Thanks to Caleb and Tina's wedding, at the end of January we had the perfect excuse to leave wintry New England behind for sunnier southern California. At least for an extended weekend.
We packed Thursday evening and were in bed by 10 p.m. (where we watched an episode of Castle). By planning mix-and-match outfits, I packed so light I could even fit my neck pillow in my suitcase. And my personal item was my purse, not a giant backpack. We're getting scarily good at the minimalist-travel-out-of-a carry-on thing.
Friday morning we were up bright and early to catch our 8:30 a.m. JetBlue direct flight to LA. After AirTran connections over Christmas, JetBlue's cushy seats, exceptional legroom, unlimited snacks, free cable, and absence of layovers made us feel like we were in first class. That feeling increased when the flight attendant who accidentally cut between us in the security line gave us free adult beverages to make up for it (even though we only drank half of what we got and I finished Ian's Bloody Mary mixer sans vodka; that stuff is good).
Jordan met us at the airport and drove us to his fiancee's apartment in Pasadena, where Brittany had prepared lunch. After catching up over salad and fresh seared ahi tuna, Ian and I headed to Hemet in Brittany's car. They shared Jordan's truck for a day so we wouldn't have to rent anything. Amazing.
Confession: While cruising down the freeway, I forced Ian to listen to the whole Win a Date with Tad Hamilton soundtrack, because I can't think of LA without getting "More Bounce in California" stuck in my head. I don't think he minded though. (right Ian?)
The wedding was on an old property in Hemet, formerly a retreat for the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, and Charlie Chaplain. The family of one of Caleb's college professors is restoring it as a new retreat for groups. And it made a beautiful backdrop for the wedding.
We had so much fun catching up with friends we hadn't seen in years; we picked up just where we left off. Those are the best kind of friends.
After the rehearsal and barbeque on the lawn, I helped Caleb and groomsmen mix up 20 gallons of sangria, their signature reception cocktail, in 5 gallon water jugs (I fulfilled Tina's requirement for a helper that wouldn't "taste test"). Ian helped string lights in the big party tree. And then we crashed at 8:30 p.m. PST while the wedding party went to the hot tub to relax. The coast to coast time change just kills you.
The time change also gave us an early morning, which involved a Starbucks + doughnut run, decorating the party tree with hanging tissue paper pom poms, second breakfast with the Kafkas, and music practice for Ian. We topped it all off with lunch at In-N-Out: a day I've dreamed of for the past 4+ years.
And before we knew it, it was wedding time.
Tina was beautiful, and I'm pretty sure Caleb teared up just a bit as she walked down the aisle with her dad.
After the ceremony, we grabbed our coats and headed to the lawn for dinner (Thai) and dancing under the party tree. The wedding party flash mob shuffled to "Party Rock Anthem" right after the couple's first dance, which got everyone on the dance floor. We rocked out until midnight (EST, i.e. 9 p.m. local), then headed back to Pasadena and crashed on Brittany's pull-out sofa.
Sunday, we squeezed in as much as we could: church, Din Tai Fung (which we've been craving since Singapore), Huntington Library (specifically the gardens), a quick tour of Fuller (where Jordan + Brittany go to seminary), an awesome slow cooker dinner, a lot of theological discussions, and a walk around the neighborhood with Brie (Jordan's golden retriever).
We even were able to meet up with our good friend Nathan Monday morning for breakfast before heading back to LAX.
Our flight home was smooth and relatively pain free: an hour delay at the gate due to technical difficulties translated into free in-flight movies. Moneyball was fantastic, so thanks JetBlue for the delay!
Congratulations Caleb + Tina; you'll love being married. And thanks Jordan + Brittany; we can't wait to see you again (at your wedding!) in June.
Click here for (lots) more photos.