If you have ever flown on United Airlines and forgotten to bring a book….you have probably read their “3 Perfect Days” (in wherever) article. I always figure, if it’s in there, it’s for tourists, but what do I know?
Our 3 perfect days centered on our wedding 10/7/11. On Wednesday (10/5th) Kit’s family began to arrive like a beneficial, metaphorical plague of locusts. Aunts and Mom were cleaning and fussing and cooing over the girls (and, to my modest embarrassment, occasionally me). Dad and Uncle Steve did a yeomanly job helping us move through some of that pesky wine we always have lying around everywhere.
The real kick off was Thursday night with the rehearsal dinner. True to form we did very, very little rehearsing. Kit was very cool about that, as was her (and now my) extended family. Debra Silverman, our officiant, seemed slightly concerned, and once we gave her some Flanagan Chardonnay she seemed much more confident. I have always believed that over-rehearsing (or maybe rehearsing at all) destroys spontaneity and limits the potential for extemporaneous expression (which for sure is the most exciting and sincere type!). Minimal rehearsing also leaves more time for eating, talking, and drinking, which, based on the detritus from that night, was well received by both extended family and out of town guests. Kit’s folks Bang and Sue (don’t you wish your nickname was “BANG”?), treated for the rehearsal dinner and our great friends Lisbeth and Shari from Baci catered it. It was a truly great beginning to the wedding weekend!
This is Kit's family "rehearsing"
Our wedding day dawned bright and clear and the vineyards surrounding the house were still laden with grapes. It was like a collective benison from Apollo, Demeter, Dionysus, and Aphrodite (4 of my favorites as it turns out with all due respect to the other 9 Olympians). In a strange way, time seemed suspended and, mundane things like lunch and telling people how to find the house filled up the day. Kit left a little after noon to go get ready and the girls (Riley, Lola and Ruby) all joined her around 3pm. I ran a few last minute errands, and then, while the caterers finished setting up, hit the pool for a bit. I reckon a groom’s biggest duty is to show up looking tan, relaxed, and excited to be married. Showing up pasty-faced and anxious does not send the right message to one’s future wife or to her family….and you know they are watching for any signs of weakness or uncertainty!!
So, perfectly focused on my duties, I hit the shower around 5pm (cleanliness is next to Godliness) and was dressed, ready, and waiting on the lawn by 5:30. In a further demonstration of my devotion I had purchased a beautiful new jacket and, possibly, the most stunning blue shirt in history. None of this would detract from the superior spectacle of the most beautiful Kit and it did show the requisite level of commitment.
At 5:30 the nuptial rolled into low gear….literally. Riley and Lola rode in on horseback while Kit rode in the front of my 1951 Ford F-3 with her Dad (BANG!) at the wheel. Ruby and her little cousin Sanza stood in the bed of the pick-up, doing the princess wave, in their matching brown dresses and floral crowns. Trust me when I tell you this was priceless. Then Riley and Lola dismounted and the bride and the flower girls disembarked. Ruby and Sanza did a long procession strewing rose petals while Riley and Lola led in the “Best Dog” and the “Dog of Honor”. We stood in a circle of ancient oaks, before friends, waiting for Kit to make her entrance. I swear I am not making any of this up.
One of the world’s greatest tenors (I am not exaggerating), Jesus Daniel Hernadez, accompanied by a string trio, began to sing. Then Kit entered…..and she was as stunning as a bride has ever been. She was so happy and beautiful and her dress was perfect. Aphrodite cast her glamour upon Kit, who shone with a Goddess-like radiance.
We basked together in love, gratitude, and champagne.
I did my very best to keep from grinning like a village idiot at my absurd good fortune. The girls and the dogs were on perfect behavior, the horses were whisked away, and Debra began what was a relatively brief and completely real ceremony. We integrated our wine and a large piece of obsidian that I found in our vineyards surrounding our new home into the wedding, along with a butterfly release from the flower girls. Kit surprised me with a song “Never Saw Blue” (like that before) with her Uncle Steve playing guitar. Apollo, God of Music and Light, covered Kit with an aura of divine golden light as the rays of the setting sun blessed her song. The word magical seems like a pale watercolor next to the vibrant sunset palate that was the wedding.
After the ceremony we and the guests moved straight into ’90 Grand Dame Champagne out of Magnum and pass hors d’oeuvres. Dinner was catered by Starks and exceeded our very elevated expectations! Caviar and a raw bar were paired with more of the ’90 Grand Dame and then savory plates were paired with a special one barrel production Flanagan Wedding Cuvee Cabernet. We had the pool and pool house lit beautifully and we dined and drank poolside with our family and our closest friends. It just makes me want to get married over and over (to Kit of course).
God didn’t get to rest until Day 7 (which was either a Saturday or a Sunday depending on who you listen to) and in keeping with tradition there was no rest for us either. At noon we began our wedding reception, which, filled the slot normally occupied by our annual Harvest Party. Stark’s once again did the catering and Mark Stark’s wine country cookout menu was a huge hit. Wine flowed freely as 200 friends shuttled in to the winery grounds.
Operatic love serenade by Jesus Daniel Hernadez
We wandered through the crowd of friends all day connecting with people and sharing stories. Before we cut the cake Kit gave a brief “thank you” speech. When the crowd clamored for me to speak I cried, “Help me Jesus”, and help me he did as he climbed up on the rock retaining wall and sang an Italian operatic love solo. His voice filled the room…which, was all of the great outdoors, bounded only by rock and oak trees and friends. When he sang the hair went up on the back of my neck. It was surreal and sublime.
After the cake and the wedding serenade from Jesus, Wayne the Helicopter Man swooped in and whisked us all away. It was a good thing we left when, and how, we did because people stayed up at the winery until 2 am talking, and drinking by the bonfire.
So those are our 3 Perfect Days in Wine Country.
Eric and Kit ( and Riley and Lola and Ruby)