I’ll be damned if I can get through a wedding ceremony without the lisping bishop from The Princess Bride arriving in my head at at least one inopportune time. After that, I’ll be quoting him for days, much to the chagrin of those around me. This past Saturday, Sonja and I attended a beautiful ceremony whereupon two friends were wed to one another on the day of their choosing — Earth Day, and in the company of a small handful of people they love, and who love them in return. It was an honor to be among those present.
Part of what made the wedding so beautiful was the environment. Outdoors, bathed in Mother Nature in all of her splendor, the breeze on this mid-April day and the sunlight combined for a just-right sensation that put everyone in the proper frame of mind. White chairs lined up in front of a tiny pergola, glasses of wine, round tables under a grand white tent, all of it combined to be the sort of thing I dreamt of in my younger years, and something I failed to accomplish in helping to plan my own ceremony.
The other part of what made the wedding so beautiful were the people. Of course, there were the bride and groom, two incredible folk that we feel lucky even to know, and who we love dearly. They are free spirits, thinkers, writers, and forever learners. They are the kind of people you not only want to know, but want your kids to know as well. And it seems befitting that the people there were well reflected in them. In particular, a moment stood out when I overhead the brother of the groom ask a man who he was, only to be told “Why, I’m the bride’s step-father.” The man departed, and the man next to the groom’s brother looked up and said simply “He’s not her step-anything. That man raised her, and did a hell of a job of it. He’s amazing, far too good to be known as a step-anything. He’s her father as much as I am. And I should know, because I’m her father.” This sort of graceful deference, this genuine respect, was a lesson on how to live your life that I began to wish my son Titus, at home with his grandparents, were there to witness.
This same man, the bride’s step-father, was the host, and he was brilliant in the role. He kept the food, cake, and wine coming, and was seemingly in his element hosting a large group of people in his backyard. When I walked in, I noticed a bottle of wine sitting on the counter, and he caught me staring. “You like wine?” he asked playfully. I told him that I did. “I’ll open that later,” he assured me.
The 2015 Gewürztraminer from Pyramid Winery in the Okanagan Valley in Canada’s British Colombia is a thing of beauty, and I feel fortunate to have stumbled upon it. Our gracious host had but a single bottle that he had brought back with him from a recent trip, and he was sharing it joyfully with the guests at his daughter’s wedding. I love this varietal, and in preparing for my exams have encountered Okanagan Valley wines repeatedly, which makes me think I need to know something about them. This wine, of course, made me long to know more about them as well, and to taste more of them in the future. Light and crisp yet with the honeyed edges of a good cold-climate wine, the low alcohol and moderate acidity graced a wine that was part stone-fruit, part spice, part herbal qualities, and part citrus. An onslaught of beautiful flavors, I enjoyed it thoroughly, nursing my glass throughout and after dinner to savor the wine as well as the experience of being in this sacred place.
As it should always be, wine was here but a compliment to a greater experience. The fact that the wine was beautiful and hand-selected was a welcome bonus, but the truth is that I could have happily imbibed the swill from a bar matt at that wedding and still enjoyed every minute of it. To watch two beautiful people exchange vows of love and permanence under a cloudless spring sky was something special, harmonious, and deeply personal. And I’d raise a glass of almost anything to that.