"FROM THE PARENTS OF THE GROOM" Our Diary of a Magical Wedding
Jun 14, 2017
|June 14-18, 2017 WEEKEND WEDDING OF JACK REGIER AND KELSEY JAMES
Wed. June 14, 2017 DESTINATION NORCAL
So this was pretty much just a travel day, leaving SLO and arriving in the Santa Rosa area. It's completely unbelievable how much stuff we had to take. We rented a van where all the seats folded down (as it turned out, a godsend!)
and more than half-filled it by the time we left SLO, heading to Jack & Kelsey's in Campbell to pick up even more stuff!
By the time we left J&K's we had almost no room left.
In Santa Rosa we are renting a 6 bedroom house about 15 minutes from the wedding venue. So, not only are we taking our things, but also stuff for the rehearsal dinner and the wedding, plus supplies and groceries for the 11 people who will be staying at the rental. Maybe we should have rented a semi. J&K were both at their apartment helping us load up some stuff and then we left, rarin' to get up to Santa Rosa.
That didn't go so smooth. We've driven in California for 30 years now and have never been in freeway traffic that bad, even in LA. We were bumper-to-bumper on the 680 for more than two hours.
Kind of blew-up some of our plans for the afternoon. Almost there, we stopped at Aventine, the location for Friday night's rehearsal dinner, which we hadn't seen on previous visits. Nice, private second floor room, although it'll be a bit crowded with 50 people.
We decided to grab some dinner there too and were glad we did. Confirmed to us that we're going to have wonderful service and food this Friday evening.
We also swung by Kunde Family Winery, venue for the wedding, although we couldn't go up the hill.
It's going to be a spectacular setting. The weather may be a bit toasty on Saturday, but we’re expecting 100% sun, no rain. It's supposed to be in the mid-90s, with some breeze which may be a welcome cooling factor.
We can't get into the house until around 4:00 PM tomorrow, so we're staying in a hotel in Santa Rosa tonight. Doreen's sister Wendy will be there also, with husband Rocky. They live in Tucson and she says it feels COLD to her, here. Haha! Tomorrow will be full of wedding errands and other family arriving. So glad that all the planning and prep is close to over. We're anxious to see the actual festivities get underway.
Thurs. June 15, 2017 MOVE IN MADNESS
Today started with a nice breakfast at the hotel cafe with Wendy and Rocky. After that, we determined it wouldn't be possible, given the lack of space in the van, to grocery shop for ourselves or to shop for the wedding till the van is emptied at the rental house. We wanted to be sure though that we could get everything we were assigned to get, so Ron walked over to Costco and BevMo on a scouting expedition. Fortunately, we found there was an ample supply of everything on the wedding list, so we could go about our business and come back later in the day.
Since we hadn't been able to stop at Kunde Family Winery yesterday, we went back there to buy some wine and chocolates; not a bad assignment!
We had to kill some time before we would check in at the house at 1:30 PM to see if we could drop some stuff off early, so we just relaxed at Kunde under some trees and enjoyed the warm breezes.
We were very happy to find out, when we got there, that all the cleaning was done and we could just move in then. Yay!!! We sweated through about an hour's worth of unloading and getting oriented to the house in temperatures already in the mid-80s and heading higher.
Our revised check-in schedule then allowed us to go to the grocery store and have everything in order when the rest of the relatives arrived at 4:00 PM. Once again, plans went every-so-slightly awry. Showing our over-loaded state-of-mind, we had left the wine and chocolates under the table we'd been sitting at at Kunde. Arghh! A quick call let us know they were able to find our bag of treasures, but now we had to allocate 35 minutes to go there again and return. By the time we had gone back to Kunde (are we trying to see how many times we can go there this week?), shopped for groceries for the house and gotten back there, everyone else had arrived. Wendy and Rocky had the house access code, so everyone was starting to settle into our place, including Doreen's sister Melanie and husband Randy, brother Mark and wife Faith, and her mom, Dottie.
