Over the weekend, we celebrated our friends' wedding in Humboldt County, California. We left Thursday, spent the night in San Francisco, then drove the rest of the way Friday. Sunday, the day after the wedding, we drove back to Berkeley, spent another night and finished the drive home on Monday. I didn't get great photos (happily, other folks did) but made great memories.
Here are three interesting things from the adventure that I want to note :
one. As mentioned, this was quite the road trip. 1300 miles and four days in the car for one party. But we both agreed early on, and realized again yesterday that it is always totally worth it to see friends. We were talking on the way back home about how there are so many events we (or Paul) will have to miss due to deployments and the intense schedule that comes with being a medical resident. When our schedule provides an opening, we cannot afford to let an event pass us up.
two. At the ceremony, I teared up more at the wedding vows then the usual processional. Vows are a big deal. I don't think, before we were married, I had ever really listened. I understood the gist of course, but not how insanely big and demanding wedding vows truly are. They ask a lot of the couple. We've been married for just two years, and have a lot of road ahead of us, but with each wedding we attend, I get something new out of them and re-realize their power.
It is such an honor to hear your friends speak such meaningful words outloud and commit to each other. It is also sort of impossible for me to hear them and not think about what they represent in my marriage. At the end of the ceremony, almost like he was reading my mind, the pastor said something along the lines of "...and for those married in attendance, let what you witnessed here today be a renewal the vows you once made to each other." Cue goosebumps. That's good stuff.
three. This beautiful outdoor wedding was rained on. I say rained on and not rained out because the ceremony and receptionhappened despite the rain and it was a truly fantastic wedding. Originally, tables for dinner were set with about half under a tent and half unprotected on the grass. As the mist turned into a down pour, most guests crowded together under the tent and people ate standing up or took turns rotating through tables to sit down.
At first, that might sound like a crisis. But in reality, it was probably the best way ever to encourage guests to mingle. Usually at weddings, I end up socializing most with the eight people at my table. In this situation, I wandered and chatted and made new friends and caught up with all the old. It was pretty awesome. I know for sure I wouldn't have had such great conversations with as many people if I had been glued to a table.
And, of course, part of what made everything so good was that Hillary and John handled the whole event with such grace and a positive attitude. At the end of the day, the only important part is that you get married to your favorite person. They obviously got that and their love and high spirits made it impossible to not have a good time in the rain at the wedding.
Congratulations, Hillary and John. Thank you for inviting us!
random iPhone photos from the trip are shared above. highlights : those pink pants are Old Navy. We stayed at the Phoenix Hotel in SF and it had neon doors and a killer bar/resturant called Chambers. Up in Blue Lake we stayed at the Blue Lake Casino (and walked away up $80 at black jack). The coffee in the hotel room was so good I could drink it black. The yellow dress was from Nordstrom (and not that short on me!). The wedding after party at the hotel was amazing. On the way back down we stayed at the recently renovated Hotel Shattuck in Berkeley and it had a peace sign in the lobby. We hiked the Strawberry Canyon fire trail that Paul used to run up in college. I was, once again, stunned by the beauty that is the bay area and northern California.