Seattle Wedding Weekend – Jayson and Paula

15 06 2008

Jayson and Paula and I drove up to Seattle on that Thursday morning before the wedding – well, Jayson drove while Paula and I cut lengths of the ribbon that would adorn the wedding programs that the girls would be assembling over the course of the next 2 days. Upon arriving into Seattle-proper, we had to get Paula to her last-minute dress-rehearsal for her wedding hair style at a fantastic Aveda salon in Ballard, WA, which was actually our second stop of the day – the first stop being at the courthouse downtown where the Leaches-to-be acquired their wedding license. I took the wheel from there, as Paula was more comfortable navigating from the passenger seat via “Diana: Princess of Directions,” aka: Verizon’s GPS navigational system on Paula’s cell phone. Diana is brilliant and was without flaw the entire weekend, as far as we are concerned. At the salon, I busted out my mini-paper cutter and was able to finish half of the wedding program pages during Paula’s hair appointment. Luckily I had put together at least one rough prototype of the finished product, so the girls at the salon were able to see the final draft of the crazy work I had been doing all afternoon!




We had to book it across the floating (not kidding) I-520 bridge over Lake Washington to the Woodmark Hotel and ended up changing into our rehearsal apparel in the hotel’s public restrooms – one of my favorite moments from the weekend, actually! Of course, we were rushing around like crazy people, only to have to sit in the lobby for about 45 minutes while we waited for parents and the various other rehearsing members of the wedding party to arrive.


Rehearsal went fairly smoothly… I mean, who hasn’t been to a wedding before… we pretty much all get the idea. Then on to dinner at an Italian restaurant down the street. We checked into our hotel after dinner and went straight to work on program assembly. More cutting. Some gluing. Some photo taping. We definitely didn’t finish, but at least we put a nice big dent in the project. Tomorrow was going to be a busy one.


The Wedding Weekend Itinerary proved to be a very valuable asset throughout the weekend. Especially the address-and-phone-number section, since we had “Diana” to fill in the blanks between the Courtyard Marriott and Habitude Salon. It also allowed for a little bit more autonomy among bridesmaids… though there were still quite a few “when do we have to…?” and “where are we supposed to…?” questions still asked. Our drizzly Friday began at Starbucks – very conveniently located below our hotel’s lobby. Though if there weren’t one underneath the exact roof we slept under, there were undoubtedly seven others within eye-sight of the hotel’s front door… this is Seattle, people – the Starbucks capital of the universe. From Starbucks we caravanned over to the nail salon for manicures and/or pedicures. I made a quick voyage over to Fred Meyer (ahhh, one stop shopping at its Pacific NW finest!) for a basket to hold our still-not-quite-completed-programs and other wedding-day essentials.


Now, while the girls were scurrying all over the greater Seattle metropolitan area, there were a few things on the boys’ agenda as well. Golf being first and foremost. But, to be fair, they did have a few important responsibilities as well. Someone (I think it ended up being Jayson’s dad) had to go to this house somewhere to pick up the peach overlays for all of the tables – these were a last-second acquisition as they had to come on special-order. Jayson was also in charge of finalizing the cake-ordering – ice cream cakes, to be exact. According to the owner of the Dairy Queen nearest to the Woodmark Hotel (whom you will later come to know as The Person Who Saved the Wedding) would only require 2 days notice… Jayson later confided to me (I don’t think we ever mentioned it to Paula) that this was the case for ordering a single cake… not the FOURTEEN round ice cream cakes that Jayson ordered on Thursday afternoon. Yes, I said fourteen. There would be seven 8-inch round cakes stacked onto seven 10-inch round cakes. Jayson’s father constructed six “stands” of varying heights that would, with the lowest level being the actual table surface, hold each 2-cake stack in a cascading spiral. Each cake was very minimally decorated – only white “frosting” (also ice cream?) because they were each to have a peach ribbon wrapped around them. Problem: there were ZERO peach ribbons in all of the west-Portland fabric and craft stores we tried. Problem 2: there were ZERO peach ribbons in the Seattle-area fabric and craft stores that we and Jayson’s mother tried.