After stocking the kitchen, Randy and Ron took off for Costco and BevMo, on assignment for the wedding. Having scouted in the morning, Ron knew right where to go and everything went just according to plan.
However, the stockpile of beverages for the wedding guests proved a tough slog through the store and out the door to the van.
Once back home we off-loaded all the drinks into a side room, where it was observed that there just might be some left-overs after the wedding, given the fact that the wedding is at a winery and none of these beverages were wine!!! We'd also picked up some stuff for dinner, including ribs and chicken from Costco. As Ron was walking through the store, he talked to a manager and told him that he'd actually never tried the ribs at the SLO Costco. The manager went into a lengthy discussion of how their ribs were cooked differently in Santa Rosa and were therefore better than the SLO Costco ribs. Well, not sure what they do in SLO, but we can truly vouch for the Santa Rosa Costco ribs; they were some of the best we've had.
So, the whole tribe had dinner at the house, then visited through the rest of the evening. It's the first time this Wetzel group has been together in more than a decade. Ron prepped for the Groom's Golf Group tomorrow morning. He has to be off and going very early, since he's coordinating and it starts at 8:00 AM.
Down in historic Glen Ellen, on the southern side of Kunde, we found out that Kelsey's mom, Colleen, and Kelsey had arrived at their family’s weekend rental. Her step-dad, Tom and step-brother, Tommy were also there and Jack was arriving later with Kelsey's sister and brother, after collecting them at the San Jose airport. He's staying over at their place tonight. We were supposed to run over to pick something up to work on for the rehearsal dinner, but arranged for Jack to deliver it to us at the golf course in the morning. Everything seems to be coming together very well, but we'll really find out where we stand when everyone gathers for the wedding rehearsal on top of Boot Hill at 4:00 PM tomorrow.
Fri. June 16, 2017 REHEARSAL DAY
Here’re key moments:
5:45 AM – Ron gets up and gets ready for Jack’s golf outing. Bought donuts from Tan’s. Ron had prepared swag bags for all the golfers and wanted to get there early to get everything set up.
8:00 AM Doreen and her two sisters, Melanie & Wendy meet Ron down at the golf course to pick some things up that Jack brought over and get J & K’s dog, Teddy, to take to our house.
8:00 AM – 1:00 PM – golf. Twelve guys from both families, as well as several of Jack’s friends, played 18 holes at Oakmont Golf Club in Santa Rosa, not far from where we’re staying. Jack and Ron played in the same group with a friend, Nick, and Jack’s future father-in-law.
While Jack's friend Nick was low score for the day with an 81, Jack and Ron played well-enough, shooting 85 and 86 respectively. It was a fun way to kick off the big weekend for the boys. Afterward the group enjoyed lunch in the restaurant and prizes were awarded for closest to the pin (Kyle Hoff) and long drive (Charlie James), as well as a game to guess the number of tees in a bowl. Nick won that too, but no one guessed the right number, 617, representing their wedding date the next day.
Meanwhile Doreen and her sisters put together a photo display of J&K growing up, tended to Teddy, got ready for the festivities to come, etc.
After noon, Paul Wetzel, Mark & Faith's son, arrived with his travel companion Clay. They've been on an extraordinary camping adventure around the U.S. and his route happened to work out for the wedding.
1:00 – 3:15 PM – we’re all back at the house, including Jack. Some fun family sharing, then it’s time to get ready for the wedding rehearsal. That means changing clothes and getting ready to transport everything we’ve collected that will be used at the wedding, including the ‘tons’ of non-wine beverages, as well as all the fixings for s’mores. Everybody helps get everything back into the van.
3:15 – 4:45 PM – Ron, Doreen and Jack drive to Kunde, pick up Kelsey, meet wedding coordinator, drop some stuff off at Hill House where the bride and attendants will dress tomorrow, drive to top of ‘Boot Hill’ for rehearsal. The rehearsal was very well orchestrated by Courtney, the coordinator.
