A Wedding by the Sea
One of the best weddings that I ever went to was my friend Shannon's. Her and her husband Jeffrey had decided to get married at a country club by the beach. Prior to there engagement they had met five years ago while Shannon was a lifeguard at the same beach where Jeffrey would surf with his friends. It was only fitting that they had their wedding at the same place where they met and fell in love.
I had received their invitation in the mail about four weeks before their wedding day. It was a one sided card decorated with embossed sea shells, a sliver trim and on the bottom of the invitation they had lined it with real sand. I placed the invitation on my refrigerator, and couldn't believe how creative it was.
They had hired a wedding coordinator, and a local restaurant to do the catering. The DJ that they hired was young and hip, and the country club provided a full bar with the best wine, champagne, and anything else you could imagine.
The ceremony took place on the balcony of the country club, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We all watched as the waves crashed against the shore line, and as the sun was beating heavily on the sand. The open sea was also witness to the young couple reading their vows. The guest sat in white chairs facing Shannon, who looked breath taking in her beautiful white wedding dress and she carried a bouquet of white roses tied with a blue satin ribbon.
Her bridesmaids wore satin blue dress, the color of the sea. And the groomsmen had matching blue ties and white flowers on their jackets. Jeffery and Shannon stood in between two palm trees as the minister declared them husband and wife.
They performed an Indian tradition called the pouring of the sand. They both poured different colored sand into a glass vase, symbolizing the uniting of their love. Afterwards the minister gave them each a Hawaiian lei and they walked down the aisle hand in hand. They had lined the aisle with potted lilies, and the white carpet that lay in the center of the chairs was covered in small beads of sand. And as Shannon and Jeffrey walked by I noticed that they both had been barefoot!
The reception immediately followed the ceremony. The inside of the country club was filled with tables covered with white linen. The decorations continued the beach theme. They had palm trees in every corner, and the centerpiece on each table was a glass bowl filled with water and a blue floating candle. There were also sea shells on the bottom of the bowl and blue tea light candles surrounded the outside of the centerpiece.
White tulle was draped across the ceiling over the dance floor, and they hung tiny white lights on the inside of the tulle and down along the wall. Even the numbered tent cards, which told the guest where to sit, were pictures of the beach.
At sunset Shannon and Jeffrey took pictures outside using the ocean as a backdrop. Surprisingly, the photographer was also able to catch two dolphins swimming by. It was too perfect. The event staff had pushed away the chairs from where the ceremony took place and they had their first dance as husband and wife outside with the smell of the beach lingering in the air.
And as night continued to fall the candles inside were lit, creating an even more romantic atmosphere. The wedding coordinator had been walking around making sure that all the guests were having a good time and that the bride and groom were happy. When it was time to cut the cake the wedding coordinator ushered the couple to a gorgeous three tier wedding cake. The cake was covered with white frosting and the local bakery that made the cake had created edible sea shells to sit on top of each tier.
Afterwards we were back on the dance floor inside of the country club. The DJ played a variety of music. From reggae, to jazz and even a little bit of country. Between watching the ocean, getting a drink from the bar, or dancing, there were plenty of things to do to keep us occupied as we waited our turns to congratulate the newly married couple.
When it was time for Shannon to throw her bouquet, I ran over to the dance floor along with the other single women. Unfortunately I didn't catch it, but all of a sudden the wedding coordinator came out with a big box. Inside the box there were about twenty glass bottles with a note inside. It was a message in a bottle! Shannon had a copy of the note and read the poem that was written on it. Then she told us to take the bottle and throw it into the ocean, and one day we too will find true love.
Next it was Jeffery's turn to throw the garter belt into the crowd of single men. The men were all reluctant to catch the garter, as compared to the group of women who would claw each other just to catch the bouquet. Fortunately the one man who caught it was very excited. Jeffrey also had a gift for the young group of men. He had purchased key chains the shape of a surfboard, and explained to the group that they too will someday surf into a women's heart, and never let go.
At the end of the night I said my goodbyes to Shannon and Jeffery as they were whisked away in a black limousine. They were taking a Mexican Cruise for their honeymoon, and they planned on lying on the beach every second that they had a chance. The wedding by the sea was not only a special occasion for the newlywed couple, but also for its guest. I walked away from it, more in love with the idea of getting married. And someday I will throw that bottle into the ocean, and a gorgeous man will surf into my heart!