When we were preparing for my sister’s wedding last fall, my mother had one of those brilliant last-minute ideas.
She decided we would create a coloring book for the young wedding guests. And I would write a poem for it.
As matron of honor, I had to say yes. And, when we were rained in during Hurricane Sandy, the week before the wedding, I had no excuse. Treasa, the bride, actually assembled the coloring book herself.
After the wedding I revised the poem slightly and made a photo book for the newlyweds.
As we close this Valentine’s week, I thought you might enjoy seeing the poem along with a few more photos from their special day, most of them courtesy of their official photographer, Shane, of Apple Tree Studios
A is for altar.
B is for bride.
C is for church where they walked side by side.
D is for dancing like Belle and the Beast.
E is for everyone.
F is for feast.
G is for George and for groom, and he’s both.
H is for home, where the heart is, we quoth.
I is for icing and yum, Irish bread.
J is for jigs which they dance now they’re wed.
K’s for kolache,
And L is for love.
M is for marriage, a gift from above.
N is for nosegay, a kind of bouquet.
O is for “Oh, no! You’re here too today?”
P’s for piano,
and the pies.
Q is for quiet. At church no one cries.
R is for rings and reception, romance.
S is for stuffing the apron to dance.
T is for Treasa and thirsty, for sure.
U is for uncle, for now there’s one more.
V is for vows...
and for very sleek hair.
W’s wedding cake.
Look! Fred Astaire!
X is for Ricky,
and Y is for yay.
And Z is for zoot suit and zip-a-dee-ay!
That last one is still my favorite picture from the day.
If you missed the couple's lovely first dance, you can see it here
Then one day maybe I'll write a blog explaining why X is for Ricky.
Photo credits: It's probably obvious which shots are the professional photographer's, but just to make sure Shane gets credit for his beautiful work, photos 2, 5, 10, 11, 16, 20, and 21 are mine. All the others are by Shane at Apple Tree Studios.
February 15, 2013 11:14
By Rita Buettner
My baby sister got married on Saturday. And I knew I wasn’t going to get through the day without a few tears.
I thought I might cry when I saw her in her gown—but I must have been too busy wondering how my husband would get our two preschoolers into their suits by himself while I was spending most of the day with the bride. For the record, he handled everything beautifully.
I knew I’d tear up when my father lifted my sister’s veil and gave his little girl’s hand to my brother-in-law. And, of course, I did.
Then I almost always get emotional during marriage vows. There’s something so awesome, so wondrous, so mysterious about that promise. Forever. Wow. What trust, what faith, what hope you have to have to say those words—and mean them. But I was confident that I had my emotions in check until I looked at the groom and realized he was choking up. And then I was done.
Trust me. Your eyes would have been moist, too.
So, OK, I knew I’d cry.
I knew I’d laugh, too. My 9-year-old niece and I had such fun taking silly pictures on the steps of the Basilica, while we waited for the bride and groom to finish their photo shoot. Toward the end, I asked my niece to jump for a picture. She did. The next thing I knew, the bride and groom were jumping for me.
When I look at the pictures from the day, the picture I took at that moment is my favorite.
One surprise for me, however, has been my reaction to the video I took of the couple dancing together for the first time as husband and wife.
When they took the floor for that first dance, I had a talkative 2-year-old on one hip and no plans to do much with my camera. But I was so struck by that moment—and the Irish waltz they were dancing to—that I had to try to capture it.
And what surprised me was not their exquisite dancing, or how their connection conveys the tenderness of their love. It certainly wasn’t that Daniel asked me for a Band-aid for an invisible “boo-boo” on his thumb halfway through the song.
What surprised me was that at the moment I merely thought how lovely it was, but that every time I have watched the dance since then, I suddenly find that I have tears in my eyes.
Maybe it’s because of the lilting Irish music.
Maybe it’s because I can’t believe my little sister is all grown up.
But I think it’s because when I watch my sister and brother-in-law dance, I can’t help but think of how beautifully they are matched, how God’s hand is so evident in their lives, and how their prayers have been answered.
November 12, 2012 10:16
By Rita Buettner
There are moments when you’re really proud to be Catholic.
Then there are moments when you’re really proud to be American.
Last night, as I watched dozens upon dozens of priests process into Baltimore’s Basilica for the Mass to open the Fortnight for Freedom, I experienced both. As people filled every space in the cathedral on a hot summer night, I was just happy to have a seat—thanks to my father, who saved it for me. As I looked around, I saw religious brothers and sisters, families, children and grandparents, people of different races and languages. We were united not just for a cause, but in our faith—which is much greater than any cause.
When someone spotted Archbishop Lori walking in before Mass, everyone stood and clapped, giving him a warm, respectful welcome to Baltimore. It was my first time meeting our new archbishop—even though I just barely got to shake his hand in the crowd outside the Basilica afterwards. But I got to hear him give the homily, and I found his words were delivered as powerfully in person as they are in writing.
When he opened with a story about being stranded in London by a snowstorm the week before Christmas a few years ago, I had to smile. You see, John and Leo and I were stranded by what I suspect was that same snowstorm in 2009, which closed airports all along the East Coast.
Instead of being stranded in London, however, we were stranded in Chicago on our way home from China with our new son. Rather than spending our time touring spots related to St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, as Archbishop Lori did, we rented a car to drive back to Baltimore, stopping at exotic places such as a McDonald’s in South Bend and nondescript rest stops selling Cup of Noodles soup. As so often happens, what seemed like an ordeal turned into an adventure, one we laugh about now and which is a fun part of Leo’s story.
This evening, though, I left the boys home with John, my generous husband who wanted me to be able to go to Mass. We wish we could have gone as a family, but it has been a busy week for the boys, and expecting them to come to an evening Mass with us seemed to be asking too much. I wish they had seen the cardinal and the bishops, the priests and religious. I wish they had heard the Basilica reverberate with “Faith of Our Fathers.” I wish they had received the archbishop’s blessing. We’ll have to find another opportunity.
Because my sons weren’t there, though, I was able to focus on the homily. And it was certainly worth hearing. The archbishop asked us “to connect worship on Sunday to work on Monday.” He explained why the HHS Mandate threatens religious freedom, and I found myself realizing that even the sisters from Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity who were sitting near me probably wouldn’t qualify for an exemption. Their work, after all—and thankfully—isn’t specifically for Catholics.
In the intentions, when we prayed for people whose religious freedom has been limited, my mind went to China, as it often does. I am so proud of my sons’ Chinese heritage, and we feel a great deal of gratitude to the Chinese people for letting us adopt these two wonderful boys into our family. But we are also well aware that the freedoms we have in the United States are not shared by those in China and other countries. That makes me even more passionate about this issue and more committed to working to preserve the religious freedoms we have.
And so, for the next two weeks, we will pray—in gratitude for the freedoms we have and with hope that they will continue to be preserved.
“Freedom is not the power of doing what we like, but rather the power of being able to do what we ought,” Archbishop Lori said at one point.
It was a night of joy. It was a night of hope. And it was exhilarating.
June 22, 2012 08:34
By Rita Buettner