July 14, 2002
The Wedding Guests

This evening we went to the wedding of our friends Allison and Lester. They were married in Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, CA, and they had their reception at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose. I cried when Allison and Lester spoke their informal vows to each other; they were so personal and heartfelt.

Of course, in addition to being ordinary guests (and providing hockey sticks for some special Allison & Lester photos), we were also looking at the ceremony and reception with an eye for elements we might use at our own wedding. We might use their officiant, for one thing (our mutual friends Tony & Maria also used her for their wedding in 1998).

The wedding ceremony was lovely, and, as I mentioned, very much tailored to Allison and Lester. Hakone Gardens was a beautiful, tranquil place, though the sun at 5:30pm was a bit sharp. The bridesmaids looked great, the flower girl was extremely cute, and Allison looked stunning in her gown. If it hadn't been for the hard-to-maneuver-in-my-heels gravel paths (and to be fair, we were warned about them in the invitation), I would have wanted to stay and explore the gardens more.

I tried taking some photos during the ceremony and afterwards at the gardens, but I didn't plan very well: I had T3200 in the camera when I started (too fast for outdoors), and when I was finally able to switch to T400, we went inside the Fairmont Hotel, where I really could have used the faster film. Oh well. :-/ I guess I'd plan better if I were doing this professionally (as I may well do someday). Hopefully I got a few good shots anyway.

The reception was lavish and well organized, with time for cocktails and (really yummy) hors d'ouvres, followed by dinner, a dessert buffet, and cake. Can I just say how much I loved the hors d'ouvres and the desserts? And oh my god, they had some little ambrosia tortes. I'm a BIG FAN of ambrosia (that dessert often found on salad bars and brunch buffets that consists of whipped cream, marshmallows, shredded coconut, pineapple, mandarin oranges, and if you're lucky, maraschino cherries). Yum, yum, yum! The dinner was nice too, but really, I didn't need it. Finger foods are my thing. :)

Allison and Lester made a grand entrance after we were all seated for dinner, and did their first dance right then (the dance floor was in the center of all the tables). I thought that was a nice touch, though it's not something we can do at our reception because of the layout. The tables were decorated with interesting single-flower arrangements (our placecards were marked with the name of a flower rather than a number, and we had to find the table with that flower on it), and the ballroom itself was decorated with an ice sculpture of a pig and a mouse/rat (the Chinese zodiac signs of Lester and Allison), a piece of artwork involving 1001 cranes (good luck), and a few large flower arrangements. Very elegant and again, personal.

I should mention one other thing about the reception before I go to bed: Al caught the necktie (thrown in lieu of a garter), and I caught the bouquet. I swear Allison and Lester aimed them at us.

Posted by Lori at July 14, 2002 01:16 AM