Mother of the Bride




The Diary of a Mother of the Bride

Our daughter Veronica is engaged to her longtime boyfriend Brian and this is something of a record of my part in that engagement and subsequent marriage.  They have been dating for 11 years before he proposed.  We have known Brian all that time and we are very fond of him.  This is my record of my part in all of this and leading up to the big day.

Gordon and Julie Whann

Pearl City, Hawaii 1987

I am Pregnant with Veronica


My little Veronica was born on July 6, 1987 in Honolulu, Hawaii at Tripler Army Hospital.   The PINK hospital.

Me with Veronica

(Before Gordon left on deployment he made the origami mobile to hang above her crib.)

Gordon was deployed at the time on the U.S.S. Worden in the Persian Gulf.

When he deployed I was 6 months pregnant with Veronica, alone in an apartment in Pearl City with no automobile and I didn’t know anyone.  I would walk to my medical appointments because I couldn’t afford the bus or a taxi.  I do look back on all that walking I did as being very good for my health though. 

We were on a waiting list for Navy housing and I did get in about 2 weeks before Veronica was born.  I had to move in myself.  My mother, grandmother, and two of my little brothers, Frank and Ben, came over to help me.  We were living on Valkenburgh Street.  Valkenburgh was the Captain of the U.S.S. Arizona.

I went into the Operating Room all alone after being in labor for 30 hours.  Because Veronica was breach they gave me a C-Section and when I came out of surgery it was my mother who told me that I had a GIRL!  I was so drugged and so pleased at the same time.  🙂

Of course, Gordon came home when she was 3 months old right after she got over all of her colic and when she was sleeping through the nights.  (I will always resent him for that.)  But he fell in love with her the second he saw her and he has always been madly in love with her. 


January 22, 2018

Engagement Announcement!

Our little girl, Veronica, and her longtime boyfriend, Brian, are engaged!

He popped the question underneath the fireworks at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in front of Cinderella’s Castle.  Ahhhh……

Gordon and I are very happy!



Veronica and Me

Engagement Party March 2018


Engagement Photos


That would be the DAY they will be getting married.

Veronica and Brian

Just a few of their engagement photos.  They were taken at Fred Howard Park out in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Probably my most favorite one.




August 2018

Veronica Said Yes to the Dress

I was so proud of Veronica.  She found this lovely bridal shop out in Clearwater.  Athena’s Bridal Boutique.  The owner is Greek.  This area of Florida has a very high population of Greek-American’s.  Veronica pretty much knew which dress that she wanted so today was about saying Yes to the Dress.  🙂

Luckily, we had NO RAIN today!  It was beautiful!  HOT, but beautiful!

Mother/Daughter Day

I swear I have never seen so many beautiful wedding dresses in my life.  It made me want to get married all over again.  And they sure did put my wedding dress to shame.  🙂

The Sign Reads:

If you buy your gown from us and the wedding falls through. 

We’ll sadly share the tears but the dress belongs to you.


Now that the dress is chosen it’s time for lunch.

Lunch at The Bahama Breeze

I told Veronica it was my treat!

Tropical Drinks…


Main Course…

Perfect ending to a perfect day.


July 2018

 Getting Together for Dinner at P.F. Chang’s

Save the Date

Before Gordon left for overseas we wanted to get together with our children and Brian for one last dinner until Gordon comes back.  We talked about the wedding plans and they gave us the “Save the Date” card.

The dinner was great, the food was great, the company was great.

As you can see no one is particularly traumatized that Gordon is leaving for awhile to work overseas.  We’re used to it.

Dinner was Delicious!


Veronica and Brian

A Nice Family Get Together


June 2018

Italian Gift Basket

Ready to take to the party.

A few small pots, pastas, olive oils, marinated artichoke hearts, marinated sun dried tomatoes, red sauce, Italian fennel crackers, garlic roaster, tomato paste, dish towels……

Ready to Assemble the Gift Basket

Originally we were going to throw Veronica and Brian an engagement party at our house in our new lanai extension when the weather got cooler this year, as in the autumn.  So, I had started buying a few things here and there for the couple because I had it in my mind that I wanted to give them a big Italian Pasta Party and then Gordon and I would present them with this great gift basket to take home.

When Gordon got his new job and we found out he would be going overseas we realized that we would not be able to give them the party that we wanted to so we just assembled all the goodies and presented it to them at one of their many parties that people have been throwing for them since they announced their engagement.

Gordon brought home this metal thing from a yard sale where he just paid $2.00 for it.  I loved it but I knew that we just don’t have anywhere to put it so I thought that we could fill it with goodies and give it to Veronica and Brian.  It fits in with their home nicely actually.

In the center is a cute tile that we found at the Keel and Curley Blueberry Festival from one of it’s vendors.  I also got her business card when I saw her work and I knew that I would love for her to make some personalized tiles for us later on.

A Closer Inspection of the Gift Basket Contents

The Gift of Tiles

These are a few of the personalized tiles that I had made for the happy couple. 

