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Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Homemade Wedding

As you may have read on our, "We're Back!" blog, Steve and I were married last year in our new home in the stunning new library he built for me.

I know I made it sound like a bit of a whirlwind year, but it was actually more like a hurricane. Steve asked me to marry him in October. Because we lived two hours apart at the time and we were pushing 40, we wondered, why wait? Steve quoted when Harry Met Sally, "[W]hen you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." I had to agree with him. He's a smart guy.

By mid-November, we had considered and reconsidered every combination of time, money, housing, kid impact, etc., from waiting two years to eloping at the county courthouse. Eventually, we decided on December 21 and a solution that sounded like something from game of Clue: Steve and Andrea, in the library, with a Justice of the Peace. 

There was something a little defiant and utterly hilarious to us in the impending faux Mayan calendar doom predictions for that date. There was also something romantic about marrying on the winter solstice, as well. It was wonderful to begin the first day of the return of the sun as man and wife. I know it sounds sort of overly poetic, but it was actually very special. And, it was a time when the children would be with us. We asked a good friend or two to join us. We let some other family and friends know what we were up to, and pretty soon, we had a guest list of nearly 20. And that requires cleaning, food, an actual wedding dress and suit, and a plan!

And it was weeks away. We had just hosted our first Thanksgiving at the house. 

Steve's turkey. This man can seriously cook. We'll be doing a post on his amazing dressing for this thing. It was unreal. Sausage. Craisins. De.Li.Cious.

We had traveled to Maryland to get our daughter and her good friend, an exchange student from Germany. Also, my mom and I had driven them back after the holidays. Christmas was around the corner, and her friend would be coming home for the two weeks around the holidays. We had a multi-performance mid-year dance recital for our other daughter. Steve had a business trip to California. He also wanted to surprise me with a wedding gift of a trip, which he knew about, but I didn't, so I had nothing to work with plan-wise. And I ended up meeting him in California for a day after all and visiting with a high school friend, too. I was promoted at work and had to move offices and job responsibilities the first of December. We bought the puppies as a wedding present from Steve to the children. Oh yeah, and Steve had to move in. It was just a wild, wild ride.

Steve's surprise wedding trip for me was to a live performance of Louis C.K. I was told to pack and head to the car. We drove to dinner almost two hours away. I had no idea why we were in Athens until after dinner, and we were standing in line. Steve handed me the ticket envelope. I know Louis C.K. has a bit of a dirty mouth, but oh-my-goodness, he is hilarious. And it was on my bucket list to see him live for years. If you don't know who he is and want to see a clean example of his humor, there is a clip online where he is talking to Conan O'Brien. Hysterical. Starting at about two minutes in is just priceless.

My wedding gift to Steve was also a surprise. When he asked me to marry him, he said he felt like he had found home for the first time since he was a child. That meant so much to me because I hadn't felt like I had a real home in so long, too. If you read our other post about naming the house Sans Souci and the importance of making it a real home, and you know Steve is actually from Bermuda, relocating here for college twenty years ago. A wedding gift with the theme of home made perfect sense.

The coordinates on the compass are those of Sans Souci.

Needless to say, we were able to pull off the wedding. And except for the wedding cake, which my mom ordered from Publix and delivered for us the day of the wedding, and the gift of the fruit cake cookies, we did everything ourselves. It was very laid back - a small gathering for a few close friends and family and the children, at home in a room my husband built for me. We were picking up tailored clothes and dropping off dogs at the kennel the morning of the wedding. We were cooking and cleaning and vacuuming and dusting in the afternoon. We were getting the kids dressed appropriately and putting on our duds at the last minute. We set up the cake and champagne in the kitchen and bar, and the hors d'oeuvres were in the dining room. I made lemon squares, fudge, peanut butter and white chocolate Ritz cookies, mini quiches, egg rolls, and fruit dip. A friend brought fruit cake cookies, which were actually the hit of the food table. I bought snack mix and fresh fruit at the grocery store, and cheese straws and Mexican wedding cookies from the local bakery. I was able to use my gazillion Holiday by Lenox plates and serving pieces. That was exciting! We also had beautiful flowers around the house that had arrived as gifts from friends and family.

There is a special story about this cake knife. Somehow, Steve and I had gotten into a culinary and dining discussion on our first date, and Steve said he didn't know what strawberry spoons were. By our second date, I had found some that were in the Old Atlanta pattern by Wallace as a gift. I thought that was a great pattern as an ex-pat who lived in Atlanta. (He had brought me season one of "Big Bang Theory" as a gift on our first blind date. That was hard to top!) My mom gave us this cake knife as part of our wedding present in the Old Atlanta pattern. I guess I have a new pattern to start collecting!

