Being in a circle allows us to experience each other as equals. It is a symbol of wholeness. The center of a circle is universally understood to symbolize Spirit - the Source. A circle is a shape that is found repeatedly throughout the natural world, and it is a symbol of perfection. When a group of people come together in a circle, they are united. Like a drop of water rippling on the surface of a pond, the waves of energy produced in a circle radiate outward in circular motion.
Wisdom keepers and sages remind us of the power of the circle, an archetypal symbol of wholeness; the Tibetan mandala, the Native American medicine wheel, and the African drum, now used is so many cultures. The four aspects of each circle (also known as the four gates): Spring, summer, autumn and winter. North, south, east and west.
Circles have been used in rituals and ceremonies, since the beginning of time. Tribal rituals, dances, are performed in sacred circles, the ceremonial hoop. They can represent the elements. To the East of us is the element of air, the west earth, the south water, and to our North fire.
Today we stand together in a circle under the beautiful sky with the wind in our hair and the ocean in the background. Love is the fire in our heart. Today is about equality, spirit, unity, coming together as individuals to become united and where the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts. We stand together united with Lotus and Francesca. We stand with their ancestors and loved ones who are not of the physical world but are here in spirit and unity.
We will now create an inner circle to welcome the brides and wrap them in our love and unity. Lotus has requested her brothers David and Victor to be in her inner circle. Her sister Kathy and her dear friend Craig. Francesca has requested her cousins Janice andTheresa. Her brother Tony and dear friend Anita.
Inside this inner circle the brides have requested their dear friend Todd to officiate the ceremony. Our brides will arrive to our circle with their god daughter Lillie. In unity, love, equality, we will witness the power of their circle and the eternal ring of forever love.
Susan Weinstein Harpist
1. Guests entering - Caravan
2. Coming into the circle - Rain
3. Brides - Cinema Paradiso
4. Guests leaving - Zelda
We come here today in a celebration and expression of true love! Love is perhaps the greatest gift that we have, it is our inherent nature and our sole true purpose in life; to love one another. Love provides us with the core sustenance of life; it nourishes our spirits and fuels our souls. Love compels us, motivates us, brings joy to our hearts and truly gives us life.
Today is about love and about celebrating love's purpose and importance in our lives.
I first met Francesca and Lotus more than 20 years ago at a meeting of a salt water aquarium group. We quickly became fast friends, and together over the many years have been through the best of times and the worst of times. But what I came to know of them is that they loved each other dearly, that being together provided balance for each other, and that they had learned the communication, patience, understanding, passion, and laughter were vital to their relationship. That life is ever changing and you need to find a way to change with it together. But what holds all this together, the core of their relationship is the strong love that they have for each other. A love that for each of them comes in many different and amazing ways;
Together they are best friends, and they compliment and balance each other perfectly! Francesca and Lotus have fun no matter what they are doing; as long as they are together they are happy!! Together they have generous and caring spirits, a strong sense of family values, a mutual respect, love and commitment to each other that is immeasurable. Francesca and Lotus' love has grown into a relationship that embraces all the values that create a strong and lasting Marriage.
Today, your 20 year love and friendship has stood the test of time. On this day of your wedding, you are continuing this journey together by celebrating the legal union of marriage with your friends and family. These rings are an ancient symbol, blessed and simple.... Round like the sun...like the eye...like arms that embrace... circles for love that is given, comes back around again and again...may these symbols remind you ...that your love... like the sun...illuminates...that your love...like the eye...must see clearly...and that your love...like arms that embrace...is a grace upon the world.
Exchanging of rings:
Please repeat after me:
Lotus and Francesca:
Before our family and friends, past and present.
We give these eternal rings as a token of our love, friendship and devotion.
Together, we will continue to grow and nurture one another.
In heart, soul and life.
Now that you, Francesca, and you, Lotus, have promised to give yourselves to one another and to love each other through your marriage vows and through the giving and receiving of these rings, It gives me great honor and pleasure, by the power vested in me by the State of California and the US Supreme Court, I now pronounce you legally married!
YOU MAY NOW KISS YOUR BRIDE!!!.
Both families came together to transformed the barn into a coastal surf & crab shack. We set up several picnic tables decorated with mason jars with fairy lights and sea shells. Table runners with sea life purchased and made by our sister Kathy. Two tasting stations for wine or bourbon and scotch decorated from wine barrels. Whimsical custom signs for each buffet tasting table. Fish net wrapped poles with sea shells, metal fish wall sculptures, shark drink dispenser, sea life serving stands continued the coastal theme.
Our theme was celebrating "Life on the Coast".
A celebration of the bounties of the sea and land.
For those of you that need a color theme .....Blue, Green and Tan.
We told our guest that if they want to come in a fish net and be a catch who are we to deny them.
We both wanted to do a tasting menu from the land and sea.
We worked with local purveyors and chefs in creating our local tasting menu.
Sonoma Concierge provided the crab cakes, shrimp cocktail and fried oysters for the seafood table. We added smoked salmon on crackers.
The Tomales Bay Oyster Girls and their traveling oyster bar was a huge hit. They shared their knowledge on the art and history of eating oysters - all while shucking & entertaining. Our guest enjoyed oysters on the half shell served raw over beds of ice. They served their famous mignonette sauces, hot sauces and lemons. They served local harvested oysters from Tomales Bay and fresh harvested varieties from Washington and British Colombia.
