The Wedding

“This really sucks.”

I took a sip of my sparkling pear cider and shaded my eyes from the sun. “Yes, it’s horrible that we are forced to live like this. Now please pass me the brie and smoked salmon.”

That was our theme for the entire trip to the coast… Isn’t it terrible that we have to suffer this food / room / view / weather in all of its perfection. It was almost too much to stand, but somehow we endeavered to perservere. The hotel we stayed at is a 38-acre property, scattered with lovely cottages and cabins. The “main house” is a farm house that was built in 1887, and now houses the lobby and five-star restaurant. The movie “Same Time Next Year” was filmed in one of the cottages that sits out on the cliff edge. Our room was at the western-most edge and had an ocean view from the bed, sun room, sitting area and two-person jetted tub. The only place in this room you couldn’t see the ocean was from the bathroom counter and shower. (Even the toilet had an ocean view if you left the door open!) It was wonderfully private and we loved every single thing about it.

We arrived on Tuesday, after a four and half hour drive. We were tired, hungry, and ready to not be in a car. We ran into Mom and Dad in the lobby. They had been there for about an hour and a half and were ready to take us out to dinner in the next town. It was only 12 miles, but our assess weren’t thrilled at the prospect of even one more minute in a car, but away we went. But it had to be done, so we made a flying trip to our room to change clothes, where we found a lovely gift of choclate covered strawberries in our refridgerator, courtesy of my former co-workers. It was only the beginning. We had a lovely dinner on the water’s edge, and enjoyed both the food and the company.

A hastily cobbled together panoramic of the view from our front deck/porch. (Click any photo for the larger version.)

Beau Hunk on his horse.

Posing in front of the surf on our horses.

Riding through the surf.

Posing with our officiant

During the ceremony.

“You may now kiss the bride.”

I like this picture of us, because we are laughing, not posing.

One view from the sun room.

By the light of the fire.

We were glad to get back to the room, and almost too tired to really enjoy it. Almost. Beau Hunk started a fire in the sun room fireplace, and I started enjoying the strawberries. We broke up the activity by running a hot bath in the two-person bathtub, which came with bath salts. When we tired of that, we went back to the fire and enjoyed the moonlight view of the ocean from the couch in front of the fire. When we finally collapsed into the king-sized feather bed, we were completely whooped.

I had a restless night and had hearburn for the first time in recent memory, even though I didn’t have anything remotely spicy for dinner. The nerves had begun. I prayed they wouldn’t get the best of me. The last thing I needed was to be sick on my wedding day. Luckily, we had a full schedule ahead of us. I hoped that would be just the amount of activity and distraction to quell my nerves.

We met my parents for breakfast (provided by the hotel) at 8am. The early start was necessary, since our horseback ride was scheduled for a 9:45am. Breakfast was wonderful, and we all were impressed by the menu. No continental breakfast for this freebie – they offered full meals, including Eggs Benedict, my favorite. But I passed on the Bennie this particular morning, knowing that something that heavy may not be the best move. I opted for the omlette instead. I ended up giving half of it to Beau Hunk because it was huge.

After a lovely breakfast and visit, we headed out for the horse ranch. We signed all our waivers and paperwork, watched an instructional video, then saddled up. My horse was named Sophie, Beau Hunk’s First Prize. We left the ranch, went through a wooded forest and emerged onto a beautiful beach. Our guide was very nice, and we enjoyed her very much. We rode the horses across the sand, through the surf, and even got to canter (run) along the water’s edge. Which is when I realized I have lost all form and function on a horse. I used to ride a lot as a kid, and even owned a horse when I was a young teenager. But that was 20 years ago, and I have exactly zero of the muscles needed to not look like a complete idiot on the back of a running horse. Add to that a camera bouncing around the front pocket of my sweatshirt, and boy was I glad no one could see the jackass on the horse.

The ride was quite lovely, and we both enjoyed it. As we left the ranch, I commented to Beau Hunk that I hadn’t thought of the wedding even once on the ride. Which meant I wasn’t worrying about it or stressing in the least. Huzzah! Mission accomplished.

