We gathered the next morning in St. Augustine with members of the wedding party and close relatives for the wedding breakfast. It was lovely seeing everyone again before they dispersed to their various locations. The Holiday Inn St. Augustine – Historic did a great job of setting up the bountiful buffet and tables. We visited with our relatives and members of the bridal party again. Then it was time for a final goodbye. All we have left are fond memories, our wedding attire, and the hole in our checking account (just kidding!). I’m happy to say the cleaners removed the stains from my dress. I just need to get the hook repaired at the back, and it’s ready to go again. I don’t know where I’ll ever wear it, but it’ll hang in my closet just in case. It’s a one-of-a-kind that is too precious to give away. Now it’s time to settle into our routine and attempt to get back to work. Can I get the writing bug again after all this excitement? What’s next? As the New Year approaches, we’ll want to examine what we’ve accomplished these past twelve months and where we want to go. But first we have all the rest of the holidays to celebrate. Bring on the champagne!
Inside the ballroom at Treasury on the Plaza in St. Augustine, we took our seats at our assigned tables for our daughter’s wedding reception. The bridal couple had this lovely corner: The centerpieces were lovely, and the setting in this historic former bank building was as majestic as a palace. The vault in the back has been turned into a really cool bar. The special lighting gave a pink glow to the entire room. The meal was served without delay. This way the festivities could proceed without guests waiting for each course to be delivered. We had salad, a dual entrée of fish with lemon sauce and chicken marsala, and wedding cake to finish. The first dance was beautiful. Next our husband danced with our daughter, and then the groom danced with his mom. The best surprise was a dance number with the bride and groom in a swirl of fog. As they ended their slow dance, their attendants joined them and they began dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. It was awesome! They were great, and it was a headliner sequence that we’ll always remember. In between dance numbers, we had time to go around and greet our friends and family. As the evening drew to a close, the wedding planner had us all go outside and light sparklers to send off the happy couple. I couldn’t believe it was over already. Coming Next: The Wedding Breakfast
As we lined up in the foyer prior to walking down the aisle at Treasury on the Plaza in St. Augustine, the tension in the air increased. Finally, it was our turn. My husband and I went in next-to-last. Inside the doors, we stood aside so our daughter could appear alone in the doorway for everyone to admire. We then joined arms and walked down the aisle together as is the custom in Jewish weddings. The moment seemed surreal. I didn’t hear the music or see individual faces. It was hard to believe we were really there at our daughter’s wedding. The ceremony was beautiful, incorporating many Jewish customs. Our daughter looked radiant, and the groom wore a grin the entire time. They performed the custom of circling seven times to represent the seven days of creation. In a more modern fashion, the bride circled three times and then the groom did the same. They made the last round together. Finally, the groom smashed the traditional glass with his foot, and it was done. The beaming couple strode down the aisle, followed by the attendants in the prescribed order. We went next, trailed by the groom’s parents. The attendants and bridal couple went outside for photos while the rest of us segued into the cocktail hour. As I roamed around greeting people, I grabbed an appetizer and promptly spilled it on my gown. My very expensive beaded gown. This was Mishap #3 (or 4, if you count the snap on my dress popping as described in the prior post). In the dark, the stains on the skirt might not show, but they would be glaringly obvious if the photographer shone his light in my direction. Fortunately, I’d had the foresight to bring a backup dress. I’d bought a dress in the same color at Dillard’s and really liked it, but I thought it a bit too staid for a mother-of-the bride dress. However, it would serve its purpose now. Herein lies The Tale of Two Dresses. You can see them here. Most guests in the darkened ballroom thought I’d merely put on a jacket. This dress turned out to be more comfortable for dancing anyway, especially with the snap broken on the first gown. I’d also changed my shoes from a higher heel for the ceremony to a medium heel for the reception. So here’s your wedding tip: Be Prepared. Bring spare shoes, an extra gown, and accessories to match. I wish I’d brought a necklace to go with dress number two, but I’d left my baubles in the hotel room. Next time, if there is one, I’ll double up on everything. Meanwhile, we had to line up again for a grand entrance into the ballroom after everyone had found their seats. Coming Next: The Wedding Reception In the meantime, have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I am thankful to all of you for your ongoing support and encouragement. Your friendship, even at a distance and across cyberspace, means a lot to me. Have a blessed holiday with good food, friends and family. May peace and love be with you.
