About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

Read more ...

Blog Search


(Supports AND)

Google Ads

Feed

Subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog.

See this post for info on full versus truncated feeds.

Quote

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

— Mark Twain



Navigation





<September 2018>
SMTWTFS
2627282930311
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30123456

Categories

  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  

Contact

Email me

Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 9/21/2018

Totals
Posts - 2522
Comments - 2582
Hits - 2,081,216

Averages
Entries/day - 0.45
Comments/entry - 1.02
Hits/day - 374

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 8:07 PM Pacific


  09:11 PM

Sarah and I got married last Saturday. I'm a bit behind in reporting this. My excuse: I'm writing this from Maui, sitting in an 11th-story condo that overlooks the water.

Our plan was to have a low-key affair for the wedding. Sarah had proposed, for example, that there be six of us -- the two of us, her two kids, my two kids. I could understand the appeal of this plan, but I favored something attended by a few more folks. And soon enough various near and dear made it clear that they expected to be attending the wedding.

This is a second wedding for both of us, so we were comfortable in planning something that was particularly meaningful to us. As many people know, this is not how the wedding industry works; as someone observed, it's an industry where the customer is never right. Virtually anyone associated with the industry essentially tells you what you should do. So we stayed away from that as much as we could.

For example, gifts. We've got plenty of stuff. Indeed, after combining households, we have more than plenty. So Sarah's idea was this: rather than bringing gifts, people would bring a toast or a memory to share. At our age, it's not the stuff you have; it's the relationships you've wrought that mean the most, and those are the gifts we really care about.

In the end, our various friends and relations became quite involved in the celebration, in some cases by design, and in others by circumstances. For example, we couldn't decide what to do about an officiant. Neither of us has the remotest religious ties, and the idea of a JP seemed somewhat impersonal. The person who seemed most suited to the role was my friend Dennis, whose combination of whimsy and gravitas -- not to mention being one of our best friends -- seemed just right. Somewhat hesitantly we approached him on the matter, and no worries ... he was delighted with the idea. The fact that he had no specific legal qualification for the job was solved by a visit to the Interweb, and a week later Dennis was ordained. ("My mother would be so proud!" was his comment.)

Likewise with the photographer. Our friend Trish has recently been able to put to use the talents she honed in art school, for example by doing photo shoots for local bands. Would she agree ... ? Of course. The day of the wedding, we trussed ourselves up in finery. In what seemed like a few minutes, she shot a series of formal-style family wedding photos that are at least as good as any we would have gotten from anyone else. Probably better, since we all know Trish and she kept us laughing pretty much throughout. We keep looking at them and marveling.

We thought long and hard about catering. Our friend Blaise has been doing catering and would have been happy to help, but it seemed like an extraordinary amount of work to put a friend through. We also contemplated the "Costco Catering" option -- several hundred dollars at Costco plus some rented tableware. This was tempting, because we've attended receptions like this, and they are among the most enjoyable we've been at. (More than once the idea of a potluck reception came up -- and not just from me -- but Sarah said she drew the line at making our guests do all their own work. Heh.) In the end, we opted for a traditional caterer, an outfit located quite near to our venue. Our initial contacts with the caterer were a bit spotty -- they didn’t respond to email, it seemed -- but once we arranged a meeting and did some sampling, we were reassured by the menu and her familiarity with the drill and with our venue. In addition to the comestibles, the caterer also would provide important support roles. One was servers and a clean-up crew. Another was a professional bartender. This latter was a requirement for the venue (which belongs to the city) and for the one-day liability insurance policy that we were obliged to provide.

The rest came together pretty casually. We made our own invitations, which was a blast. Sarah got a dress for her and for her girls from the Internet. Zack and I spent a surprisingly fun afternoon kitting ourselves out in suits, shirts, and ties. Rather than decide on a look, Sarah decided that our "theme" would just be green -- everyone in the family would wear green somewhere, their choice. Sarah put together all the table decorations. We got a cake from a local grocery store. (Recommended, by the way: it was gorgeous.) We got some cases of wine from Trader Joe's. After a tour of local jewelry stores, we ended up getting our rings from a, um, reseller, and then had them inscribed with the date and a romantic note. For music, a couple of the teachers from where I take guitar lessons turned out to be old pros at doing weddings. And for dancing, a sound system and a dance mix that I had a terrific time putting together.

