Father of the Bride (yes, me!)

My daughter Mary got married two days ago to John, her beau of many years. My wife Joan and I love John, he’s a great guy and a good man, and of course Mary loves him and he loves her, so it is a great match. We pray that they have a long happy life together and the odds seem in their favor, at least if you adjust the odds by factoring in what we know about the two of them personally.

The single most important part of the whole deal — the church ceremony — was beautiful in every way but I won’t speak about that because, we’ll, it’s a personal and not a commercial decision. I mainly want to to mention a couple of the vendors who helped us make Mary and John’s reception a smashing success.

Flowers: Roses & More [Addendum]

Forgot to include this the first time. Flowers for the wedding came from a little shop at the corner of University and upper Greenville, just east of Central: Roses & More. The folks there were really easy and pleasant to work with. During Advent, in Catholic churches anyway, there are no flowers on the altar for regular Masses, so after the ceremony, one of my brothers-in-law gathered up all the flowers and brought ’em over to the reception. They’re now sitting here in our dining room now as I write. I’d take a photo but, four days out, they’re not as beautiful as they were last Saturday. And take my word for it: they were beautiful.

Reception: Maggiano’s at Northpark

The reception was at Maggiano’s Little Italy at Northpark. This turned out to be a perfect choice for us. Their banquet facilities are beautiful. The servers did a great job. The family-style luncheon menu was absolutely delicious. I especially loved the chicken saltimbocca (Italian for “leaps into your mouth”) and the gnocchi with Italian sausage. We’re old fans of Maggiano’s, so the scrumptious food was no surprise.

This success is due ultimately to the fact that Maggiano’s really knows what it’s doing! The event planner we worked with, Elaine, worked closely with my wife to help plan every aspect of the reception from the food and drink menus down to the arrangement of the tables. Elaine understood everything we asked about, indeed, she often anticipated our questions. And then she and Maggiano’s outstanding staff made sure that everything came off beautifully. I’ve got two more unmarried daughters, so we may be hosting another large party at Maggiano’s in the future!

Beautiful Mary on the beautiful staircase at Maggiano’s. I didn’t shoot the wedding myself (denied!!) but I did do the bridal portrait and Maggiano’s provided a lovely background.

Music: Mike Drake Band

Music at the reception was provided by the Mike Drake Band. Shortly after Mary and John’s engagement happened, my wife and I were at Times Ten Cellars in Lakewood to have a glass of wine and Mike Drake Band were providing entertainment for another function. It was love at first listen, and I contacted Mike Drake shortly afterwards. The band plays what I’d call classic jazz and plays it beautifully, in a way that proved to be the perfect compliment to our celebration: good for dancing, and good for just listening.

I’ve worked with some really talented DJs and have in fact recommended some here. But Joan and I really wanted that special something that you get from live music, well performed. We’re now permanent fans of the Mike Drake Band.

Beebe the bride, with veil. By Frosted Art.

Cake: Frosted Art

The cake was by Frosted Art, now something of a legend in the Dallas wedding biz. Mary and John wanted their cake to be different: they wanted the cake “studio” to sculpt a facsimile of Mary’s pet guinea pig Beebe and John’s pet cockatiel Dart as cake toppers, replacing the traditional little bride and groom. Oh, and for the groom’s cake, they thought it would be nice to have a paleontological dig, maybe with a saber-tooth tiger skull. (John’s a field paleontologist.)

Well, you can’t get cakes like that at Albertson’s, or even at some of the otherwise outstanding bakeries that we visited. You want that creative a cake, you will end up fairly quickly at Frosted Art Bakery & Studio, which is located in the design district of Dallas. Guinea pig and a cockatiel? No problem! Seriously, this was hardly a challenge for their artist-bakers. You’ll have to visit their studio to see some of the more amazing challenges they have risen to meet. If I told you here without photos, you wouldn’t believe me.

Oh, and the cakes were dangerously tasty!

(Note that the pictures of Beebe and Dart are by me, but were not taken in situ, that is, on the cake. For that we’ll have to wait for photos from our esteemed photographer Jim Rode. I took these today here at home, after pulling Beebe and Dart out of the laundry room fridge where they’re awaiting further assignments.)

Dart, the cockatiel, with a bow tie.

A wonderful time was had by all

Anyway, if you do it right, dream realistic dreams, and get just a little lucky, you’ll be able to say, when it’s all over, what Joan and I said late that night: that the wedding could have been bigger, and it certainly could have been much more expensive, but it couldn’t have been any more beautiful or more satisfying.

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