Since Brian and I moved to Paraguay just over four years ago, six of my siblings have gotten married, the most recent of which was my brother Kevin to a darling girl named Matty last weekend. Other weddings include my brother Patrick marrying Amy in April of this year, my sister Maureen marrying Jonah in June 2014, my sister Sheila marrying Mike in July 2015, my sister Nora marrying her college sweetheart Dan in November 2015, and my brother Matt marrying Noura. The Collins family is continuing to grow and we were thrilled to celebrate the marriage of Kevin and Matty.
The happy couple met two years ago through a dating website called Bumble. For their first date they went to a whiskey bar in Lakeview called The Barrelhouse Flat. Kevin later said it was the best first date he’d ever had. Matty and Kevin soon started dating and got engaged in December 2016 during a “staycation” at Chicago’s Langham Hotel.
This good looking, well-dressed couple could have walked right of the pages of a Ralph Lauren or J.Crew catalog.
The night before the big day, the wedding party gathered at the church for a rehearsal.
The rehearsal dinner was held at Glen Rowan House, on the campus of Lake Forest College.
It was a beautiful old building.
The passed appetizers were great – shrimp cocktail, tomato caprese crustini, bacon wrapped scallops, and a raspberry brie tart.
In honor of the fact that the bride and groom met on the Bumble dating website, all my other brothers (the three co-best men) wore ties with a bumblebee on them. And my brother Matt wore a pin left over from the bachelor party featuring a picture of Kevin, “looking like a predator” according to my other brothers and wearing a baseball jersey from his “Bumble Bees” baseball team. The pins marked his “last priceless night,” a play on words with the bride’s maiden name, Price.
We had a fun cocktail hour on the patio.
Here are the parents of the happy couple!
Dinner was delicious – a great salad, and then an entree of filet and crab cake served with potatoes, green beans, and carrots.
The bride gave beautiful blue stone Kate Spade earrings to me and my seven sisters.
There were many fun toasts and roasts throughout the night. Siblings and friends of the bride and groom had funny stories, jokes and even songs to share with the group.
Father Patrick Dorsey, the priest who married me and Brian and baptized all our kids and who would be the co-celebrant at Kevin and Matty’s wedding, was present at the rehearsal dinner and gave a blessing.
One of the cutest and most creative toasts was from my sister Nora who wrote a parody song to the tune of “Jack and Diane” changing the words to fit the happy couple and their hashtag of #CollinsUpsThePrice! Here’s a clip of the video with Nora teasing them for marrying someone who looks like their siblings:
My mom gave the bride a sugar and creamer set that had belonged to her own mom, my late maternal grandmother.
Speeches continued while guests enjoyed an amazing dessert buffet.
The bride and groom participated in the traditional exploding of the Collins family cannon, with the bride doing the honors using a hockey stick.
The evening continued with a few more toasts and for some reason my brother Patrick thought it would be a good idea to partially disrobe and get in the small pond on the patio.
There was an after party at The Lantern in Lake Forest.
The next morning everyone set about getting ready for the wedding. I had time for a quick stop at Clark Street Dog for a gyro and cheese fries for lunch.
We were all excited for the wedding!
Once we were all ready for the big event, my family and I all met at the Deer Path Inn for pictures before the ceremony.
Everyone looked great in their fancy dresses and tuxedos and my sister Nora’s baby boy Barrett looked particularly darling in his special outfit.
Danny was adorable in his mini tuxedo and loved being a big kid with his uncles and my dad. I’m disappointed I didn’t get any pictures of me and Danny together but I know the photographer did, so I’ll have to wait for those!
Annie was running a bit behind schedule for pictures!
As soon as she arrived, we took a few family pictures with the siblings and then added in the spouses and grandkids who were present.
We loaded onto the trolley and headed to the First Presbyterian Church in Lake Forest for the wedding ceremony.
Danny had lots of questions before and during the ceremony. “When are they going to kiss? Are they going to kiss on the mouth? Are they in love? What color dress do you think Matty will wear? I think it’s going to be dark green.” When I told him I thought it would be white, he said, “We’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?”
The program for the event, as did many of thoughtfully orchestrated details throughout the day, featured the couple’s monogram and the colors blue and green.
The ceremony began with the procession of the mothers, escorted by their sons. The mothers then lit candles on the altar, escorted by the head usher.
Next came the bridesmaids and two very cute but rather unwilling two-year old twin sister flower girls. One sprinted down the aisle to her dad (a groomsman, brother of the bride) and the other was carried up the aisle by her mom (matron of honor, married to bride’s brother).
