May 15, 2009

My Friend’s Wedding

One of the reasons an expatriate comes back home is to attend important events, such as weddings. Esperando and I recently flew to the San Francisco Bay Area for just such a purpose. After 23 years of living in consensual sin, the Brainy Blonde’s Significant Other decided to make an honest woman of her. They had a smashing wedding. Really. It was one of the most enjoyable weddings I’ve ever attended if not the best (well next to ours). Their wedding and reception were held at Thomas Fogarty Winery on the Peninsula up in the coastal hills on Skyline Blvd. with a beautiful view of the San Francisco Bay and Silicon Valley. It was a gorgeous day, with a little breeze but perfectly lovely weather for a wedding.

The wedding proper was on an upper level garden terrace with the guests facing the bay view in front of an arbor decorated with spring flowers. A three-piece ensemble played flute, guitar and cello while the guests gathered. At the appropriate time we all took our seats. Her attendants were her grandchildren, a darling redhead girl and her baby brother serving as flower girl and ring bearer respectively. A college friend of many years served as a Matron of Honor and helped her plan the event; she was attired in a beautiful two-piece white satin floor length skirt with matching over jacket and pearls. The Blonde appeared wearing a strapless white satin gown seeded with scattered pearls and rhinestones which featured a high-low hemline that was tea length in front and floor length in back. She was well poised and she looked totally stunning. For the reception the ‘almost train’ buttoned up to the back of the gown to make it one length.

After the wedding while photos were being taken, the guests walked down a level to a large wooden deck that had the same fabulous view, but overlooking one of the vineyards as well. Thomas Fogarty’s fabulous wines were featured; complex and well structured, not a one could disappoint. There were several options of red–Cabernet, Merlot and Barbiolo; and the whites were Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer. The catering was provided by Componere from Emeryville who I would highly recommend. Fabulous hors d'oeuvres were passed around by the very professional catering staff: a rosemary salted grilled shrimp with mango salsa; teeny pulled pork sandwiches; and a fabulous mushroom tart. If this was any inkling of the meal to come we would be in ecstasy.

A plus for Esperando and I was getting to chat with some old mutual friends, for me a girl and her husband that I knew when I was first out of college and going to parties in San Francisco. Finally the bride and groom appeared from their photo shoot and we had a nice cocktail hour on the deck. Then it was time to go into the dining room, a beautifully appointed wood paneled area with windows overlooking that breathtaking view. We were served the most delicious meal, a choice of salmon or beef that melted in your mouth, and that bested any restaurant at which I’ve ever eaten. With the wine and the food and the convivial atmosphere of people all special to the bride and groom, I felt like I was at Babette’s Feast.

When they had finished dining The Blonde and her new husband moved from table to table to mingle and talk to their guests, moving on to cut the cake, and thankfully not smearing it on each other’s faces, but sharing bites of it with their handsome grandchildren (who did seem to get some frosting on their faces). I can’t remember being so happy in a long time. It did my heart good to see the radiance on my friend’s face. Being expatriates themselves, they are off soon to respective assignments in Abu Dhabi and Montreal.

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