We awoke to a rehearsal for the evening ceremonies, which would take place out on the veranda, overlooking the Tuscany Valley. After rehearsal, we enjoyed a Tuscany Brunch out in the sun room. Our daughter-in-law was wearing a rhinestone-studded shirt (that spelled out"BRIDE") for the day. She had time to put the final details into the ceremony, then relax by the pool before going to her room to have her make-up and hair done by a local salon.
My first surprise started as I was informed I would need to leave the Villa to go into the city for my hair and make-up! My daughter-in-law had arranged for her mother, her sister and me to enjoy this wonderful wedding luxury. Along with the thrill of having someone pamper me for the morning, she also told us two photographers would be following along. There was a team of photographers for the entire wedding day. Their main photographer had brought a group to Italy for photo shoots and had arranged for them to come to the wedding to do photo shoots before returning the Dallas/Ft Worth area.
So the two moms and one sister got to giggling as we were driven into town, with a car following us with photographers. The salon was just wonderful. The photographers took our pictures from beginning to end. They were having fun as they treated us like models. We laughed as they continued to pose us and flash pictures. The Italian stylist just played right along with the whole event. What a joy! How exciting! What a memory maker, as these two women, with combined 10 children between us, were swept away into this ultra-pampered world.
We returned to the Villa ready for the event of the evening. We both jostled about, trying to not sweat or go to the pool, but we would need to treat ourselves as China Dolls to keep our makeup and hair fresh and ready.
The afternoon passed quickly as we all watched for details that needed to be finished. I checked the decor for the wedding...as my daughter-in-law had asked me to be her second pair of eyes. My son rushed around to check behind me to make sure everything was perfect for his Bride.
The sun began to set. My camera was put down for the day as the photographers took every picture you can imagine. There are even tons of just Benjamin and me, posed at different places in the Villa...and no, I haven't seen them yet. I watched as my sons all got dressed. I pinned the sunflowers on each of their shirts and lastly, the one on the groom's lapel. A kiss on his cheek couldn't say all my heart wanted to say.
The Bride's Dad told me to go to the room where his daughter was...she would want me to join them. As a mother-of-the-groom you never know what is your part. Unless the new daughter-in-law leads the way, you wait cautiously, so as not to step on anyone's toes. She opened her arms for me to be apart of all that was going on. The photographers caught each moment. She asked if I wanted to put on her garter... I DID!! The cameras clicked. She picked up the necklace she was to wear and turned to ask if I wanted to place it around her neck? I DID! The cameras continued clicking. They clicked for all the mother-daughter pictures as well, as I enjoyed the exchange between the two. She had included us both!!!!!!!!!! We both were taken in the moments.
I returned to the room with my son, all his brothers, my hubby and the groom's new father-in-law. All the males were ready to go. Before the door was opened, I stopped them. Before allowing him to start toward the ceremony, we all gathered around him to pray. His father-in-law listened in with total agreement. The Wright family did what the Wright family does....pray! We haven't done everything right. We have missed it more times than not, but in the end, we still bow our heads in prayer.
Our son asked his Dad to DANCE... yes, DANCE with him down the aisle, and that's what they did. There weren't attendants, but each parent had their part. The mothers would light the candles that would glow in a spiral around the Bride and Groom. Both Fathers would bring in their children...the Bride and Groom to the center of the spiral. The mothers would enter the ceremony again by lighting the candle for their child as each child (the Bride and Groom) lit the unity candle.
Each guest's chair had a sack on the chair with a picture of the guest. Inside the sack was a candle for the ceremony, a pamphlet telling about the ceremony and a wooden balsa-wood plane that would be used when the Bride and Groom left. I saw the sack... I didn't read the sack. The script on the sack would leave the final stamp of "excellence of honor" for the parents, which I would discover while in Rome the following day.
The ceremony was followed by appetizers in the manicured gardens around the Villa. The wedding dinner was served out back on the veranda, with it's breathtaking sunset view of the Tuscany Valley. Following the dinner was the cake cutting and dance for the evening.
The DANCE!!! My son and I had picked this song. If you have time listen, if not, just visualize a son and mother dancing. He instructed me "Don't cry!" Well, you can just forget that. There I was dancing with my son...the one I would dance around the house with as a child, and hadn't danced with in years, and this mother whose heart was so full....................the tears just fell. He looked me in my eyes and said, "Mother, all of this is a gift from Katie and me. Please don't tell me you are paying me back. It is a gift." The tears just came streaming down as I received the gift. Yes, the gift came from my heavenly Father, but it came through the hands of my son and daughter-in-law. I held on to my son as I we danced with ongoing conversation. If there were others in the room, I didn't notice them. Just like the time I held him in my arms for the first time...it was just us two. He had given me the most precious gift...HIMSELF. He had honored his mother with excellence. They both had carved a place in my heart so deep that, for years, I will be telling the story.
The last bow would be tied on the following day. For this day, it ended with Benjamin and I retiring early, while the wedding party celebrated into the morning hours. My head hit the pillow in complete joy!