After our hand and/or feet pampering, we girls made the executive decision to divide and conquer. Paula was in search of a garter and there was still the looming peach ribbon dilemma. Mary and I were on ribbon duty. The first place we tried had (all together now) ZERO peach ribbon. Which brought us to our last-chance – Hancock Fabrics. By this time, we knew we had to return with something – so we decided we could settle for a pretty black ribbon if necessary. We found a by-the-spool bin full of various widths of many different colors of ribbon… and they have PEACH!!! After some quick cell-phone-calculator computations requiring a blast-from-the-past dating back to high school geometry (circumference = 2πr) we decided on a two-ribbon style with a 3/4-inch width along the bottom of each cake with a 1/8-inch ribbon above it. Fantastic. Mary and I are now the self-proclaimed MVPs of this wedding, and we may or may not have high-fived in Hancock Fabrics. And to top off the wondrous find, as I’m standing in line to pay the $6 for our ribbon, I get a phone call from my Dad saying that my little brother Mark had been drafted by the New York Mets!!! What a great day this has turned out to be!


Peach ribbon in hand, we return to the hotel to continue work on the programs. The other girls arrived bearing pizza, salads, and caffeinated sodas, all of which were scrumptious! We knocked out the rest of the wedding programs – which were beautiful, and if I had my camera I’d be able to post a photo – and got ready to go to one of Paula’s favorite restaurants in Seattle. It was here where some distressing news arrived… the Woodmark Hotel would not supply freezer space to accommodate the ice cream cakes. The ice cream cakes they have known about since Day 1 of Paula and Jayson’s we-want-to-have-our-wedding-here talks. Long story short… Kris, the owner of the Dairy Queen (remember how I mentioned that she saved the wedding?) volunteered to stack and adorn the cakes with the peach ribbons AND deliver them to the Woodmark Hotel at 9 p.m. – right before the first-dance and cake-cutting was to happen. She went above and beyond, and was most definitely the Queen of Customer Service. After our Mexican feast complete with sangria and margaritas, we headed over to meet up with the boys for a Wedding Party get-together at Chopstix – a dueling piano bar at the base of Queen Ann hill in Seattle. It was a raucous place, with great music and fun sing-alongs. Paula and Jayson were even invited up on stage to do a PG-13 (or so) rated version of “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” 


We left before midnight – mostly because we were almost too exhausted to stay safely seated on the high bar stools, but also because we had a long Wedding Day ahead of us. Mary and Paula and I made a quick late-night-snack stop at Dick’s Drive-In. Paula did the ordering: “We’ll have 3 cheeseburgers, 3 french fries, and I’m getting married tomorrow!” It was classic.


Wedding Day dawned gray… but dry. And at this point, after having spent the past two days trying to stay under cover or dodging rain drops between coverage, we are okay with gray but dry. Mary and I were up and showered early, so we took ourselves down to Starbucks for a calm start to our day, thinking that the other girls would be getting up and ready while we just stayed out of the way. We returned to the room around Paula’s “get up” time of 9:30 a.m. to find two dark hotel rooms and beds still full of sleeping girls. And (according to The Itinerary) we’re supposed to be leaving the hotel at 10:00 a.m. to drop of the peach ribbon with Kris, the Queen of Cakes. While the later-rising girls are getting ready, the earlier-rising girls are organizing bags and belongings and accessories into the “Must Go to the Woodmark Hotel” pile and loading the cars. The assortment of hair and makeup appointments at Habitude Salon thankfully provided plenty of downtime for the bridal party. And naturally we found time to make another Starbucks run.


From Habitude, we went directly to the Woodmark Hotel where the 1 p.m. wedding was winding down. We had a spread of food to nibble on (thank goodness!) and a variety of champagne and beer to sip during the dressing preparations. There were last-minute details to go over with the site coordinator and the florist and the DJ… these were all my duties, in addition to setting up the gift table, arranging the programs and the guest book, being in the room to steam the wedding dress, pinning on boutonnieres for the boys and dads and minister, getting myself dressed, and smiling for the professional photos. It was very thinly-controlled chaos! After a dash to the bathroom with the bride, we were ready to go.



The ceremony was absolutely beautiful, with a stunning view of Lake Washington spread out before us. And the reception went off without a hitch, I’d like to think. There was an amazing array of food and wine and I think everyone had a really wonderful time.





