A light layering of marine air covered the sky as we headed up to the Waldo hills early Saturday the 23rd. The kind that would easily burn off before noon. A sweet sent permeated the car as we passed a huge field of white alyssum flowers in full bloom. No photo that I took did justice to the immense size of the field stretching across and down a hill.
Ed and I arrived wanted to be there to meet the woman bringing all the flowers. After checking the refrigerator, cake and foods and making sure none of the table settings had been disturbed, we wandered outside where I sat in the sun soaking up the quietness and relaxed. I drew a diagram showing what positions the foods were to be placed on the serving table and wrote a list to tape to the fridge of the food items that needed last minute attention I took a sock out of a bag and knitted while listening to the birds while Ed roamed, waiting.
The owner approached with four women bunched behind him. A young woman was chattering gaily to all of them, including a serious looking woman with pad and pencil in hand. The owner and women walked past us and into the front hall of the reception area, gesturing as he spoke. He then turned and went into the wine tasting room leaving the women drifting slowly but determinedly around. The woman with the pad took out a measuring tape and starting measuring various features. Wondering if they were some of Grassman’s relative’s or people looking to use the venue for another wedding I went in and introduced myself. The young woman was a Giddy Bride-To-Be accompanied by her mother, aunt, and The Woman with the Notepad. They were grateful when I offered to show them around, not realizing that it was to make sure they did not disturb any of the previous day’s work, especially The Woman with the Notepad who was definitely making herself at home, and to speed up their leave taking. After showing them the bridal suite and the kitchen, where they stopped and open the fridge to admire all the food, I was able to get them outside to the wedding area. Flower Lady arrived so I bid them adieu and went to help her unload boxes and boxes of gorgeous scarlet peonies, white gladiolas, and red roses. By the time she was set up and making up the vases for the tables my sister, Pauline, and her husband Robert, an Episcopalian priest arrived, followed shortly by Aurora and the Minnesota gals.
From then on it becomes a blur as more and more people began arriving. Let me interrupt this story to say that I was simply floored by how many people/guests came almost three hours before the wedding! I have no clue why. Suddenly I was not only trying to be sure that food details were covered – fortunately Ruth arrived and took control of the kitchen, but riding herd on crowds wanting to sit at the prepared tables, making sure there was enough toilet paper rolls in the restrooms, assuring the flower lady that yes, the cake would be removed from the fridge by 1 so she could decorate it with flowers, and running errands for Aurora who’d escaped to the bridal suite to have her make-up put on and get dressed.
The Jenkins family pictures were scheduled for noon so Faith and Wesley would have time to go back home for their naps. Shortly after 11:30 Em came to me. She wanted to line the path up to the gazebo with flower petals but there were a bunch of people milling around walking up and down the aisle and standing in the gazebo. Moving towards them I spied The Woman with the Notepad, and the Giddy Bride-To-Be surrounded by presumably friends and relatives they’d invited to come check out the place while there’s a real wedding happening! The Giddy Bride-To-Be and Co actually looked astonished when I firmly said, ” You need to wrap it up now and leave.” Made me wonder if they’d intended to stay for the entire wedding. Just to see, you know, how it all worked out.
The bridal suite was a beehive of activity. Mandy and Faith had arrived as well as Grassman’s daughter, Abigail. Mandy had the foresight to bring snacks for the little girls.
The next two hours flew by in a flurry of pictures, hustling Aurora back into the Bridal Suite out of the public eye, and greeting people. Good friend, Hope, made chicken salad and brought it up for Aurora and Grassman to eat shortly after 1:30. Yes, the groom saw the bride before the wedding – between the layout of the building and the photo shoots it could scarcely be helped. With such a long morning for both of them and no proper lunch they seriously needed to eat some good protein before the ceremony. Everyone was calm, no sign of last minute nerves or jitters.
See that fine man in the tux? Since there was no room set apart for the groom (or any other men) to get dressed, Grassman and his father put their tuxedos on at the farm after working with the hay all morning. They were walking out to the car to come to the vineyard when a truck pulled into the driveway: It was a customer coming for a load of hay. There was no time to change so Grassman climbed onto the forklift and loaded the man’s truck as his dad told the customer, “Now that’s service!” Later he was sorely regretted he hadn’t taken a picture of his tuxedo wearing son loading the man’s hay.
At 1:45pm a condensed version of Crooked Finger Band began playing wedding music, at 2 Robert, wearing colorful wedding vestments, and the Groom walked up the aisle followed shortly by our son Justin escorting me to the front row and then the Steffan family. Guitars played Pachabel’s Canon in D as Aurora and Ed slowly made their way from the arched entry along the flower lined path to the gazebo where Grassman and Robert waited.
The ceremony was very lovely. Everything about it was wonderful. The Episcople wedding service includes the guests in numerous ways making us very much a part of it in readings, affirmations and prayers. Rather than use a guest book Aurora and Grassman choose to observe the old Quaker traditional of having a large marriage certificate which is formally signed by the guests who witness the wedding, pledging to assist in helping them in their marriage. Aurora and Grassman signed it and then all the guests lined up to sign it also. We spread out vegetables and fruits, cheeses and crackers for people to munch on as the formal wedding pictures were taken. The band set up near the food tables and played a mix fun music. When the pictures were finished we quickly cleared the serving tables and set out the salads, prime rib and pork loin roasts that Ruth’s sons had grilled that day. We’d expected 120 guests but there were close to 150! Aurora had forgotten to factor in a number of the children of Grassman’s relatives. Fortunately there was enough food for all with a bit left over.
Dancing and fellowship followed. Grassman and Aurora had a blast as well as the guests.
A picture with Grassman’s parents and Abigail. (I have not yet seen any of the official pictures and I didn’t think to have someone snap a picture of our family on my camera.)
The clouds had burned off before noon and the day grew so warm that we all forgot about the stole. As they were about to climb into the red 1950′s chevy pickup Grassman and his dad had restored, I suddenly remember it. The picture’s not great her wedding dress train had already been tucked up and she haphazardly draped it on, and she felt weary from the long day but she humored her ol’ ma.