Then we dropped off all those non-wine beverages for the last time (not really, as it turned out!!).
4:45 - 5:40 PM – Doreen and Ron race back home and get into different attire for the rehearsal dinner, getting everything set up so we can leave Teddy by himself at the house while everyone attends the dinner. We load up the van once again, this time with stuff for the dinner.
5:40 – 7:00 PM - We drive to Aventine restaurant in Glen Ellen for the dinner, then help everyone set up decorations. By the time they’re done, it all looks spectacular. Ron spends some time working on remarks and toast we’ll make in the middle of the dinner. We set up the ‘growing up’ photo display. Well done, Doreen!
7:00 – 10:00 PM – rehearsal dinner. It was a very warm night, especially in the room with 49 people attending.
The Italian food is spectacular and the wine, of course is first rate. Everyone seems to have a fantastic time. Doreen’s 88 year-old mother Dottie makes it to the bitter end.
Our remarks and toast seem to go okay. Lots of wonderful comments on how the evening went. Jack & Kelsey seem very pleased.
10:00 – 11:30 PM – we all go a short distance to the bar at Jack London Inn and keep celebrating. After a bit, Jack decides it’s time to go and get some rest and the 3 of us leave at 11:30.
The day was exceptional, we think, but the only problem is there’s no time to gain perspective or to reflect – it’s just one event after another. Even though it was great for us that Jack basically spent most of his time with us today, there was no time to actually enjoy his company – which is understandable, but too bad. Jack too commented on this, looking forward to some rest and a chance to catch his breath in the morning when he'll have a few minutes of alone time. It’ll be the same tomorrow, except in the morning we won’t be running around till Doreen has to go meet all the girls @ 10:00 at Hill House.
June 17, 2017 WEDDING DAY!
Looking back, it was Saturday, September 19, 2015, the day of Ron's retirement party, when Jack told us that he planned to ask for Kelsey's hand in marriage and asked for our support. That was 21 months ago and it literally seems like yesterday because we can remember every detail of that moment at our condo. The intervening time has passed by at light-speed. Today, we got up early again (averaging about 3 hours sleep ourselves the last two nights) because we had to pretty much get everything packed and ready to go out the door the next day, as well as making sure we were taking everything we needed for the wedding. Jack got up about 8:30 AM and joined in as the whole family watched a slide show we had prepared showing Jack's life from birth to now with various family members, as well as a variety of photos with his fiancé. Jack had to go well before it was over, but we did manage to capture another moment with family out on the deck before he left.
Finally, Doreen and Jack grabbed a few minutes to practice for the mother-son dance at the wedding.
Doreen had planned to go over to Hill House at 10:00 AM, but we got behind a bit with everything we needed to do, including chasing down Teddy when he escaped out the front door. Ron was panicked because Teddy wouldn't come to him and kept going further and further up the street. In the end, doggie’s nature's call allowed Ron to catch up with the escaped rascal. Doreen and Teddy got over to Hill House, at one time a private residence, at around 11:00 AM. Colleen, Kelsey, and her bridesmaids were having their hair-styled and makeup done by two professionals and Doreen joined in. Kelsey gave each of the women beautiful makeup robes. The bridesmaids' were floral, while the moms' were pink. Kelsey's robe was white, of course. She also gave each a personally monogramed champagne glass. Lunch was delivered and, of course, champagne was also present to celebrate the bride. Ron arrived before 2:00 PM to deliver Jack's gift to Kelsey. His gift to her was a gorgeous pair of double pearl earrings to wear for the wedding. Ron was also there when Kelsey gave Doreen a very special bottle of wine, with the "Future In-Laws" label.
What was thoughtfully written on the wine label was hard to read without tears. The women started to dress after 2:00 PM, once clothes (and the veil) were steamed and pressed. The photographer also arrived around 2:00 PM. A classic silver Porsche coupe then arrived and everyone knew that the hour was seriously approaching.