Even the cake debacle worked out exactly according to plan. My favorite moment, however, had to be when Jayson was retrieving the garter. You see, Jayson is a HUGE University of Washington Huskies fan. He’s an alum, and a rabid supporter of all things UW. This pains me and injures my soul on a daily basis, but we have overcome our differences to become great friends – just so long as neither one of us has to do or say anything nice about the other’s school. That being said, this is his wedding day, and Paula’s garter was a tasteful, but plain white with white lace. I sent her to the UW satellite bookstore in Bellevue to locate some accessories that I could use to improve her garter and surprise Jayson. She came back with a mini-windsock with purple and gold ribbons (ack, more ribbons!) and a tiny pair of baby socks with the “W” logo on each sock. I tied the ribbons onto the garter, and stitched (yes, I actually needle-and-thread sewed!) the W’s onto the garter. It was sort of my own special gift to Jayson, and boy was he surprised!!!




My responsibilities did not end with the successful cake arrival or the garter surprise, however. Jayson had given me a key to their hotel suite, so I made sure that all of their luggage and Paula’s bouquet made it upstairs. I also procured a handful of peach rose petals from the florist earlier in the afternoon and scattered them on the bed… you know, just for that wonderful cliché! The bridal staging room was a disaster area, so I had to find the girls (or their respective boys!) to come locate all of their belongings and get them out to the car, as we were supposed to be out of the room by midnight… we may have been close. The hotel concierge loaned me a cart to get the gifts, the guest book, the left over programs, the peach table linens, and the centerpieces all out to Mary’s car – I can’t even imagine what that must have looked like the next day, with the piles of boxes and bags shoved into every nook and cranny… sorry, Mary! Then I lost her keys. Grrrreat. Somehow, my red-wine-brain retraced enough steps to think to check Paula and Jayson’s hotel room – and there they were! No harm, no foul!


But after all was said and done (and said over again, and re-done) Paula and Jayson were both so beautiful and so in love, and I think they had an amazing time. That’s what I’ll remember, and those are the memories I’ll take away from this wonderfully exhausting week.


I have a thing for ferry boats…

13 06 2008

Car… check. Plane… check. Train… check. Boat… check. I definitely hit for the cycle when it comes to transportation options this past weekend! I did not hop a lift on Seattle’s monorail – which as I understand it, would fall into a category separate from the more familiar two-rail (bi-rail? duo-rail?) trains, so I suppose there is still room for improvement in this new vacation check-list.


This year has been one in which I am determined to change my long-held bad attitude toward trying new things. It’s been an ongoing challenging for me, mostly because I just don’t like doing things that I’m not good at already!


So far my self-improvement tasks include playing the guitar – which is very difficult, and I’m VERY not-good at it – and researching fly-fishing lessons – though I was not able to actually partake in said lessons due to scheduling conflicts on their part and other travel endeavors of my own. The newest try-new-things challenge will be another stab at water sports. More specifically, sailing. As in, I want to learn how to do it.


My interest in sailing knowledge and experience was reinvigorated this past weekend when I went on a lovely ferry boat ride to and from Bainbridge Island in Seattle with my parents. It was one of those gorgeous Seattle days that makes you want to up-and-quit your current job (in stiflingly hot and sticky Atlanta), sell your little house with the jungle-esque backyard, and move out to the Sound to work at a shop that rents kayaks or perhaps wait tables or tend bar at a waterfront pub. My imagination quickly concocts a wonderful little life on Bainbridge Island, complete with my condo overlooking the Sound (we definitely walked through several open houses on Sunday afternoon!) and my calm commute into the city aboard Puyallup or any of the other ferry boats that connect the Island to the mainland-city of Seattle, motoring gently over the waters, basking in the breath-taking view of Mt Rainier. Even Dad said the water and the peaceful commute would do wonders for my psyche. Of course, experience (especially those very recent ones, as in the past 3 days in Seattle) jumped in too quickly to remind me of those other Seattle days – the ones where you can’t actually see the Seattle skyline from Bainbridge, let alone Mt Rainier, and that easy ferry ride is actually more akin to a carnival ride at a sketchy county fair. And we ALL know how I feel about carnivals. *shudder*


But I digress. Sailing. It’s so beautiful and at the same time quite physically demanding, I would imagine. I’m not trying to sail to New Zealand or anything, I just want to attain some skills so when I move to an area with fabulous water-ways, I will be ready to partake in the sea-worthiness of it all. Now, I did happen to notice one particular sailboat (that was far too close to the much larger ferry boat, if you ask me) was making a helluva left turn – I realize there are more appropriate nautical terminology, but seriously, I’m just a beginner! – and was tipped waaaaaaay over on its side. Yikes. That’s something I can get used to, right???


