Summer of Love

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!

Hermano Means Brother?

Hermano Means Brother?

Love, Italian Style

Love, Italian Style

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.



Happy Family

Happy Family

Sniff sniff

Sniff sniff

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.

Cori's Cathedral

Cori’s Cathedral

Great Dress

Great Dress

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.

Photobomb'd by the Groom

Photobomb’d by the Groom

That's Better

That’s Better

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.

Ryan (the Groom) imparts s'more skills to a new generation

Ryan (the Groom) imparts s’more skills to a new generation

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.



23 thoughts on “Summer of Love

  1. A curmudgeon friend once griped that you know you’re growing old when the number of funerals you attend start to outnumber the weddings and birthdays. In my case, I was seeing more divorces for awhile. I think our group had hit the age of empty nesting, when the excuses for staying together have flown away and it’s just the two of you, alone, in uneasy silence. Now however, I’m seeing the younger generation—good lord, did I just say that?—settling down with their partners and beginning a whole new cycle of happiness. I wish your niece and Cory and their respective spouses all the best. Who knows, maybe in a few years Uncle Steve will be be godfather to a great nephew or niece! :)

    I love that cheese and salami heart!

    • Fortunately, our funerals have been few and far between — and mostly confined to our parents’ generation, though one leader in the SD biotech community met a very untimely demise after a biking accident.

      And we are seeing a bunch of friends get ready to send their kids to college and wonder what will become of them as they’ve seen SO preoccupied with their kids that being together again should be an interesting experiment to say the least. So far though, the early returns on the empty-nesters we know has been pretty positive, so that’s another reason for happiness. :)

  2. I, too, was struck by the cheese and salami heart, especially by the irony therein.

    The last wedding I went to was one I had to perform for my effectively adopted little sister, Abby. (That means my mom likes her better than she does my brother and me, and Abby is always there for Thanksgiving). Their families were like the Hatfields and McCoys, just with more methesque behavior, and the wedding was in the eight-storey atrium of a swanky hotel. The dj brought a wireless mic for me to use. Said wireless mic did not work. Thus I had to theatre-project my voice to the back rows. The guests did not understand words of more than two syllables, and thus grew restless during the fifteen minute “service” I’d “prepared” (meaning I had a bunch of crap I could riff on depending). I sotto voced we’d be skipping to the candle-lighting, then I pronounced them, they kissed, and started down the aisle. The DJ–now on my shitlist and Abby’s–was supposed to play “At Last” as their exit song. Instead, he accidentally played “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” Add to this that I was having an anxiety attack and sweating so profusely that one of the groomsmen (a Paramedic) kept asking me if I was okay. The couple walked out the back of the atrium, and the officiant was the first damn person at the bar. “Please give me as much of the best bourbon you have, unless it’s Jack Daniel’s which is an abomination, in two of those little plastic cups that always cut your lips on airplanes, and drop an ice cube or two in each. Please and thank you.” ($10 tip) I managed to stamp & sign their marriage license (my stamp ended up being upside-down), and enjoyed another adult beverage or two. Panic attack dissolved, I changed into shorts and a t-shirt in a men’s room, and hauled-ass back home to recover.

    I’ll say this: it’s the only wedding I’ve ever officiated, and they’re still together and happy after eight years. I guess after their calamitous wedding, the marriage part is a cakewalk.

    So, yeah. I’m the guy who volunteers to work that day so everyone else can attend the nuptials.

    I wish I could’ve attended Cori’s wedding, though. There are few people I like more or who deserve more happiness than she does. (I would still be the guy who got bitten by a pygmy rattlesnake.)

    • Wow — now THAT is an awesome wedding story. Seems like one you’d like to watch unobtrusively from the sidelines and not be in the middle of. I once had an ex-girlfriend drink herself into puking on the restroom floor at a reception because she couldn’t handle my being at that reception with someone else. Yuck.

      As far as I can recall, there were no rattlesnake sightings at the George-affair.

  3. Hubbs and I love “a good wedding” – the joy, the visiting, the impromptu moments –those times we get teary eyed and can’t hardly stop. You had 2 of them to revel in – how fun for you & your bride :) Bests to the new couples! MJ

  4. I’m happy to see the backside of my bridesmaid days, I gotta say! I think the last was around 30, like 29? Started in my teens. Oy.

  5. I’m BAAAACK!

    Cori’s dress is amazing! I don’t know the games you mentioned, except croquet. I’d seen your GdD’s photo before and you already know that she has model-beauty. I think when people get older, there’s far less stress (not the bridal party), more time to enjoy and just hang.

    • Cori was radiant in her dress. She was really lovely. And yes, Rachel was very beautiful too.

      I agree — as we get older, there’s really no drama associated with anything. Thank dog.

  6. Wow, I’m not big on forest weddings (I prefer the coast) but that one looked truly awesome. I expected to see a dragon emerging from the trees in some of those photos! Nice idea and loved the fire pit too. Glad it was joyful.

  7. Your post put me in the mood for a wedding! You know, since mine was kind of a non-wedding. But I do love them…as a guest. :) Cori’s wedding looks like it was so much fun! I love the Redwoods – they’re just amazing…what an incredible place to get married.

    (PS – tell The Beloved that I love the polka-dotted dress she wore to Rachel’s wedding. :) )

  8. Great photos! I love the pepperoni and cheese. Have a heart, will ya? And there’s nothing quite like a happy bride. And photobombed by the groom? That rocks.

    For a long time I had a streak going where every time I was forced to attend a wedding I also had duties as a groomsman. Thankfully that streak was broken a few years back and it has been smooth sailing ever since.

    • Thanks, shouts! They were good days. Almost reaffirms my faith in people. Almost.

      I have to imagine my groomsman days are done. Just when I think I could rock a good set of tails, too.

  9. Pingback: Interesting Things I Forgot To Post: Visiting Beethoven | Stevil

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