… when it comes down to it, that’s what life is all about: showing up for the people you love, again and again, until you can’t show up anymore. ~Rebecca Walker
Mr. & Mrs. Olczak
This is a celebration worth writing about, the union of my cousin Mikey and his new wife, Mary Beth. On Saturday, August, 1st, before God, they married in a small Catholic church in New Derry, Pennsylvania. The reception? The best venue ever! The Planinsek Pavilion! Yes, the very same location of the Fishing Derby (25th Annual Louis Planinsek Fishing Derby)!
It was a traditional, yet simple ceremony. There wasn’t a lot of frills or fluff, they kept the wedding to the meat and potatoes, the important things, close family, caring friends, and the loving couple. It was perfect! After mass, everyone migrated to the Planinsek Pavilion for a good old-fashioned celebratory dinner and dancing.
It was a lovely sunny day with bright blue skies, low humidity, and we were even blessed with a light breeze. Like I said, perfect!
Now for some of the wedding details. Be prepared, these little touches added to the wedding will pull on the heart strings. A few years ago, the bride’s father passed away. However, Mary Beth wanted to include him on her special day, in a subtle way. He was known for wearing this red baseball cap with white polka dots. Really? Oh yes! When I picture the man, that’s exactly how I see him, and that’s how he was always described by others. The bride and bridesmaid, one of Mary Beth’s sisters, incorporated a red ribbon with white polka dots at the base of their bouquets. The sweetness didn’t stop there. Mikey’s dad, walked Mary Beth down the isle, and Mikey walked Mary Beth’s mom down the isle. That’s true family unity from the beginning. Told you, too sweet! Again, perfect!
Favors were not offered, at least not in the traditional sense. Since Mikey’s a woodworker by trait, he made cutting boards for each table. Yes! His hand-crafted wooden cutting boards were the vehicle to serve the fresh fruit, cheese and crackers for each table. Then, at the end of the night, designated guests were given the custom Red Barn Woodworking pieces to take home. What a great idea! Mikey also made the card box and personalized it. Now that’s a way to add details and a special touch.
Mikey and Mary Beth’s reception was very different from ones I’m accustomed to. One big aspect of a typical Western Pennsylvanian wedding is the cookie table! Oh, yes, this is truly a thing, and a big thing. Weddings in this area are judged by the cookie table. Mikey and Mary Beth did not disappoint! However, aside from the cookie display, and their first dance, they didn’t keep with wedding tradition. There was no polka music or polka dancing, no bridal dance, no formal cutting of the cake, no formal introduction of the bridal party. Although, keep in mind, the bridal party consisted of our loving couple, and the bridesmaid and the best man. Both respected siblings, and both individuals where known by all of the attendees.
Did I miss all these standard aspects to a typical wedding? Not at all! I loved how the evening unfolded! I simply loved it! There was no pressure, no expectations, no stress, from the guests or our newlyweds. Like I mentioned, perfect! The love and simple attitude from Mikey and Mary Beth spilled out over onto everyone. Now that’s a real power couple!
To be honest, the reception was more like a huge family reunion. Everywhere I looked, I was related to someone in one way or another. This wedding, combined the large families of the area, the Olczak’s, the Piper’s, the Planinsek’s and the Butina’s, into one big party. I’ve always been friends with the Butina’s. My best friend in elementary school was a Butina, and so I was an adopted Butina, like many of my cousins. Naturally, I’m related to the Piper’s and the Olczak’s. The Olczak’s are related to the Planinsek’s, and now were all related to the Butina’s. One big ridger family!
On a side note, a ridger is a person who lives on the ridge. What’s a ridge? The top of a hill or elevated area in a rural area. A ridger is slang around Latrobe and Ligonier.
We danced the night away to the band, Life of Brian, friends of the happy couple. They rocked the night away, and got everyone up and moving! That was the first time I’ve heard them, and I was impressed! They’re really, really good and made the evening even more enjoyable
Chef Mark’s Palete catered to the party. Talk about eating like kings! Chef Mark was on hand to carve the smoked roast beef, as well as serve the multi-layered wedding cake, not courtesy of Chef Mark. His staff was very attentive to the guests and kept things moving smoothly.
It was great mingling among everyone and catching up. Knowing Mikey and Mary Beth, I would have expected nothing less.
I had a great time and I wish them all the happiness in the world! Mikey and Mary Beth are perfect examples of what happens when two people are raised with morally strong families, and are just all around good people.
Congratulations Mikey and Mary Beth! I look forward to witnessing your unity over the years. I know it will be full of happiness and fun. You guys are a great couple! Cheers!