Sunday, September 30, 2012

Our Wedding: Friends

After the ceremony, it was party on! Boo Snider pulled out his guitar and serenaded us and then played a few tunes. I noticed that he and several other diehard Redskins fans bolted right after this to go catch the game: party poopers!

Boo Sang for Us

Nice Photo of the Old Epiphone by my Father

Watching the Ceremony

Jim and Sandy

Congratulations from an old Friend

Tom and Amanda

Dennis and Dimitri

Dennis Horning in on my Girl!

Mike and Dennis


Photographer Extraordinaire with the 500kw Smile

Clowning Around

Ricky and Brittany

Kenny and Mel, Traitors: Bailed Early to Watch Football!

Bill McKenney Holding Court; KO and Photographer Steve Wright

Cake Decorator Donald and Cindy

Terry Relaxing without the Camera
Kelley, Mark, and Jen

Pretty Smiles

Dewi Armed for Combat

Billy and Shawn

Preston and Myret

Patty Always Hides from the Camera; Stealth Shot of her and Neil

Our Wedding: Family

Posting this makes me sad because Ann's parents Bob and Mary could not be with us. I know we were both looking very forward to seeing them.

My Parents

My Immediate Family

Why are the Kids Smirking?

My Beautiful Girls
A Tender Moment with her Handsome Boy

Thanks for the Flash in our Eyes!

Where are the Smiles?

First Photo of us Kids in 35 or More Years

My Sister and Brother


Did Somebody Blink?

Susan Giving Marshall What For!

My Cuz Sarah and Amy, Looking Good!

Our Wedding: The Ceremony

We were blessed with amazingly great weather on Sunday the 30th of September, 2012. It was cloudy all morning and I feared for rain. The clouds did keep the day slightly cooler than it might otherwise have been, and this was a good thing, a very good thing for an outdoor wedding. The sun popped out for good around noon and except for a single black cloud that dropped a few sprinkles minutes before the ceremony, the weather was sunny and mild.

Carter Escorts his Mom Outside
The ceremony got off to a bit of a late start. We were going at 1:30pm but Ann's parents still hadn't arrived by then. At 2:00, I finally called them and found out that Mary was very ill and that they had called the house phone and left a message on the answering machine earlier that morning while Ann was out getting her hair done and I was at the restaurant fetching the cheese and all the decorations for our cake. In the excitement, we failed to check the answering machine.

On finding out that her parents wouldn't be at the wedding, Ann was understandably distraught and it took a while for her to talk with them on the phone and then to compose herself. I had planned to ask Bob if I could marry his daughter just before the ceremony. He didn't know until he talked to Ann on the phone that we were getting married: it was to be a surprise for him as well. He told Ann on the phone to tell me that he said "Yes!" though I didn't find this out until after we were married.

Ultimately, the female coterie came downstairs absent Ann and herded everyone outside with a glass of sparkling wine and I got my first glass (of many) of the day. Until then, I had been so busy hosting that I hadn't even had a sip of wine. As you can see in the photo, everyone formed a circle around the patio where I waited under the pergola with my friend David McLaughlin, who just happens to be licensed to perform marriage ceremonies.

Carter escorted Ann out of the house and down the steps to where David and I were standing. It was as Ann was coming down the steps that I first got to see her crazy royal blue shoes!

Doesn't Every Wedding Start with a Salute?
I am not exactly sure how we ended up saluting each other, but it was a mock-serious funny moment, in keeping with our low-key event! You don't see here that I am wearing shorts and flip-flops. I loved Ann's very simple, very classy dress.

Sharing a Laugh before the Vows
David is a long-time friend of mine and as it turns out long-time friend of my mother's family. David's cousin Henry was sweet on my mother during high school, but I didn't know that until I saw my mother and her sister Susan yacking away with David after the ceremony. He asked us about what we wanted our vows to be. I told him to keep it simple and to check with Ann about anything she might want. We really hadn't given it any thought. The entire ceremony took about 30 seconds, much to the glee of the assembly of friends and family!

The Rings: We Forgot Them until after The Ceremony!

Going in for the Kill!

Our Wedding: Food and Flowers

The Dining Room Table Groaning with Food
Our wedding was a pot luck: in lieu of gifts, we asked everybody to bring something to eat. There is just no way that I could have cooked for all that many people on my wedding day and still enjoyed everything. And according to everyone who attended, the food was outstanding. I wouldn't know. Except for a small bite of the out-freaking-standing pulled pork that Tom Matthes brought, I didn't have time to eat.

I remember from looking at this picture that Donald made cupcakes, Dimitri dolmades, Shawn a seviche that everyone raved about, and Bill melanzane. Sorry everyone else, I don't recall. Thank you nonetheless.

My involvement with the food was limited to beverages and to the "cake" itself. As far as the wine went, I got three cases of Crémant de Bourgogne, blanc de blancs, blanc de noirs, and rosé. As everyone arrived, I poured each guest a glass. After that, they were on their own. I noted that guests came well armed; the center island seemed to be overflowing with bottles of wine. I hate it when that happens! The recycling bin was certainly overflowing the next day!