Meanwhile, Ron drove back home to get ready to meet up with Jack's wedding party at Kenwood Inn, Room 10. Amplifying on Jack's desire for a few minutes alone, Ron also felt a calming effect from the short drive home alone. Once there he got ready for the day and then said goodbye to family before going to Kenwood. Jack and the groomsmen, except for Kelsey's brother Charlie who arrived later, were taking it easy and joking around, trying to keep each other calm. A certain amount of prep was also in order.
Jack studied the remarks he would make from the stage and co-best men Mike and Travis worked on their toast. Lunch came shortly after noon. Tom, Tommy and Charlie arrived about 1:30 PM. Tom brought a gift and card from Kelsey to Jack. The gift was a beautiful wristwatch. Jack then asked Ron to take Kelsey her card and gift and arrived back at Kenwood Inn as the photographer arrived at 2:00 PM.
Some champagne was uncorked for a toast to the groom. The boys then finished getting ready
and went outside into the 95 degree heat to pose for the photographer.
An observation about our son and his bride on this day - when over at Kenwood Inn, Room 10, Ron noticed that Jack's friends, the groomsmen, seemed generally nervous, bouncing off the walls a little. Meanwhile Jack seemed perfectly calm, in a state of zen, if you will -- completely content as he looked forward, as he said, to marrying the girl of his dreams. It's deeply satisfying to see your son or daughter handle something so important with such peace and grace. Doreen said the same for Kelsey; she was totally calm and at ease. Amazing! These were two young people supremely confident of the step they were about to make.
Just before 3:00 PM, Jack, Ron, the groomsmen and the photographer all drove over to Hill House. There appears to be a new 'wedding normal' of having pictures mostly completed BEFORE the ceremony.
After getting their boutonnières attached, Jack saw his bride and her wedding dress for the first time. After that momentous occasion, the photographers took pictures of all members of the wedding party, AND TEDDY.
After that things got a little hectic, since no one seemed to know exactly what was supposed to happen next. All the women had to give up their belongings and men empty their pockets; all promised to receive their valuables back later in the day from the wedding consultant. Cars had to go down the hill, including ours, with Ron picked up by shuttle and returned to Hill House.
Then all wedding party members, except Kelsey, were jammed into one shuttle for the ride up the hill. Kelsey and step-dad Tom got into a classic, vintage silver Porsche for the ride up.
The shuttle dropped everyone off and for the first time we could see the wedding venue all set up and the audience getting in place. By the time we had lined up for the walk in, everyone was in place. It was precisely 4:30 PM, the prescribed minute for the ceremony to begin - AMAZING! First, it was Jack and the officiant, then us.
It was the first time that the full import of the whole thing hit us, as we walked up to all those chairs filled with friends and relatives. As we were seated, the rest of the wedding party entered and found their places, as directed the day before in rehearsal.
As soon as we were all set, the Porsche carrying Kelsey and her step-dad arrived. It was such a surprise, there was an audible gasp and a little cheer from the crowd. Kelsey, Tom and Colleen, her mom, then walked her up the aisle to greet Jack. Just a note about the weather - at 3:00 PM, Ron had recorded a temperature at Hill House of 95 degrees and it felt that hot there, with no wind. However, up on top of Boot Hill there was a breeze and, while warm, it never felt that hot. In fact, we were all very grateful when at 10:00 PM that evening it was still warm enough to go without wraps. The only negative at all for the whole day was the fact that the officiant's microphone didn't work properly and all you could hear from the speakers was the wind. However, it didn't matter because you could hear him clearly enough without the mic, even from the back row.
It is difficult to fully describe the ceremony, but two words we might use would be simple and elegant.
