I've been in mourning. Perhaps writing this post earlier would have helped me work through the pain, but instead I have chosen to become depressed and allow an angry gloom to settle over me.
It wasn't always this way. Let's look back, and see how a joyous occasion, Diana's wedding, could be so wonderful that when it was over, it's absence has caused me to suffer a pain of the worst kind.
(This is getting dramatic. I hope you like this post, Diana!)
Dark and early on January 4, 2013, Hope and I ventured out into the the chilled streets of Chicago, power walking to the cold train station, luggage in tow, and then up a flight to the train platform, our bodies angry that we required so much so early. The train came, and then the train stopped.
It just stopped.
The red line picked us up at Sheridan, and took us only to North Ave, where an announcement was made that there is some smoke on the train ahead, and maybe we should find another way to get where we needed to be.
Hope and I looked at each other, contemplating alternate routes to Midway, and by the time we came out of the train station we decided to Uber. Uber is the best thing that has ever happened to me. In under three minutes we were in a taxi. Of course, everyone else on the train tried to take my Uber, but it wasn't for them, it was for me, and I love it that way. I can go on and on about Uber, if you want to hear it, but that isn't what this is all about. Uber was simply a sign that this was going to be a great day. Things were going to work out.
The flight to Atlanta was easy, and when we landed it... wasn't cold. We took a plane pic to send to Diana to get her excited about our arrival. You know, just in case she needed something to be excited about.
We got our rental car (Thanks Diana!) And proceeded to get a little bit lost, but found our way to Ross and Chick-fil-a, where we acquired a last minute item and also lunch, so really we weren't lost at all.
Then, to drive to Diana's house. I was the navigator and also the DJ, and tried to make Hope listen to country for a little bit. I tried to convince her that we should keep listening because Kenny Chesney's "How Forever Feels" was playing and that is about weddings at the end, and we were in Atlanta for a WEDDING! She let me listen and sing to it but all her eye rolling caused some swerving, so I decided to change it after the song was over.
Atlanta is so pretty. I love it. It's green! And trees! And hills! LOVE!
Chicago is not green. And it's flat.
Soon we were at the Carlson homestead, and it was lovely and bright and full of wonderful people and wedding preparations. I loved it. It was so good to see Diana and realize that this is HAPPENING. So many nights we've stayed up trying to figure out life, consuming copious amounts of popcorn, laughing and crying, sharing our fears and concerns, our loves and our testimonies, and now here we are, together again to celebrate a wonderful event that none of us could have ever predicted.
And believe me, we had tried.
That afternoon we went for manicures and pedicures, and were surprised when Diana's mom ended up treating us! Aww, thanks Barbara!
This is Diana's lovely bridal hand:
After the nail salon, we went back to the Carlsons to help with some wedding prep and entertain Diana as she packed for her honeymoon.
I think one of my favorite parts of the Carlson residence is that if you are hungry, you can just browse the kitchen and you will find freshly picked produce. It's great. However I had to take it easy because we were heading to the rehearsal dinner soon. BUT, we had to do some waiting, and when I wait, I use the resources available to me, and I ended up with some lovely artwork:
Did I mention we were waiting for Omar? I officially met him and this artwork was his first impression of me. I couldn't ask for anything more.
However, in the spirit of the weekend, more was given! The rehearsal dinner was at Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, and I LOVE seafood!
After a sizable salad with a pound of delicious feta cheese, I partook of the Big Bay Platter:
Let me tell you about it. Grilled shrimp, Caribbean lobster tail & shrimp montage, with fresh green beans & dirty rice. It was amazing. It changed my life. I couldn't stop talking about it.
And then, creme brulee!
The food was outstanding. And the company was fabulous! It's kind of scary going to these things when you don't really know everyone. But then you just have to remember that these are the closest and dearest people to the bride and groom, so obviously everyone would be great! And they were!
