Debbie and Scott celebrated 20 years of marriage on July 11, 2014. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years! It truly seems like yesterday — except fast forward to today — and see a happy family with my two beautiful nieces. It’s indeed been 20 years.
My Grandma Miller made Debbie’s custom gown. She used to be a seamstress at a bridal shop in Beaver Falls, PA for years and years. She made the gowns for all of my cousins on the Miller side of the family — and even my Mom’s wedding gown in 1963. Debbie’s gown was the last full gown she made (to my knowledge). By the time I got married in 2001, Grandma could no longer make gowns of this magnitude. I remember Debbie gave her a couple of pictures and they went shopping for fabric at a store in downtown Beaver Falls. There are no stores like that there anymore. Grandma also made her headpiece.
Now our dresses were another story. The dresses were true to the time — I could have played a part in the popular TV show Designing Women! The dresses were hot pink with a funky design off the shoulders. I think the late 80’s and early 90’s were all about how much fabric could be layered on your upper body to make you look at least 20 pounds heavier — that included those beloved shoulder pads! I never, ever, ever wore my hair up, and not only did I have it up for Debbie’s wedding, but it looked like a bird had built a nest in it! I have to admit that the color Debbie picked was something I would never have personally chosen, but it made such a beautiful wedding with the vibrant color to compliment the black.
Debbie and Scott were married at St. Rose church in Darlington, PA, our hometown parish. Our brother, Bob married them — it was one of his first weddings. He had been a priest almost two years now. The reception was held at the Jewish Community Center in Chippewa, PA. It was one of the hottest days of the year and something happened to the air conditioning and we had none for the evening!!! It was unbelievably hot. Debbie’s girlfriends Melissa and Lisa were also in the wedding and we all set up the hall earlier in the day. Debbie had designed the center pieces — using clear bowls, filled with water — and we floated hot pink flower-shaped candles on the water. They were gorgeous when burning.
I had designed Debbie’s program for the church and we tied hot pink ribbons around those. Randy Rastetter, a long-time friend, used to sell wedding invitations from a big book back then at his printing company. This was long before digital invitations. And those invitations were gorgeous — I remember Debbie’s had roses with opal foil stamping and embossing with hot pink accents on a heavy, uncoated cream paper with a deckled edge. The inside had a silver panel and silver foil stamping with their wedding details. You can’t find invites like that anymore. Times change and so does so much else.
Grandpap Knowlson died the same year of Debbie’s wedding — in August of 1994. I remember thinking at the time that she was so fortunate to have him there, as he had been slowing down for a year leading up to her wedding. It’s hard to believe that it will be 20 years since he passed as well. And now I think about how I feel so fortunate that my Dad was at mine — he died the following year in 2002. It makes me think a lot about life in general. It’s like a giant timeline of milestones that define who we are and how we fit into history — in our very own little story.
There are some things that never change — Debbie’s wedding had lots of alcohol, fabulous food and endless cookies. Exquisite cake. And lots of dancing from the polkas to the Hokey Pokey to the Electric Slide and the Locomotion. It’s a day we waited for with anticipation, because you know that you’ll soon be celebrating with all your family and all your friends at one time in one place.
If you take a few minutes to soak it all in, you’ll be able to witness history filling the pages of your own story. And those will get passed on 20 years later to your children who may laugh at your hair and your clothes, but have a little more insight to what life was like before them. Or maybe they’ll dream of their own wedding one day, when they start the next chapter in the story.
A L W A Y S B E L I E V E !