During the ceremony, Kelsey and Jack said their "I dos," recited their wedding vows and exchanged rings. Other than that, the officiant read both his words and their words, gleaned from discussions he had had with the two of them. It was beautiful. During the ceremony, several times, Kelsey made spontaneous gestures and comments that lightened the mood and reflected on the confident people that they are, including a "whew" with a gesture across her forehead after both recited their "I dos." It was priceless. After they were pronounced man and wife, they high-fived and danced their way back up the aisle to start the party. There was a collection of photos yet to take, including those with the grandparents.
Meanwhile, family and friends hit the bar set up nearby.
Jack and Kelsey were quick to finish up and join the fun. After enjoying congratulations all around during the reception hour, everyone made their way to the dining tables in front of the dance floor and band setup.
We were seated with Kelsey's mom, Colleen and step-dad Tom, Doreen's mother, Dottie, Colleen's dad Buzz and his wife Nona, and Colleen's sister Lisa. The service and the food were outstanding, no easy feat considering that they were serving the meal on top of a hill in a vineyard. Jack, Kelsey and the wedding party were seated in the middle and this photo says it all . . .
have you ever seen two people as happy as this?
After the entree was served, the toasts began and the first was by Kelsey's grandfather, Buzz. He extolled the virtues of both groom and bride, but said that he particularly admired Kelsey's competitive spirit and toughness. This is not surprising since first of all, it's true, but also because Buzz was the quarterback on Wisconsin's first Rose Bowl team in 1953. While he was drafted by the Green Bay Packers, he didn't pursue that career, instead serving in the Marines during the Korean Conflict. Next up were Colleen and Tom. Similarly, they shared heartfelt thoughts about both bride and groom and Tom talked about the difficulties of entering a Wisconsin family having attended the University of Iowa. He made points though by bringing Badger gifts. Ron took home a Wisconsin sweatshirt. The next toast was made by Kelsey's younger sister Sally and she did a magnificent job through the tears that demonstrated the love she had for her big sister. Sally's comments about the impact Kelsey had had on her life was emotional for everyone attending. Getting better acquainted with Sally and hearing her speak, as well as getting acquainted with Charlie and meeting Sally's boyfriend Jimmy, demonstrated to us that without a doubt Jack now has the close immediate family of mutually-supportive siblings that he didn't have in his own home growing up an only child. Kelsey's family is wonderful in every way and we are incredibly happy for him. The penultimate toast was more a roast. It was by Jack's two co-best men, Mike and Travis. They humorously recounted how they met almost immediately in college, how their band of bros expanded through the years, described the kind of fun they shared (well, some of it anyway) and talked about how they've remained close following college and starting relationships and marriages. It was a bravura performance by the two of them and served to show everyone how Jack not only brings the support of extended family to this marriage, but has his cohort of loyal and dedicated friends to share.
Finally, Jack got up to speak, thanking everyone for being there and for all they've done to support their relationship. Again, he was calm and cool and, speaking for both he and Kelsey, his remarks were right on the mark. At the end he toasted his beautiful bride!
Then came the more relaxed, fun part of the evening. The married couple first cut their wedding cake - no smashing it into each other's faces. The band, "Five Card Stud," from Kelsey's hometown of Milwaukee, started to play, inviting Jack and Kelsey to the floor for their first dance. Then it was Kelsey's turn to invite Grandpa Buzz, and then her brother Charlie to the dance floor before it was Jack's turn to dance with his mom to The Beatles, "In My Life." At the end of their dance, Jack and Doreen came over to our table where Jack lifted, then embraced his Grandmother Dottie. At that point, the dance floor was open to all. At the same time, dessert was served; no not the wedding cake, but s'mores made by guests, at the fire pit. Many in attendance played "Cornhole." One Cornhole game was made and brought by Jack & Kelsey and said, "Mr." on one target and "Mrs." on the other.
They also had a photo booth unlike any we've seen. It was in a small Airstream trailer, with costumes and plenty of room for families to pose. As sunset approached, the loving couple was pulled away for another photo shoot, both at the vineyards
and with the vintage Porsche.
