On Friday, March 1, my oldest was married! Ideas for a beach wedding had been initiated, when it made a U-turn. It started with Laura finding out that Jim, David and I were going to Vegas for the early April Glass Craft Expo (which has openings btw!). She said, "Mom, I don't want to plan a big wedding. How 'bout we tag along and get married in Vegas?" I said, "Fine with me ... but only if your uncles can all come as Elvis impersonators!" She didn't fall for it, but still managed to finagle the deal. Mike, one of Laura's uncles ... also one of Jim's 5 brothers ... lives in Vegas, so it would be something of a family reunion, too.
So then Laura started getting nervous about getting the marriage license in Vegas because they were only arriving the day before the ceremony. She and Matt decided to have a civil ceremony at the St. Petersburg Courthouse before the trip to Vegas and we would have a small get together back at the rooftop deck. Enter Linda Champagne. Linda started out as a customer who became a friend. She knew Laura was making her bouquet from vintage pins and earrings. She came to the store bearing a baggie of goodies for the bouquet. Linda asked Laura how things were going at which point Laura told Linda about their courthouse wedding plans. Linda said, "I'm a notary and I can marry you!" We jumped for joy! A rooftop wedding! Wouldn't that be great! This is the kind of special event the rooftop was designed for. This was two weeks ago! In two weeks, Laura, David, Jim and I ... with a lot of help from friends ... got a rooftop wedding planned!
What made the event even more special was that Laura's father and Matt's mother both gave beautiful and meaningful readings at the ceremony. Jim talked about how we had been infertile for 12 years and then gave birth to Laura. Her first night away from home, at three month's of age, was at the waterfront "shack" of Uncle Vernon. Vernon, who passed away 10 years ago, was a retired Catholic priest who would give Sunday Mass on the screened-in porch with his picnic table at the altar. Of course, the place was physically and spiritually transformed from a crab eating room to a House of Worship on Sundays. We would dress the alter with roses cut from his garden and a beautiful tablecloth. He would dress in his vestments and say Mass with the birds chirping and Dana, the yellow lab, lying on the floor in front of us. He told us that even though he had baptized a thousand babies, he had never been handed one to hold and certainly never had one take a bath in his kitchen sink!
The wedding ceremony was all about love and those special people who help to shape who we are. It was about the love of God and the love we must have for ourselves so that we can love others. Here are just a few wedding photos of the hundreds taken by friend, Babs Brant.
|Linda Champagne officiating the wedding ceremony of Matt and Laura|
|My beautiful daughter on the day she became Mrs. Albright|
|A tender moment between bride and groom|
|Laura's size 3.5 finger who's ring size couldn't accommodate Matt's entire message because it was so small. It simply says "Love always"|
|"I'm forever blowing bubbles," by Tiny Tim and Barbara Lewis|
|A feast prepared by Laura's Dad and a couple of lifelong friends, Jan and Tom|
|Jim with Matt's grandmother and mother looking on.|
The evening couldn't have been more beautiful in so many ways. The couple left for St. Augustine where temperatures on Saturday were in the low 50's! Heck, they're young, they can handle it!