Tag Archives: weddings

Sparkling Stones

by Kate

I lost the diamond from my engagement ring. There was a loose prong and, I think, a long stranded sweater involved. Returning from a dinner party I brushed my ring finger and gasped to discover only the sharp spikes of the setting, the stone long gone. It was an interesting moment of soul searching, there in the car in the early darkness of late winter. I knew that the diamond was gone, and that another would not be forthcoming. I couldn’t imagine wanting one. We have so many dreams for our young family- a bicycle carriage, a bigger home, an old piano to put in it. I’ve never dreamed of diamonds.

I didn’t miss the diamond that night. What I missed was the wild exhilaration of the young pizza delivery driver who worked at a little Italian hole in the wall in Pittsburgh and courted a girl far away in the mountains of North Carolina.

By chance, we were passing by the pizza shop in question when I discovered the gaping hole in my engagement ring, the ring that he had purchased on that spot after putting out the word that he was looking for a diamond. A legless obese man who passed most of his time in the shop scratched his head a bit and mentioned that he had a divorced daughter who had a no need for her beautiful ring, but did need some cash. Soon, the deal was done. On a high ridge overlooking the Ohio river, that young delivery driver asked for my hand. When I accepted, he put the ring on it.

The moments of our courtship and engagement were enchanted, and I am grateful for every second, but what I realized that night was that losing the ring didn’t mean losing any of those memories. I still have them all, along with the thin gold band that my husband put on my finger four years ago today, when I became his wife.

vintage gown mariachi wedding suit

The engagement ring was beautiful. The diamond was shaped like a teardrop, which sadly suited the storms of tears that I am prone to on a regular basis. The setting was high and the ring was pointed and oh, it was sharp. So was I. I was a headstrong, highstrung newlywed with a sharp tongue and a chip on my shoulder. I hope and believe that in the past four years, I have become softer, smoother, gentler, and stronger- just like my plain gold wedding band. Wearing it alone reminds me of what I want to be as a wife.

Deep life lessons aside, just this week I made a fantastic discovery. Shopping with my sister Clare in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, we came upon a case of faux engagement rings for the fantastic price of five dollars a piece. Suddenly it hit me. Losing my engagement stone gave me free rein to wear any size and style of engagement ring I wanted. I walked out of that shop looking like a MUCH more affluent woman.

engagement ring

I love simplicity, and I love costume jewelry. I love pretending I am a high society lady at the entirely UNpretentious public pool up the street.

black one piece white hat summer 13

Most of all I love my husband, who is still wild, and still exhilarating. Thanks for the ring- but much more than that, thanks for the marriage.

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Taking the Leap

by Kate

Three years ago, I married a mariachi.

That is, I married a half Mexican schoolteacher in a custom made Mariachi suit, on a windy Wisconsin ridgetop, in the church across the road from Sweet Ridge Farm.

I wore my Grandmother’s vintage satin wedding dress and my mother’s veil.

My mother had worn this wedding dress as well. I had been dreaming of wearing this dress since I was a little girl, and was thrilled to carry on a tradition in the third generation.I am guessing that my grandmother wore very high heels when she was married in this dress.

The day was full of blooming peonies in the beautiful bouquets designed and created by my sister Mary…

and the air was full of rose petals.

The celebration on my brother’s organic dairy farm was exuberant, as was famous moment in which the hoop skirted bridesmaids in ballgowns climbed the silo.

Granted, the hoop skirts did have to be left behind for this stunt to work.

A moment which, to be honest, horrified my brand new big city raised husband, who was gesturing with all his might for me to climb back down, preferably in a ladylike manner. I did come down….. eventually.

It was a gorgeous day for grand sweeping gestures and great romance and castles (or silos) in the sky.

Three years later, our feet are on the ground, and our life is taking root here in a city far from the rolling ridgetops where I was raised. I am less a blushing bride and shaped more like a vast ship at sail at sea….

but our married life is deeper, and (mostly!) smoother, and overall much easier than it was in the whirlwind of wedding and moving and getting to know each other and settling in to new roles and a new joint life. Happy Third Anniversary to my husband! Thanks for putting on that mariachi suit, and letting me leap down off the silo and into this new life.

