Sunday, June 19, 2011

Nice Night for a White Wedding

Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years.
~Simone Signoret

A close friend had a huge party tonight to celebrate her pirate wedding at the VMFA last weekend. After a stealth ceremony, they wanted to party with 75 or so of their favorite people.

I made the list, although I never actually got the invitation; I like to tease her about that.

The dress code was all white, following the bride's lead, and only a very few people ignored that request.

She wore a tag saying, "Yes, I AM the bride" and another woman (who had been congratulated twice) wore one that said, "No, I am NOT the bride." It was pretty funny.

The lavish party was held in their backyard, a fairyland of multiple level decks, secret gardens, ponds and twinkling lights.

Local flower-decorated tables were scattered throughout the trees and under a canopy. There was a beer bar on one side and a wine bar on the other.

When I arrived, the groom greeted me and then pointed me towards the wine bar. Teasing him for presuming I'd want wine, he laughed."Your life is an open book and she reads it to me after every time she sees you." Gulp.

An Irish band played all evening long under the stars as disparate groups of friends introduced themselves to each other. In most cases, people turned out to have far fewer than six degrees of separation.

Within the first ten minutes I was there, I discovered connections from Floyd Avenue (my former long-time home), Baja Bean (and a former boyfriend) and a former reader (back when I worked in publishing).

Amazing how quickly you can connect the dots in this town.

I was invited to join some guys at the cigar-smoking table (they thought I looked lonely) and they provided all kinds of raucous conversation. As the daughter of a former pipe and cigar smoker, the smell was familiar.

The guest list was all over the place; I chatted with a guy who had just graduated from VCU and with an 80-year old doctor who volunteers at a clinic twice a week because retirement bores him.

The food was outstanding and plentiful with everything from pork loin to smoked salmon ((done by a friend to their smokey taste) to barbecued drumsticks, tabbouleh to bean salad to sesame noodles, Caprese to meats and cheeses to chicken fajitas. I ate some of everything being offfered.

And because everyone knows that the bride and groom never take time to eat at their own celebration, I became the friend who nudged them both into eating, getting her a plate and even making his plate up for him. Eat, you two, you'll need your strength for later (wink, wink).

It was very sweet to see them kissing and dancing and doing all kinds of romantic things I don't usually see them do. Everyone else seemed to be enjoying it for the same reasons.

The beautiful wedding cake was nontraditional carrot cake (with brandy-soaked raisins) and decorated with marzipan vegetables in tribute to their shared love of gardening. They disdained the traditional cake shoving gesture, to their credit.

After dinner and once it was dark, I found a quiet corner from which I could see the dancing area and the band but remain hidden by plants.

It was a cozy spot to savor the magic of the evening. So many white-clad people milling about, disappearing behind bushes and tall plants. Odd pairings coming together to dance and then drift apart. An occasional raindrop felt.

I got to thinking how very satisfying it was to help a long-time friend celebrate having found a partner for the rest of her life. And we did celebrate.

I do foresee a hungover happy couple in the morning, but then that's all part of the "for better or for worse." I have no doubt they'll work through it.

A long marriage is two people trying to dance a duet and two solos at the same time.
~Anne Taylor Fleming


  1. as always... you said it perfectly.
    You were so important to the evening... for both of us.

    Here's to friendship... and to you and I growing older and wiser together.

  2. And here's to the duet and the solos!