Sunday, May 10, 2009

Notes from the field: bocce, a bonfire, and Buddhist prayer flags

I'm just back from the lead off to a marathon season of weddings, that culminates with ours in October. I dunno what's in the air this year (new administration? end of the decade? milestone birthdays? graduations?), but no fewer than eight couples in our extended social circle are getting married this year, and we're going to a handful of them. (We had to skip the Dutch/ Indian wedding in the Netherlands in early June because of plane fares. The rest are, fortunately, more local.)

I want to capture some of the highlights of this weekend's wedding before I forget. Pictures coming soon...
  • The setting: This is one of the most important things to us, and clearly was to my friends - let's call them Data Monkey and Mountain Man - as well. They chose a spectacular Buddhist retreat center in the Santa Cruz mountains for a weekend-long celebration. Redwood trees, a firepit, hiking trails, a pond, Buddhist prayer flags, rolling lawns - just spectacular! Perhaps the spiritual Buddhist vibe of the place contributed to a serene, peaceful feeling. Plus, we were blessed with sunny, warm weather this weekend, making the setting all the more spectacular.
  • The festivities: Friends and family who arrived on Friday were treated to a Moroccan dinner, lawn games, a couple kegs, and a bonfire. When we showed up midday on Saturday, Mountain Man was organizing a croquet game. The game went on until 3:00. The ceremony started promptly at 3:30!
  • The lodging: Camping and cabins on-site meant that everyone could hang out and get to know each other, change from casual clothes to fancy ones easily, and enjoy the setting. Plus, no worries about driving at the end of a late night. For our wedding, we've got on-site hostel accommodations for about a quarter of our guests. I wish there were a way to lodge everyone nearby, because it really added to the communal feel of the event.
  • The vibe: When we showed up, two hours before the ceremony, Data Monkey, the bride, was driving around the site, attending to some last minute details in jeans and a t-shirt, looking completely at ease and happy. I wish I had a photo of her when we first met up - she was so joyful and peaceful. I've got to seer this image into my memory - this is how I want to be on my wedding day. (However, past performance is a likely predictor of future results. I need to work on the grounding and focus in the next five months.)
  • The flowers: Data Monkey bought $100 of California-grown flowers at Trader Joe's the morning of the wedding! Friends and family helped her put them in vases that she had borrowed from another recently married friend. The flowers were gorgeous - so fresh, vibrant and seasonal. Data Monkey had planned to order flowers from California Organics, but they were unable to deliver because of the Mother's Day holiday. TJ's flowers were a great choice!
  • The decor: Tons of colored paper lanterns lent a festive air, along with the bright flowers and votive holders filled with brightly colored candies (Skittles and M&Ms - a huge hit!). Small potted plants - rosemary and succulents - decorated each dinner table. The couple encouraged guests to take home the flowers and potted plants. They offered us the paper lanterns and a bunch of small vases to use at our wedding. One more item off the wedding To Do list!
  • The favors: This is the endless debate on the bridal blogs. This couple had favors that were useful. Because there were no servers at the buffet dinner, the couple put corkscrews at each place-setting, and bottles of both red and white wine on the table. That meant the guests could help themselves to the wine, and have a memento of the wedding. And, being huge readers, they created bookmarks with 101 recommended books! So cute!
  • The dress: Wow! A lace-up corset top creates an incredibly flattering shape. Just wow.
More on the ceremony, the dancing, and the honeymoon coming soon...


Amanda said...

More jealous. Why can't all weddings be like this?

a mindful bride said...

Oh, how fun! And relaxing and wonderful... The only downside is that reading this makes me want to scrap my wedding plans and start all over :)

AmyJean said...

the dress sounds awesome!

un-bride said...

Ahem: pictures, please! (Oh, and I'm way jealous of your vase & latern score.)

(forysil: a medication that's embarrassing to buy, in a not-making-eye-contact-with-the-cashier kind of way)

Sadie said...

Happy datamonkey bride says thanks for the recorded memories! Happy to share info and pics... still blissed out. Warning: if you make your wedding too fun, people will demand you have another one.

SpacemanMike said...

She's serious. Many of our friends have demanded annual nuptials from us.

PS - Sometimes I'm a Mountain Man.