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Diary Entry 5

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Breakup Girl presents:

Friday, May 8

St Helena, CA
The Feel-Good Wedding of the Summer.
BG, Mikki, and MP (the triumvirate of straight single gals in attendance) check in at the vaguely Lynchian -- yet lovely -- Hideaway Cottages in Calistoga. Right, as I said, around the corner from (I am not making this up) "The Man, The Mud The Magic," which is quite possibly the funniest thing BG has ever heard. Next to "fainting goats." (See Sunday.)

Anyway, our "hideaway" is HUGE. Enorme. Full kitchen, living room, dining room, massive bedrooms (larger than Mikki's apartment); so many closets that I spread my stuff out among them, not wanting any of them to feel left out. On the same scale is the "dried" flower arrangement on the floor next to (dwarfing) the television. Note to would-be decorators: when it comes to flowers, "dried" is actually different from "dead."

Another bonus: the goody bags left for us by the alpha-bride. Yum! Dried fruit, spring water, chocolate, itty-bitty souvenirs from Wisconsin (birthplace of her mate-for-life), and Think! bars (the couple are cyberdorki) . Bags tied with little ribbons with their names on them. Are you listening, planners-of-weddings? Perks=good.

We shower and prepare for: Friday night dinner with family and close friends at wedding ground zero, the unbelievably peaceful White Sulphur Springs Resort and Spa. Mmmmm, salads, cured salmon, local Chardonnay. Truly delightful. Everyone is beaming. The magnificent matriarch-in-residence/our hostess (alpha-bride's grandmother) moves everyone to tears with her nachus-laden words of good-wishes, pride, and sorrow for the family members who could not attend the joyous occasion. BG & co. scout Foxy Cousins.

Saturday, May 9

The coffee (henceforth known as "starter coffee") from our in-cottage percolator (Mikki: "It's the coffee equivalent of water with a 'splash of citrus'") is just enough to get us into town for actual caffeination (Mikki again: "Where in the hell can I get a goddamn $3 cup of coffee around here?"). Thus fortified, we hike Mount St. Helena. BG reports that it feels good to walk instead of fly for once. Mikki's version is more dramatic.

That night: yummy barbeque for all the guests. BG talks shop with -- small world, but no coincidence -- Breakup Belleruth, whom you all know, love, and trust from the advice column.

Followed by: a wedding open-mike, of sorts. Quite possibly the most sincerely adorable wedding-related event BG has ever attended. The alpha-bride's brother and sister in law have asked her friends/family to write field reports about the couple in the style of her book. Some entries are read aloud; the rest are collected in a scrapbook to be presented to the couple. A few people sing songs with smarty-pants customized lyrics (e.g. wherein "archaic" rhymes with "Aramaic"). Mikki presents a Hegelian analysis of the bride's wedding dress selection. BG laughs so hard that tears stream down her cheeks. An excellent cover.

Sunday, May 10

While the couples in attendance stroll through elegant wineries or select matching London Fog raincoats at the nearby factory-outlet, the single goils head out on Tourist Trap Tour '98. This includes a visit to the Old Faithful Geyser. No, not that one; the one north of Calistoga. This one, arguably, is even better, because it also features: fainting goats. (You heard me. Fainting. Goats.) Perhaps you've heard about their plight? Certain goats have this nutty neuromuscular disorder that causes them to faint when startled. Their knees buckle; they tumble to the ground. Like those little wooden toys where you push the button underneath and the animal's legs bend? Anyway, BG is not speaking from actual visual experience, only what the nice lady in the gift shop told her, because, well, these goats have been around the block a few times, and pretty much nothing fazes them anymore. Some people have even asked for their money back when the goats fail to faint.

Over to White Sulphur Springs, where the goils -- along with a couple of truly excellent and secure boys -- gather to festoon the bridge with flowers (dried/alive): feathery wheat stalks, lavender, daisies. Quel bridge? The little wooden bridge that the wedding procession will cross, over a bubbling brook, into the magical redwood glade where the couple will exchange vows. Yep.

And indeed, there we sat a few hours later, perched on curved wooden benches, as the couple was joined under two canopies: the traditional Jewish huppah, and above that, the redwoods. They adhered to the traditions and rituals they loved, tweaked the ones they didn't love until they loved them (e.g. instead of the bride walking around the groom seven times -- long story -- she walked around him three times, he around her three times; then they made one circle together. All such practices were explained in a personable, thorough program dotted with the quirky rubber stamp designs that had come to be the wedding logos. Everyone really, really got it. Keywords: waterproof mascara.

Oh. Also: some worrisome clouds had gathered earlier, but -- I am not making this up -- as they exchanged vows, the sun came out. (Breakup Girl made some calls.)

The fiesta: outdoors, elegant yet informal, something-for-everyone music (klezmer, zydeco, etc.), more kind and lovely words from friends and family. Also, grilled ahi tuna. The, er, couples at BG and M.P.'s table were lovely, as was Foxy Cousin. Who lives in California. More notes for planners: buffet, buffet, buffet. Oh, and on the pick-up-your-place-card table, the cards were paper-weighted with flat glass beads. Like giant dewdrops.

Soooo magical, eveything.
You heard me. Fainting.

Though perhaps Mikki summed it up best the next morning when she said, "Damn. Now none of us can get married." Why? "She had the ideal wedding. She raised the bar too high."

NEXT UP: Old Flame Week in SF!

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Diary Entries: May 1-3 | 4 | 5 | 6-7 | 8-10 | 11-13 | 14-16


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