Saturday, April 28, 2018

Wedding in the Garden

Started off an absolutely gorgeous morning with breakfast and Snoopy's Getting Married, Charlie Brown. Snoopy meets the poodle of his dreams while guarding Peppermint Patty's house and wants to get married. He even invites his brother Spike from the desert to be his best man. While the kids prepare for the big day, Chuck wonders if his dog is ready for such a big responsibility.

Headed out shortly after the special ended. My first stop was the Logan Presbtyrian Church thrift shop in Audubon. I had a couple of bags of stuff I wanted to donate, including the Disney Princess toddler dolls. I'm trying to limit my collections to Star Wars, vintage dolls, 18-inch dolls, Sailor Moon, and teddy bears. That's more than enough right there! The Disney dolls were just taking up room on my bedroom floor. They'd be better off with little girls who can actually play with them.

Rode further down Atlantic Avenue and under King's Highway to Haddon Heights for their town-wide yard sale. Haddon Heights is the next town up from Audubon on the White Horse Pike side, and is largely even more affluent. I admired beautiful old houses and quite nice recent ones as I rode up and down the numerous hills. Didn't do nearly as well this week as I did last week, though. I just ended up with the bonus disc from the original Star Wars Original Trilogy DVD set that features the documentary Empire of Dreams, vintage Southern Living annual cookbooks from 1987 and 1995, and a pretzel and a lemonade from an enterprising young boy and his dad.

I was really more out for the ride, anyway. It was too nice to stay inside all morning. The sun was out, and it was blue and breezy and in the lower 70's, a little warm-ish for this time of year, but not outrageous. There were tons of people out and about. I dodged even more crowds this Saturday than I did in Audubon last week.

Headed back towards Oaklyn around noon. Stopped at WaWa for a snack and my favorite watermelon Perrier, then crossed the White Horse Pike to see if I could get a gift card for Jesse and Dana at Family Dollar. No luck there; I went further down and got a 25 dollar gift card for Bed Bath and Beyond at Dollar General.

It was 12:30 when I finally rolled in. Rose had apparently been calling me for almost an hour, but I'd muted my cell phone so it wouldn't annoy the guys downstairs and forgot to fix it. Rose's daughter Finley had a cold. They were still going to the wedding, but they now planned on staying in a hotel overnight instead of going right home. They'd take me there, but I'd have to find another ride back.

I had a quick lunch while running an episode of Remember WENN from the late second season. Betty almost becomes "The First Mrs. Bloom" when she discovers that Scott Sherwood has been making the sponsor of their bridal show think that they marry real couples on the air. Not only that, but the sponsor was once Mackie's fiancee, whom he left at the alter. Now they have to figure out how to say "I do" in a way that will make the sponsor happy and let them remain friends.

Switched to Happy Days as I got ready for the wedding. Other countries have their own marriage traditions, as Fonzie and the Cunninghams discover in the third season finale "Arnold's Wedding." Arnold is marrying a very traditional Japanese bride, but she's worried that she may hold back his career. Meanwhile, every time Fonzie was the best man, the marriage broke up - and now he fears it'll happen to Arnold, too. Richie and his parents have to calm everyone's nerves while figuring out how to let East meet West and prove to Fonzie that he's not jinxed.

Rose, her boyfriend Craig, and their children Khai and Finley picked me up around 2:15. I listened to my iPod and played with Finley, tickling her toes and letting her grab at my fingers. Khai focused on Super Mario Galaxy on his Nintendo Switch. His parents chatted and kept an eye on the road.

It was past 3 when we pulled into the parking lot at Home2Suites in Bordentown, NJ, about 15 minutes from the wedding venue. It was a modern, very recent three-story blocky building just off the highway. Rose and her crew had opted to get dressed at the hotel, rather than at home. We watched episodes of Team Umizoomi while Rose ironed her daughter's dress and Craig and Khai got into vests, ties, and pastel shirts. The room, like the hotel itself, was very modern, all clean lines and white and simple designs. Everything was white and beige, including the very soft comforters on the beds. There was a sink and an (empty) fridge and a rack of coffee and tea. Khai only cared that there was a pool downstairs.