There are lots more posts about our weddings here:

Our Red Dirt Royal Wedding

Red Dirt Wedding Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four

How I Became a Slattery- A Love Story

Before We Dance

Petticoat Junction

A Saturday Away

By Clare

Yesterday I made the spur-of-the-moment decision to head down to Iowa for a relative’s wedding. I figured it would be more interesting than staying at home all day with only three other people wandering around the house, helpless without Mom to make food. Plus, I’d have to do the cooking with her gone, and when is that ever good? So I threw on some dressy clothing, made myself presentable for a special occasion, and we were off. That is, after everyone was found, all the vegetables to be delivered along the way were shoved into the van along with Grandma’s heavy suitcases (we were dropping her off at her aunt’s on the way back), and we were all uncomfortable enough for it to qualify as a Slattery roadtrip. After dropping off the vegetables, we all settled in a little better, and braced ourselves for three more hours in the car. We eventually made it to the 1 o’clock wedding (on time too!) and were escorted into the small church.

We arrived at the reception hall with some time to kill before the dinner, so Mary and I wandered off to stretch our legs. Mary had a lot of leg showing to stretch, wearing a dress that Mom deemed immodest (it’s really not that bad, just a horrible choice for a traveling outfit).

Still, she tromped across the grass in her heels, while I ran ahead in my smart footwear choice of gold sandals, courtesy of Colleen’s “clothes left behind before moving to Dallas for college”. Upon seeing a pond in the near distance I immediately ran ahead. I’m naturally attracted to water, while Mary thinks its something like the devil’s spit. Crazy woman. Squatting down by the water, a frog jumped and caught me by surprise.

Mary, remembering fairy stories where the princess kisses the frog and the frog turns into a prince out of the blue (woohoo), decided if she kissed it the same would happen to her.

Don’t worry, she didn’t end up kissing it. She’s too squeamish. We did have a little impromptu photoshoot though. It gave some entertainment to the golfers watching nearby. I took a picture of them, just to get back at them, but it’s not that interesting. Golfers, generally aren’t that interesting, are they? With the exception of Tiger Woods’ scandal of course. Again, this is just another one of my opinions.

We headed back to the reception hall where I stayed for several more hours surrounded in a moody cloud. There was no one my age there.  I realized that the building was perfectly equipped for six-year-old me to run around with James, Colleen, and Raph and make all kinds of mischief. But instead, I was left all by myself, grown up, bored out of my mind, when, if I had been younger, I would have been in heaven. I had to drink the free pop all by  myself, without the entertainment of seeing James and Raph down 10 cans or so until they felt like throwing up. Dad did provide momentary entertainment (and embarrassment) when he started doling out our homegrown garlic on the tables as decorations and for people to take home.

I did do a lot of people-watching, and found that Iowans like country music even more than Wisconsinites. We eventually left. After a long, long, long time. The ride home was long too, but thanks to Cale’s phone, I was able to text the dearly missed sister of mine, Colleen.

Until next time, when I stare deeply into more people’s souls, give them cold, moody looks, and form critical words in my head,

Clare

How I Became a Slattery- A Love Story

by Aurora E. Slattery

I am the only Slattery sister who hasn’t written on the blog. Now this could have something to do with the fact that I am married to the eldest Slattery son Gabriel (he was born after Kate).  We have four beautiful children Claire, Adeline, Thaddeus and Antonia that keep me quite occupied.  But the other day my sister in law and best friend Mary happen to “mention” that if I wanted to ever contribute to the blog Kate had decided my love story would be perfect (hint taken).  Since my fourth anniversary is fast approaching I’ve decided to begin the tale of how I became a Slattery.


Once upon a time there was a rather unhappy and unwed mother of a one year old, that would be me.  Now the last few years had not been easy and so I must admit to not having the best opinion of men in general.  But sometimes bad decisions can produce good outcomes as we shall see here.  Mary had befriended me a few years earlier, and our older sisters Emily and Kate had been (very dramatic) friends for years. 

Mary had helped me get a job at a little cafe called The Driftless Cafe in my hometown after Claire (my one year old daughter) and I had moved back in with my family.  The Driftless lead to many things, most importantly to me that of friendship and love.  Mary happen to live above the cafe, the year it opened, which lead to me meeting her legendary brothers, Gabe and Rob.

