And Serena! There has never been a sweeter bride. With her beautiful dark hair, blue eyes and pink cheeks, she could have been the model for Snow White. And she was absolutely radiant.
Frank sat right behind me with our good friend Molly, who did a reading during the ceremony. Frank and I couldn't help looking at each other and grinning from time to time. It's so much fun to be at a wedding together and remember our own!
And this couple—they couldn't be more wonderful if they tried. They were simply beaming love and happiness all through the wedding Mass.
When they finally kissed, after saying their vows and exchanging rings, the whole church erupted into spontaneous cheers. That's how excited we all were to see those two get married!
Serena and Anthony have possibly the most romantic love story I've ever heard. I don't want to go into too many details, since it's not my story to tell, but let's just say that Anthony knew she was the one the first moment he laid eyes on her before their freshman year of college at the University of Dallas. Serena, on the other hand, was somehow totally unaware, thinking they just happened to be best friends who had a lot of fun together and got along really well. Anthony patiently bided his time, until after three years he finally asked her out. She hesitantly agreed to one date, but of course she ended up falling in love with him right back, and the rest is history. Their patiently built love story is so beautifully evident in the way they know each other so well and cherish each other so deeply.
Can't you just see the joy on their faces? And that dress—it's just perfect for her! Everyone exclaimed over how beautiful she looked.
We took a bunch of pictures at the church... Here's what the bridesmaids wore if you'd like to see. Serena chose the prettiest, most elegant dresses you can imagine. We all loved them!
Finally it was time to head over to the reception. Here is the lovely couple just before they were introduced as Mr. and Mrs. for the first time!
The reception was elegant and beautiful, filled with all kinds of thoughtful little details that are so Serena. At the head table, there was a little vase of water for each bridesmaid's bouquet:
For favors, Serena made rose-scented candles ... out of tea cups! (Remember when she was collecting all those tea cups a while ago?) I couldn't believe she actually made all of them herself. They even came with coordinating books of matches.
And the wedding cakes fit beautifully with the theme. One was gluten-free, since Serena and some of her family are allergic to gluten. The tea cup on the gluten-free cake was from Serena's first tea set as a little girl.
The toasts were all fantastic. Serena's dad started by asking everyone to clink their glasses so Serena and Anthony had to kiss. Then he said, "I never thought I'd be asking people to help me get someone to kiss my daughter..." That got a lot of laughs! But then he said that Anthony is the one man he would want to kiss his daughter, because he's such a good man who loves Serena so much. It was incredibly sweet.
Serena's dance with her father was spectacular. It started with a sweet, slow song, and then after a minute it picked up into something fast, jazzy and fun (I wish I could remember what the songs were—Molly or Rachel, maybe you can help me?). Serena and her dad can dance! As Frank said, "I saw a whole new side to Serena!" It was a delight to watch and got us all smiling.
The best man was Anthony's brother and he had some darling stories about Anthony as a kid. We found out Anthony took a briefcase to kindergarten—isn't that the cutest mental image? There was also a story about Anthony's love for pens as a little kid. He was always sensible and mature beyond his years, and very sure of what he wanted. How fitting for his sweet love story with Serena.
Then Rachel gave her maid-of-honor speech. I told her she was born to give that speech—it was one of the best wedding toasts I've ever heard. That girl has the sharpest wit and so clearly loves Anthony and Serena so much. She started with, "Now I know that opposites attract ... because Anthony is actually able to get places on time." That brought down the house, and it only got better from there. The speech focused on the virtues Serena and Anthony share that will help strengthen their marriage, and she demonstrated with hilarious and touching anecdotes about each. By the end of the speech, I was crying with laughter—and then it was time for the mother-son dance.
Anthony and his mom danced to a song I'd never heard before—"A song for my son" by Mikki Viereck. Have you ever heard it? It's really beautiful ... and it might make you cry. As I listened to the words of the song—"Be kind, be sweet, be a gentleman"—I thought about how Anthony's mom had taught him those values every day of his life. It's so evident in the man he has become. I thought about the little boy he used to be, who carried a briefcase to kindergarten, and how he loved Serena for so long. I began to tear up a little bit. Then it was time for his and Serena's first dance.
Rachel and Maura, another bridesmaid, sang and played guitar for Serena's and Anthony's first dance. They chose the beautiful song Tailor Made by Colbie Caillat (listen to it on Youtube if you can—it's gorgeous). I'd never heard it before, but the lyrics described their love story so perfectly. And as I watched them dance, lost in the moment and staring into each other's eyes, I just lost it.
I started bawling into my napkin. One of the other bridesmaids, Blanche, grabbed my hand and we cried into our napkins together. Then we smiled through the tears and started laughing, because we were so darn happy. Serena and Anthony were made for each other.
Dang it, guys. I'm getting emotional just writing this post. If I keep going I'm going to start crying again, and we can't have that.
All I can say is, it was a privilege to be in this wedding. I feel like a better person for having witnessed it. Anthony and Serena give such a beautiful example of what marriage can be, just by being who they are. I sure love those two.