Our Wedding "Cake"
Now for the cake, Ann and I had discussed it many times prior to the wedding and we had pretty much thought that stacking several cheeses one on top of the other in the form of a tiered wedding cake would be just our style. And when you have a bunch of foodies and winos to the house for a party, cheese is a much better option than cake!

Donald had expressed to me over the years that he wanted to do our wedding cake, meticulous pastry chef that he is. I knew the whole cheese thing wasn't going to sit too well with him, so I broke the news to him about the cheeses and asked him to be in charge of decorating them. I supplied him with a huge platter, grape leaves, the tiny Corinth grapes marketed as Champagne grapes, lavender blooms, marinated grilled fennel, and fresh figs. He brought ceramic cheese labels and a gold pen. And what you see here is the result of his labors. Gorgeous.

Note the beautiful cake topper flowers to the left of the cake, perched upon the candlestick. My mother and aunt Susan made this to go on the cake, but by the time that they had arrived, Donald had already adorned the top of the cake with figs. Graciously not wanting to upset the applecart (Did I mention Donald is a PASTRY chef?), they assented to displaying the flowers next to the cake.

Selecting the cheeses was a bit of a process, but fortunately, I had a great ally in Karen Dee of International Gourmet Foods, cheese supplier to the restaurant. God bless her: she was an awesome co-conspirator in the wedding caper. She went into her warehouse and stacked selections of cheeses that she thought would work well together and emailed me photos of her suggestions. After emailing back and forth, we arrived at the final combination and she tagged the cheeses for me, for delivery just before the wedding.

We Had a Lot of Cheese Left Over!
Ann knew nothing about the cake until she saw it. In response to her repeated questions about the cake in the two weeks leading up to the wedding, I merely told her that I was taking care of it. Now she knows I am not a pastry chef, so she may well have had her suspicions, but I guarantee she was surprised to see the gorgeous tower of cheeses that Donald assembled from all the bits I collected for him.

Top tier: Green Hill Brie-like cheese from Sweet Grass Dairy from Thomasville in way southern Georgia. This wasn't one of Karen's suggestions. I just happened to have this cheese in the cooler and thought it would make a great topper for the cake.

Second tier: representing the goat world, a Spanish Garrotxa named after the county in Catalonia. This is a firm cheese with white paste and a grey mold on the rind.

Third tier, second to bottom: an outstanding cow's milk contribution again from Sweet Grass Dairy named Thomasville Tomme. This is a medium-firm cheese with a golden paste with a great, beefy flavor. This is the cheese that put Sweet Grass on America's radar and with good reason: you'll be hard pressed to find a better cheese of its style. Ann went ape for this cheese.

Bottom tier: from Wisconsin and representing sheep's milk, Marisa from Carr Valley Cheese Company where Sid Cook keeps raising the bar for every other artisanal cheesemaker in the country. This is a sweet mellow cheese with a medium paste that we keep in the cooler almost all year because it is so delicious and versatile.

My Mother and Aunt Brought a Little Mouse for the Cake
Flowers run deep on my mother's side of the family. It seems that everyone on her side of the family can arrange flowers better than most commercial florists. And when my mom asked what she could do for the wedding, I knew she was asking to do the flowers. So I told her that Ann loves sunflowers and asked her to keep it simple, knowing full well that she and her sister Susan would not. But this kind of help, born of love, you can't refuse. The results: judge for yourself, but I have never seen finer flowers and I just love the found wildflowers, the goldenrods and Queen Anne's lace. And I thought that the use of squashes as vases was genius. The tan squash I recognize as Musquée de Provence, a favorite at the restaurant. The blue one could be a Jarrahdale, but I'm not sure. We use a bunch of them like this in late winter. [I have a confession to make: these ended up as lunch soup right after the wedding!]

Stunning Rose and Orchid Boutonnière

Centerpiece Number One

Centerpiece Number Two

Ann's Bouquet of Sunflowers

Our Wedding: Pre-Game

Just before guests started arriving, Ann and her coterie of girlfriends headed upstairs to the bedroom for a little sparkling wine and girl stuff before the ceremony. Naturally, I didn't see Ann or her dress until the moment that Carter escorted her out the back door to where I was standing.

Nor did I have any time to worry about her dress. I was busy as a one-armed paperhanger downstairs greeting all the new arrivals and making sure that they got a glass of sparkling wine.

Karen, Kelley, Amanda, Ann, Jen, and Cindy

Getting Sparkles in her Hair

Something Borrowed

Something Blue!!

Carter Got to Join the Girls

My Aunt Susan Gives Carter a Boutonnière

Ann Had no Idea My Cousin Melissa was Coming

Ann Gets her Bouquet from my Mother

Meeting my Sister Kathy

And my Brother Mac

And We Got Sandy in Attendance under the Radar!

Not Much of a Good Day for the Beasts!

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