the bride on a bus??  The Matron of Honor did not approve this, I assure you.

I made her put a sheet over her dress

the bride and groom!

Michael got all the patriotic essentials

I love the concept of this photo, but please try to ignore the fact that I look like I'm about to awkwardly hit someone over the head with my bouquet.  I hope that Tori does not pick this one for her wedding album. The photographers, Justin and Nate, did an awesome job of capturing how happy Tori and Patrick were that day. After we were finished with the pictures, we headed back to Brookside Country Club for the reception.  Neil Leeson, at Decor Floral did an incredible job of transforming the room into a romantic and ethereal space.  There's a reason this guy's won awards out the wazoo. I had a great time visiting with family, my in-laws (who made the trip from Wisconsin!) and two of my best girlfriends who flew in from Chicago and D.C. for the occasion.

with my best girls  - we've been friends for over 20 years!

this guy was a party animal!!

best candid.

me and my "sisters" - Tori and cousin Greer :)

the three of us

Everyone had a great time hanging out and dancing, though I spent most of the evening like this.

tired, but hanging in there

By the time the party was over, I was exhausted, my dress felt tight, and my fake eyelashes were falling off.   But boy did I have fun! The next morning, my parents hosted a post-wedding brunch at their house for friends and family from out of town.  It was nice to have some extra time with my best girls and my in laws.

always a blast!

we're so lucky that our families love each other! I'm so glad that Todd and Joy made it to the wedding.

Our baby girl was showered with gifts.  Seriously, so many gifts!  It was almost like a mini-baby shower.

my suitcase was quite heavy on the way home

We spent the rest of the day, reminiscing, eating leftovers and visiting with the remaining family who was staying until the next morning.  We had a big cookout that night of juicy burgers, corn on the cob, watermelon, and cookies and pie from Amish country.  Nothing like a little midwestern summer fare to end our trip! The next day Michael and I packed up our (now very full) suitcases and headed home.  Everytime we said good-bye to someone, they would say, "the next time we see you, the baby will be here!"  It's hard to believe, but that's the truth!  I really can't believe how quickly this summer is flying by. À bientôt!

3 Responses to “Celebration Vacation: Part 2”

  1. Devon says:

    Love, love, love!!! And Tori looked absolutely stunning. The one of her and your dad is just perfect. Glad to see your flamingo photo made the cut!!!

  2. Susan Davis says:

    I’m so glad you did a wedding tour for us, Nat! It’s a great tour! You look so cute! Tori was stunning and, of course, I think your mama looked gorgeous! Thanks again! You have a real knack!

  3. Greer says:

    Natalie…what a beautifully written post as usual! Loved everything about it! love you!

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