Tiles By The Sea


Ask for Linda

We ordered some for us as well and we even gifted one to Brian’s parents marking their engagement photos that they had taken in Tarpon Springs. 

We even gave them a bottle of wine from a Tarpon Springs winery.

We wanted to gift them before Gordon left for overseas.

I think they liked everything.  🙂


Scouting out possible Reception Venue’s

Julie and Gordon



Keel and Curley Pub and Gift Shop

Henry Flagler and Henry B. Plant

Two Henry’s Beers

(I guess you can figure out which one Plant City is named after.)

Prior to the Blueberry Festival we stopped off at the Winery/Brewery to look into possibly having our daughter and her fiance’s wedding reception here.

The Restaurant and The Pub

Me, looking over the menu because after our tour we will be eating dinner here.

Gordon Checking out the Two Henry’s Beers

Keel and Curley is a Winery and a Brewery

Waiting for the Bride and Groom to Arrive

The Party Barn

Veronica and Brian have Arrived

Just checking out possible wedding reception venue’s.

The Pond


Pretty Gazebo and Grape Vines

Veronica and Brian Checking out the Veranda

Two Henry’s Light Fixture

Hanging inside the Party Barn

The picnic tables would have to go but we all loved the beautiful bar in the back.

Touring the Winery Grounds

Keel and Curley is a Winery that makes Fruit Wines, such as Blueberry, Key Lime, Strawberry, Tangerine, Peach, Raspberry, Wildberry, etc.

The Winery and the Blueberry Fields Forever…..


The Ripened Blueberries


Inside the Winery Building

The Beautiful Labels

The Cobalt Blue, Blueberry Wine Bottles

I LOVE all the Wine Labels


The Brewery

Brian and Veronica inspecting the Brewery Part of the Tour

This is all so Interesting!

The Two Henry’s Label Sign

I do LOVE the Multicolored Bicycle


Key Lime and Peach Wines

With our tour finished we are back in the pub and ready for some wine with some appetizers and some dinner.

Appetizers of Gator Tail and Calimari

The Wedding Guide

Dinner has Arrived!

That would be Brian’s big Burger and Fries

Gordon and Veronica’s Shrimp Tacos

And MY Delicious Mushroom Veggie Burger with Fries!  🙂


Baking for the Engagement Party,

March 2018

I am very proud of my Irish Soda Bread here.

Irish Blessing

May the road rise to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sunshine warm upon your face.

The rains fall soft upon your fields and,

until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

The Party was about a week before St. Patrick’s Day, an important day in the Irish Kelleher family, (Brian’s family), and our wee little Veronica also hails our Scotch/Irish bloodline from the Keith’s and the Kirby’s.  So, every year Brian and Veronica celebrate the holiday and I wanted to make them some of my Irish Soda Bread to give just to them to enjoy after the party was over with.

And a special Irish Soda Bread for the Happy Irish Couple!

If you would like my recipe for the Irish Soda Bread……

Click Here for our:  St. Patrick’s Day

I also gave them the poem above, as I knew they would appreciate it and I even suggested that perhaps since they are very proud of their Irish roots that they may want to incorporate it into their wedding as well.  (Mother’s CAN make suggestions.)  🙂

The Cake for my Daughter, Veronica’s, Engagement Party

If you would like that recipe as well……….

Click Here for our:  Cakes


This is a favorite cake of our family’s and I couldn’t imagine making anything else for the party except this one.  Veronica grew up loving Angel Food Cake and I knew I had to make one.

It does look a bit Retro, doesn’t it?


Making The Cake

So, to start off with just make your Angel Food Cake as per the package directions.

I always use the mixer that my Grandmother gave me, I even use her Angel Food Cake pans that were passed down to me.

What I like the most about using a ready made cake mix is that all that is required here is water and it tastes delicious.


Bake According to Package Instructions

When using these Tube Pans before you place them into the oven make sure all of the air bubbles are gone.  Just tap the pan on the counter a few times.  That will bring the bubbles up to the surface.


Of course, when the cake is ready remove from the oven and place upside down over a bottle so the cake can cool without collapsing.


Now for the Frosting

You will need to make a double boiler for the frosting.

Gordon Adding the Egg Whites to our Bowl

This is a Vintage Cake and Icing Recipe

We made the Double Boiler by placing some water in the bottom of a pot and then bringing it to a boil, then adding a bowl over top of it.  The steam will then cook the frosting as you make it.



2 Egg Whites

1 1/2 Cups Brown Sugar

1/4 t. Cream of Tarter

1/3 Cups Cold Water

Dash Salt

1 t. Vanilla

Food Coloring

Adding the Brown Sugar to the Egg Whites

Next Come the Cream of Tartar, Water, and Dash of Salt

Next we Put a LOT of Green Food Coloring into the Mix

Look How Pretty!


You do need a Hand Held Electric Mixer for this.