Mary always talked about them and one night in Mary’s apartment I finally got to meet them.  It wasn’t love at first sight but though the summer I figured out that I really liked Gabriel.  There was something about him a delightful twinkling of the eye and kindness I had grown unaccustomed.  However by the end of summer Gabriel was gone and I was back in my bad situation which lead to a second pregnancy which led to me finally realize that God had me destined in a very different path.
After moving back in with my parents in early 2006 and permanently ending a failed relationship I returned to my Catholic roots.  I started to think about Gabriel (Mary and I had already started a joke about how if things didn’t work out with the other guy I could always marry Gabriel).  When summer came round I decided to have Gabriel rebuild some fence at my family’s ranch since he is a carpenter. 

We ended up talking a lot and I realized that I had met a real man who was hardworking, spiritual, intelligent and incredibly good looking.  I must admit to never feeling so magnetized to someone, I felt respected and comforted by his very presence.  One day as my boss Lars ( a very dear friend of our to this day) and I were washing dishes and he blurted out that I should marry Gabe Slattery.  I informed him that Gabriel had a girlfriend and he responded that perhaps the fact I was almost nine months pregnant was more of a problem.  But it wasn’t a problem and neither was the girlfriend  because at Lars’s wedding a few weeks later Gabriel and I were inseparable.  We watched fireworks at the wedding that night. Gabriel put our daughter Claire  up on his shoulders and as I watched them I remember thinking this is what it feels like to have a real family.  We danced, we talked, he drank, I didn’t (very pregnant remember).  I even drove him back to my parents where, we did not even kiss, he slept on the couch. 

After that night I felt so clear about him and knew that I had to trust God and offer up my insecurities ( freshly out of a bad relationship and almost two kids) I felt intuitively that everything would work out.  Soon I became a mother again.  The day Adeline Grace was born somehow most of my future family showed up.  Maybe most importantly my future mother in law Terese who was in the hospital after her mother fell that day and popped in to see me in the maternity ward.  It is a great joy to bring a child into the world even as a single parent and the void of father was somewhat filled by family and friends.  Now things had been brewing between Gabriel and me throughout the summer and other people knew it.  Lars had mentioned to Gabe that he should marry Aurora Menn and Gabriel said it wasn’t a bad idea.  When Adeline was two weeks old the day before Gabriel was leaving to return to Corpus Christi Texas ( a very very long long way from Wisconsin) to finish his last year of college we had our first kiss.  And I think we knew that somethings big was happening because thirteen and a half months later we were married, dairy farming and pregnant…… but that is another story.

A note from the bossy big sister editor Kate: There is more of Aurora and Gabe’s love story to come, including some coverage of their extravagent fairytale wedding. In the meantime, if you are in the mood for more romance, check out our brother Rob’s story here:

The Engagement, Mary’s Letter, Wedding Part One, Wedding Part Two, Wedding Part Three, Wedding Part Four, Nicole’s story

Petticoat Junction

by Kate

Late June is a beautiful time for a barn dance in Wisconsin. Last Saturday evening, the barn was scrubbed clean and hung with lights, and the Slattery girls were wearing flowers in their hair…

 

and beat up cowboy boots on their feet.

Who wears spurs at a square dance, you ask? Well, that would be Mary Brigid. She is a bit prickly every now and then. She’s also the only equestrian Slattery, so the only one of us who owns a pair. Here she is with her beloved Bub.

Nicole and Rob were there, glowing with newlywed bliss.

Rob looked particularly sharp with his bolo tie and big Texas belt buckle.

And Nicole’s white sundress was a perfect bridal barndance combo. Here she is with our neice Adeleine, beneath the towering lilacs on the path to my parent’s big white farmhouse.

Our sister in law Aurora looked gorgeous, as usual. She is the master of pulling together striking and exotic prints and bold jewelry.

It wasn’t just the girls getting gussied up. Even our brother Pat (author of the infamous Parody Post) threw on a cowboy hat and was ready to come out swing….. dancing.

We even managed to get all four Slattery sisters and our two beautiful sister in laws together for 20 seconds- long enough for one big barn door portrait.

And at about that time the rather extraordinary square dance caller from Hawkeye, Iowa showed up and the next part of the story unfolded. It’s quite a tale. Come on back and hear all about it!

Red Dirt Wedding, Part Two

by Mary

At 8:30, my now Sister-In-Law Nicole, picked me up from my hotel room where I was huddled on a bed flirting with sleep after a restless night of insomnia.
Wearing a robe that read “bridesmaid” on the back, I rode with Nicole to the church and started in on getting ready for the big day with Nicole and company.