People came from all over to attend, which was very pleasing to us. I had cousins up from Mexico and from California. Sarah's sister came from the Bay Area and her brother came in from Beijing. My friend Steve, whom I've known since 3rd grade, came up from L.A. Michael B came from D.C. (Some friends of Sarah's had visited a month earlier from Philadelphia, partly with the idea that visiting us during a wedding weekend would mean they'd hardly talk to us. Good call, that.)

We settled for a schedule for the wedding. We'd do the ceremony early, at 5:15. Then people would eat and toast and dance and, you know, mingle.

Months and months of steady, though not frantic, planning, and finally the day arrived. We had the venue from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm; we could start setting up at 4:00. At our initial meeting, the caterer had asked if we could possibly start at 3:30 pm for all their setup, but no go. We got there on the dot of 4:00 and the dozen or so family members and friends ran around setting up tables and chairs, claiming space for a bar, and so on.

Around 4:15, Sarah said "Where's the caterer?" Excellent question. For all their insistence on getting there early, they seemed to be awful late. We stood out front, greeting people as they came in and looking hopefully at any vehicle that came into the parking lot. At about 4:30, it seemed evident that we had a runaway caterer. We were telling people this ("Ever been to a wedding where the caterer didn't show?") and without exception, every single person offered a solution -- "I'll get pizza!" "Is there a Subway around here"? and so on. This is a point at which you stop and you reflect on how wonderful your friends and family are.

Trish and Sarah's brother Bob were dispatched to the caterer's location nearby. As Bob recounts the story, the caterer was busily loading up for a job, and said "I'm really busy, but I can talk to you for 30 seconds." Bob says "You have a wedding tonight." Caterer: "Yes, the so-and-so wedding at 6:30." Bob says: "Sarah and Mike's wedding, 40 minutes ago." Bob said that she flushed bright red and he thought "we were going to lose her." But she recovered and after a call to Sarah, loaded Bob and Trish up with ice and glasses and some plates, and said she could be there by 6:30.

Back at the venue, Sarah said that we could change the schedule around. My friend Steve and some helpers took charge of the "bar" and got things set up. We went ahead with the ceremony.

All six of us went up to the front with and Sarah explained to the crowd that there had been a mixup and so the schedule would be slightly changed. We then proceeded. Dennis was great, just as we'd hoped, and we managed to not choke up and not giggle, though the latter was a close thing. Sarah then invited people to please, "Go be your own bartender!" and head to the bar. Steve and helpers were impromptu servers. Professional bartender, eh.

In the meantime, the caterer had arrived and was setting up food. She worked frantically while we had time to mingle. When the food was ready, people queued up and we were pretty much caught up with the schedule. We found out later that she had thought all along that we were Sunday. She insisted that there would be no charge, but that didn't seem very fair to us, since in the end we got pretty much what we had asked for and the food was fantastic.

While people ate, we started the toasting-and-memories. Sarah's father led things off. He's 82 and was a Shakespeare scholar in his day. He's got a noticable Scottish accent and a flair for the dramatic, and when he finished with a Scottish toast and a Shakespeare sonnet, it proved a hard act to follow. Nonetheless, people stood up one by one and shared their gift of memories and good wishes. My kids both stood and toasted, which made me all choked up. Some people had wonderfully prepared texts that they shared; others stood and recounted touching or amusing (or sometimes embarrassing) stories. We had toasts in Scots, Chinese, Spanish, and German. More than one person reminded me, directly and otherwise, of my good fortune in marrying Sarah. Which I heartily agree with.

Afterwards, we got the sound system going and people began dancing. I had the playlist on the laptop, so people would run over and pick songs they wanted. At one point, the Cha-Cha Slide (video) came on, which calls out the steps. Fortunately, Zack's girlfriend Melinda knew the song, so she led us all in the sliding, stamping, and jumping.

Time flew, of course, and at 9:15, our minder at the venue came and told me that we should think about cleaning up pretty soon. Not likely. But 20 minutes or so later, we did finally turn the lights back up and started clearing. At this point, in theory the caterer's staff would have leapt into action. But no one lost a beat -- the brooms came out, and the guests turned from dancing and chatting to clearing, sweeping, putting up the tables and chairs, and hauling leftovers to the cars. In 15 minutes the place was bare and clean. What more can you ask than friends who are sentimental when it's time to toast and practical when it's time to clean up?

So now we're in Hawaii, halfway through our honeymoon. Amazing place, this. More on that another time.

[categories]   ,

[10] |