Behind the Scenes Stories

Ok.. here is the stuff that went on leading up to and during the wedding that you may or may not know happened. Now that enough time has passed, the stories can no longer hide....

Fred and I got engaged on Saturday, February 1, 2003, St. Brigit's (or Bride's) Day, who is the patron saint of hearth and home (or the Celtic goddess of such, as the church is want to borrow from absorbed cultures and faiths). This was by accident entirely. While Fred and I had talked about the prospect, and were in favor of the possibility of getting married at some point, until someone asks, it is always up for speculation. (I know there are people who have told us both over and over they have seen it coming a long way off, and were tired of our dancing around it for so long, but still).

Fred had begun in November to design the ring for me, but as February neared, and it was still not ready, Fred decided he had to do something. He decided to shop for an engagement ring that would hold the place until the designed one could be delivered. His only slip up was asking me what size my finger was. Any girl who doesn't sit up and take notice when the man she loves asks her something like that, is a disgrace to the female intellect. In addition, I knew that Fred was intending to fly in for the weekend following my birthday, so I had a suspicion that there might be something afoot.

On my birthday, my students were in a tizzy. Many of them knew Fred from former years, or had older siblings who had received papers he had graded or that had met him at football or basketball games. I love my students, and keep up with the things going on with their lives. It was not surprising that they kept up with Fred's place in mine. Of course, being absolutely smitten with him, I am sure I glowed like a candelabra. Anyway, on my birthday, I got a call to my classroom during my last class, telling me that I had "something in the office". I told the receptionist that I would be down after school, but she insisted that I might want pick it up before then. The kids got very excited and decided to strike a deal with me. They had a test on Friday that we were winding down to (it was Wednesday), and we agreed that if I got engaged in the following 24 hours (by 3:00 pm Thursday), their test would be delayed until Monday. I agreed, on the condition that they still studied as if the test were Friday so they would be prepared, just in case. At that point, I picked two volunteers and sent them down to the office. They returned with a vase of 31 red roses. I was absolutely overwhelmed! If you have never seen that many roses, with greenery, statice, and baby's breath, it is certainly a site to behold! The kids were beside themselves. They begged me to open the card, and when I did, and they found that there was NOT a proposal on the little card, they were disappointed. However, many of them still held out hope that Fred would come through for them and delay the test. Some even asked for his number to make a personal and desperate plea that he intercede on their behalf. St. Fredrich of the Bethrothal. In the end, he did not propose in the time allotted, and each one took their tests on time.

The veil I wore was picked out, not by my mother, my future mother-in-law, or any other female family member. It was also not picked out with any of my attendants. It was picked out by Fred. While Fred did not know what the dress looked like for sure, he knew it was beaded, off the shoulder, and had a long train. As a was flipping through borrowed bridal magazines during a visit to see Fred in Atlanta, he happened to look over my shoulder see a picture of bride in a long cathedral veil and a long train. He pointed at it and mentioned that he thought that was the kind of veil I needed to get. "If you are going to have a veil, have a real veil" he said, and added that if I was wearing a veil, it needed to have a blusher in the front, because it was the whole point to have a veil in the first place. I followed his advice, and went out the next day and began to look in earnest. That simple little suggestion made magic.

If you wondered why Fred has a red mark above his left eye during the wedding, it is not because he ended up on the wrong side of our youngest dog, Browning!! About ten days before the wedding, Fred was bitten by a spider in Atlanta. As spider bites go, they get much worse before they get better. As much as we tried, we could not get it to go away in time for the wedding. However, it has healed nicely (after a few months) and Fred is feeling much better. The photographer assures me that the pictures can be retouched, so no one will be the wiser as far as the pictures go.

Others may have noticed that my mother, Patricia, was wearing a cast at the wedding. Six weeks earlier, she was in an unfortunate car accident in which she severely broke her arm and had to have surgery. Because of the nature of the surgery, the doctors had to wait until a few days before the wedding to actually perform it. This left my mother in tremendous pain and with a dress jacket that would not fit over her heavy cast. Carl Meyer's seamstress, Peggy, came to the rescue and sewed red lace into the seam of the jacket to allow the sleeve to pass over the cast. It worked like a charm. However, being as her only daughter was getting married, my mother decided on the day of the wedding that she wanted to be fully alert so she could remember everything. To this end, she refused to take any pain medication whatsoever. Had I known this, I would have insisted that she take something, or had someone persuade her to. She was a really trooper and made an effort to smile for everything all day. I know that I am biased, but this is a testament to what an incredible and strong person she is. She did relent and take some pain medication at the reception, much to my (and certainly her) relief. The rest is in the updates section.

Who was that handsome young man in the white uniform!! That was Fred's brother, Drew Maney. Drew is a cadet at The United States Military Academy (West Point). We were not sure if he could get leave to come until the last minute, and we were delighted that he was able to be there. Drew is also a part of the West Point Glee Club, and as part of the club has sung in many special places such as Radio City Music Hall and on September 11, 2002, at Ground Zero. If you caught the coverage of the memorial and saw a group of cadets in grey and white singing, you saw and heard Drew. In fact, one of the voices you heard the best was Drew. I think he was standing next to the mike. In any case, with his bright red hair, he was not hard to spot, even if it was short and under his cap. For more updates on Drew, check the updates page.

Did anyone hear a crash in the back of the church after the bride and groom recessed down the aisle? Did you know it was the groom trying to avoid stepping on the bride's dress, train, and person? In a few of the official pictures (not on the site) is the actual event. In our rush to hide from the wedding party and guests, Fred, Mackenzie, and I all tried to get through the side exit of the church. Knowing that my train and veil were long, I pulled it to one side to make room for Fred. Unfortunately, it was the same side he was trying to avoid my dress on. In mid-step, Fred changed directions and completely stepped over the whole mess with a four-foot sideways stride. The sound was him landing hard on his other foot!

The rings: Some people have asked me why I wear two diamond rings and two bands, one set on each hand. My first engagement ring (a seven diamond channel set band) is the ring Fred originally proposed with while the one he was designing was being finished. I wore this on my left hand until May 1, when the diamond and sapphire engagement ring was finished.

The channel set moved to my right hand so that I could wear them both at the same time. The day before our wedding, my Aunt Sara gave me a few items that had belonged to my Grandmother Houston that had ment a lot to her. As much as I treasure my family history and heirlooms, I was grateful for the links to my past. The last item she gave me it the band that I wear on my right hand: My Grandmother Houston's wedding ring. When my Grandmother passed away in June 1989, when I was 17, she had 10 children, 56 grandchildren, and 12 greatgrandchildren. That total of course has grown since then. My grandparents were happily married until my grandfather's death in September 1987. Since neither could be at the wedding, it was so very special to me to carry the symbol of their blissful union with me as I walked down the aisle to begin mine with Fred. My Aunt and my father were both of the opinion that it would not fit, but my aunt wanted me to keep it and wear it somehow on our wedding day. When I tried it on my right ring finger, it fit just perfectly, and there it has stayed ever since. So... on my left hand is my diamond and sapphire engagement ring and my wedding band, on my right hand is my first engagement ring, and my grandmother's wedding band. I take the engagement rings off on occasion to clean them (though I do insist on Fred putting them back on my fingers), but the bands stay exactly where my aunt and my husband placed each one.