Thursday, August 06, 2009

Pre-Wedding Prep

After a week on Sister Ruth's farm in Michigan, capped off by the August 1 wedding of niece Lesley, I have to catch you up!

First of all, I drove up and back, almost 800 miles each way in 12-hour days, all by myself, and "DID IT!" I drove without fatigue or mishap. I felt protected by the God of the Universe. It was amazing.

Beginning that Monday and for the next 5 days, including Saturday, the day of the wedding, we all worked 8-hour days, almost non-stop. I started out cleaning the above 3 vintage windows...followed by the 18 vintage chairs that had been sitting in the barn for months, all freebies from Free-Cycle. They ended up being placed strategically around the farm in lovely vignettes for the time between the wedding ceremony and the dinner hour.

Then I helped Don build the arbor that was such a romantic gateway to the celebration. It took 4 of us to stabilize it and put it into place. We almost ditched the effort until we got it to work...with celebratory lights to boot!

This is what it looked like the night of the wedding (yes, I'm jumping ahead)!

From that point on, I mainly had a paint brush in hand! I stained the 4 Adirondack chairs Don had made and then Spar-urethaned them...two days' worth of effort.

Sister Nancy then needed me to rip seams from the Mother-of-the-Bride's lovely strapless floor-length dress. Nancy is the real seamstress...taking a size 12 down to a size 6. It was the dress Ruth wanted but the only size available. No problem for Nancy! That's what sisters are for! I was happy I could rip the seams.

Can you imagine sitting out on the front porch to resize a dress?!

Look at that dress! Miss Ele-Gant with the groom, her new son. But I digress again, jumping too far ahead....

Then there were all kinds of odds-n-ends...painting this and that for whatever wherever. All stuff I enjoyed doing. Call me the Painter Queen. It must have been the farmer shorts...putting me in my zone.

Don't tell me I can't handle power tools! Yup. Even the screen door needed to be painted, front and back.

Then the atelier had to be cleaned from head to toe. It was the babysitting room after dinner before the kids went to the farm house to watch their bedtime movie, Wall-E. Can you believe this used to be a chicken coop? Now it's Ruth's studio.

By now, we're finally at the wedding-day stretch, working from 8a till 4p before stopping to get ready for the 6p ceremony. Hundreds of mini-lights still needed to be strung all around the magical tent. Can you imagine what that looked like as it got dark?!

Well, imagine no more because here's Sister Ruth's post for the event. I'll share my own post in a couple of days. But for now, I wanted you to see why I went up early to help get the farm ready. It was such a great memory, to have and hold forever.

For the family (and you who have time), here's my pre-wedding album (you can view it at fast speed in the slideshow). We really did work our tails off...and it was totally worth it!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Ginnie! What a handywoman you are. I think the prep work behind an event is always so interesting and revealing. And did you know that you're just SO up-to-the-minute in those little overalls? I'm seeing them in all the fashion magazines these days.

    What a joyful time for the family. Must go peruse the wedding pictures now...

  2. Oh Boots!! I am so glad you documented those hours, but no one can know really how much work it was. Your perseverance day in day out just blew me away. I know your poor back felt it, and I felt your love like a steady breeze in my face. We never could have done it without you - imagine! Well, things just would have looked shabbier. You made us shine. And don't you love how the Adirondacks ended up looking in the patio room?

    All the hours you and Nancy put into my dress still boggle my mind, such a lot of fuss for this MOB. But I have to say, even though I'm not the one who did all that ripping and sewing, I felt like a princess. More than that though, I felt free - that I didn't have to think one second about the dress, it felt like a feather.

    Your pre-wedding album is wonderful, as well as your wedding album. Now I look forward to what you post of the wedding!

    I love you, and I will never ever have enough thanks to bestow upon you, dear sister. The hours driven, the laborious days, your unceasing love and support. I am fortunate indeed.

