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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Meghan and Drew's Wedding

I was afraid I wouldn't be able to sleep on Thursday night after Kurt helped me get packed for Chicago. We had a little fashion show to make sure I was properly accessorized! With a rehearsal dinner on Friday, pre-wedding brunch, 1 p.m. ceremony and black tie reception -- not to mention the change of seasons -- there was MUCH thought put into ye olde wardrobe.

When we met at the airport, Neil and Nate were amused to see how much smaller my bag was than theirs, but they each had to bring a suit and a tux.
We found Hilary knee-deep in Harry Potter in the lobby of the Westin on Michigan Avenue and checked into our rooms before heading for a late lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. Normally, I would refuse to eat at a chain restaurant while traveling, but due to the fact we don't have a CF in NYC, I let that one slide. (I'd like to give a shout out to my mom, the creator of the guidelines for chain restaurants while traveling...and the approver of the hometown loophole.)

Outside the window, we could see a rainbow over Lake Michigan, which the priest later sweetly said was Meghan's dad smiling down on us. It has been just a little over a year since he passed away, and there were lovely toasts and tributes to him throughout the weekend.
During the rehearsal, Hilary and I tried to get a sense of the space. St. James Chapel at the Archibishop Quigley Center is modeled on Sainte Chapelle in Paris, but it's a bit of an echo chamber. The priest assured us we could not speak too slowly. Yours truly does love a chance to get in front of a microphone!

Following the rehearsal, we went to Fulton's on the River for a delicious dinner hosted by Drew's parents.
Poor Scotty was still en route from New Orleans after a flight cancellation, so Hilary joined me in conversation with the "twenty-somethings" at the singles table. (Good thing I wore my "cougar dress" to prey on the young'uns.) The highlight of the dinner was this exchange with a sweet 24-year-old blonde who is engaged to one of Drew's friends. (There is a tiny bit of an age difference between the bride and groom.) 

"Wait, you're how old?" the sweet young thing inquired when Hilary and I casually mentioned our ages.

"Thirty-five. We both just had our birthdays last month."

"No way. You're pulling my leg. What's your beauty secret?"

"Um...easy on the alcohol? No drugs?" Hilary noted we don't have kids, so we tend to get a full night's sleep. 

"WOW -- you girls both look SO GOOD for THIRTY-FIVE! Seriously -- what products do you use?"   

When we showed her our friend Amy, who looks like a runway model and has two kids, the girl thought Amy needed to be checked into a lab for testing. Hilary noted it was a good thing we'd left our walkers at coat check.

Perhaps we should have said our secret is having a healthy appetite!
The first course was a salad with pecans and goat cheese. The entree was quite superb: a duet of filet and a crab cake, in honor of Meghan's Baltimore roots. I forgot to get a photo of dessert, but it was three cylinders, one each of chocolate mousse, key lime pie and carrot cake. Good thing I didn't fill up at the Cheesecake Factory!

The next morning was another food highlight: a pre-wedding brunch at the Four Seasons.
I was quite impressed! For my "main course," I had an omelette with goat cheese and salmon, with some of the Wisconsin bacon in Drew's honor. Scotty and I split a bananas foster waffle for dessert, which was absolute heaven. I limited myself to one bloody one wants a sloppy, slurry reader in the pulpit.

We left early for the church to get a few minutes alone with the microphone for practice. Scotty did the first reading from Sirach, Hilary did the second reading from Hebrews, and I read the responsive prayers. One of the chapel coordinators provided us with some "coaching."  
The ceremony was lovely, and Meghan was a stunning bride. Watching Meghan and her Mom come down the aisle was particularly touching.
Once the ceremony was over, we had several hours until the reception, so we chatted in the hotel bar for most of the afternoon. I hated not to take better advantage of Chicago, but I've been there several times, and it was chilly outside!

The reception was at the Museum of Contemporary Art, with a view of the sun setting over Lake Michigan. When we arrived, Meghan had her own special plate of hors d'oeuvres to make sure she had something in her stomach to get through the hours of visiting with her guests. Smart planning!
I did not keep a complete list of the hors d'oeuvres, but I think everyone was particularly taken by the tuna tartare in sesame cones.
Another fun treat: the Southside cocktails, a signature drink from Meghan's parents' club in Baltimore.
Dinner was fantastic. I saved the menu: Salad of Red and Green Baby Romaine, Brioche Parmesan Cruton, Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes, Buratta Cheese, and Basil Vinaigrette. It was served with Assorted Wolfgang Puck Breads, Flatbreads, and Sweet Cream Butter.
The entree was a duet: Miso Glazed King Wild Salmon with Carrot Ginger Puree, "5" Spiced Red Wine Reduction and Tempura Shiso Leaves AND Braised Short Rib with Spring Onions, Asparagus, Wasabi Mashed Potatoes and Sauce Bearnaise.
Delicious! I forgot to get a photo of the wedding cake, which may or may not have been due to having too many Southsides and/or being too busy dancing with sweet young 27-year-old gentlemen...

We had an awesome time dancing, and I was very glad I'd gone for comfort over fashion with my footwear...even though I still danced up two blisters on my big toes. And fret not, they were still fashionable black peep-toed shoes, just not my strappy silver ones.

Sunday morning brought sunny skies and a chance for a pre-brunch walk along Lake Michigan.
We had brunch at the Ritz, where there were several orders of eggs benedict. My eggs sardou looked a looked thin on arrival, but Scotty shared her hash browns with me. Between that, some toast, and a few glasses of fresh-squeezed orange juice, I was all set for the journey home.
Being in Chicago got me thinking back to 2003, when Meghan had just moved to Chicago and I visited her for the first time.
Little did we know then that in about six months, we'd both start working for the same company...which would eventually lead her to meet Drew. Now they are beginning their journey as a married couple in the Windy City. Life is beautiful!


runner15 said...

Lyns, this was so much fun to read! This weekend reaffirmed the way I've always lucky to have amazing friends! By the way, I am laughing about the "coaching" - clearly I was really interested in what she had to say!

Dee Stephens said...

yes,very fun post! Love that blue dress on you! Very pretty and sexy! :)