Tag Archives: Wedding

The second happiest day of my life…..

The second happiest day of my life…..
November 27th, 2014 Our Catholic Wedding Ceremony

November 27th, 2014 Our Catholic Wedding Ceremony

On Friday, the 4th of August, 1983 I married the love of my life in Clearwater, Florida. Rev. Comer of the Clearwater First Methodist Church presided over the ceremony. My dear friend and co-worker Susan Miles attended this church and suggested it for our ceremony since we were not able to be married in the Catholic church because I had been divorced.

For 31 years I attended mass and took communion against Catholic doctrine. My children were all raised Catholic and received all sacraments on time. I love the tradition of the Roman Catholic religion and felt as Catholic as the person sitting next to me until it was time for communion. When I would approach the priest, I would hold my hands out to receive the host and say “amen” just like everyone before and after me….but I felt the priest had to know that I was living a lie. I was NOT the dutiful Catholic I pretended to be. I felt guilty and ashamed and alienated.

In October, 2013 I attended a retreat at our parish called Christ Renews His Parish or CRHP pronounced “chirp” by past attendees. The weekend was life changing for me. The most important revelation was that I had been Catholic since my Grandmother had baptized me when I was 6 weeks old.

After the weekend, with the help of Deacon Dan Scrone, I navigated the required paperwork and became a legal Roman Catholic. All my sacraments were validated and I was a true Roman Catholic.

My dream was to be married in the Catholic Church so that when I received holy communion, I could do so with the same pride and intent as every other Catholic.

God was certainly busy putting all the desires of my heart into action before I was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in April, 2015. I thank Him every day for placing my church family deeply into my heart. Their prayers and support during the difficult time ahead after that CRHP weekend would be invaluable.

Thank you my sweet Jesus!

It's official.....

It’s official…..

Our happy family

Our happy family

I do……

I do……

Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Christopher Garrity


Eight months have passed since that autumn day in October when our beautiful daughter, Lindsay became Mrs. Matthew C. Garrity. Much like the last eight months, the wedding we had been planning sped by quickly. Even now I reflect on it and an image pops into my head of a small detail. I wonder if I will forget those special touches that marked the occasion unique and so very “Lindsay”. Yet we all have those moments etched in our minds. Points in time when life took on a greater level of meaning and happiness. October 2nd, 2010 was one of those days.

Matt and his father, Jack Garrity.

Tom had entertained the groomsmen at our home where they relaxed around the pool, played cards in the man room and donned their classic black tuxes for the wedding. It was befitting for the groom and his groomsmen to spend the morning in that room. Tom was in his glory.

The groomsmen celebrate!

Lindsay had asked me to spend the entire day at her side. Gladly accommodating, I was with my daughter-bride and her maids at theTPC Clubhouse that can be viewed from our back door. We had taken over the ladies locker room.The TPC staff lavished us with endless champagne and trays of light hors d’oeuvres and fruit and cheese as friends and relatives dropped in to make a delivery or offer help in some way. Margot, our friend and wedding photographer was busy snapping away while Andrea, the make-up artist and Grayzna, our hair stylist prepared the beautiful maids. All the while, Lindsay’s lace dress hung from the chandelier, awaiting the moment when she would don the one element that would set her apart from every other person at the wedding. That dress that had been kept secret from all but the bridesmaids and their Mothers for several months.

A tender moment captured

At one point there was a knock at the door. Audrey answered and In strolled Blake, Matt’s cousin and one of his Best Men holding a wrapped box and a letter. He handed Lindsay the gift and waited for her to open it, a camera for the honeymoon. Audrey read the letter from Matt aloud as we all melted! His words were touching and sweet and full of love. Blake gave Lindsay a hug and told her he would see her at the church and returned to groomsmen. Then Audrey left to deliver Matt’s special gift, a beautiful watch to remind him of the day and a letter full of love and promises.

The morning sun was peeking through puffy white clouds that turned a dark grey by noon. There had been big plans for The Lawn behind the TPC Clubhouse after the church ceremony and prior to the reception in the Ponte Vedra Grand Ballroom on the second floor of the Clubhouse a Spanish revival architecture building that although was built in 2009, appears to be hundreds of years old. There had been no rain for several weeks and there was no more than a twenty percent chance. But, around 12:30 the skies opened up and it poured for half an hour, just long enough to turn the lawn to a soggy green sponge. Certainly no place for a soft white bridal gown and maids in trailing yellow-gold bobbinette, not to mention the guests in those stylish stilettos. The wedding coordinator made the decision and informed the Father of the Bride there would be no hot air balloon champagne toasts or outdoor bar.The guitar player would join the harp player in the grand foyer and the bars and high boys set up on the gallery overlooking the foyer. It is written that a bit of rain on your wedding day will bring your marriage good luck.

