In the world of writing romance, those words are our stock in trade. Happily Ever After. This weekend, I got to see it in real life.
The DH and I ditched the kids with Jessica, and flew over to Walla Walla, Washington to go to a wedding. I haven’t been to a wedding in ages. I think it was my brother-in-law’s first wedding was the last one I went to. So yes, it’s been a while.
Let me first tell you that when the DH said we were going to Walla Walla, I was like Huh?! They are getting married there? How Come? You see to me, Walla Walla is the home of the state pen, and a whole lot of nothing. I remember driving through Walla Walla as a kid because there was really never a reason to stop. But that was before the grapes. You hear that a lot from the locals. “Before they put in the grapes.” Because you see, grapes and wine making have transformed the valley into a winery mecca. And with the wineries comes restaurants and shops and now the Walla Walla I remember as a kid is just that, a memory.
So while the weekend sort of revolved around the wedding and the assorted wedding events, the DH and I got to do some lazy, adult things. It is amazing how laid back and quiet a weekend can be when you have no kids. No Kids. We haven’t been away from the kids, together, for more than one night in over 6 years. And that was only because we had to go to a funeral, so that doesn’t count. So basically, this was the most alone time we’ve had since the little darlings arrived.
We went and got coffee. And sat. No rushed affair through Starbucks saying for the thousandth time, “It’s a hot chocolate OR a cookie, NOT both.” No, we had coffee at The Patisserie. Which is a fancy French way of saying, No kids. At least that was our translation. We loved it so much, we went twice. We ate at restaurants were there wasn’t a single nugget on the menu. We ate olives and antipasto, and beautiful salads and steaks (T Maccarone’s) and didn’t care how long our food took to get to the table. No one was melting down.
The best part of the weekend was seeing the bride’s face as she turned to come down the aisle. Friends and family standing up to welcome her and as she said Friday night at a gathering, “I have all my peeps around me. I couldn’t be happier.” I had thought that was funny Friday night, but on Saturday afternoon at two o’clock in the afternoon as this first time bride walked down the aisle, I understood down to my toes why that had been so important to her.
You see, this wasn’t some young couple starting their lives together in their dewy twenties, this is a couple who met in their 40s and have spent 12 years together. As the best man pointed out in his toast, they could have just continued living together, but they chose to get married because they knew after nearly a lifetime apart, together was so very right.
Here is Janet the Bride with my husband. They’ve worked together for years and he was thrilled to see “the cougar get caged,” as he teasingly likes to call her. Isn’t her dress glorious? The bodice is a vintage tank bodice by Yves St. Laurent, then a friend of hers attached the tussah silk skirt onto the bodice. Just perfect.
And the day couldn’t have been prettier–great weather, lovely setting. Here is Basel Cellar Winery where the reception was held, . We dined and wined and danced under the stars–and of course in Walla Walla, far from the urban blight of lights that is Seattle, you could see the stars and the Milky Way and there were falling stars. Oh, it was so very romantic.
Now I’ve gotten a lot of email from people about Memoirs of a Scandalous Red Dress and they all seem to be split in two camps–I have dubbed them Camp Under 40: Dash and Pippin had to wait too long for their romance and their lives at that point were technically over, and the other camp, Camp Over 40 who adored the idea of a second time around romance. Since I wrote the story, you know which camp I belong to. But to all the naysayers and disbelievers, I wish I could have brought you this past weekend to the wedding I attended. Would have done a lot of people some good to see that life does not end once you turn 40. For this couple, their life was just beginning in so many ways and they were, shall we say, well past 40.
What struck me about the wedding and the reception was the sheer joy that seemed to permeate the entire day. Here are two people who spent a good portion of their entire adult lives single–you see neither the bride or groom had ever been married before, and then found each other. If that isn’t Happily Ever After, then I don’t know what is.