My husband and I just got back from our dear friends 20th Anniversary party and it was an evening affair to rival any wedding. The celebration took place in their own backyard and included renewing their wedding vows. The setting was incredibly romantic with a European feel. Let me tell you about it…
The invitation we received was simple, yet elegant. It was a rectangular black and white floral card stock beneath printed velum that was attached with a black satin bow. The wording was sweet and precise and a request was made for semi-formal attire. Goody! I love dressing up. And my husband looks great in a suit.
When we arrived at the party we were immediately drawn to soft music playing in the backyard. A gentleman was playing the guitar while servers walked around with delicious hors d’oeuvres. It was then that I stopped for a moment to take in my surroundings. The backyard was incredibly romantic. Candles in decorative glass bowls hanging from tall iron stakes were everywhere, giving a warm glow. The overhang I was standing under was covered in ivy and tiny white lights. Looking to my right, at one end of the yard, was the ceremony site. A small platform was covered in wine colored satin and two large white pillars stood on either side. Atop the pillars were incredible floral arrangements. The flowers were all dark and rich in color and included red roses, purple hydrangea, dark purple dahlias, ivy, and plum colored artichokes (yes, artichokes – on a stem, completely closed like a flower before it blooms). The bouquets stood tall and the contrast of the white pillars and huge dark flower arrangements was stunning.
Looking to my left, at the other end of the yard, were the dining tables. They were intimately placed on the grass in their garden and surrounded by more candles hanging from stakes around the perimeter. Each table was covered with a gold satin tablecloth that went to the floor. Atop that was a persimmon crushed organza cloth that lay half-way down the table. A floral arrangement (with more beautiful dark flowers) in a dark bronze tin urn with handles on each side, was placed at the center of each table. Small candles in glass candleholders circled the centerpiece. The tableware was set with the napkins fanning out of the wine glasses. Black cushioned chairs surrounded the table. It was a splendid set up; very warm and inviting with a real European feel.
Inside the house the caterer had set up a bar and buffet table. The buffet was glorious with three and four-foot tall decorative wine bottles grouped together atop the dark linens of the table. The table used was L-shaped and offered food dishes at varying heights. It was pushed into the corner of the dining room so it felt warm and cozy. A small table with a two-tiered cake decorated with fresh flowers sat across for guest viewing.
Just as the sun had finished setting, the ceremony began. Our friends stood on the platform with their two teenage children while guests gathered on the surrounding lawn to watch them renew their vows. The sermon was warm and personal with the right blend of sincerity and light hearted tales. Everyone laughed, quieted, cheered, and applauded. The bride and groom spoke their own words to one another and it was comfortable and touching. Twenty years of marriage makes the heart grow fonder, more tolerant, and more at ease with each other. Surrounded by family and friends, they were once again pronounced husband and wife.
With the formalities done, the feasting began. We sat down for a champagne toast then got up to go to the buffet. The food was Italian. There was fish and chicken, pasta with several different sauces, salads, and garlic rolls. It was all delicious. The candle-lit atmosphere, soft background music, and friendly conversation right in our friends own backyard was everything they hoped it would be. I felt like I was transplanted to another part of the world, the charm was intoxicating.
After dinner the affair continued with the cutting of the cake. We made our way inside the house and watched them gingerly feed each other a piece of cake (we wanted a little foul play, but they were kind to each other). The cake was one of the tastiest I’ve had. It was chocolate with a champagne filling and butter cream frosting. Don’t tell, but I had seconds.
Then the guitar player moved into the living room, pushed the furniture to the side to make room for dancing, and set himself up as a deejay. Our friends had told him the music they would like to hear and he came through with their wishes. Guests started dancing as soon as the music began. First on the dance floor was the renewed bride and groom, along with their kids. Moments later it was difficult to get a spot without getting to know the person next to you. Shoes were flung, inhibitions abandoned, and we all danced the night away.
I can’t remember what time the party ended, but I do remember it was the best time we had had in a very long time. My husband and I enjoyed every moment and were so happy to share in our friends’ important day. As we lay in bed that evening, my husband gazed into my eyes and asked if I’d marry him again. Yes! I exclaimed.