After that it was another 90 minutes of general merriment with everyone enjoying the mood, the temperature and one another's company. Jack and Kelsey ended up on-stage with the band and the last song was a rousing, full-throated version of "Sweet Caroline" with everybody joining in.
We know it's easy as parents to be biased, but so many people came up to us to say this was the best wedding they'd ever been to. First, a spectacular location. It was spread out enough so every function had its own area and it never felt crowded. The ceremony was the essence of Kelsey and Jack. The event was on-time throughout and service at the bar and dinner was wonderful. The weather turned out to be a blessing. The speeches/toasts were fun and interesting. The band played mostly oldies, but the young people didn't seem to mind and enthusiastically demonstrated their dance skills. The games and photo booth were unique and fun. There was plenty of area to get away for quiet conversation, if that's what you wanted.
All in all, we think Kelsey and Jack got everything they wanted in a wedding and we think they were happier, more than anything, that everyone had a wonderful and memorable time.
We were on the last shuttle bus down the hill, getting off in the parking lot for the short drive to Glen Ellen and the Jack London Inn bar once again. Before we did that, however, we drove back up the hill and picked up personal items, like wedding gifts and cards. We were then joined at the bar by Doreen's sister-in-law Faith and her son Paul. Colleen and Tom were there, but it was mostly Jack and Kelsey's friends. We enjoyed a drink and some pizza and ended getting home some time after midnight. We have no idea how long the party lasted!
June 18 - THE DAY AFTER
Well, not quite finished yet. After the dinner last night, we had a conversation with the wedding consultant and she told us that someone needed to come back today between 9:00 and 11:00 and pick up all of the property owned by the wedding party. Yikes!! Ron recruited his friend Craig Von Bargen to help him and assured Kelsey and Jack that we would get everything off the hill.
Craig and Ron met at 8:45 and went up to load all the leftover drinks, lanterns, signage, trays, Cornhole boards, flowers, ceramic pots from the centerpieces, etc. into their two vehicles.
It didn't take too long, so Ron had a chance to rest up at the VJB Vineyards & Cellars where the brunch was scheduled to start at 10:00. The brunch was for anyone who attended the wedding who remained in the area, and was put on by co-best man Travis Lee and his fiancé Mary Wyatt. It was very casual; just a drop-in affair. Ron, Craig and Jack managed to transfer to other vehicles everything from Craig's car and enough from our van so we could get all our stuff in when we left our rental house. After spending an hour & a half at the brunch, we rushed back to the house and quickly got everything outside, so the owners could start prep for the next renters. It took a bit of effort to get everything we had in the van and it was absolutely full to the very top inside. Next job was to re-connect with Jack, Kelsey and the Benedicts so we could re-acquire Teddy. They were wine-tasting at Kunde, so we met them there, tasted with them, socialized, then hit the road for Campbell. Without too much trouble with traffic, we arrived at Kelsey and Jack's apartment in the late afternoon. It was 102 degrees and we had much bottled and canned beverages, as well as chocolate and marshmallows in the van. All of that needed to get inside up 2 flights of stairs. Ron approached the job in stages to avoid heatstroke, but everything eventually got upstairs. The next morning the remaining non-perishables were brought in and we had no more official duties. We rested at their apartment that evening and stayed there for night before Jack arrived the next morning to change and go to work. It was nice to see him one more time before he and Kelsey headed off on their much-anticipated honeymoon in Tahiti.
So many people told us in advance, "expect things to go wrong, so it doesn't upset you when things go wrong." Therefore, we were expecting problems, but we just can't think of any significant glitches. The wedding was miraculous in every way, even including the weather on the hill. We were so afraid people would struggle with the heat, but with the breeze, it was very bearable and helped make the late evening quite pleasant. We are plainly and simply just so happy for Jack and Kelsey. The launch and trajectory of their life together was everything they imagined it would be. It was perfect. It was majestic!
Photo from the Tahitian honeymoon