As a string quartet played the Elvis song “Can’t Help Falling In Love” Matty walked down the aisle with her dad. As soon as Danny saw her, he told me, “You were right, Mom, her dress IS white!”
It was a nice ceremony, with both a Presbyterian pastor and a Catholic priest, a reading by a friend of the couple, and singing by sisters Nora and Sheila. Matty was a gorgeous bride. The couple exchanged rings and vows and lit a unity candle using the taper candles lit by their mothers.
And then it was official!
As the new Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Collins walked out of the church, my sisters and I sang Mairi’s Wedding, an Irish song.
We took more pictures outside of the church. Matty and Kevin were so happy!
We boarded the bus and headed to the reception.
The reception was held at Conway Farms Golf Club.
Cocktails and appetizers were served on the patio.
There were many delicious appetizers – candied bacon, shrimp cocktail, chicken flatbread, seared ahi tuna, and my favorite: fried macaroni and cheese.
A table on the patio featured pictures of Kevin and Matty’s parents and grandparents on their wedding day.
With a light rain falling a bagpiper played, signaling that guests should move to the dining room for dinner.
The golf course leader board listed seating assignments for the wedding guests.
Dinner and dancing were held upstairs in large tent erected for the BMW Championship (formerly known as the Western Open) golf tournament to be held at the club a few weeks later.
It was a huge two-story tent. We saw a beautiful sunset on the 18th green.
Inside the tent was beautifully decorated with lovely floral arrangements and a large head table.
The bride and groom entered the tent and cut the wedding cake
We heard funny and touching speeches from father of the bride, the maid of honor, the matron of honor, my brother Matt.
Dinner was great.
I sat at a table with some of my cousins and siblings next to a very powerful air conditioning vent which made for a few funny “Marilyn Monroe moments” for unsuspecting wedding guests in flowing dresses, or funny guests like Annie and Rita who continued to walk over the vent knowing exactly what would happen.
Matty and her dad shared a dance.
Kevin and my mom next danced together.
Matty and Kev danced to “Make You Feel My Love” sung by my sister Katie who joined the band for the number.
The dance floor was declared open for everyone!
The groomsmen and ushers all wore tuxedo shirts Kevin had given them, featuring their monogram on the cuff.
My great aunt Mary Edith- 98 years old, older sister of my late paternal grandma, was one of the most impressive guests. She chatted away at the cocktail reception and then danced up a storm after dinner.
Guests were treated to party favors of beer coozies, flip flops, and sunglasses with the couple’s hashtag of #CollinsUpsThePrice.
There were some entertaining dance floor shenanigans. Kevin and some of his friends build an impressive tower of men, some of the bridesmaids tied their dresses together for the limbo, and oddly some of the guys danced with a chair around the dance floor.
Waiters served guests a late night snack of mini burgers and fries.
The band, who was amazing and didn’t take a single break, played until 12:15.
Wedding guests then gathered outside lining the path with sparklers for a fun send off for Kevin and Matty.
Kevin and Matty left in a Bentley driven by a friend of Matty’s dad who owns a nearby dealership. Rather than entrust the car to a hired driver, he bought a chauffeur hat and drove the car himself.
The next morning Danny, who had gone to the hotel with a babysitter after the ceremony, was excited to go swimming with Mike and Sheila.
As we checked out of the hotel, Danny performed his La Bamba dance for my aunt Mary. He also requested I take a picture of his room at the hotel (one of two bedrooms in a two bedroom suite) which had its own tv. Danny thought that was pretty cool.
We left the hotel and headed to brunch to rehash the wonderful night before. Matty’s diamond wedding band is below her engagement ring. Above is a diamond and sapphire ring Kevin gave to her as a wedding gift.
Danny was happy to see his aunts and uncles, and especially enjoyed “playing” the Pac-Man arcade game. Even though we put no money in the machine and the screen flashed “game over” Danny told us he won “so many times!”
We were all happy to see my sister Maureen’s son Pierce who conveniently sat in front of a fire truck with the same name.
The happy couple then left for Tahiti for two weeks to enjoy the islands of Bora Bora and Moorea. We had a wonderful wedding weekend celebration!
And in case you are keeping track, there are now eight married siblings leaving just four single siblings. Applications are now being accepted for those who think they might like to marry into this large Irish family. Act quickly though, at least three are already dating someone!