I’ve been to a lot of weddings in my life, but as far as weddings go, this one was the best, because it was ours. It wasn’t held in a big wedding hall or cathedral. There were no bridesmaids or groomsmen. It was just us, in our own backyard, with a couple dozen of our closest friends and family members.
My best girlfriend had written a tight schedule for me, outlining the tasks I needed to accomplish in the days and hours leading up to The Big Day. Amazingly, I slept soundly through the night and opened my eyes at 7 am, feeling content and refreshed. As I lay there thinking through the day’s schedule, The Husband-to-be, who had been a big ball of prickly stress all week long, rolled over and put his arms around me and whispered “happy nuptial dinner day”. I happily snuggled in for just a few more minutes of cozy shut-eye and realized that no matter what happened the rest of the day, this would be the moment I would remember most. There were plenty of tasks ahead, but we started our morning like any other Saturday, with cups of steaming hot coffee enjoyed over our books. Afterward, I would make The Husband-to-be bacon and eggs, because I didn’t want to get so consumed by tasks that I forgot to make him feel loved. Plus, it’s nearly impossible to have a bad day when you start it with bacon.
By mid-morning my friend, Victor arrived to decorate. Like any other modern bride-to-be, I had some very Pinterest-worthy aspirations for the decor, but I lacked the skills (and the time) to pull it off. I handed him a box of canning jars, empty wine bottles I’d collected from friends, a 50 pound bag of sand and a couple of rolls of kraft paper. Like the McGyver of ribbons and tape, he transformed those ordinary objects into the most romantic scene. It is amazing to have friends who are so generous with their time and their talents!
The irony did not escape me that while a huge swath of the country was bracing for the Great Blizzard of 2015, we were preparing for a garden wedding, but this is what we call winter in Las Vegas and you’ll find no complaints from me! The slight breeze that threatened to kick up earlier that morning mellowed by the afternoon and temperatures rose to the upper 60s.
In the weeks leading up to the wedding, my girlfriends and I had gotten together and rolled hundreds of tiny meatballs for Italian Wedding Soup, baked four chocolate cakes and made the family bolognese. It was important to me that the menu represented our family and culture and also our relationship, but I also wanted to make sure that I didn’t spend the evening in the kitchen worrying about the food. I chose to make lasagne using the family bolognese recipe and the roasted chicken that the Husband-to-be loves so much. The lasagne was a perfect choice because I was able to prepare it ahead of time. The chicken was more high maintenance than I would have liked and the grill kept flaming up, forcing me to finish it in the oven. Some of the chicken was rather blackened, but if anyone noticed, they didn’t say anything. As usual, I made way too much food–we are still working our way through the leftovers!
As night began to fall and dinner was served, our little backyard began to glow with candles and firelight. Conversations flowed easy like the wine into our glasses. The stress we had both felt over the past month of planning melted away and we were able to relax and enjoy each other and our guests. I think I was the calmest I’ve ever been at a party we’ve hosted, thanks to the help of so many friends. As we exchanged our vows there under the stars and twinkling lights, I knew there was no place I’d rather be than in my backyard with the love of my life surrounded by so many smiling and happy faces.
A Special Thank You to Holiday Lighting Dynamics for providing the gorgeous bistro and tree lights. The photography in this post provided by our dear friend, London Mace. Popcorn favors by Popcorn Girl, Las Vegas.