So, I would assume that it’s understood that I spent some time in Seattle last weekend? You know, what with all the ferry boat talk and such. I was in my friends’ wedding this past Saturday at the Woodmark Hotel on Lake Washington. (side note for those who are unfamiliar with this are: Bill Gates of heralded Microsoft fame lives on Lake Washington… it’s a nice place!) It was a 3-day marathon of events, appointments, program-assembly, crises, solutions to crises, and Starbucks runs… sometimes several times a day.


But before getting up to Seattle, there was quite a whirlwind of activity down in P-town. After spending the night in Tacoma with one of Mom’s friends (who so graciously picked me up from the Sea-Tac Airport at 10 at night, and took me to the Amtrak station at 7:15 the next morning) I arrived into Portland’s Union Station right before 11:30 a.m.I’m a much bigger fan of going by train than I would have thought. It was lovely! Four big seats all to myself, a movie – “Mad Money” (I didn’t say it was a good movie) – and a 3-ish-hour leisurely tour through the SW Washington/NW Oregon countryside. And all for the bargain price of $22. Just putting enough gas in a car to make the trip would have cost nearly double that!


Portland-time was (as usual) full and quite frenzied. There were wedding programs to design, print, create, and shop for. There was a bridesmaid dress that needed a little surgery (aka: sewing up about an inch or so of the keyhole opening in a not-so-flattering part of the dress). Breakfast Club with the St. V’s gang, which lead into a wonderful orthopedics-unit reunion tour, and I even got to meet Katie’s (brand!) new little Drew! My parents and I had dinner with my super-cool cousin fresh out of her interview (which she just happened to have TOTALLY rocked!) at Wieden+Kennedy – an advertising agency whose clients you may have heard of before: Target, Starbucks, Nike, Coca-Cola, Visa, and ESPN… to name just a few! I met Mom at her school to use the industrial-strength paper cutter to create the black and peach squares that would frame a photo of Paula and Jayson on the cover of their wedding program. We had a big Zarosinski-Grbavac barbeque get-together. And I got to see my genius brother’s amazing final Architecture project mere minutes after he received a rave review! I created and assembled Wedding Weekend Itineraries complete with our daily to-do’s and various appointments and reservations as well as an inclusive address and phone number section for all salons, restaurants, hotels, and cell phone numbers. Oh, by the way, all of this happened between the hours of 12:00 noon on Tuesday and 9:45 a.m. on Thursday. That’s less than 46 hours. Go, Kristen.


Which brings me back to Seattle. Stories about which will have to wait until my exhausted brain can remember how to attach photos into this blog. And there are definitely photos! Only one of the girls has uploaded her digital images onto our group photo-site, but I’m hoping the others will do so very soon. I will unfortunately NOT be able to participate in the shared uploading of photos.


Reason being that my own camera is somewhere between California and Atlanta – I do realize that’s a very non-specific description. You see, brilliant Me left my camera in the way-backseat of the 15-passenger “party van” in St. Louis, Missouri, over Memorial Day weekend. Do not be alarmed. My fabulous St. Louis posse of girlfriends regained control of my camera (in addition to several articles of clothing and the gallons of wine that were purchased from the winery earlier that day) and the next thing I knew, it was on its way across the country to sunny Southern California. Since learning of its new location, I initially had entertained the thought of having the Cali-crew send it on up The-5 to Portland, which in theory would have allowed me to bring it to Seattle to capture all the wonderous wedding moments. Unfortunately, California has been a busy place. So instead, the new plan is for the camera to backtrack eastward and arrive (hopefully unscathed) on my doorstep in Atlanta. I have not heard mention of the camera since coming to this conclusion last week. I hope the camera and I do not pass quietly in the night as I head to LA myself in a mere 13 sleeps. After that (short) long-weekend trip, I’d like to think that I’ll stay close to home for awhile… if only that little travel bug didn’t bite me so often!


Stay tuned for the Seattle Wedding Weekend Adventures!