Monday, November 23, 2009

Ellen's Wedding Weekend

Wow. We have had a fun, wonderful, BUSY weekend! We headed out of town early Friday morning to travel to Knoxville/Maryville for my cousin Ellen's wedding. This trip to Knoxville was extra fun because when we stopped for lunch in Chattanooga we were joined by a very special friend of mine. Jennifer (Fisher) Tachenko was my best friend in high school, but before this lunch date I hadn't seen her since her October 2004 wedding. I was thrilled to be able to introduce her to Julia and Audrey and also just to spend a few minutes talking to her face-to-face.

Instead of typing nonstop, I think I'll just hit a few of the highlights of the wedding weekend!
* The rehearsal dinner was held at Calhouns. Matt and I were able to enjoy a child-free meal of TN barbecue! LOVED IT!
* It's football time in Tennessee...... Vanderbilt players, coaches, and fans were EVERYWHERE in our hotel, and the VOLS were actually eating at Calhouns when we were there.
* Since I was a bridesmaid and needed to attend the rehearsal Friday and get to the church early Saturday, Matt got alot of Daddy/Daughters time this weekend. Good Times I'm sure!
* Being behind the scenes with any bride is a wonderful, exciting experience. When that bride is someone that you've loved and been friends with for 2.5 decades - well, it's beyond words. One memory that I will always have of her last few hours pre-wedding will be her suggesting we all gather around the piano and sing some hymns. It really did help the last hour pass quickly. Some hymns, however, had to be stopped midway through. My Aunt Martha (our pianist and MOTHER of the BRIDE) came close to letting the waterworks go a few times. OH! and have I mentioned that Ellen looked absolutely stunning in her dress? Well, she did.
* I cried, just a little, as Ellen was coming down the aisle.
* The reception included dancing, and let me tell you Audrey Bowman is one dancing machine!!!!!!! She literally danced for hours. Most of that time was spent dancing with Matt, but she certainly spent a decent amount of time CHASING after one of the groom's nephews and forcing him to dance with her. Julia had a cute young (4 year old) gentleman dance with her as well. Adorable.

Here comes a string of pictures of just some of the wonderful people I got to spend time with at the wedding.
My brother, Andy (Matt was trying to dodge the shot, but didn't quite make it)

My gorgeous cousin ELLEN!

My Dad

Family Photo Op!

Here's a picture of the Bride and Groom at their Rehearsal Dinner
Congratulations Ellen and Geoff!!!
End of story.
Well, some of you already know that I'm leaving out a little bit...
... a little embarrassing bit.
... or perhaps the word would be humiliating.
All right, confession time. I'll tell the story the best I can, but I'll be honest - some of it is a little fuzzy.
During the minister's 'reflections' I started to feel bad. I thought it was likely due to the high heels I was wearing so I began to shift them around a little bit. When the minister finished his time of reflections, I was relieved! I know I was feeling pretty good at that time, because I remember being in awe of the love, joy, excitement, devotion, etc radiating off the groom's face as the vows began. I remember Ellen's voice being so clear. There were no whispered vows for either of them.
The exchange of rings is a little less clear. At some point, I began to feel light-headed and queasy. I remember thinking, "It will look tacky, but I am going to have to lean against this banister." Then, I remember grabbing for the arm of the groomsmen beside me. Yes. I became THAT bridesmaid. I passed out during the ceremony. The next thing I remember is opening my eyes and Matt and Lisa (my Dad's wife) were right in front me. Matt, however, says that my eyes were never closed.... so perhaps, they just became clear again. Either way, as soon as I could 'see' again - I was fine physically. I did, however, want to crawl under a pew and hide. Most of this happened during a long prayer time that 4 different people were leading. The first 2 people I don't remember at all, but I did resume my standing position before Prayer#4 was finished. I was fine for the rest of the service and have felt fine ever since.

To Matt Flanigan (groomsman from Illinois whom I just met Friday and will likely never see again) - Thank you for not letting me fall flat on the floor... I truly appreciate you keeping me from causing myself further embarrassment.

To Ellen and Geoff - I'm Sorry!!! I'm glad you were able to laugh and joke about it afterwards with me. I certainly wish I could go back and change the timing of this! Congratulations on your new marriage, I hope you're having a fabulous honeymoon.


  1. Oh Valerie. Didn't your dad ever tell you not to lock your knees during prolonged standing? We learned that every year in band camp! ha!
    Oh, and so sweet to see a picture of your "old" friend Jennifer!

  2. yes - I've heard of the 'don't lock your knees' thing. I thought of that during the ceremony, and I didn't think I was. My guess is my problem had more to do with my only having a snack instead of lunch. After a late breakfast, I thought mixed nuts and OJ would be enough. Apparently, I was wrong.

  3. I am glad you didn't get hurt or anything :) I am going to be a bridesmaid in a few months, I will make sure I remember not to lock my knees!

  4. I feel so honored to have made your blog! Great picture! I heard about the passing out thing and have been checking your blog every hour waiting for the full story!!! Hahahaha. Glad you are ok. Thanks again for stopping in Chattanooga. It was so good to see you!