This past Saturday a bridal shower took place for our daughter Sarah and her fiancé Corey. (Yes, bridal showers are now held for both the intended bride *and* the groom.)
Thanks to the ingenuity of Sarah's sister, Rebecca, it was held at the Old Town Hall in Salem, Massachusetts.
Now Salem was one of the earliest villages in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620 and others established Salem in 1626. Salem was the fourth village established by the English so one may well imagine that Salem abounds in American history. Like other villages that were established, Salem harbor opens onto the Atlantic Ocean. All early villages were established with easy access to the ocean.
The Old Town Hall in Salem is no longer used as a Town Hall but it is a rather historic site.
So why an historic site for the shower?
When looking at venues for their wedding, Sarah and Corey decided they wanted a very special location. They decided to take a look at Turner Hill Mansion in Ipswich, Ma. They fell in love with the history and the heritage accompanying this venue. As a result, they decided to have a "vintage wedding".
Turner Hill is one of the finest estates on Boston’s historic North Shore. The Elizabethan-style mansion is set among towering pines, formal gardens, rolling lawns and swan ponds.
In 1898, noted turn of the century architect William Rantoul was commissioned by Charles Goodnough Rice & Ann Proctor Rice of Boston to build a grand home. An extensive tour of Europe's historic castles and manors provided the Rice's and Mr. Rantoul with vision and inspiration for the home.
Completed in 1903, the mansion boasts hand-molded plaster ceilings, vivid wall friezes, gleaming oak hardwood floors and hand-carved paneling, doors and stairways. The reception hall’s wildlife motifs and windows were modeled after Haddington Hall in Scotland. These features constitute a structural work of art that could rarely be replicated today. At Turner Hill, the Rices raised their children and entertained their family and friends in grand style in the early 1900’s. A young George Patton (known as General Patton of WWII) was a frequent guest of Turner Hill and once entertained party guests from the book ladder in the library.
Shortly after Mr. Rice passed away in 1943, the estate was sold to The Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, and the property was converted to ministry and spiritual retreat uses.
In a previous blog I talked about the La Salette Shrine and how I used to take my grandmother Arthémise Dumais Lévesque to the shrine on Sundays in the summer months. She was very religious and really enjoyed her visits to La Salette with me as we were very close. Who would ever have thought that all of these years later, our youngest daughter would be married in this special place in one of the beautiful gardens.. a place that holds so many special memories for me of those special summer Sunday afternoons with my grandmother. I still cannot believe it!
In 1997, the Raymond Property Company purchased Turner Hill from the La Salette order, and worked to restore the property to its original splendor, and to reinvent the estate as a once-in-a-lifetime retreat for a new generation of guests and residents.It is only since 2008 that weddings have been held at Turner Hill.
So as you see, there is a great deal of history in choosing this location including some personal family history with me and my grandmother.
How do Sarah and Corey plan to make this a vintage wedding that is reflective our families' heritage? They have planned well.
First Sarah, her sister and I went looking for her wedding dress. We looked at many beautiful dresses but none of them were "just right". One Saturday we went to a bridal shop and rather than what we know as the traditional white wedding dress, Sarah opted for a dress that is off-white and gold. Let me say that when she came out of the dressing room we were speechless - this was *it* this was defintely the dress she had been searching for. The dress has no train so to compliment the dress and to create a train Sarah tried on a very long custom made veil. Perfect! The veil has been made to compliment the dress. It is off-white with wide matching gold trim that matches the gold brocade on the dress. Yes, perfect indeed!
So that part of the "vintage" plan accomplished. What else could make this vintage wedding in keeping with both Sarah and Corey's heritage... they have scanned photos of the two families. They have framed them and they will be on the guests tables and on the mantle of the huge fire place. They have photos of their great grandparents and grandparents. What a nice touch!
There are many more details but I will share those after the wedding next month.
My, I am so excited about how plans are moving forward that I have digressed... so back to the shower. I arrived at the Salem Town Hall with my good friend Deb. Rebecca was there with her husband Tyler and the bridesmaids so we proceeded to set up the tables and serving tables for the guests who arrived shortly thereafter.
Corey knew about the shower and he brought Sarah in at about 11:30 a.m. She was totally surprised! It was just the best surprise! I had placed framed photos of Sarah from the time she was born through today on the staging in front of the gift table. Eveyone so enjoyed looking at those photos!
The champagne brunch was superb, the generosity of family and friends unbelievable and the joy it all brought to both Sarah and Corey ... no words can express.
At the end of the shower Corey had a surprise for Sarah. He began with a few words telling everyone that when he first met Sarah he knew this day would come... and he sang "Some Enchanted Evening" from South Pacific. There was not a dry eye especially Sarah! What a perfect ending to a perfect event.
I have said from the beginning that if Sarah and Corey are not meant to be together nobody is.
So that was our day. Next Saturday evening is the Bachelor Party for Corey. Sarah's Dad and brother-in-law Tyler will atttend. Rebecca, Sarah, Mom and baby will go out together for the evening. We'll have our own girls' night out!
Thanks for your visit today. I hope you have enjoyed reading about the happenings in my family. It is a happy time and we are celebrating on through to the wedding.