My dear darling Hansie–
Since there’s no time to add any other photos to this week’s letter, I’ll share with the you a few of photos I’ve been printing and framing.
Aren’t they adorable?
Everything around here sings “wedding, wedding, wedding” this week. We can scarcely clear a spot to eat on the kitchen table amongst frames and decorations, my sewing machine, tape, scissors, matchboxes; shower gifts hide behind the piano bench and the window seat boasts glasses and napkins and tiny salt and pepper shakers. The mantel groans under plates and candles, borrowed pitchers and lanterns for the wedding dinner at our house on Thursday night.
We’ve made little matchbox favors, tested all the recipes, ordered cakes from the Dodo (I wish we could send you a piece) and keep hazarding guesses at how many people we need to seat. Mormons are infamous for their failure to RSVP, but I am determined, ABSOLUTELY DETERMINED not to get stressed out this week. It’s OK if twenty extra people show up, we can find extra plates and folding chairs and worst case scenario, throw a blanket on the grass and let everyone under twenty have a picnic. Of course, if it rains, we’ll have a cozy picnic dinner for everyone inside.
Photography has given me an inside view on many, many weddings, and while I won’t pretend to be an expert until I’m on the bride’s side of the responsibilities, I will say this — things go wrong: cakes get smashed, frames get forgotten, babies cry, people forget their shoes and shirts and ties and hairbows. Every wedding suffers at least ten tiny disasters, but as long as you marry the right person, nothing else really matters.
And Ben is marrying Sammie!!! Can you believe it? Can you honestly, truly believe it? You’re gaining a sister; and a kinder, sweeter, more talented and lovely sister could not be found.
Ben and Sam just arrived home from the last of their four pre-wedding interviews. As you know, marrying in the temple is a very big deal, and in preparation they’ve spoken to Sammie’s bishop (her dad), Sam’s stake president, our bishop and our stake president. It might sound like a lot during such a busy time, but they’ve loved the interviews and say they feel like they’ve been walking on air all weekend long. I think the church requires so many interviews just so no problems slip through the cracks (remember the story of the bride who didn’t know her hubby-to-be had been married before?) and to impress the solemnity of forever. ‘Til death do you part’ holds no place in the temple, we talk about eternity.
Some of the best advice they’ve received: “Don’t take yourself too seriously.”
Just in time for the wedding, I finished the heart quilt for Ben and Sammie. More than four years ago, when Ben was still on his mission, I bought the pattern with Lisa and started cutting out the hearts, but it wasn’t until Sammie came along that it really took shape. The pattern was merely for a throw, but Ben wanted a HUGE quilt, so I added squares and sashing and made lots of mistakes and I think it’s gorgeous.
I wouldn’t have finished without every member of my family and Liz and Emilea, Annie and Meg who came over one day and spent an entire afternoon helping me. Maybe that’s why I adore this quilt so much– it’s filled with love.
In truth, one of the great benefits of a wedding are the many expressions of love from so many friends and neighbors. We’ve had beautiful wedding showers, kind notes, thoughtful gifts. I have a long list of people to call this week who’ve offered to do errands, help with food, set up tables, arrange flowers. I’m not sure how weddings work in the rest of the world, but in Utah they tend to be a little bit homegrown– much like the celebrations of the past. And even though the Drysdale’s have ordered food and rented tables and lights, there are countless little kindnesses offered by friends– wreaths, easels, vases, baking, a gorgeous yard for the reception…And as your darling cousin Zoey says, “It’s important to let your friends help with weddings; it’s how they show their love to you.”
As much love has been shown to us, I’m afraid of offending someone or not acknowledging a kindness. We sent out hundreds of invitations a few weeks ago, but we keep remembering people we should have invited. And often the forgotten people are the most obvious to invite. If someone doesn’t invite you to their wedding– don’t be offended– just know they are probably a bit distracted at the moment. I hope we can thank and acknowledge everyone who has helped and gifted; sent kind regrets and attends the reception. I’ve been thinking about the wedding day– I don’t want to worry about my hair, my dress, myself– I want to encourage and uplift everyone I meet and share the joy of a glorious day.
Maybe I’ll just watch Cinderella again for inspiration? The DVD arrived this week and we couldn’t help but think of you while watching it. The way you came home from the movie and said, “That’s the first movie I’ve seen in a long time that makes me want to be a better person.” You are such a Prince Charming, my darling Hans. Your Cinderella will be a very lucky girl. Stefan loved the movie just as much as you did and even sat through the bonus features with us. “Have courage and be kind.” Such a good motto for life, for missions, for love.
And though we were working on wedding prep while watching the movie, we’ve been doing all the ordinary stuff of living: music lessons, dance lessons, cross-country and ultimate frisbee, orchestra and mutual, baking bread every other day, homework around the counter, making lunches, family prayers at 8:30 pm so Xander can wake up at 5:30 am. I’ve even made dinner (almost) every night. Though I’ll admit we’ve had the chicken parmesan I’m experimenting of for the wedding four out of the last seven nights.
Weddings are filled with emotions. Mostly happy, but kind of all over the place. Whenever the whirl of emotions gets too high Mary turns on this song:
Between Cinderella and the Barenaked Ladies I think we’re ready for this week: Have courage and be kind. Odds are it will be all right.