We bought small boxes of Christmas cookies and sweets to give as gifts to our guests. We also placed them on the dining table as decorations.

I had to run out at the last minute and get a new doormat with the new last initial!

Around 6:30, guests began to arrive, and by 7:15 pm, we were hitched. We wrote our own vows and got a little tickled when reciting them, and so did our friends and family. Even our judge laughed during our vows. It was a happy, happy night. So relaxed, unhurried, and intimate. I can't imagine a sweeter way to promise the rest of your life to the person you love.

From me to Steve:

I promise to love and cherish you and our relationship.
I promise to be your partner in life and to work towards goals that we decide on together.
I promise to contribute to making a living as well as making a life for us.
I promise to be honest, to be available and faithful, and to treat you with kindness, respect, appreciation and silliness.
I promise to be your primary source of support, comfort, and nurturing and let you be my primary source of the same.
I promise to participate in our relationship, working to communicate my ideas and feelings and to understand your ideas and feelings.
I promise to be flexible and open.
I promise to be optimistic and passionate.
I promise to make pie crusts and banana pancakes.
I promise to sing.
I promise to build a fantastic marriage with you.
In the presence of our friends and family, I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward for as long as we both shall live.

From Steve to me:

I promise to put our relationship and our partnership above all else.
I promise to support you in all you do.
I promise to always play car games with you.
I promise to work as hard as I can to contribute to our family's happiness and well being.
I promise to give all I can to make our children's lives instructive, and nurturing, and magical.
I promise to make you omelets.
I promise to always cook the turkey at Thanksgiving.
I promise honesty, and faith, and love.
I promise to try to learn to dance.
I promise to be considerate and generous.
I promise a wonderful marriage.
In the presence of our friends and family, I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward for as long as we both shall live.

Two notes: 

We play all sorts of car games on all of our travels. They keep us from going crazy after 10 hours in the car together. Anything from our version of twenty questions to word games our family has invented and are in the process of developing iPhone apps for.

And Steve is a great dancer. 

After the ceremony, we cut the cake, toasted, and visited with our guests. 

As our guests were departing, we realized we'd never had dinner! We went to one of our favorite local restaurants and shared a steak.

We made it through Christmas before escaping for a few days for a winter beach honeymoon. We spent the time there the way we always do. Cooking and playing! We made a classic 500 degree oven roast and it lasted us through many sandwiches and omelets. We had a few dinners out, including New Year's Eve, before coming home.

I wonder how I managed to lose when somebody kept sneaking up on me like this!

Coming home to our a home that felt like home for both of us was fantastic. Thanks for reading and sharing in our joy! Life is so, so good.

Andrea, Steve, and family

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Entertaining at Sans Souci Part 4: A New Living Room and Kitchen


I hope you have been keeping up with the whirlwind of changes in the new house. To catch up on how we got to this point, you can read our welcome back post here, the library post here, the dining room post here, and the floor plans post here

So far, our posts have been about a little construction and some shifting of the purpose of rooms downstairs.

Another major issue was some very loud d├ęcor. Here's the before:

Blood red formal living room

Aztec-y flamestitch striped kitchen 

There is that lovely wallpaper again from the library post.

The foyer looks presentable from the first picture, but keep scrolling...

Wow, that's a lot of green!

On the plus side, it looked plenty scary with Halloween lights...

But this sort of racist? xenophobic?'s gotta go.
Sadly, this wallpaper goes with everything and was clearly super expensive. It's very rich and shimmers almost gold, but it's really just too, too much.

And it looks like all of these poor women tied in Rock, Paper, Scissors.
We call this our Rock, Rock, Rock wallpaper.

At this point, we have repainted the formal living, (now the den - see the dining room post), the library, (which was the old dining room), and the kitchen. It was a cheap and easy fix to update the house. We also made the back porch into a solarium/office. Because we are actually remodeling our Atlanta home right now, cheap and easy fixes in this house were important!

Transforming the formal living to a family den

Transforming the kitchen

Transforming the library from the old dining room

We tried to tie the blue from the kitchen into the library. It was hideous, so we painted over it.

The new office/solarium

We haven't yet tackled the foyer. We are thinking that we are actually going to have to re-wallpaper that space.

But for now, we are so happy with these changes. And we completed them all (including the library) in one month!

Andrea, Steve, and family

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