We had lunch in a nearby tourist town at a pompous and overpriced sandwich shop. I ordered a $12 portabella mushroom sandwich that was so overdosed with balsalmic vinegar that it those brown strips could have been the cook’s sweatsocks and I would have never known. A complete waste of a perfectly good portabella mushroom. (Not to mention $12.) Oddly enough, as we sat there eating, we saw my parents walk by the window. Beau Hunk flagged them down and we chatted for a moment before they left in search of a good bowl of clam chowder.

The next appointment in our schedule was our massages at the hotel. We had 45 minutes or so to spare, so we had planned to just hang out in our room and enjoy the accomodations. That plan was altered when we ran into a lovely couple walking in the area of our room. They were staying elsewhere on the property and were exploring other cabins for future visits. We invited them in to tour our room, and ended up chatting with them for the entire 45 minutes.

It was time for the massages. Beau Hunk had a female therapist, and I had a male. Beau Hunk introduced his person to me as “Mary Jane”. Later he admitted that that was not really her name. When she had introduced herself to him (out of my presence), she had the same name as Beau Hunk’s ex-wife. He said “I think we have a problem. That’s my ex-wife’s name. You can’t be [that name], we have to give you a new name. You’re Mary Jane.” She laughed, went along with it and commented “Of all the names!” But she was a real sweetie, and I really appreciated her willingness to give up her name to keep my experience perfect.

Our massages were incredible. My person turned me into a total mushpie. Not an easy feat, since I was starting to have nerve pangs by this time. When we were done, I joked that I was considering ditching Beau Hunk and marrying him. The poor thing had no idea what to say, and I think I embarassed the hell out of him. Or made him lose his lunch, I’m not exactly sure.

The massages ended around 2:30, and the wedding was scheduled for 4:30. We went to work getting ready. Beau Hunk was the embodyment of cool, calm and collected. Or so I thought at the time. He had misplaced his sunglasses, and was on his way to the main house to see if he had left them at the spa. I asked him to fetch the marriage license while he was out. Which he promptly forgot to do. But he was still in far better shape than I.

I was ok until I tried to wiggle my way into my pantyhose and ran out of material with the crotch at my knees. I have no idea how long it took me to work up enough material to get those fucking baloney stuffers stretched out so I could walk without looking like a penguin, but you better believe I had a few choice words for the manufacturer who claimed those stupid things would work for a 5’8″ woman. Of course, part of it is my fault, because I always manage to forget that even though I am 5’8″ tall, I have the legs of a 6’2″ person. I should know better. Anyway, I made it work, and consider it a minor miracle that I didn’t put a finger through the stupid things trying.

After I crammed myself into those silky white torture devices, I reached into the closet for my outfit, and almost got caught half-naked by my photographer. He was milling around on our front porch. Oops… hope he didn’t hear me wrestling with my undergarments. I finished dressing and Beau Hunk came back to the room. We took a moment to gather ourselves, and then started for the gazebo. Just as I stepped out the door, I spotted a flash from the gazebo. Our photographer was using his zoom lens to take candid photos of us in the room. Unfortunately, I just happened to be adjusting my blouse’s cleavage reveal as the photo was taken. I would soon discover that I was never meant to be a model. It seems like every time I decided to fidget or fuss, someone was taking my picture. Luckily, not all of the professional photos involve me talking, gesticulating or adjusting my clothes or hair.

Beau Hunk gallantly walked me down the stairs towards the gazebo. I had my bouquet in one hand, and was trying to hold the rail with the other. Which left no hand for me to use to keep my hair out of my face, since I was wearing it down and there was a slight breeze. I didn’t fall, but I did manage a completely ungraceful trip, which was witnesses by my entire wedding party. Thank the gods that was only two guests, an officiant and a photographer. Through what I consider to be a small miracle, I made it to the gazebo without killing myself.

We arrived at the gazebo at 4:15. The ceremony was scheduled to start at 4:30, but since everyone was there, we started the proceedings. We finally met our officiant – he came highly recommended by the hotel, and I had only spoken to him on the phone – we loved him. He was a really lovely man, and I’m so glad we were able to have him be part of our day. My mom had asked me earlier if my dad was going to walk me down the aisle. I had to explain to her that 1) there was no aisle, and 2) him walking me into the gazebo would deplete my observation party by exactly half, and leave her standing all alone. After confirming that walking me down a non-existant aisle was not my father’s life goal, we decided to forego that particular bit of pomp.

