This past weekend my family and I traveled to Michigan for a family wedding. My cousin, David was united in marriage to his gorgeous bride, Angelina! It was a beautiful 4 day weekend filled with excitement, learning, and happy emotions!
The weekend began with a very early flight Friday. My husband, sister, parents, grandmother, and I flew out on the early flight. Which means we were all up at 3:00 am…yuck! Getting up early made for a very long day and night…
We arrived in Detroit, Michigan and had about a 45 minute drive to Rochester, Michigan. We stayed at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester. It is an absolutely beautiful and most comfortable hotel I’ve stayed at in awhile! I highly recommend it if you are ever in the the Rochester, Michigan area. Later on that night we attended the rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal dinner was held at an Italian restaurant in Sterling Heights, Michigan. The groom and bride have Italian roots so it was only appropriate to fill us with tasty Italian food!
At the rehearsal dinner we received “VIP Welcome” Bags. The bag was filled with an itinerary, pages of local suggested shops, restaurants, and attractions, and 2 bags of Better Made Original Potato Chips, Faygo Pop, and Vernors Soda. You’re probably thinking…why in the world would they put chips and soda in a welcome bag? Or the real question is, why weird, unknown brands of soda? Well, let me explain… 🙂
Better Made Potato Chips: In 1930, Cross Moceri and Peter Cipriano purchased a potato chip factory in Detroit, Michigan. In 1934, Peter and Cross launched their first and only brand of potato chips: Better Made. New and improved fryers cooked up to 100 pounds of potato chips at a time, using Michigan potatoes 8 months of the year. Today, Better Made chips are found in stores all over Michigan, Toledo, Ohio, and central Chicago, Illinois.
Faygo Pop: In 1907, immigrant brothers and bakers, Ben and Perry Feigenson, began playing around with the idea of creating soft drinks based on their frosting flavors. They bottled their soda – which they called “pop” because of the sound it made when the lid was removed at a factory in Detroit, Michigan. The brothers developed the Feigenson Brothers Bottling Works, but they changed the name to Faygo to fit on the labels. Faygo is sold in many states east of the Mississippi River.
Vernors: Without the Civil War, there would be no Vernors. Before the conflict began, James Vernor, a pharmacist, had concocted a new drink. Vernor was called off to war and he stored the secret mixture in an oak cask in his pharmacy. After returning from the battle four years later, he opened his secret keg and found the drink inside had been transformed. It had taken on a zippy, zesty, and gingery flavor. For years, the only place you could purchase a Vernors was from the fountain in Vernor’s pharmacy downtown Detroit. In the 1940s Vernor opened The Vernors Company to handle an expanding business. Today, Vernors is part of Plano, Texas, based Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.
With relaxation on each guests mind when Saturday arrived we took a short walk down to the Rochester Mills Beer Co. for “Food, Friends, and Beer” (<< their motto). We spent our afternoon sharing stories and even playing a little pool too!
Finally, Sunday arrived! The entire weekend has built up to this day, wedding day! David and Angelina had a traditional Chaldean wedding. The Chaldeans are Catholic descendants of Mesopotamia, present day Iraq. The Chaldeans speak Aramaic, the language Christ spoke. There were quite a few ethnic customs the grooms family had to participate in. This experience was very interesting and such a learning experience!
Sunday began with a family Zeffa (wedding march). A Zeffa is a musical procession of bendir drums and horns. This announces the marriage is about to begin. We arrived at Angelina’s parents house and did just this. We processed in and danced and clapped with drums and horns blaring! When the Zeffa concluded we drove to the Chaldean Catholic Church where we witnessed David and Angelina say their “I Do’s” and observed more Chaldean traditions.
Placing of the Crowns: The crowns symbolize the Bride and Groom as the head of their new family and kingdom.
After the wedding ceremony we headed to a traditional reception with dancing and great food! Rest assured though, there were even more tidbits of Italian and Chaldean tradition put into the reception too! The reception was beautiful with ivory color detail and tons of white flowers! It was a great night!
Sugared almonds known as “Italian Confetti” to remind us that life is both bitter & sweet! 5 almonds represent 5 wishes for David & Angelina – Health, Wealth, Happiness, Fertility & Longevity!
Like any great getaway there is an end! We made our way home Monday afternoon with tired eyes and sore feet from dancing! Thank you David and Angelina for a fabulous weekend!
Starbucks in the airport is a must after a tiring weekend!