Wednesday, August 27, 2008

not a dry eye in the treehouse

When last we left our heroes, High Contrast was obsessing about his best-man speech and the bride was losing sleep over the fit of her dress. I was trying to lay down the calm without yelling, because H was asleep. But what did the trick was when I mentioned a phrase from Highcon's speech to Kai about getting ready to bust out her signature laugh during his toast—it broke the tension for her and gave him a taste of her approval. Then everyone could finally go to bed.

Kaiya
is a graphic designer and Lee is an artist, so there was no question that their wedding would be beautiful. They wanted a very intimate celebration that would include all of the people they loved best, so the guest list was a VIP affair (I believe there were only twenty or so people, total, in attendance). It had to be small; the entire thing was going to take place in a treehouse, albeit a very special treehouse. It's the only one of its kind in the state.


As we approached, it didn't take long to see a very Kaiya-like touch to the decor.

When we got to the first landing (where the people are standing in the first photo), there was an assortment of glass vases and jars assembled on a table. In each one was a stem of astilbe in various shades of pink and white, and around the vessels were notes attached with a ribbon, each addressed to a separate guest. We were to take our stems and our notes and gather in the gazebo area of the treehouse, where there was a Brazilian guitarist from Kaiya's samba-dancing days playing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." I adore that song, and the way he played it sounded as beautiful as a harp.

There was something for everyone on this table.

So we followed the ramp and took our places around the railings of the gazebo. There were bouquets and soft tulle draped here and there, but the place really didn't need too much in terms of added decoration. The treehouse is up 12 feet in the air, and it is built around the oak and ash trees that had already been growing in the park. It was really lovely. And with the music and the hushed murmuring, it really did feel like a spiritual place.

The ceiling of the gazebo had plenty of skylights to let the sunshine in.

Everyone was milling around, smiling at each other. H and I were standing behind two little Chinese women who looked so adorable in their floral dresses and hats. And then someone said, "Here they come!" and we watched as the car came into the parking lot, pulled up to the beginning of the ramp and Kaiya and her father came up the "aisle." I got teary, but looking around, I noticed that everyone else was misty, too. Last week when I dropped the gift off at her parents' house, I asked Kai's mom if she was going to cry at the ceremony. "No way!" she had said, "Why would I cry? I'm happy!" But of course she did. And it's rumored that her tough-guy little brother was wiping his eyes, too.

And she was wearing the "Plan A" dress. I knew Lee's mom would save the day.

Kaiya was carrying a single stem exactly like the rest of ours, and when her father presented her to Lee, the bride and groom (who had a stem, too) placed them into an empty vase on a table in the center of the gazebo.

This was the "unity" vase.

She had said she wanted a ceremony that everyone they loved could be an active part of, so at this point, the officiant asked all of us to come and add our respective stems to Kaiya and Lee's in the vase. Then she asked the two mothers to come and tie the whole bunch together and make Kaiya's bouquet. I got tearier.

The moms sealed everyone's blessings together with a bow. Then Kaiya and Lee sealed the deal with a kiss.

I thought the mirror on the tabletop was an awesome touch.

And then there was the food. Kaiya's mom and friends set up a Chinese buffet with shrimp rolls, crab rangoon, barbecue ribs, lettuce wraps, chicken wings, puff pastries with yummy stuff inside, big shrimps, little shrimps, rice, salad, fruits and all kinds of other deliciousness. I am sad I didn't take any photos of the spread, but I was too busy chowing down (I have never been able to resist homemade Chinese food since my childhood babysitter got me hooked on the real deal right from the start).

High Contrast only had a few cherry tomatoes and a piece of lettuce on his plate, and he was fidgeting nonstop. He was clearly still nervous about his toast, and couldn't wait until it was over and done with so he could finally relax. I kept reassuring him that all would be well* and joked that should he falter, he could have his cousin on speakerphone to prompt him (she practically memorized the thing, he had practiced so many times in front of her). He laughed his nervous laugh and kept shifting around. And then he was up.

And these are the *condensed* notes. He didn't really look at them, but they probably offered a sense of security.

Highcon did a great job (of course) giving Lee some tips on what to expect from his lifetime ahead with Kaiya. She asked, "Is this a roast or a toast?" but ended up laughing, just as I'd promised.

We had sparkling grape juice; no alcohol allowed in the park. But Kai's and Lee's look suspiciously bubbly...

After Highcon, Lee's big brother gave a speech that included advice for Kaiya in her future life with Lee. Both of the toasts went together well. We mingled around and caught up, as we don't see each other very often. And then it was time to hit the road. But before we left, Kai wanted to show us a sketch that My Favorite Mami had drawn up about what Kaiya had envisioned for her wedding gown:

Lee's mom did a fabulous job, and it was just what the bride had wanted.

The fitting issue had come from the flowy fabric being stretchy and the ribbon at the bodice being taut; a tricky situation that was probably much trickier when the model was living 135 miles away. I think Lee's mom handled it like a pro.

We said our goodbyes and the happy couple were off to a swanky hotel for a massage and some much-needed rest. They will continue the celebration with a reception next month and a honeymoon in Taiwan next year. But I doubt those will top such a sweet ceremony. As we left, I noticed a mark someone left on a railing in the gazebo:

Not all graffiti is an eyesore.





*I kept telling Highcon to "relax, like I did when I gave Ri and C's wedding toast" two years ago, until H gently reminded me that I was full of crap: I had been a nervous wreck, agonizing about that speech for months (even asking you guys for advice on the blog) and barely slept the night before their wedding. And when I got up in front of all those people to deliver it, I was so nervous that I held the Champagne glass against my side to keep it from violently shaking and spilling all over the place. How soon we forget.



9 comments:

Teej said...

That whole bouquet thing kills me. BEAUTIFUL.

Aunt Becky said...

Oh, my. What a lovely wedding. Seriously makes me want to go back and copy their cool wedding EXACTLY.

Alexandra said...

absolutely gorgous....! i'm so happy to see that they were able to bring their vision to life and create the perfect ceremony - very romantic!

SupaCoo said...

What an amazing wedding! The unity vase blows me away. Just stunning! You're so lucky to have been a VIP for an event like that :)

rye said...

I love the creation of the bouquet! Makes me wish I was having a real ceremony so I could copy it :) Beautiful pictures, too.

Anonymous said...

Weddings like this make me regret not doing more for my own...(sigh). And that dress!!!! I love it.

naechstehaltestelle said...

That sounded so romantic! I'm swooning in my chair. I love the idea of the Chinese buffet for the food and the treehouse. So different but I bet everyone loved it.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Look at THINGS that happened while I was not blogging! Kaiya got married.

Kai, I wish the best of everything for you and Lee, hope the two of you live happily into old age, jabbing each other with walking sticks, and saying, "Ehhh?" when the other one talks.

jinius said...

so beautiful and touching. this post should be titled not a dry eye in the blogosphere!