  3. I love seeing/hearing about your annual trek to Michigan. This one was really special!

  4. MLS, after seen all the pictures, after hearing and reading the stories, I know you are happy that you took part in the pre-wedding-millions-things-to-do-project.
    Thank you so much for sharing this big event with us, Ruth sais she is fortunate, my humble opinion is that your family is fortunate, in the way you work together and get things done.
    To me you will always be the Painter Handy Queen, specialy wearing those Farmer Shorts....they look good on you.
    These series of pictures will be a great rememberance of a perfect day.

  5. It seems like the event was oh so much more special because of all the loving touches you and the family made. The newlyweds will cherish those memories for a lifetime.

  6. Thank you for your post, I really enjoyed reading and seeing pics from your perspective. Thank you so much for the incredible labor of love you gave us.

    You do look pretty cute in your work outfit!



  7. What wonderful gifts you brought to the event - presence, preparation, paintbrush and (I'll bet) a whole lot of patience.

    So many people say to me - "Get youself a few day laborers to strip and sand, and then you can just come in and varnish without having to do the hard work." What they don't understand is that if the wood's been prepped right, anyone can make something look at least presentable. But without the right preparation of the wood, the best varnish job in the world will look horrid.

    It's a life-rule. Do the prep right, and success is assured. Such fun to see such meticulous prep!

  8. Christina: No, I did NOT know those overalls are quite the fashion these days. HA! I guess I'll need to keep them. Thanks, my friend!

    Ruth: Your words are like honey in my mouth, dear sister. They bring tears to my eyes. Thank you for showering me with appreciation. All of what I did was pure joy for me. I'll never forget it!

    Susan: This trip really took the cake, for sure!

    Astrid: You are so right, MLMA, about how fortunate we are as a family to share so much together. I'll never forget the time we had, working hard and enjoying each other. Don and Ruth were such good hosts, feeding us well, and giving us lots of latitude to be who we are.

    Mad: You are so right! This was a wedding to remember because of its uniqueness. What a joy to behold.

    Don: You bring a smile to my face. Thanks for receiving me and my help so well. It only made me want to do more. :)

    SA: Patience is definitely something I have in such projects, Linda. I'm glad I could be of use. I did lots of sanding on those Adirondack chairs before staining them, so, yes, your words are "right on." I wanted to do the entire project from beginning to end...because I wanted it to be done right. :) But in regards to the rest of the wedding prep, we all had our paths criss-crossing throughout the week, which truly made it a group project!

  9. OMG you put so much of yourself into the wedding preps Musketeer. You really are wonderful, and you looked so happy doing it too.
    Love the shorts btw!!
    Great documentation.

  10. Ok,
    we are back from our Vacation in Europe with Family, old Friends and Blogger friends.
    But, when I read this post from Michigan, it comes to my mind, we must meet.
    Can you reserve first week og August next year for a grand blogger meeting in Oslo?
    Only those special invited;-))

    I'll write more when really awake...

  11. Lurch: It was lots of fun, Tracy, and good for me to be helping someone else after all the work on my own house. And to think I was gonna give those farmer shorts away! I had too much fun wearing them. :)

    Tor: If I'm not in the The Netherlands by a year from now, Tor, I give you permission to come and fetch me! I will LOVE thinking about a blogger meet-up with you and Anna...and Renny and Diane. It's been a long time coming!

  12. A la Linda's comment (shoreacres), did you notice in my apple pie post how glorious the chair looks, and the sled?? And I thought of how like a wooden boat the finish is. LOVE them.

  13. It's strange, Ruth, but I never "saw" the chair/sled. I saw the apples and Don in the background. Isn't that weird!

  14. WOW what a great wedding, I just looked at your sister's pictures and it all went so perfectly. Love those sunflowers and the window frames and the adirondack chairs and the dresses and.... well... everything!
    I'm keeping my fingers crossed about your house, keep hoping, I know the perfect purchaser is out there somewhere.
    I've just come back from vacation so I'm catching up on blog posts.

  15. Sham: Welcome back! And many thanks for catching up!!