At 10am on our daughter’s wedding day, the bridal attendants and mothers gathered in the bride’s hotel room and donned the special robes she’d provided for each of us. Hair and makeup experts arrived and began their work, starting with the bridesmaids. These young ladies all looked like models, and they were even more gorgeous after the prep team did their work. I was very happy with the way my hair and makeup turned out. Thanks to Carrie Wilson Makeup and Hair by Lisa Moir for their expertise. Our daughter had ordered sandwiches brought in so we ate lunch while sitting around watching each other get done. The photographers arrived as our daughter was finishing with her hair. They snapped pictures of us in our robes. It was a glorious day outside, and we stood on the balcony admiring the view of the bay glistening in the distance. We’d lucked out with the weather. Before we knew it, we had to gather our belongings and make our way to the wedding venue at Treasury on the Plaza in St. Augustine. We were getting dressed over there in the bridal suite. Chaos ensued as the girls all put on their red gowns and touched up their hair in the large space allotted to us, complete with dressing table mirrors and our own restroom and kitchenette. We did a champagne toast to the occasion. Everyone looked beautiful, and it was heartwarming to see our daughter with her life-long friends and her cousin, the maid of honor. As I bent over in my gown to hook my silver shoes, the snap popped on my dress. This snap held the shoulders together at the back. Without it, the dress started to slip down. I had to constantly readjust it. I had told the seamstress the dress was too tight on top, and this proved it. Meanwhile, our daughter left to do the “First Look” photos with the groom. Then they came back in along with the rabbi. The bride and groom signed the Jewish marriage certificate called a ketubah in front of all of us as witnesses. We all went outside to take formal photos in the park across the street before any guests arrived. Then it was time to wait in our private areas (the groomsmen had their own suite) until summoned by the wedding planner to assemble in the foyer. My heart rate accelerated. It was almost time. Coming Next: The Wedding Ceremony
The wedding rehearsal was held at 11am on Saturday. Our bridal party assembled at the Treasury on the Plaza where the wedding planner took us step-by-step through the ceremony. It was a sobering moment as the reality of the wedding hit us. How would we remember all these moves when the time came? Our heads filled with instructions, we went to lunch at O.C. White’s Restaurant in their upstairs room. We had a delightful meal while getting to know each other. During our free afternoon, Richard and I strolled down St. George Street to browse in the shops. St. Augustine is always a charming town to visit with its distinctive restaurants, museums, historical buildings and attractions. Then it was time to rest in our room until the rehearsal dinner at The Floridian. Our private room upstairs was beautifully decorated, and appetizers were laid out on the bar. Mostly this was about connecting with close family members and getting better acquainted with members of the bridal party. Thanks to Es and Rick, our future mechutonim, for hosting this event. Anticipation filled the air. The big day would soon be upon us. Coming Next: The Wedding Day <><><> Sign up for my reader’s newsletter list to stay informed about new releases, giveaways, special offers & events:https://nancyjcohen.com/newsletter/
Our daughter’s wedding was magnificent. It’s hard to believe it is over. All that planning for ten months and then in three days, it was done. There’s relief that things went well mixed with regret that it’s past history, but we’ll relive the event through the photos. (This collage is representative of a wedding but is not ours.) We checked into the bed and breakfast inn at St. Augustine that was designated for the bridal party. Here began the first of our Wedding Misadventures. This historic inn had no private parking area. You have to park in an assigned space at a lot several blocks away. To unload your luggage, you must hunt down a driveway on a street at the rear. We pulled into the wrong place and had to drive around the block again to find the proper loading zone. Our room was in a separate structure from the main building, where our daughter had booked a lovely suite. We had a room that needed renovation as the wall a/c unit blasted onto the beds. There was a long flight of steps up to our second floor room with no elevator. The front desk sent a guy to help us with our bags. Then we backed our car out of the tight driveway and ended up scratching the passenger