We started the ceremony, and I had this really surreal “Holy fuck, this is really happening” kind of feeling. Our ceremony was beautiful, and I managed to not cry. Only because I was really nervous. My favorite part was after Beau Hunk and I did the “kiss the bride” thing, he hugged me, and whispered “I love you” in my ear. That may be one of the best I Love You’s he’s ever uttered.

Our officiant did a wonderful job of not reading the words of our ceremony. He spoke them, he meant them, and he put his heart into them. He’s been married for 58 years, and does this for fun. He doesn’t even charge!! (But of course we gave him an “appreciation”.) He said we were his 148th couple. He has a wall of pictures from every ceremony he’s ever performed. I’ll be sending him one of ours too.

After filling out the formal license paperwork and finishing up the photos, we had a few minutes to freshen up and meet Mom and Dad for dinner in the hotel dining room. Dinner was incredible, and we have a lovely long meal. Beau Hunk and I went back to the room and once again enjoyed a fire, the double tub, and the ocean by moonlight from the sun room.

Mom and Dad were checking out the next morning, so we arranged to meet them for a late breakfast (it was our wedding night afterall). Again, breakfast was just lovely, and we enjoyed it very much. Since we had booked our room for an extra day, we said goodbye to Mom and Dad and went about enjoying ourselves. The plan was to go into the nearby tourist town and hit a few specialty food shops for cheeses, smoked meats and bread, then have a picnic on our deck and watch the sun go down. But first, we took a walk around the hotel property.

The hotel has a private beach tucked away in a cove. It was a nice little beach, sheltered, quiet and surrounded by rock cliffs. I tried walking in the water, but between the rocky sand and the freezing water, it just got too painful. Beau Hunk toughed it out and went wading while I put my shoes back on and walked just out of reach of the water. I looked down and saw two abalone shells just lying there on the beach. I called over Beau Hunk, who thought I had to be hallucinating or just plain wrong. But no, clear as day, there were two abalone shells. We turned over one and found that it was occupied – the animal was still at home and alive. Beau Hunk picked it up and tossed it back in the water. He picked up the second shell and found it was empty. It was a perfect shell, so we rinsed it out and hauled it back home, deciding that would be our honeymoon souvenir.

After our property walk about, we headed out for our shopping trip. While we were walking around town visiting the various shops, a young man walking down the sidewalk yelled something as we passed by. As near as we can figure out, it was somthing about how Bush’s dad got him out of military service. Okaaay. I guess we looked like people who needed to be educated by the lunatic blurtings of a total stranger. I guess this is what passes for political debate in this town – nearly incomprehensible shouting in the general direction of the tourists.

With our political minds now fully enlightened, we headed back to the hotel with a whole host of yummy foods. Which is when we discovered that just the presence of yummy foods will make you hungry. So we camped out on the deck/front porch to enjoy some sunshine and our picnic, even though it was only mid-afternoon. It was perfect. By this time we had managed to completely immerse ourselves in our experience and forget about the world of telephones and computers.

By the time 5:00 rolled around, we were hungry again and decided we’d like a salad from the onsite restaurant. The dining room didn’t open until 6, but the lounge served salads, so we headed to the main house looking for food. The poor bartender was completely overwhelmed, so by the time we placed our order, we knew there was no way we’d make the sunset. Beau Hunk explained to the bartender what we were doing, and asked if we could change our order to be eaten in our room. She understood and expedited our order, handing us our meal with 20 minutes of daylight to spare. Can I tell you how awesome a good Caesar is while watching the sun set into the ocean?? After the sun went down, we once again enjoyed the tub, fireplace and ocean view from the sun room.

Friday morning finally showed us the coast we usually see – wet, foggy and chilly. Which worked out fine for us, since another warm sunny morning might have made us want to stay! We woke up fairly early and enjoyed the hotel breakfast for the last time. We had planned to leave at noon, but were packed up by 10:30, so we headed for home, deciding to take a different route home. It was about 100 miles farther, and an hour and a half longer, but brought us through the mountains near our home, which we had been anxious to check out. Man, they are awesome!! We can’t wait to go check them out off the road.

We are now back in the real world, but we will always carry with us our memories of the perfect trip, with our perfect ceremony, and our perfect honeymoon. And just in case we need a reminder, we put the abalone shell next to the front door.

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