Saturday, June 2, 2018
(Rich’s post mostly. Finished by Linda)
Ok. Ok. We finally got around to posting this one. How can you write about one of the best days/nights of your life? We can’t, but we will at least try to give some idea.
Today is so full and so grand, it’s difficult to write about. A tremendous amount of work by Janel and Isam all comes together today in a huge cascade of non-stop activity.
Disclaimer: We took a few pictures today, but NONE when it mattered most. So far, the blog only utilizes photos taken on Rich’s phone. Fortunately, 2 professional photograhers were on hand AND 2 professional videographers for everything else.
Up early at Les Comelles for a loving breakfast of ultra-fine eggs, vegetables, and meats. I quickly learn that each course is brought out in an orderly fashion. Try to change up the order, for instance, by reaching for an extra on a serving tray not designated for you, and the staff will step in to stop you. I learn this the hard way.
The most luscious course: Bread drizzled with olive oil, deep chocolate, and sea salt. Man!!
Janel has arranged for posed photographs to all be taken prior to the ceremony, and so I bow away from the breakfast table early in order to prepare. Professional beauticians arrive and soon all the girls are taking their turns in make-up. Linda takes quite a few behind-the-scenes photos when it was Janel’s turn.
It was a shame that the scenery out the dressing area window was so sub-par:
In prepping myself, I eventually get to my bow tie. When I pull it out, I suddenly realize it’s a self-tie bow tie. Uh-oh! My last tux had shipped with a pre-tied bow-tie. This one had given me no warning of anything different.
Oh surely I can get it. How tough can it be? Fifteen minutes later I realize I have no clue. Fortunately, angel Janet comes to my rescue. Fifteen minutes later she realize she has no clue. Her first attempt really cracks us up – wish we’d gotten a photo of it.
Undeterred, we scour for resources. Seems the makeup artist’s husband is an opera singer and knows how. Great, we’re saved! But then, when he realizes it’s self-tie, he backs out. Janel loans us her phone. Perfect! We’ll watch a Youtube how-to and figure it out. Janet and I are reasonably smart people, right? Surely we can get it.
Three videos and 20 minutes later we are still stumped. We’re close, but there is a magic step that is never quite clear enough in the videos. We get it tied nearly right but one side has a point and the other does not, making it look unbalanced. Still, we’ve run out of time and frankly we’re both afraid to undo any progress. The tie looks OK, maybe 80% correct, passable. Even the pro photographers catch wind of our dilemma and sweep in to photo our deliberations like paparazzi.
I shall never forget Janet’s intense assistance under pressure.
The bride is ready!
We convene outside for posed family photos. However crazy that tie looks I shall have to find out later. [I have not seen the photos yet.]
Once photos are taken, we’re literally all dressed up with nowhere to go. The wedding does not start until 3PM. We’ll wait here until it’s time to leave. Various pieces of information flow our way. Isam is entertaining many guests already at Espai Barberi. The bus carrying guests from Barcelona is 50 minutes late, but they think they can get back on schedule. And I keep working on my tie. Using a tie-tack button I manage to secure one side so that’s it’s perfectly symmetrical – MUCH better.
Linda, Janel, and I are alone at Les Commelles for at least an hour prior to leaving, and we share very special minutes together. When we reach Espai Barberi, a pre-ceremony concert has just started. We slink up to the building’s door, Janel finds a peep hole, and we take turns watching and listening. The artist is Maud the Moth, a professional musician friend of Isam’s, one who has warmed up his former band Obsidian Kingdom. Her piano and vocal stylings are fantastic, perfect for this setting and designed to create a dramatic transition for guests.
While we wait outside, Olot locals give us lots of stares. An old man, another old man, a nun. Espai Barberi has NEVER been used for a wedding. Now they’re seeing two strangers in formalwear, and another in a wedding dress, waiting out on the sidewalk. It all makes us smile.
Finally it is time for our dramatic entrance, and soon Linda and I are fighting back tears escorting Janel arm-in-arm, side-by-side, leading her to Isam.
