There was a period in my early adulthood — just after college until I was right around 30 — when every year, I could count on attending a couple of weddings. Like turning pages in the calendar, every few months, I’d decide what suit to wear, whether or not to bring a date (going solo made early departures from receptions easier), and what to give as a gift. Repeat.
Then there was the long quiet of a decade-plus of very few weddings. Folks were done pairing off and the few that hadn’t — or were perhaps going in for Round Two — weren’t really making a big deal of their nuptials. Sure, there were a few sprinkled here and there, but not many. In fact, the Beloved’s and my first real date was to a old college friend’s wedding. I can say that date was much better than the reception.
But 2013, however, put weddings back at the forefront with not one, but two that we’d travel to attend, which also helped form the kernels of our summer vacation plans. I even bought a new suit.
First up, my niece’s (she’s also my god-daughter) wedding back in The Jerz was a big family affair. A big affair for our family as Rachel is the only child in our family of that generation and a big family affair as her husband comes from a large, Italian south Jersey family. Abbondanza!
As you might imagine, June in The Jerz was pretty hot and we were treated to many thunderstorms and rainshowers of the kind not often seen in Southern California. Fortunately, the day of the wedding was, I’m pretty sure, the only day of our two weeks on the east coast that didn’t rain. In fact, everything went off without a hitch — Mass, pictures, and the 200-person all-you-can-eat-and-drink reception that my brother shelled out for was a blast — full of laughs and dancing and joy. I may or may not have gotten teary-eyed was during the Daddy-Daughter Dance, but I’ll never tell.
In August, we traveled up to the hills east of Santa Cruz for Cori’s wedding — one in which she’d created most, if not all, the decorations (which were awesome) as well as done all prep and planning (if you know her on social media, you might recall a few stressy days). It was held at a retreat back off a (somewhat treacherous) dirt road, and the ceremony itself was held in a grotto in a forest of redwoods and giant ponderosa pines. It was like something out of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Hard to find a better cathedral than that.
The reception was like a large garden party — there was (hipster) music and people mingled among the trees and there were a number of lawn games: corn-hole, croquet, and a pretty cool giganto-jenga. The whole afternoon had a wonderful, relaxed, joyful vibe.
As the late day sun filtered through the trees, a log-fire was banked and we all made s’mores. There are reports that I had several. What’s the upper limit on several? When does it transition into many? Let’s not dwell.
One thing though was absent from both of these weddings that I remember from a lot of the ones from earlier days. I can remember often having hushed conversations about “it’s too soon” or “will they make it” or “I not sure she’s good for him” that sometimes made the wedding and receptions seems more cautious than celebratory. None of that this summer — there was nothing but good feelings, excitement, and happiness for both couples.