Our floral designer, Liza Chung is an accomplished stylist and had outdone herself with Lindsay’s wedding design. The bridal bouquet and bridal party bouquets arrived in two huge baskets. Lindsay’s bouquet burst with blush peonies, creamy white roses, cala lillies and gentle cymbidium orchids. The blunt cut stems were tightly wound with cream colored ribbon held with pearl headed pins. The maids bouquets were a smaller version of Lindsay’s. Liza is truly an artist.

A white stretch limo would pick up the bride, myself and the maids after delivering the Groom, his future Father in Law and his groomsmen, that included Matt’s Father as best man to the church a short five minute drive away. As we waited for the limo to arrive Margot captured amazing images of Lindsay and the Bridesmaids and me around the picturesque clubhouse. The rain had freshened the air and we felt like we were floating on a cloud in anticipation. Visitors to the clubhouse stopped and smiled when they saw us. Who doesn’t like a wedding?

The Bride and her maids.

Liza and her “divas” motioned for us to come up the grand staircase and take a peek at the site of the reception. When we opened the door I could smell the flowers. The huge rustic iron chandeliers were draped with ropes of small pearls. The tables varied in design so as not to overstate. Some tables boasted four foot tall glass vessels filled with pearls and bursting over with huge sprays of blush peonies, roses and cymbidium orchids with the soft golden glow of waves of votives beneath. Other tables held glass blocks filled with glass gems and holding trails of cymbidium orchids and more votives. Some tables were centered with a collection of clear wine bottles topped with flickering tapers and more blush peonies, cream roses in bowls. In the middle of each table was a small wooden toy bi-plane with a gold number painted on it’s wings. The theme was flight and adventure in keeping with Matt’s proposal and the stunt plane. At the end of the dance floor was a smaller sweetheart table with crystal bowls brimming with peonies, roses, and orchids. The soft glow from the candles that covered the table was angelic. Two place settings set side by side where the bride and groom would eat their first meal together as husband and wife. When the doors were flung open welcoming everyone to the reception it would be magical.

The sweetheart table

Finally, our carriage arrived and the girls carefully stepped into the limo with their bouquets. Lindsay and I were the last to enter. Matt’s desire was coming to meet him at the beautiful church where they would speak their vows and begin the adventure of their lives as one. She was on her way to say….”I do”.

Dining and dancing to follow…

Dining and dancing to follow…

Matt and Lindsay had set the date, October 2nd, 2010. 10-2-10 we laughed. The next step was to determine how many guests we would invite. That would lead us to a very big decision-the reception site. Ponte Vedra beach is a small town and has only a few places that can accommodate over 200 guests. We needed to begin our selection process right away if they wanted to secure the date. We arranged a meeting with the wedding coordinator to at TPC of Sawgrass for the four of us to attend. This would be their very first step down the aisle.

Lindsay was certain her expectations and those of her Father for her wedding day were going to be a challenge.  She had always been the type of person who enjoyed simple things. And her Father let’s just say could be considered an…”over the top” kind of guy. Matthew seemed pleased with any decision that made Lindsay happy, and of course, made Tommy happy too.  I was stuck somewhere in the middle, explaining both sides and trying to keep everyone from killing each other. That was no simple task

After our meeting with TPC we knew we had started at the top of the list, the absolute greatest venue in the area.  It would be difficult to find any place that could accommodate our group and ever compare to the stately opulence of the 77,000 square foot Spanish Revival styled, world famous TPC Clubhouse. Plus, the people who worked at the club were like family to the Zitiello’s. The clubhouse literally sits in our backyard and has been the”home course” for our family AND is the sole reason we bought the lot and constructed our home here over 18 years ago. It was only fitting that our one and only daughter hold her wedding reception at the famed TPC of Sawgrass Clubhouse.  But, Lindsay wanted to proceed slowly.  She had to think about it.  And, that is a good thing!

During the meeting with the TPC staff we poured over the menus and discussed the possibilities. It was revealed that the bride and groom would receive some “perks”.  Special chiavari chairs, a honeymoon suite at the Sawgrass Marriott for the evening, AND a one year club membership!  Matt was sold!

