Monday, January 18, 2016

A Pebble Beach Wedding To Die For... Carmel-by-the-Sea

I had no intentions to miss attending this wedding, although Mr. Snoots was scoffing at the mention. Yes, it was far away. Yes, we had to leave here at 5:30 in the freaking morning with 6 hours of flight and layover time. Yes, we also had to drive more than an hour from San Jose in an unfamiliar rent car searching for an unfamiliar destination. And yes, we were only able to reserve a room at an old cottage style Inn in Carmel that was pretty much a dump (for $200.00 per night). I'm pretty sure the Art Deco carpet was original to our cottage. The only thing that attracted me to this particular inn was that our daughter was staying there (w/ friends) as well. That upped the place a few notches or a hundred. Their garden was very pretty and well kept though.

At any rate, I was so mesmerized by Carmel that I was hardly able to do a competent job at driving. Curvy little streets, most with names but some maybe not. Actual numbers of places seemed to have been entirely ignored long ago. Very few traffic lights seen. Most everything seemed disguised in the thick forage and trees.

Of course I've seen Carmel-By-The-Sea and Pebble Beach on TV and in movies. Who hasn't, right? But none of that prepares you for how delightfully beautiful and quaint these places are in person. I really have to give Clint Eastwood major snaps for all that he accomplished in Carmel over the years (20+) he was mayor of Carmel. It is still quaint and unspoiled by fast food restaurants or anything that is part of a "chain". It's almost as if you have stepped back in time, to a less complicated world. Still, whatever you can't find in Carmel can be had in Monterey, a mere 4.5 miles away (or 12 minutes). I couldn't even find a pair of stockings in Carmel. Not joking. Thank Heaven I took along my Garmin GPS. She served me well.

Clint Eastwood also rescued (saved it from becoming concrete condos) a 22 acre parcel of land called Mission Ranch, which has a lovely restaurant/bar and guest rooms, as well as wedding/party venues. Friday night we co-hosted a party there after the Rehearsal Dinner, with a live band and Open Bar that was truly great fun. We didn't have to do a single thing, other than pay for it. My kind of party hosting.

On Saturday, we wandered around Carmel, exploring, shopping and eating. We walked down to the ocean and beach but found it necessary to call for an Uber to take us back up the 6 vertical blocks to our cottage.

We ate lunch at a wonderful little bistro called A.W. Shucks, where we dined on delicate little oysters, fresh salad with bread and of course, cocktails. I highly recommend the place if you can get in. It seems to stay busy but the wait staff is as polite and savvy as you can find..

Since the wedding was being held at the "Old Fifth Tee" on the Pebble Beach golf course, it was set to happen at 4:00 PM (before the sun set and it turned cold). Rather than walk straight uphill for two blocks in my brand new expensive satin heels to take the bus they provided for wedding guests, I suggested hubby try that uphill walk in my heels if he thought it was so easy. He declined and gave in to my demand of taking an Uber to Pebble Beach. It only cost us $8.00 + tip. Uh-Huh. No blisters and shoes that still look new... Priceless.

Upon arrival at Pebble Beach, the scenery literally took my breath away. I've never seen a lovelier wedding venue. A group of musicians played soft, soothing classical music as the guests anticipated the arrival of the wedding party. Staring out at the gorgeous Pacific Ocean, I was in no hurry to be done with such an intensely beautiful sunset.

The bride was one of the most stunning brides I have ever seen, wearing a full length hand made lace dress that fit her perfect figure like a glove. They had 12 bridesmaids and 12 groomsmen plus a rather large House Party, which our daughter was part of. After the ceremony all the wedding party and guests (150+) walked *en masse* (barefoot, I might add) to the club house, for the reception. However, not before a toast of champagne to the newlyweds as they left for the club house in a golf cart.

We initiated celebrations on the outdoor deck of the club house with champagne and cocktails and then the hors d'oeuvres started to roll out. The staff had by then turned on all the heaters because it gets cold there at night in November. We had tiny little lamb chops, demitasse size cups of a delicate artichoke soup, smoked salmon canapes, some kind of small fritters, and the list goes on.

The real surprise happened when we were then herded inside and treated to a brilliant 4 course sit-down dinner that even had dinner napkins monogrammed with the bride & groom's initials. We were served a fabulous dinner of locally grown, raised and prepared salads, beef tenderloin, stuffed flounder, dreamy potato stacks, assorted desserts, wine, champagne, cocktails, and finally, The Cake The picture tells the story better than I. The meal was absolute perfection, as was the service. There was also a fabulous 8 piece band that could play everything from Bach to ZZ Top. We even danced a few times.

 The cake was among the prettiest that I've seen.

Being the *Old Farts* that we are, I believe we missed the slicing of the cake because were the first to leave, around 10:30 PM Pacific time. I think the bride's parents were thankful to us for starting the trend. I wasn't able to snap a picture of my friend, the Mother of the Bride, but I can tell you I have never seen her look more divine, with the grace of Jackie Kennedy/Onasis.

I'll tell you more about our day in Monterey, CA another time...

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