Oh my goodness, I'm a bride, I'm a bride, I'm a bride! My mind is still a blur of rare reunions, crazy errands, congratulations, good food and drink, beautiful flowers, candlelight, new family, old friends, international travel, taxis and airports. Lots of airports.
I write this from "de koffie salon," a trendy spot for the cafe-con-laptop set located in Helmersbuurt, my neighborhood in Amsterdam. It's good to be back, yet difficult to leave all those hugs and laughs behind. Ay, the familiar heartache, well-known to any expat after a trip back to the loved ones. If home is where the heart is, then there is a lot of home very, very far away from me.
Of all the images in my head from my whirlwind wedding week in Bennington, Vermont, what sticks out are memories of smiling faces. I can't think of one single week in which I have been so genuinely, constantly, deeply happy, nor been around so many people who were genuinely happy for me.
All the essential ingredients came together at the end, with perhaps the exception of the "Perfect Bridal Thank You Speech" that I had envisioned myself giving. A toast which would succinctly, orginally and pefectly express my gratitude to all attending and all behind the scenes.
Somewhere between arriving from Europe and arranging my last-minute makeup and hair my uncompleted speech fell by the wayside. To brides thinking they can finish that speech in the last week: you can't.
There were times when I wondered if I could really organize a New England wedding from Holland in three-and-a-half months. And without the help of many helpful hands, it would have been impossible.
Both the Laumeister and Miller families helped in countless ways and they showed up in force. From California to North Carolina, New York to Virginia, and more. The time flew, I was so happy to see everyone and so shocked when it was all over! To those of you with whom I had little time, fear not, I know you were there, and your presence meant the world to me: thank you.
Our chosen families showed up in force as well. My "brother" Bill Henry, whom I've known since elementary school, tackled the distribution and assemblage of the invitations and generally provided moral support and good humor throughout the weekend. Kristen Kauffman, my sweet Dallas "sister" was my outstanding WOH (Woman of Honor!), and steadied me as I was dissembling my updo for the twelfth time just moments before the wedding. Kristi, you
know I could not have done it without you. David Powers and the Happy Hostages. David, for being an exemplary best man, full of special, dear surprises for us, and who coralled our dear U.Va. buddies and showed up en force. To Eric Despard, who played beautiful classical guitar during the event, providing the perfect musical note.
Our wedding was the product of many loving hands, hearts and minds; and this space is not adequate to list them all, nor to adequately thank the ones that are listed. But, to everyone who took the time, energy and effort to be in attendance at this milestone in our lives, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
To old family, new family, old friends and new friends, to all who had a hand or sent a gift or a card...you know who you are, and so do I, and a written thank-you will find its way to you in time, but know that our hearts are full of gratitude for you.
Mrs. Brett Laumeister