side. We suspect it came from a latch sticking out from a gate. Mishap #1. Friday evening, we had drinks in the cozy cocktail lounge at the inn and then got ready to meet everyone at Michael’s Tasting Room for an informal dinner. My husband flushed the toilet in our hotel room before we left. It overflowed and flooded on the floor. Mishap #2. We reported it to the front desk, who assured us they would get the maintenance man right over there. We went to dinner and had a delightful meal with the members of the bridal party who’d arrived early. From left to right are the bride and groom. They are toasting with the groom’s brother (aka the best man) and his wife. And here are Richard and I seated with Es and Rick, soon to be our Mechutonim (i.e. relatives through marriage). Anxious about our room situation, we hurried back around 9:30. The front desk person said a plumber had been called, and he was still working on the toilet. We spoke to the man, who said the problem was in a pipe and he had to drill into the wall. We were outta there. After speaking to the front desk, we spent the night at another hotel, planning to return in the morning. The inn refunded our night’s stay. We returned the next day and had a pleasant breakfast on the front porch. I had French Toast Peach Cobbler. That’s the best part about B&Bs – the morning meal. It’s a good thing we ate first, because here’s what we found in our room: Despite the clerk’s reassurance that the problem had been fixed and the maid would clean up, we checked out and booked two nights at the Hilton. Central a/c! Starbucks in the lobby! We were in heaven! We moved over all our stuff and were ready to face the new day. Coming Next: The Wedding Rehearsal GIVEAWAY Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card at Booklover’s Bench.
Once again, we dined our way through another Orlando visit. Our first stop on this culinary journey was dinner at The Big Easy in Windermere. My husband had a vegetable po-boy, and I had breaded tilapia with rice and beans and sautéed veggies. The rice and beans were really good and would make a meal in itself with a side of corn bread. We actually returned here for lunch but I got a cobb salad that time. I like the New Orleans-style decorations and the lively bar scene.
Our next foray was to Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs. They celebrated cherry blossom festival with flowering plants and dinner specials. I ordered the sake sangria. My meal was two appetizers, the Portobello mushroom fries and chicken dumplings.
We detoured from our usual route to explore St. Augustine. Lunch was at Harry’s where I got the crab meat and eggplant Napoleon. It was delish. This is a favorite restaurant of mine in this city, especially if you sit outside in the breezy courtyard. I wouldn’t do this in the heat of summer, however, with the scorching sun overhead and hungry mosquitoes looking for bait. Then I’d ask for a table indoors.
Now we’re back home, and I have to lose the extra weight I’d gained. That’s the problem with culinary adventures. You pay for the calories and salt intake when you resume your normal routine.
Since I-95 was closed due to flooding in South Carolina, we decided to drive to North Carolina via a western route. The first night we stayed in St. Augustine to once again visit this historic city. We entered Flagler College, which used to be an ornate hotel. You could see the trappings of its luxurious era in the décor. We passed up the chance to pay and see the dining room, but the courtyard and entry hall were impressive enough.
From here, we strolled down the main shopping street and ate lunch in Columbia, a popular place with Spanish cuisine. I had to get a glass of sangria. We’d been to town before and had already visited the museums, Fountain of Youth, fort, and winery. So this time we headed out toward I-75 and hit the two outlet malls on either side of the highway. We ate dinner at an Asian place and retired early to prepare for our long journey the next day.
We took I-75 to Atlanta, which is a snarl of traffic. After a brief stint on 285, we veered onto 85 north. We stopped for the night in Buford, Georgia which has The Mall of Georgia and many chain restaurants. It’s a good place to stop and stretch your legs.
The next day, we continued on I-85 to Durham, where we explored the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. You could wander here for hours.
We drove inside the Duke University campus, impressed by the stately stone buildings and the remarkable chapel that was under renovations, judging from the scaffolding surrounding the tower. The town itself had nothing to draw us so we moved on to Raleigh, where the Bouchercon mystery conference was being held.