Monthly Archives: December 2008


A homespun wedding in a historic Rhode Island port town. (I decided to feature my own wedding this week for two reasons. One, because I’m running low on weddings to feature, so if you have one, please let me know. And two, because I didn’t feel it would be appropriate to follow a post about my great-grandmother with anything less personal.)

Who: Celeste Sunderland and Rama Gottfried

When: July 28, 2007

Where: St. Mary’s Church and Linden Place Museum, Bristol, Rhode Island

Bride Wore: A strapless, floor-length Angel Sanchez gown, covered in a layer of tulle that she found at a sample sale in New York during her lunch break. The cathedral veil she borrowed from her friend Michelle matched perfectly.

Bridesmaids Wore: Celeste had seven bridesmaids, her three cousins who she grew up with, her three sisters, aged eight to 14, and her 16-year-old sister-in-law. They wore pale pink cocktail dresses and strappy gold shoes of their choice. The younger ones wore white dresses with pink sashes and ballet shoes.

Flowers: The night before the wedding the mothers of the bride and groom, and Celeste’s godmother Lark purchased armloads of roses from Stop & Shop, which joined hydrangeas, sweet peas, and ferns from Lark’s garden, as well as buckets of roses and snapdragons from the farmer’s market, in the cool interior of Lark’s pottery studio. The next morning the studio became a floral workshop, as everyone joined in creating bouquets and boutonnieres.

The Ceremony: Celeste wanted a beautiful, old, gothic-style church. She found one in Bristol, just over the bridge from Portsmouth, the town where she grew up. Her family’s very good friend Father Chris, who baptized her, and married her parents and several of her aunts, officiated.

Something Blue: Along with her bouquet, Celeste carried her grandmother’s blue Mother Teresa rosary beads, which she clutched throughout the ceremony.

Parade Town: After the ceremony, the bride and groom led a parade from the church to the reception. as a tribute to Bristol’s Fourth of July parade, the oldest in the nation. Their guests were invited to bring small instruments to play, and Celeste made parade sticks with plastic balloon holders and pink and gold ribbons.

The Reception: Guests were guided through Linden Place, an 1810 Federal style mansion, during the cocktail hour, which featured the music of Portuguese Fado singer Amalia Roderigues before sitting down to dinner in the ballroom. After the bride and groom cut a chocolate cake with pink and white buttercream icing, homemade by Celeste’s cousin Trisha, they headed to the dance floor, under a tent in the courtyard, where DJ JC Svelte was spinning MIA and Michael Jackson mash-ups.

Favors: Donations were made to Heifer International, which went toward the purchase of flocks of chicks for family’s in need. Ram and Celeste tucked tiny yellow, chenille chicks into the napkins of each place setting, along with a note about the donation.

Kids Tables: It was important for the bride and groom to be able to have children at their wedding. They placed a table for children on one side of the head table, and a table for teenagers on the other side. The kids table had a pirate theme, with a treasure chest filled with “crepe paper surprise balls” that were unwrapped to reveal plastic rings, stickers, animal figurines, and eye patches.

A Family Affair: Both families put lots of effort into the wedding. Besides all the moms doing the flowers, and Celeste’s cousin making the cake, aunts were in charge of things like booking the Del’s Lemonade truck, bringing a roll of scrap newsprint for the kids table, and baking cupcakes and creme puffs for the dessert buffet. Ram’s uncle brought his sound system down from Vermont, and Ram’s stepmother rolled lots of napkins. Ram’s mother created a mermaid motif for the wedding invitations, Celeste’s mother calligraphed the wording, and her father printed each one by hand on a letterpress printer. In each guest’s hotel room, a welcome bag included a brochure that listed things to do in the Newport area, created by Celeste’s cousin Rachelle.

Favorite Memory: “When my dad and I started walking down the aisle everyone stood up. I had forgotten that you do this at weddings, and it was a surprise. I couldn’t stop smiling.”

See more photos from Celeste and Rama’s wedding. And don’t forget to let me know if I can feature your wedding on Tidepooler. Thanks so much!


Yesterday my great-grandmother passed away. She was 96-years-old. She was the toughest lady I ever knew. She taught me so many things, like how to say the “Hail Mary,” how to crochet a scarf, and how to play rummy. She had two big hydrangea bushes on her front lawn, and every time I sink my face into a pillowy hydrangea blossom I think of her and a childhood spent playing with my cousins on her lawn, beneath a big weeping willow tree. Here are ten wonderful things that I loved most about her.

1. She mowed the lawn all the time, and sometimes she let us ride with her.

2. She could crochet a blanket faster than anyone.

3. She won auctions for watermelons at the church fair and said “cut it up for the kids!”

4. She made the best baked beans…

5. And the best apple pie…

6. And the best French fries.

7. She spoke Portuguese with her sisters.

8. She took me to the bingo hall when I was five.

9. She loved to watch WWF.

10. Every so often she felt like having a beer.

Wouldn’t it be lovely to spend a night in a windmill? Here are eight historic retreats.

Anemomyos, Ano Syros, Syros, Cyclades, Greece
A whitewashed village overlooking the sea.

Windmill, Santorini, Greece
Luxurious simplicity on the most romantic Greek island.

Red Mill, Haddiscoe Island, Norfolk, United Kingdom
Solitude, surrounded by England’s green marshlands.

The Windmill, Scarbourough, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom
18th century charm on England’s north east coast.

Moulin des Oliviers, Plan de la Tour, France
200-year-old brick nestled among Cote d’Azur gardens.

Fortuna 1853, Dorpling, Germany
Whimy among the moors of northern Germany.

Moinhos da Pena, Chancelaria, Portugal
Pretty simplicity in Portugal’s pine-fringed interior.

Quinta dos Moinhos de S. Filipe, Setubal, Portugal
Tranquility, just south of Lisbon.

We’re getting a Christmas tree today! I hope it’s as big as this one that Jackie Kennedy decorated with a “Nutcracker” theme in 1961.

Or this one from 1974 that encouraged recycling with the use of patchwork and homemade ornaments. Excellent outfits too. The Fords don’t get their deserved due in terms of fashion.

And then there’s this tall, lanky, magnificent tannenbaum, decorated with ornaments made from nutpods (I love those), eggshells, foil, and milkweed pods. I think I’m getting some good ideas… Thank you Mr. President.

The time a bride spends with her dad on her wedding day is always special, whether they’re walking down the aisle, waltzing around the dance floor, or simply posing for a portrait. My dad walked me to the church, strumming his ukulele the whole way. Here he is holding my veil. What a guy. Below are photos of other brides and their dads I found on Flickr.

Sailing away… [via kifo]

Heading to the church [via Bashed]

Pinning his boutonniere [via bdinphoenix]

Walking down the aisle [via garyfgarcia]

Posing for the camera [via caomai]


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 49 other followers