Category Archives: Weddings

Weekend and such

My usual (ha) weekend recap post is late. Yesterday was a very busy day for me, and although today is too (this is all due to Winter Opera St Louis rehearsals and practicing!) I’m going to write a quick blog post while I digest a delicious lunch.


I had a bunch of weddings over the weekend. This was taken while I was stopped in traffic on my way to the one Friday evening. It’s the Old Courthouse in St Louis and on my right hand side was the Arch but I was way too close for a good photo of that.


Saturday’s first wedding was at St Anthony of Padua church, which I had never played at before. I was amazed when I walked in the door—the church was SO beautiful! It’s kind of sad to me that I’ll go to an old church in what is often a pretty lousy run down (possibly crime-ridden) neighborhood and then there is just a gorgeous church, beautifully decorated and that probably cost tons of money and man hours when it was built. We just don’t make buildings the way we used to.


My second Saturday wedding was at the Sheraton City Center in the fifth floor Atrium. I thought it was very cute, and I tried to get a picture to give you an idea of the scope, but I found that challenging to do surreptiously!


If I were staying in the hotel in one of those rooms overlooking the Atrium during a wedding I’d be tempted to do something really weird, like watch in my pajamas or something.

You’re probably saying, well that’s great, but what did you EAT?


Dinner at Meskerem Ethiopian restaurant. I’d only had ethiopian food once before. It was great!


Breakfast one day. Eggs and waffles on my favorite snowman plate. Well, only snowman plate. I needed to run the dishwasher. It did make breakfast feel more festive.


Cookies at a good friend’s house. I did not eat all of them, nor did I eat as many as I wanted to. They were getting stale this morning so I figured two of them made a pretty good breakfast—they’ve got eggs in them, right?


I’ve been quite sad because my good friend Melissa no longer lives here (well she lived here part time, but it was enough!) so I am thrilled that she is in town this week playing for the opera. We met for lunch at Stellina and it was great. I ordered the Il Capo sandwich, which had roast beef, prosciutto, something else, and an olive tapenade. The olive was a really unique part of the sandwich and I liked it, though it was perhaps a little heavy handed. The side of mushroom soup was really good too.

When I wasn’t playing a wedding or rehearsing over the weekend I was watching various TV shows on Netflix. A friend and I are currently obsessed with True Blood, and are well into the third season. It seems to be going downhill, but I still want to see what happens to Sookie (as annoying as she is well…most of the time.) I’ll tell you, I’m glad I don’t live in the south with all those vampires! I also spent an evening watching a mini marathon of Chuck at my friend Sarah’s house (where we ate the cookies and loads of popcorn)…I think we managed five episodes that night? Pretty impressive, if I do say so myself.

I tried to include a picture of me and the fatness, but it keeps being upside down and when I turn it it gets shorter and shorter. I’m still not loving Windows 8 but I’m learning to live with it, as it’s my only option.

And now I’m off to practice. I have a “big” solo in the opera so I’m a little stressed about it. If you are local, come see the performances of Faust this weekend with Winter Opera St Louis! I’m in the pit, of course, as I’m a violinist, not a singer, but you’ll know I’m there.

(Unrelated: I was going to run this morning but it was raining and my bed just seemed more appealing. Tomorrow, I promise!)

If I title this post using the phrase Breaking Bad does that mean I’ll get more traffic?

No, I haven’t finished watching the final season yet. I will tomorrow. (Probably). But I’ve read all the Game of Thrones books so I know what happens after that. Also I watched the movie Prisoners and figured out what was going on about halfway through so I definitely feel good about my chances here.

The weekend flew by. Saturday was full of work.


Wedding ceremony at Our Lady of the Pillar


Cocktail Hour at the Artist’s Guild. This was not our setup, obviously—this was for the band who would be playing after us. I bet they were more fun, though we played opera arrangements for 90 minutes, and the Carmen arrangements made me want to brush up on my Carmen Fantasy. And then thinking about Carmen Fantasy made me want to really buckle down and compose my dream piece: Fantasy on Themes from the Sound of Music. I wonder if I have the skills for that?

Sunday was full of entertainment, including a bike ride on the Riverfront Trail. Action shots–


It looks like the seat could probably be higher.


It is worth noting that I wanted to get a cool purple-ish helmet at Target but my head is too large for ladies’ helmets.


Biking is so much funner than running. Why did I just learn this recently?

