As I type this we're about to have our last night in Berkeley before we return to Houston. We've had five full days here, plus partial days on either end (counting the morning and mid-day tomorrow). I managed to get in re-visits to most of the things I really liked in the Bay Area, and of course there was the celebration.
Tuesday: We got in to Oakland. Our checked bags were to get in a couple of hours later. (This is why we try not to check bags, but we had extra stuff this time.) Katie's family had got in earlier, so we went to Berkeley to see them. I finally got to meet Katie's brother -- this year was the first time in our 13-year relationship that I'd even talked
to him, let alone met him; but now I got to verify he was a real person.
Wednesday: Got the programs made, and picked up the xkcd cartoon
I had blown up and mounted as a surprise for Katie. Managed to get it out of the copy shop door and into the car without Katie noticing; then we met with randy_smith2
to go over the ceremony. Visited the good people and cats of Comic Relief. Had dinner with my birth mother Peg and her husband at Breads of India (Peg [who is a spice wimp] said "This is hotter than I like but it's so delicious I don't care") and then went with her to games night at Endgame. Katie named her as the Matron of Honor and we gave her a copy of Dominion as a gift; we took the opportunity to take the shrinkwrap off.
Thursday: Katie visited one of her advisors during the day; I delivered some welcome bags to hotels. My mother had a bunch of the people attending over for a dinner at her house. Wine was drunk, superb food was eaten, pleasant conversation was had.
Friday: The rehearsal, expertly managed by Randy; then the rehearsal dinner, featuring more wine, great food, and pleasant conversation.
Saturday: The big day. We were glad we'd had the rehearsals; but most everything went quite smoothly -- even my 6- and 3-year-old niece and nephew (flower girl and ringbearer), after a bit of wrangling. The redwoods stood magnificently, the overcast clouds cleared up just in time, the trio we'd engaged from the UC Berkeley music department played very nicely. Things were read: a passage from Ecclesiastes; some quotes from Jonathan Carroll's Sleeping in Flame
; Shakespeare's Sonnet 116; a poem that Neil Gaiman wrote for some friends' wedding
. We added a little something to the traditional vows: in among "for richer and for poorer" and "in sickness and in health", "in brightest day, in blackest night". Randy got us back for this, by adding a little something to his parting benediction in between the rehearsal and the ceremony -- I don't remember the exact words, it was something like "...go forth in love, and may those who worship evil's might beware your power." Everyone at the reception said what a good job he did on the ceremony.
Then of course the reception, with more excellent food and wine. (My dad, who lives in the Napa Valley, provided the wine. Thank you, Dad.) We were persuaded that the reception needed some music, and I was able to engage a string quartet at somewhat short notice. (Thank you again, UCB Music Department contact list.) It really did enhance the atmosphere. Toasts were had; nobody said anything terribly embarassing. We had two people via webcam and/or cell phone: Katie's main advisor (who had left Cal for a position in Austin), and Mike Chary, whom we really wanted but in the end couldn't make it. I'd never met Katie's advisor before either, and it was interesting to at last find out what he looked like. He said some things I recognized as true. Mike of course told the story of how, 13 years ago, he hit me with a 2000-mile-long clue bat. ("...and for my next trick, I will get two people I've never met, 2000 miles away, to fall in love, and a mere decade later marry!")
We had provided some sets of "Apples to Apples" and some decks of cards, but they turned out to be quite unnecessary.
Sunday: Was cold and gray all day. We really lucked out that the weather on Saturday was typical late-summer weather, and not this winter overcast. We had a brunch with many of our guests, then relaxed in our room. Later on we went to see _Capitalism: A Love Story_, which Katie's brother had helped work on. In between we had Zachary's pizza, which meant a bit of rushing about but (for me at least) was worth it.
Let me not finish this without acknowledging the incredible efforts of my mother and sister, who put together welcome bags for the out-of-town guests, and made silk-and-crystal bouquets and boutonnieres, and knit a shawl that was the perfect accessory for Katie's dress, and in general just outdid themselves in every way to make our event a success.
So: Five days of big fun, and now I finally get to wear the pretty shiny ring I had made a few months back.