We didn't get back in the car until almost 4. Khai kept messing with his sister and making her fussy, and we must have hit every red light in Bordentown and Hamilton Square. It took us a while to find where we were going, and then where to park. The Sayen House and Gardens had several other groups there that afternoon, including other weddings. By the time we'd hiked across several brick and dirt paths, the ceremony was half-over. We did get to see the "I do's," though, and the kiss. Joe and Jessa showed up right after us. Jodie gave them the wrong address - they ended up at some guy's house. (Mark and Vanessa were even later due to the address snafu.)

The wedding reception was held in the historic Sayen House. Apparently, according to the website for Hamilton Township, the Sayen House and Gardens were originally created by an avid horticulturalist in the 1910's and were now a popular spot for weddings. We had a buffet meal in the main house, including the bride and groom's first dance and the best man and maid of honor's emotional toasts. Dana looked gorgeous in her simple white lace sheath trimmed with pearls, with a pearl halter collar; Jesse was quite handsome in his tux. Jodie dressed to the nines in a navy evening gown! I'm glad I settled for the turquoise, white, and navy print skirt and white lace blouse. Everyone said I looked really nice.

After we all got our pictures taken in the gardens around the house, we settled in for dinner. The caterers provided plenty of food! Appetizers included bruschetta, a vegetable tray, and a cheese and pepperoni tray with crackers. The dinner menu had pasta with a wine-flavored cheese sauce, ham and pineapple, roasted red potatoes, Chicken Marsala, green beans, and a salad. I had everything but the ham and potatoes; I figured the rest was enough.

Jessa, Joe, and I strolled together in the park after dinner. Despite the heavy dark clouds rolling in, the park was really beautiful. I couldn't blame Khai and the other kids at the party for wanting to run outside and climb on rocks as soon as they finished eating. We walked around winding brick or dirt paths, past stunning flowering trees, beds of tulips and daffodils, and over charming wooden bridges. There was even a lovely little waterfall near the highway that we snapped photos of.

After hitting the bathrooms, we got back just in time for dessert. There was a very small cake, just big enough for the bride and groom to cut and feed each other slices. It was accompanied by chocolate, vanilla, and red velvet cupcakes, eclairs, canolli, chocolate and caramel mousse tarts, and frosted brownie bites. I had a brownie bite, a red velvet cupcake, and a canolli. Tried the cake, but I couldn't finish it. (It was a bit on the bland side anyway.) Rose and her family left right after dessert; Joe, Jessa, and I followed shortly after.

We left at exactly the right time. Less than ten minutes after we'd climbed into Joe's brand-new car that he'd gotten himself for his birthday, the clouds finally burst. It started to rain as we rolled onto the highway, blaring The Greatest Showman soundtrack on Joe's new car radio. The rain had stopped by the time we got into Oaklyn, but it started up again shortly after and has been off and on for the rest of the night.

Finished the evening after a much-needed shower with Betsy's Wedding. Contractor Eddie Hopper (Alan Alda) is determined to give his younger daughter Betsy (Molly Ringwauld) a lavish wedding, despite his family's shaky finances. Betsy, an unconventional artist, is dismayed with the traditional trappings and fancy dress her parents pick out and with her fiancee's rich and utterly conventional parents. Meanwhile, her father turns to his shady brother-in-law Oscar (Joe Pesci) to finance a loan scheme...but it gets them in hot water with loan sharks and other suspicious gangster-types. Oscar brings in a young man named Stevie Dee (Anthony LaPaglia) to make sure Eddie goes through with his part of the bargain...but Stevie has second thoughts when he falls for Eddie's policewoman daughter Connie (Ally Sheedy).

The last of four movies Alda directed in the 80's and early 90's would be a lot more fun if it actually focused more on Betsy and her wedding, rather than Eddie and his antics with gangsters and (heavily stereotyped) Italian loan sharks and con-men. The end with the wedding is actually a lot of fun...but getting there is a bit of a slog. Ok if you're a fan of the cast or sitcom-esque domestic comedies.

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