As many readers know, we have been preparing to host our daughter’s wedding at the farm ever since Kate and Jason got engaged in May of 2013. We all agreed it would be fun to have the ceremony and the reception here since we assumed we could accommodate their guests with an outdoor ceremony and dinner and dancing under a large tent. We had little projects around the property both indoors and out during the last year to get ready for the big day while still accomplishing the daily tasks that go along with getting the fields planted and the berries and orchard properly maintained. The photos below are the ones captured by various iPhones before the professionals came on board to take the real pics. I spent the entire weekend feeling a bit chaotic and constantly looking for my phone or my reading glasses and purposely did not want to post advance pics before the event to spoil the surprise so here are a few images that will give the first glimpse of the weekend from our perspective.
Reality set in the Saturday before the wedding when Kate was scheduled to arrive here to help with the last minute wedding prep. While waiting for her flight to arrive, I harvested 6.875 pounds of peas. It is a good thing I had a task to concentrate on since her flight endured an emergency landing in Phoenix where the plane was greeted by firetrucks and ambulances after having dumped all of their fuel before landing. Scary! But all ended well as Kate arrived safe and sound several hours later. Bride, check.
Kate, Dave and I made lengthy, daily to-do lists in order to accomplish lots of the last minute tasks. The tent flooring arrived and reality set in. Tuesday the tent company began the laborious building of the tents. First, a level (okay, not quite) spot for the flooring and carpet to be laid. Then the framing began. Followed by large winches to raise the metal roof and install the legs. It was a fascinating process on a very hot day!The results were spectacular, mostly because unlike other tents we have been under at other weddings, this one did not leak! Tent, check!Jason arrived Wednesday. Groom, check. Peter arrived Thursday morning. Brother and groomsman, check. Hotel welcome packages were a last minute detail that required a bunch of coordination from a team of family members plus valued friend Lucy who was on call for days. We assembled packages of local edibles and wrapped them all, tied ribbons, made labels and figured out which ones went to which hotels and made deliveries so that our guests would be greeted with a special treat! With these packages delivered all around town, we moved on to other tasks. Wedding rehearsal followed by dinner on Friday night arrived before we could blink. It was interesting to watch the out of town groups try to adjust to the heat and humidity as we walked thru the paces of the next day’s ceremony at the rehearsal. Thankfully, the dinner that night, hosted by the Ward family, was at a quaint boutique hotel in Clayton that had an interior courtyard all set up for the small family dinner. Wonderful toasts were offered and gifts for the bridal party were exchanged moments before a deluge of rain sent us all scattering for cover and indoors to continue with the dinner and celebration. Saturday morning dawned bright and glorious. We hosted a simple bridal luncheon with a champagne toast in advance of the hair and make up session for the bridal party. The groomsmen luncheon followed since we were keeping the groups separate in the house that day but I don’t have pics of their lunch. I know they were glued to the World Cup which was on in the background that day for what seemed like hours! The bridesmaids wore their monogrammed robes for hair and make up sessions in our bedroom. Then it was time for Kate to get dressed. YES! The dress fit perfectly!And all of the bridesmaids were gorgeous too! Kate and I were ready to get the show on the road!
In the meantime, the tables were being set in the tent while both the tent and the house were filled with flowers from our dear Ken Meisner, who did such a fabulous job of representing the farm with a variety of gorgeous flowers peppered with delicate herbs and even cabbages in the arrangements.
The paperie was a collection of work that started nearly a year in advance under my direction but with the help of pen and ink artist and architect, Tom Moore, and graphic designer, Kathy Waldemer. For some, the program fans (upper left) that were so kindly distributed by my nephew, Jack, was their first clue that the map on the back showed the numbering of the seven oaks on the property! The pickle bar pins were special souvenirs that I hope everyone took home as one remembrance of a fun evening! Guests found their table assignments waiting for them, laid out in the front foyer. “Please ‘Bee’ Seated at Table X!”They were served a Strawberry Hibiscus Iced Tea along with the special cocktail napkins that were monogrammed “S” for Sauerhoff and “W” for Ward.
Before we knew it, there was music all around. The piano player in the living room and acoustic guitar on the terrace as tea was being passed in anticipation of the ceremony to begin. The flower girl, Abby, (daughter of the best man) sowed the seeds of love.She was followed by Jason’s nephew, Zander, who, with lots of encouragement from the crowd, diligently watered in the the seeds! Here we are walking side by side with Kate down the aisle made by the natural allee of European Hornbeans that we had planted 3 years prior. She found Jason waiting at the end of the walk and they exchanged vows, guided by the officiant, my sister Julie, and after readings from my brother, Tim Luehrman, and Kate’s former coach, Fran Vandermeer. Before we knew it, the rings were in place and the happy couple was married! We now present Mr. and Mrs. Ward! We made it through the ceremony and formal photos with rumblings from above. The skies darkened and the wind began to blow so the caterers decided to quickly move the cocktails indoors. This meant that the pickle tasting bar (several varieties available to sample), along with the pickle cake (in lieu of a wedding cake) quickly moved indoors! If you have never seen a pickle cake, it is, of course, a tower of all sorts of Seven Oaks pickles and the pickle tasting bar included an assortment of items to taste and compare! We barely made it out to the tent for dinner and dancing before the rain hit! Dave and I welcomed our guests holding a pitch fork and straw hat while the band played the theme song from the old TV program Green Acres. http://youtu.be/Mbk81X6WHA4
Despite the downpours we enjoyed a wonderful dinner, with dessert encompassing tastes of Seven Oaks berries in the form of a strawberry tart and a lemon-blueberry torte. The evening continued with dancing but with none of the splish-splashing of Gene Kelly’s famous “Singin’ in the Rain.” Merriment ensued, with the golf cart ferrying guests between the tent and the house the rest of the evening until the shuttles escorted our guests away, taking a ‘Honey, Bee Mine’ cookie on their way home! Thanks go to all our supportive friends and family who jumped in at all times to help make this event a success!