Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wedding week

We’ve been pretty busy because Nika and Tim got married on Saturday. We escaped much of the planning and early preparation by virtue of being many time zones away, so the final week gave us, perhaps, a little taste of what Nika has been feeling during months of preparation. We tasted intensity, but we sure did enjoy it.

The bride and groom came to town a week ahead of their wedding. Nika had various to-do lists and lots of ideas of where we’d fit in. The biggest task she entrusted to me involved unfolding and ruffling a couple cubic meters of paper pom-poms while she and Alla did tasks requiring skills I don’t have. We spent most of a day together doing our various assigned tasks and then rocketed ahead to Nika’s spreadsheet/calendar of projects and events.

I particularly enjoyed spending a couple of days at Tim’s family place on Cape Cod, along with Tim’s mom, Nika’s dad and the betrothed. Until this point, we’d never really gotten to know Tim’s mom at anything deeper than a social level and Alla and I especially enjoyed coming to know her as a generous hostess, deep thinker, joyful bon vivant and caring mom. In between wedding-prep tasks, Tim took some of us to visit the Woods Hole Aquarium where he once worked and for a couple of beautiful walks, including Spohr Gardens.

All week it seemed we were either guests or hosts. I dropped the ball on one of my hosting duties, having promised Nika that I’d make potato waffles with smoked trout for a brunch with her bridesmaids. Somehow the day sneaked up on me before I’d done adequate preparation and Alla helped me prepare a simpler alternative, scones with fresh fruit, mango lassi and other goodies. It worked out well, and we certainly enjoyed having the bridesmaids in the house making floral arrangements for the wedding. We’ve known all the bridesmaids for a long time, and I always enjoy seeing them.

Nika gave me a big break on her wedding day, releasing me from further duties until late afternoon. That freed me up to spend a few hours with family members who flew in from California, which we spent touring historic Salem before going to the park-like wedding venue nearby. I changed my clothes in the car while Viktor and the women changed their clothes in the building. Somehow the women got to crash the bridal chamber and dressed along with Nika. Meanwhile, some of Tim’s cousins drove up and parked beside me. The women in the next car applied their makeup as I tied my necktie, and then we got out to greet each other in our wedding finery.

The ceremony could not have been better. Tim’s aunt got permission from the State to officiate in place of a regular minister, and she did a fantastic job. She spent many hours getting ready for it, and she projected just the right balance of familiarity and gravity, humor and sincerity. And then we liked the party that followed just as much. Guests delivered tender and well-thought-out toasts, the disk jockey managed to keep practically everybody on the dance floor, and the food was delicious.

I thought the busy-ness would end after the wedding, as my cousins flew back to California and the newlyweds disappeared for a couple of days alone. In fact, it didn’t quite work out that way. One of my best buddies had come down from Vermont for the wedding, so we invited him and his wife to spend the day with us on Sunday. We didn’t attempt anything terribly strenuous, but we did enjoy a nice walk ending in the Boston Common where a band played in the Parkman Bandstand. We listened to music and I took turns dancing with each of the women present until we finally had to come home to see Nika and Tim, who brought us a big chunk of wedding cake and some leftover beverages.

It’s really all over now. Nika and Tim reappeared on their way to the airport this afternoon and we had one last meal together, up on our roof deck. After lunch, we finished off our part of the wedding cake, took a very short walk, and said a fond goodbye to the bride and groom. During the whole week, everybody radiated so much love (particularly Nika and Tim) that it reflected and reverberated all over the place. We feel really good, but we already miss the company. It was a great week, and we’re still enjoying a fountain of bouquets and cut flowers on every level of our house.

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