I wanted to include part of my mothers heritage in the tasting so we selected both ethnic and local dishes. The Lebanese spinach pies were a family affair made by Kathy, Ben, Lotus and I. The House-made Charcuterie of Pâté, Terrine, Rillette came from Thistle Meats in Petaluma. Salami and a variety of olives were sourced local. Three types of organic humus to taste.
CHEESE, VEGGIES, FRUIT AND BREAD
I selected my favorite cheeses for our guest to taste. Cypress Grove Humbolt Fog goat cheese. Cow Girl Creamery's Mt Tam triple cream cheese made from Straus Family Dairy’s fresh organic milk. Nicasio Valley Chhese Company's Foggy Morning. For the Brie lovers Marin French Cheese Brie. Point Reyes Blue Cheese. Our dear friends the Vanderbilt's hand selected and purchased as a wedding gift the bread from Freestone Wild Flour Bread: Wood Fired Brick Oven Baked Bread. Local fruit and veggies rounded out the buffet.
ENTREES, SALADS AND SIDES
For the two main entrees we selected a locally sourced 50lb. "Gloucestershire Old Black Spot" whole hog and locally caught King Salmon expertly cooked by Rosso's Fire-To-Go!.
I searched long and hard for a chef who would created a tasting menu of extraordinary salads and side dishes. We did not want anything you could buy off the shelf. I had a few receipes I wanted made as well as some special dishes the chef would bring to the table. My dear friend Deb Titus introduced us to Lisa Rost who not only handmade everything she sourced it locally and brought in a crew to execute the buffet flawlessly. Here are some of the outstanding dishes she made for our wedding.
Barley Picnic Salad
Lebanese Olive Salad
Orzo Salad with sweet corn, greens, feta, & pine nuts
Grilled vegetables + fennel, potatoes
Sautéed mushrooms with shallots & thyme
Padron or shishito peppers
Raw vegetables – carrots, fennel, celery, cherry tomatoes
CAKES, CAKES AND MORE CAKES
In the same spirit of the appetizers and main meal we wanted to do a cake tasting. So we went to Patisserie Angelica the best patisserie in Sonoma and Napa. Patisserie Angelica Condra Easley and her sister Deborah Morris helped us select a wide assortment of cakes for the tasting. For the chocolate lovers we had their Ultimate Chocolate Cake featured on Foodcrafters. Four layers of a chocolate chiffon cake layered with their outrageous chocolate fudge. A 3 Berry Cake with French buttercream frosting, classic Tahitian vanilla bean cake with strawberries, raspberries and blue berries in a wiped cream filling. Gateau Parisien flourless gateau combination of three hand piped almond macarons layered with a praline buttercream.
Cocoa Velvet Cake with cream cheese icing. Contains no red food coloring. And the last but equally tasty Almond Based Cake with brandied organic apricots with an apricot buttercream. and their house made organic blackberry jam.
WINE, BOURBON & SCOTCH TASTING MENU
I started my wine education in the Santa Rita Hills above Santa Barbara. I have managed to save a few gems for these wine flights.
The first option a vertical flight from the cult vineyard Sea Smoke. The 2nd option will be a tasting of a single year, single winemaker and several vineyards from Talley.
Flight #1 Pinot Sea Smoke Southing08,09, 10, 11
Flight #2 Pinot Sea Smoke Ten 07, 08, 09
Flight #3 Talley Pinot 08: Rosemary, Rincon, Stone Corral
A special bottle of Tablas Creek Panoplie 05 (rated 94 - 96).
We also offered full glass pourings at the bar of great reds and whites.
Starting in 09 I started collecting world class scotches and bourbons just for this day.
09 TALISKER 18 YEAR OLD,
10 GLENFIDDICH SNOW PHOENIX,
09 ARDBEG SUPERNOVA,
09 ARDBEG CORRYVRECKAN,
07 WILD TURKEY AMERICAN SPIRIT,
09 PAPPY VAN WINKLE'S FAMILY RESERVE 15YR,
10 PARKER HERITAGE COLLECTION 10YRS
09 FOUR ROSES SINGLE BARREL
SIGNATURE DRINKS & BAR SELECTION
For our signature drinks we had Lemoncello and Organecello with a splash of organic champagne.
We had a variety of French liquors from Giffard you can have with champagne or over ice for an adult snowcone. Fruit purees from Perfect Puree from Napa Valley were used in a variety of blended tropical drinks. We had Strawberry Daiquiri, Mudslides, Havanas & Bananas, Black Raspberry Margarita, and a Creamsicle Smoothie.
From The Carneros Brewing Company we had Caneros IPA and Jefeweizen beers.
We decided early on to have our wedding photo bombed by our guests.
We wanted to remember our wedding through the lenses of our guests.
We created a special area with local vintage surf boards and signage to create a homemade photo booth.
SOUND OF MUSIC
I struggled with deciding on music for our wedding. Why? Because so many wedding bands or DJ's are like robot callers. You have heard many times before.... So I was amazed when I found the Caribbean band Shabang out of San Francisco and that they would come all the way to Bodega Bay.
Check out this small clip of them at the wedding.
FRIDAY MEET AND GREET
We had people flying in from NY, Colorado, Austin, Southern California to attend the wedding. So Friday night we arrange to get our out of town family and friends together before the main event. Because we have a lot of great cooks we decided to do a Potluck.