Monday was different because instead of my full day of teaching I did some canceling/rescheduling in order to play at a fundraising event. The cool part was that the Mayor was there and also the Attorney General of the State of Missouri. I didn’t take any pictures because I was on good behavior and that can seem creepy, but it was enjoyable and we got to hear some speeches (totally made me feel like I was on the West Wing for awhile there.) We also got to play an arrangement of one of my favorite songs—”The Luckiest” by Ben Folds. It always makes me a little teary.

Saw this on a blog I read recently. It’s from the 30 Happiest Facts of All Time.


Speaking of running—I figured I’d sign up for a 5k after Thanksgiving (this is in addition to telling Leslie to find a Thanksgiving 5k in Phoenix, where I’ll be spending my Thanksgiving vacation. Yes, why don’t I say Thanksgiving again.).

Cats. It benefits cats. I can’t think of anything more fitting, honestly. I think running for a cause other than myself might be my best bet.

Lots of pictures from the weekend

Okay, so I’d thought I might do a Caturday post yesterday, but it’ll have to wait until next week. I’ve received quite a few fantastic reader submissions, and I’m (obviously) accepting more! If you want your cat to be on the blog, email me a picture and some information about yourself or your cat that you would like to share! (hannahviolin at gmail dot com).

Anyway, it’s been a busy weekend. Three weddings…


The first was in Marthasville at St Ignatius Loyola Church.


Then to Bee Tree Park.


Such a beautiful day!

Sunday (today) I had a wedding at the Muny in Forest Park.


We literally could not have asked for better weather. It was a phenomenal weekend for outdoor weddings.


What else did I do over the weekend, you ask? I mean, yes, I worked a fair amount.

But I went for a walk with my friend Laura in Tower Grove Park on Friday—it was rainy but a nice walk:



Piper Palm House—I love the way the sky looks!


Went out for Vietnamese food with a friend, and enjoyed a tasty Rogue Dead Guy ale. It was a new to me place called Banh Mi So, and advertises they have the best spring rolls in St Louis. I think that might be correct—they were delicious. I didn’t take a picture of them, and I’m trying to remember what they had in there: I believe it was fried mung beans. We also had a mung bean pudding for dessert—it was like rice pudding but with mung beans.

Saturday night was a girls’ night at Cork Wine Bar.



I took a picture of them taking a selfie. I think that sums up the evening.

Oh, and something I’m very excited about: a friend found a bike for me—I’ve finally decided it’s time to follow in my dad’s footsteps and start biking again.


It needs a few things, but should be good to go soon! Couldn’t beat the price either 😉

And since no post is complete without a cat picture…


yet another repeat of..

Repeat of blog business from previous post: SEND ME YOUR CAT PICTURES FOR A VERY SPECIAL CATURDAY POST…read on for more information.

A few blog business items:

Check out my posts on Yoplait Fruitful and Wendy’s Flatbread Sandwiches. Help a girl out by checking out the links in the posts, okay?

Oh, and a great idea that started with a comment from a dear reader: want your cat to be included in a semi-regular kitty round up? (I imagine it’ll be on a Caturday)—email me ( with some awesome pictures of your kitty or kitties and I’ll include them in an upcoming post! If you have a blog I’d be happy to link to it, or a twitter handle or whatever. This could be a one time post or an ongoing thing, depending on YOU.


This post has a cat picture but it’s not my cat

You guys know I love twitter, right? (Come follow me there, @hannahviolin)…

Anyway, I played a couple of weddings on Saturday, of course.


The first was a Catholic mass at St Francis Xavier College Church. What a beautiful church!


The second was a wedding and cocktail hour at the World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park.


We were told by the wedding coordinator that Claire McCaskill (Senator) was in attendance. I didn’t see her, but later that night she tweeted some pictures, so I tweeted at her that I had played at the cocktail hour (and that the wedding and weather were GORGEOUS—seriously, it was the most perfect weather for an outdoor event—) and she sent me a direct message saying…


She doesn’t follow me on twitter so I couldn’t respond privately, but I was so touched!


My fingers at the end of the day…

I’ll leave you with an adorable cat picture courtesy of my sister Leslie. We were chatting on the phone when this happened at her house.


Music for wedding ceremonies and being utterly exhausted

As a freelance musician, I bring together a lot of different musical activities in order to make a living. One of the most common jobs I do is playing music for weddings—mainly ceremonies, but occasionally cocktail hours or receptions.