After just two weeks Lindsay agreed there was no reason to look any further. It was decided, we would hold an epic reception at the TPC of Sawgrass Clubhouse on October 2, 2010 and a deposit was made to secure the date.

We wish to thank……..

We wish to thank……..

The wedding is fast approaching and our family needs to be thinking about toasts or tributes we might be called upon to make. My husband is a great proponent of  toasts, always ready to click the glass and express his personal thoughts at a celebration, a kindness, a success, any reason to lend an encouraging word…or fifty words. Every family member has experienced this practice since they were old enough to understand English, and has been encouraged to actively participate. The children were taught early on the importance of this ritual even if it is as simple as “I love Grandma because she makes the best meatballs.” Not everyone is comfortable with being put on the spot in this way.  But, every so often I am touched by the sincere and oft profound words that flow from the mouth of a family member as the tradition circles our dinner table. As the Mother of the Bride, I need to prepare something to say at the bridal shower.  And it needs to be good.

With any milestone passage, we naturally reflect on the person and others who have been a support along the way. It is simple for me to gush about my lovely daughter and her equally lovely friends. In fact, this might be the only acceptable time for a mom to get it all out without her daughter rolling her eyes or anyone else being brought to nausea.  I will have the floor, I will have their complete and utter attention so reflect I will.

The bridal shower is a charming tradition.  It is the one day according to “The Knot” when the bride  should be treated as the center of attention.  The shower will be be completely and totally all about her. I want to collect my thoughts over time so that I am totally prepared and so that I weed out those things that would be better left unsaid. Like the day we were driving in the car on the way to the mall and the girls asked me a question about oral sex. And how I prayed at the very moment that God would give me the exact words that I should say.  Oh, and that my face would not reflect my horror at the thought of these innocents even thinking about that.  But, more importantly I want to be sure I touch on those important things. Like the day she finally admitted she thought Matthew was the one. When she shared her dreams with me about her life and her love. I love that there are bridal showers to allow us all to get an intimate glimpse of the lives of those we hold so dear.

So, I am going to tie up my walking shoes and think about what I want to say that day.  I pray it will honor her and show her how much she means to me, her Dad,our entire family and all of our close and dear friends.  I have  5 mos, 9 days, 6 hours and 25 mins. to get it right.

Fairy tales do come true…

Fairy tales do come true…

As a Mother, I dreamed of a “…happily ever after” to my “Once upon a time…” Most Fathers dream of an entire baseball team of their miniature selves running bases and hitting balls out of the park. Rarely does the dream-team include offspring of the female gender.  God blessed Tom and I with two athletic boys before He gave us a soft and sweet eight pound little girl. Now, with the addition of this pink bundle of joy, my Prince and I were on our way to writing our own fairy tale.

Growing up in my time meant hearing or reading colorful books of wonderful tales like “The Littlest Angel” and “Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates.”  VCR’s or DVD’s of Walt Disney Classics had yet to be. It was up to the writer and the reader to provide children with the special effects, costume design, sound and musical score. But, we somehow managed to bring those classic stories to life.  Often the stories would continue to unfold even after the book had been closed and the light turned off. Like the black and white pages of a color book, the Cinderella gown became pale blue and the Princes’s coat royal blue as the ocean as they danced across the ballroom floor with the clock ticking toward midnight. All left to the imagination of a child.

When I saw my little girl, now a grown woman, emerge from the dressing room in her very first selection of a wedding gown, it took my breath away.  It really would not matter which of the gowns she chose.  Each one more beautiful than the last.  It was like going back to that story book.  It was like the dream I had never been fortunate enough to live.

It took two shopping trips to find the dress.  And when she decided, we, the Mother of the Groom, the Bridesmaids and I, agreed the dress was perfect. It was the gown that made her face light up.  The dress that transformed her from that young woman to a Bride. She had found her beautiful gown. This dress would lift her Father to a level of pride he would find difficult to contain. The dress that would bring a tear to her Grooms eye when he finally saw it.The biggest piece to a picture she had held in her mind of the day she would marry the man who would give her her happy ending.

One thing I have learned … if you wait long enough….fairy tales do come true. Thank you my handsome Prince for being able to make dreams come true for both Lindsay and me.

P.S. After the wedding I will post the picture of Lindsay in her wedding gown at the Bridal Salon when she first decided it was the one.