Place all ingredients except vanilla in top of a double boiler, (do not place over water), beat 1/2 minute at low speed on electric mixer.  Place over but not touching boiling water.  Cook, beating constantly to stiff peaks, about 7 minutes (do not overcook).  Remove from water.  Beat in Vanilla.


So Delicious and So Beautiful!

Very Retro Looking…..

Adding the Vanilla, the Final Step

Now it is perfect for me to spread onto my cake!

It does harden quickly so you must hurry!

Ready to take to the party……

With all the other stuff……

Veronica and Brian are having a Taco Bar and everyone is bringing food so we bought some extra bags of Tortilla Chips and Taco Sauces.  We also stopped by the Latin Supermarket Buffet and bought some Yellow Rice with Black Beans and some Fried Plantain’s.  (I do have to say that when we brought out the Fried Plantains there were many excited gasps!)  🙂

And our Gifts to the Bride and Groom are Pans and Baking Sheets and a Pizza pan.


At Veronica and Brian’s House

Lovely Kelcy Arranging the Cupcakes

Veronica with her Dessert Table

The Future Groom, and the Future Bride

The Lovely Dessert Table

(You can see my cake.)


 The Taco Bar

This was Delicious!!

Veronica’s friend Deva and her mother gave the Taco Bar to Veronica and Brian.  Deva’s mother also gave Veronica and Brian the lovely wine barrels.  (Trust me, I’m jealous!  They are such nice wine barrels.)  🙂

Veronica and Kelcy Setting up the Taco Bar


Julie’s Mexican 7 Layer Dip

(Veronica’s Favorite)

The Story of my 7 Layer Dip

When we were living in Hawaii a few of the “Mom’s” that we knew were bringing a Mexican 7 Layer Dip to various kids parties, school functions, etc. and Veronica and I loved it!  I have always loved Bean Dip, I grew up eating that because my mother loved it so.  Well, when I discovered the 7 Layer Dip I asked for the recipe and I was just really given a list of ingredients to then LAYER on top of each other.  So, that’s what I did.  EXCEPT, we didn’t like all the layers so my 7 Layer Dip is only 5 Layers.  🙂

I know what you are thinking.  So, why don’t I call it my 5 Layer Dip?  Because when I do no one knows what I am talking about. 

For Example:

Everyone:  “What are you bringing to the party, Julie?  5 Layer Dip?  What’s that?” 

Me:  “It’s just my 7 Layer Dip except with only 5 Layers.”

Everyone:  “Oh yeah!  I LOVE that!  I keep forgetting you only use 5 Layers.”


See?  So therefore I always call it my 7 Layer Dip otherwise no one knows what I am talking about.  🙂


Therefore, I Proudly Present to You…..

Julie’s Mexican 7 Layer Dip

(with only 5 layers)

The Ingredients:

Frito Lay Cans of Bean Dip, I used 4 Cans

Sour Cream

Chopped Tomatoes, Deseeded

Chopped Black Olives

Spring Onions

Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

McCormick’s Taco Seasoning

(You can also add a layer of Guacamole if you like. 

Normally I don’t use the Spring Onions but I did here for the party.)


The first thing that I do is to remove the Bean Dip from their cans and place into a saucepan on a medium high heat.  I just want to warm the Bean Dip through.  Most people would use Refried Beans but I prefer Bean Dip.

When the Bean Dip was ready I placed it into the serving dish that I would be using.  I chose this one because I thought I could change up some of the ingredients and make it adult AND kid friendly.  (Some kids may not like olives or spring onions, etc.)

After I had placed the Bean Dip into each slot I then placed the entire serving dish into the refrigerator for about an hour, uncovered.  I wanted the Bean Dip to harden a bit.

I then removed it and added the sour cream over the bean dip.  I didn’t place sour cream in every slot.

After I placed the Sour Cream onto the Bean Dip I put it back into the refrigerator, uncovered for about 30 – 45 minutes so that the two flavors could meld and harden a bit.

I then added my Chopped and Deseeded Tomatoes to a few of the slots, and some Sharp Cheddar Cheese.

Some of the Slots are more Plain than Others

I put a few Chopped Black Olives as well.

I panicked when I realized that I had NOTHING to put in the center!

Latin Supermarket to the Rescue!

They had a nice tomato salad that fit perfectly!

Oh!  And I sprinkled some McCormick’s Taco Seasoning on top!


I also brought some Barefoot Sangria but I then found out that Veronica made a lot of Sangria herself.

So, my bottle became a gift to the future Bride and Groom while we enjoyed Veronica’s Sangria.

I will have to get her recipe and add it HERE!

The Taco Bar was an Excellent idea!

Gordon Enjoying his Food and Sangria

Veronica, Me, Kelcy and Sarah

Gordon with our Niece Kelcy

Brian Goofing Off


Veronica and Brian

The Whann’s and the Kelleher’s

Veronica and Me, Always a Balloon in my Face  🙂


The Mother of the Bride


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