Often people ask me how I get asked to play for weddings.  I run my own group (hannahviolin.COM is my page with that kind of stuff) and I get bookings through the site and also from referrals from past weddings we have played.  I also play with a couple other wedding ensembles in the area so those contractors ask me to play whenever they need a violinist.  I put all of that together in a very elaborate way on some days in order to make sure I can get from one wedding to another one!  (I don’t know how people managed before computerized maps…it must have been such a challenge trying to figure out if you would be able to make it from one place to the next in time…)

Yesterday was a fairly busy day. I had a wedding in the early afternoon in Belleville and then a later afternoon wedding in Festus.  I had booked the first one so I was stressed about a lot of details (that ended up working out just fine, though I often think, I don’t stress, maybe things won’t go as well…) and the second one all I had to do was show up and play. (Highlight of the wedding was a frog nearby that kept making frog noises.)


(First wedding at a church)


(Second wedding at a private residence by a lake, so beautiful, but hot and sweaty!)

That’s how just about every Saturday in the summer works, and it’s a lot of fun. And work—sometimes driving and playing and driving and playing is utterly exhausting.)


Speaking of utterly exhausted…

How is your weekend going?

Parasols, purses, and personalization

I can’t wait for the professional photos from my sister Leslie’s wedding.  After all, that can’t be the best picture of the two of us, can it?

Anyway, today’s post is about three things that I think fit together pretty well. Parasols, purses, and personalization.  Nice alliteration, right?

It hasn’t quite been three months since her wedding, but it feels like such a long time.  There are so many details I’ve forgotten and I can’t wait to see them again.  The parasols, the earrings, the jewelry, the inside of her dress where the seamstress made a little label with her initials and date (I think?).  (One could have just used a label maker, like from the 80s..)

Have I told you guys about the parasols?  When we went to the Japanese garden the day after her bachelorette party the sun seemed really bright (go figure!) and we realized that we wouldn’t be able to wear sunglasses because we wouldn’t want them in the pictures nor would we want the lines on our noses from them!  What to do?


The aforementioned sunglasses which could not be worn at the wedding, by aforementioned pool.

So when we saw parasols for sale in the gift shop for $10 each we couldn’t pass them up.  We thought they’d be practical plus would look awesome in photographs.


That’s the sort of thing I’m really looking forward to from her wedding photos, and what I really loved in mine and in life—all those crazy details.  Obviously I’m also looking forward to the bigger picture pictures too, like the first look, the after wedding pictures of the happy couple at the garden, family photos, but I just LOVE the details and the personalization.

Here’s the purse from my wedding.

Inside there is a lovely label.

I gave one to Leslie as well for being my maid of honor.

Well, Leslie thought they would be perfect for her wedding too (especially since we barely used them) but her colors was different.  The purple flower was removable so I asked the original vendor to make new ones.


Unfortunately on the first try the color was wrong, so I had to try again.

At the bottom of this picture you can see a bit of the final flower.  It’s a lot pinker.

I absolutely loved that the purses were personalized. Of course that meant for Leslie’s wedding I was carrying a purse that said “Bride” on the inside, but I certainly didn’t mind.  I also love that her wedding dress has a little label in it (not that she would forgot for what occasion she wore the dress, but STILL.  And I should have gotten a picture of it from her before writing this post…)


My mom emailed me one!  Thanks Mom 🙂

Basically, I love the idea of personalized stuff.  I don’t know why I don’t do it more often.

(All the big brands like to do labels, so why not ourselves? Why advertise for Gap or some other store when we could advertise for ourselves, or our blogs! Or at least find your stuff at the Laundromat, right?)

If I weren’t afraid of ironing I could get iron on labels online and really put my mark on my things.  That site also has pretty cool looking woven name labels that I bet would work well for gifts.  I see that you can not only label your clothes, linens, that sort of thing (with your name, a date, perhaps even an inspirational quote) you can label stuff like golf clubs and perhaps electronics and books.

Honestly, sometimes (unlike blogging) labeling and personalizing things isn’t JUST about narcissism, getting attention, or remembering special moments, it’s practical in case you leave something somewhere—if I’d had my favorite water bottle labeled the day I left it at the gym then maybe I would have gotten it back.


(If not for the label inside, the personalized hanger would help us know this was Leslie’s wedding dress!)

And I’ll mention the parasols again—after we purchased two similar looking parasols, we realized there were slight differences.  Leslie picked out the one she liked best (bride’s prerogative) and if we had been able to label them, we wouldn’t have kept having to figure out which one that was again!   And that brings this blog post full circle.  In a nutshell, labeling and personalization saves time and money, and if I had run with a parasol all summer long I wouldn’t have had such horrific tan lines to begin with!