Much to my relief, my bridesmaids dress that I had lost the night before manifested, and the very kind girlfriend of my brothers friend Nick, took mercy on my horsetail like hair that had been more than a little tangled from riding around Oklahoma City in the bed of Robert’s truck the previous night. Kelly brushed it out for me while I watched Nicole transform into a” Princess Kate, you totally just got outdid” bride.  The new Mrs. Slattery exuded an aura of calm radiance. She looked so gorgeous that I gave her the helpful suggestion for future financial gain. I said that when she and Rob are broke, she can pick up extra income by becoming a bridal magazine model.
 
Look!!! She is so calm that we have no work to do. I literally have my hands in my scapular-lined pockets!
 
Getting ready for the wedding was so organized that I was able to steal off to the church to have a visit with Jesus in my cheery yellow robe. As a veteran bridesmaid, I can compare and contrast bridal stories. After this last one, I shall put it in its very own category as a VERY non-Wisconsin wedding. Don’t worry, I won’t hold you hostage by pulling up a ton of bridesmaid tales. I will just pick one for a case example. I choose Kate’s to share with you all.
 
Wisconsin weddings usually mean crazy, disorganized, excited energy. And work. Lots and lots of work. Often times I end up doing the flowers for weddings as well as cooking and baking. Trust me, I never get the time to float off into the church to pray.
 
Pictures can piece a story together can’t they? Please enjoy viewing some of these pre wedding pics from Kate’s extravaganza. Here are a few of the gals getting the reception meal ready.


Chicken Pickin Bonding
 
We have heart!

At this point, I get even more excited about flowers than normal! Making pies and doing flowers SOLO are my kind of thing!
 
Ok, I give up now, or I will end up posting way to many pictures. The moral of this little post is I am honored and humored to stand as a bridesmaid. Weather I am wearing a yellow Beauty and the Beast dress on top of a silo, or chatting it up with my Maker alone in a quiet church in my yellow robe, I love the excitement and variety of each special day, and am grateful to have such fine friends and Sisters to share life and laughter with.
 
Blessings,
mary

Red Dirt Wedding Part One

by Kate

When we arrived in Oklahoma great gusts of wind were chasing billowing clouds across the sky. Nicole had feared a tornado would snatch her wedding away, but the sky was blue and the sun shining brightly. We had flown into Dallas and had a long hot drive ahead of us. Just after crossing the Oklahoma border we overtook Cale chugging up a hill with the old 4runner packed full of siblings.

That vehicle is a trooper. I crossed the eastern continental divide hundreds of times when I owned it, spun gravel up a dirt road leading to my mountain cabin every day and night. I’m glad he has taken it on. That is a southern vehicle at heart and never took to the cold harsh salty Pittsburgh winters. But I digress. Right now, I bet you are thinking that the only vehicle that you’d like to see is the famous Amish Special, the old 15 passenger van.

Yes, that’s it. Grandma’s right there in the front seat. Who could drive this beast over hill and dale, you ask? Why, my Uncle Roger. Who appears to have been taking sartorial tips from his Amish brethren, particularly regarding hats, glasses, and facial hair.

I will admit here that I rode the van back to the motel from the reception, and I found it to be an unexpectedly peaceful experience. There was a faint sweet scent of alfalfa, a deeper tone that may have at one time been a hint of a cow pie. A hushed silence. All in all it reminded me of a dairy barn early in the morning. Not a bad place to be at all. However, back to the beginning!

We arrived in time for the dress rehearsal. This gave us a chance to check out the church, which was modern but perhaps my favorite modern church architecture in a long time. There was a great foyer with high light arched beams.

And a dynamic statue just asking to be imitated by 95 percent of my siblings.

Pretty stained glass.

A lot of great art, but perhaps the most unique was a full size blackened crucifix. It turns out that the old church burned down, but the crucifix, though charred, remained. It was striking and beautiful.

The night ended with Rob’s white truck heading off into the twilight full of siblings and cousins. It was a beautiful thing.

At this point you may be wondering if there are pictures of the bride and groom featured in this series. Rest assured that there are many glorious pictures to come. Stay tuned for the rest of the series- the wedding! The roses! The Dress and all the dresses and the Jim Beam bottle in the barn at the dance.  Y’all come back soon.