Nick and I recently attended the wedding of our good friends Natalie Rome and John Pendleton at the Sunriver resort in Oregon. We've attended our share of "I do" affairs in the past, but the 'Pendlerome' mashup was especially creative and touching. Here are just three reasons why, for me, it was an affair to remember.
1. Friends and family were part of the wedding ceremony.
Traditionally, the ceremony is all about the bride and (let's be honest), to a lesser extent, the groom. Not the Pendlerome wedding. On a beautiful lawn at the Sunriver resort, the attendees were seated in two large, bisected semi-circles. Between the circles was an open path for the adorable boys and girls to toss rose petals and, of course, for the bride to make her grand entrance (which she did, in a gorgeous gown that Princess Diana would have craved).
|The flower boys and girls strewing petals|
|Natalie escorted by her fabulous father Don Gaines|
Some friends had been asked beforehand to read inspiring quotes about love and commitment. Natalie's uncle Tom Gaines performed a song, which had many (including me) reaching for a tissue. Nick and I popped up and grabbed the microphone, too. I talked about how I'd fallen in love with Natalie when I met her in a cooking class in the mid 90s--she was adorable, smart, and looked quite capable of mischief (and still is). Nick spoke about the moment when we knew we loved John. He'd shown up at our home for a movie musical challenge night, wearing the world's smallest basketball uniform (an homage to John Travolta in Grease) and bouncing a basketball on our living room floor.
Later, Natalie told me they got the idea for including the guests in the ceremony from Quaker wedding traditions (though neither she nor John are Quakers).
|Allison, Freckles, Natalie, Micky, and John|
2. Their family pet was the ring bearer.
Granted, you don't want to try this with a young pup. And it's a risky proposition with an indoor wedding (what if the dog cocks up his leg on the altar?)
But Freckles, an 11-year-old German Shepherd, behaved beautifully, and her presence added yet more warmth and charm to the ceremony. Freckles has been John's faithful companion for many years and is now much beloved by Natalie and Allison, Natalie's 13-year-old daughter from her previous marriage. When it came time for the ring exchange, Allison (standing beside Natalie during the ceremony and looking so mature and beautiful), retrieved the rings from Freckles' collar.
|Allison gets the rings from Freckles' collar|
3. They didn't assign seats at the reception dinner!
As a wedding guest, I've never liked being told where to sit and to whom I must sit beside. Too often, it's an effort by the bride and groom to position the fun ones next to, how should I say this?, the tedious ones. I guess you don't want all the laughter coming from one side of the room.
At any rate, I've gotten into trouble at past weddings by switching around the name cards so I could sit next to whomever I wanted. And if I'm fortunate enough to be invited to your wedding reception and discover that I've been assigned a seat, well, consider yourself forewarned.
|Allison Rome, one of my best girlfriends, spinning me around on the dance floor at the reception|
|Nick, Natalie's sweet mom Sammie Gaines, and me at the day-before BBQ|