Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Skaneateles - The Destination Wedding

Alex and Rachel were married this weekend in a marvelous ceremony with multiple parties surrounding the occasion. They had wanted a destination wedding, and while Alex dreamed of Hawaii and Rachel considered Italy, they came home to Skaneateles. And I must believe that after this weekend they are glad they did.

We started with a small family party at our house on the deck. A simple cookout with hot dogs and "not" dogs, Boca burgers and hamburgers. Bob made his famous peach, mozzarella and basil salad - thank you to Freitag's for having the peaches, even if they had to come from South Carolina at this time of year. The bugs stayed away until 9:00 and then we came inside for a spirited practice of the Hora.

People kept coming to stay at the house or move on to the Sherwood, Skaneateles Suites, or one of many bed and breakfasts in the area. I've been told I must mention the lovely accommodations of 10 Fitch Street in Auburn and Pine Grove (with the view of the lake) in Spafford. The discerning guests were extremely impressed with their hosts, the service and the homes.

On Friday evening we went to Rosalie's and the Romano Room for the rehearsal dinner. Alex had been one of the original busboys for Gary so it was like a homecoming for him. The food and wine and laughter flowed all evening. Paolo (I think I have that right) came upstairs and serenaded us to the delight of everyone packed into the tables, eating family style the incredible food. We left room for the chocolate cake, though!

Both Friday and Saturday mornings I was thrilled to be able to serve breakfast to our guests. I made French toast and quiches, fruit salads and eggs to order. I was very content.

And then the wedding. The rain stayed away, Elie the flower girl didn't dissolve in tears as she did a couple weeks ago, Connor, Alex's half brother, remembered the rings, people came early for the cocktail hour (a stroke of genius because we were all ready). Laura Lillie took our family and bridal photos in the park, holding off the other bridal party for a bit.

The rabbi spoke about the ceremony being inter-faith, and how Christians, Jews and Muslims were witness to the exchange of vows. "It's time," he said, "that we put away our differences and become one people." When Alex stomped the cup, the sun came out.

Dinner and dancing followed at the Sherwood. Never being one to read ahead, I was eager to dance "Hava Nagila" with the Kosberg women. When they lifted Rachel and Alex high in their chairs I helped hold Rachel up there, as is the tradition in their family. Susan, Rachel's mother, went up next and I had my hands on the rungs. Then it was my turn and I was totally unprepared for it. They put me in the chair and raised me, Rachel's Aunt Beth focussing me and saying "Hang on tight." I did, despite some rocking and rolling.

Then the other dancing that so engulfed us all. Family lines were blurred, friends became old friends, shoes were discarded. The band played on and on.

I spent a quiet moment with Patience. Her son, Herm, was the best man "in memoriam." He passed away in 2005 from lymphoma and we hadn't had a time to mourn together. Unexpected as it was, the wedding gave us that chance.

There were other moments of healing like that. I still haven't processed it all, but I know just like the cup Alex broke will never be made whole again, the world changed for me that night. I am glad.

Skaneateles passed the destination wedding test. I wish to thank Laura Lillie for her monumental efforts to catch it all, Fleur de Lis for their brilliant flowers, Petra for taking Koko so I didn't have to walk her at 5:00 AM after a late night, Intrepid Janet for helping me to find my dresses at Lord&Taylor and insisting I buy the black dress, too. (Just a note: Cate and Sally, right here in town, had a great selection I discovered afterwards!) Thanks to Vicky Blackwell and Lia Sophia for my blue necklace everyone admired, to Carmen Logan at Carlo's for teaching Trisha how to cut and color my hair, and to my best friend Annie for coming from Saratoga to provide moral support. To Anna Soltyk, whose paintings and cards are featured in the new Imagine That! shop in the village, for her commissioned painting of the sunflower center pieces. And even though I still ache a bit, to Alter Ego for their wonderful dance music and professionalism.

The Sherwood Inn was excellent as a focal point, Rosalie's gave us all smiles, and the sidewalk sale provided a weekend getaway. The people who came up from The City and Long Island to see Rachel and Alex get married also saw a part of New York State they didn't know existed. You did well, Skaneateles, and I thank you!