Diana, in just another display of kindness, let us sleep in the next morning. Her mother made a large pot of grits, so I had a heaping bowl full of something I may never completely understand. I just don't GET grits. I'm not sure what the hang up is, but I'm hung up. I did research on the grit, I tried different toppings on the grit, and I still don't get it. Still, in the course of the morning I ended up eating three bowls of grits. Go figure.
Lisa worked her magic with hair and makeup, I ate grits, and Hope provided the Wisps. Soon, Diana was ready. SHE LOOKED AMAZING, and she wasn't even in her gown yet.
This was going to be a good day.
I rode over to the temple with Diana's brother, sister in law, and her sister in law's sister and husband, where I tried to convince everyone that we needed a ridiculous hashtag to social media attack this wedding. Only her SIL, Katey, was with me, and everyone else proved to be unmoved by the social media hashtag phenomenon.
Sigh. As a result, this wedding was not as covered on the social network sites as maybe I would have liked, however it's lack of presence did add to it's exclusivity, which I LOVE.
A few things: The inside of the Atlanta temple is gorgeous. It was recently redone, and it is amazing.
The waiting room was filled with reverent excitement as we anticipated the joyous union of these two wonderful people. As we filed into the sealing room, I felt the joy and peace the temple always brings.
The sealing was beautiful. I wish I could say more about it, but that's all we can do for now. You should just know it was perfect.
One of my favorite parts of the whole experience was when we were leaving the room, giving hugs, and when I got to Diana's mom, Barbara whispered, "The flowers are in the temple."
Hmm.. I didn't read every Nancy Drew book for nothing. I'm on this. I'm gonna find those flowers.
I tried my best, I really did, but I got distracted by some mints, and helping Diana get ready for her grand exit. Don't worry, the flowers were taken care of. I don't know how I managed it, but I was around when Omar saw his new wife for the first time in her gorgeous wedding gown. It was such a great moment, and I hope I wasn't intruding.
That's my ring. I've got to entertain myself while I wait for my turn to be in pictures, you know.
So, I did some Instagraming,
Watched these guys almost fall off the roof,
Took some paparazzi shots,
And kept up a pretty steady monologue in an effort to entertain myself and others.
When we were dismissed, Lisa, Hope and I had a plan to get something to eat. I desired pancakes. However, warm Southern hospitality prevailed, and we were invited to hang out with the rest of the wedding party. The local Atlanta wedding party. Diana and Omar have really great friends. I'm so glad she was able to make such great friends when she moved back. AND, did you know that one of their friends made us pancakes?! It was great. I maybe shouldn't have eaten as many pancakes as I did, cause there was some epic food to come.
The reception was held at 3109 Piedmont Estate and Gardens. According to various sources, this was the oldest home in Georgia, and it was moved to Atlanta, brick by brick, and made into an amazing event venue. I feel fine about that story. The place really was gorgeous.
They had a hot chocolate bar, a signature drink (which I hear was inspired by a brunch Diana and I shared at Birchwood Kitchen), passed appetizers (I hung out by the kitchen doors), a buffet, chef attended stations, cake, and a dessert bar.
I. was. so. happy.
Also, there was shrimp and grits at the reception. You know, cause grits is a thing.
Diana and her Dad! It was beautiful to watch, because, you know, they both know how to dance.
I'm still full. And, as previously stated on facelame, "Everything I eat for the rest of my life will have to live in the shadow of everything I ate this weekend"
And that's the truth.
It was a wonderful celebration, and I'm so glad I was able to come down and be a part of it. Thanks to Diana, Atlanta will always have a special place in my heart.
We bid them farewell with sparklers.
I love sparklers.
And then, it was over. I had to say goodbye to new friends, but there was still the excitement of becoming friends on Facelame to look forward to.
The parting gift was a small bag of popcorn kernels, with the recipe for kettle corn.
Aww, I can't wait to visit you Diana!
And, you know, get to know Omar. Who I still continue to call Carlos. I just can't shake it.
It was the best weekend ever. It was full of love, warmth, happiness, friendships old and new, and the center of it all was a sacred union.
Now can you see why I didn't want to come back to Chicago?