Janel and Isam obviously cherish their family and friends, and choose to start the ceremony with their words. It’s quite a long segment as each takes their turn. Each turn is supposed to 5 minutes by design, but no one can express themselves in less than 15 or so. Isam’s aunt and uncle take a turn. Linda and I take our turn, and use the Landslide video of Janel as an young one as a prelude. Asun gives her words followed by a wonderful slide show of Isam growing up. Several of Isam’s friends follow, including some heady philsophical pieces. The final turn is taken by the master-of-cermonies himself, Andreau, who brilliantly combines philosophy with self-analysis and applies it all to Janel aned Isam in a wonderfully entertaining way.
One of the very cool things is that English and Castellano and Catalan are all utlized during these speeches, but the essence of each of them is translated and posted online so everyone can equally follow along (especially us!).
But…we are here to marry a couple! Janel and Isam share their vows with each other. There is much said and we’ll leave it all to the video coverage. They proclaim that they will be a couple that DOES things. That seems to be an awfully good vow to me. Andreau, by the power vested in him by Janel and Isam, proclaims them married!
For those of you lucky enough to have seen it in Arizona, Janel and Isam then perform their own medley version of Ni Tu Ni Jo. They’ve modified it for this audience, adding and subtracting but still keeping all the perfect elements. This too cannot be described and has to be left for the video coverage. Linda and I are crying. Janel and Isam knock it OUT OF THE PARK. They are rock stars.
The ceremony ends, a few more photos are taken, and guests head over to Les Cols. Let the party rip! We’re a little surprised to be greeted with a tuba-weilding polka band in action outside, something Les Cols arranged, and it’s actually pretty fun. Bring on the cava and good eats!
Platter after platter of ridiculous tapas poured forth from the kitchen, more than anyone could eat. A dedicated cava and wine station was inviting. Several stations had food presented by the actual grower/maker (local cheeses, an entire leg of Jamon, various embutidos (cured meats/sausages) etc). We had to carefully budget appetites because we knew that a fantastic DINNER was coming later!
There was a fantastic photo wall with pics of the bride and groom from childhood on. Janel and Isam had also set out a row of empty wine bottles with little notepads for guests to write wishes on and put into the bottles. They were marked for 1 year, 5 years, 10, 15 and 25 years. It will be on those anniversary dates that they will break the appropriate bottle and read the wishes. Great idea!!
The bride and groom received quite a fanfare upon arrival and Johnny gave a welcoming speech. Let’s get this party started! Everyone mingled, ate, drank, spoke whatever language they could hang on to and had an awesome time. After a couple hours it was time for dinner.
Their were tables set up around the room with personalized messages to each guest on the placecards. Unbelievable how much effort Janel and Isam put into this. Dinner was an incredible 4-course event provided by the outstanding Les Cols restaurant. Janel and Isam made their way from table to table to chat with all the guests.
The gorgeous cake “tower of chocolate lava” was wheeled out from the kitchen to rounds of applause. It was phenomenal. (I am sorry – you will have to wait for the pro pics in order to see all this…) There were more speeches by Janel and Isam’s friends and the wine and cava flowed like water.
After dinner came the presentation of gifts from Janel and Isam to those loving friends and family who help them so much with this celebration. As each gift was presented, different music was played as the couple danced their way to the recipient. Glorious!
After dinner it was time for the “disco” and dancing. A great Gin/Tonic bar was revealed and a DJ and dance floor was discovered. Suffice it to say that our family wasted no time in tearing up the dance floor.
The party ran deep into the night. The staff set out blankets on a grassy hill outside the reception and tired dancers would retire there before starting in again. Believe it or not, after midnight more food was presented. At one point the servers brought out popsicles (very popular).
Around 1:30am Janet reclined on the grass and declared that she was ready to call it a night. She just couldn’t “go on any longer.” Rich convinced her to dance “one more dance” and then we would take off. We all got up again and cut it up on the dance floor. The DJ started playing classic rock and the whole place was singing to Bon Jovi “It’s My Life!” An hour later we finally had to drag Janet off the dance floor…
We didn’t close up the show – the final bus back to Barcelona (for some of Janel/Isam’s friends) left with the stragglers at 3:00am.
Wow. Just Wow. What an experience to attend this extremely special, fantastic wedding and reception. We can’t wait for the photos and will share the link when they come in.
Thank you, thank you to Janel and Isam for sweating all the tiny details on this one. Your never ending hard work certainly gave everyone an evening to remember.
Must sleep fast. Brunch is at 11:00 and it promises to be outstanding.