Regressed memories, just in time for 'wedding season' (whatever that is)!
It’s been so long since this happened, and I’d since put it out of my mind (or at least pushed it into a dark corner, hoping to not disturb it), but was suddenly reminded of the incident last weekend while attending a food fair, and the Casa Rondeña Winery just happened to have a booth there.
I have to admit, the whole scenario seems pretty funny now, but at the time was one of the more mortifying experiences of my life, and I left feeling scared.
I guess it was in the summer of 2011. Mike had been invited to play the musical score for a friend’s wedding, so we loaded the piano into my car and drove to the North Valley, where the ceremony was taking place.
The house was amazing – huge, manicured grounds, sculpture garden, a belltower… It was a small, intimate ceremony – it went perfectly, as far as I could tell. Afterwards, we were all going to a winery (“Just down the road” were the directions I remember) for the reception. We got the musical equipment loaded back into my car and left. We hadn’t driven very far when I saw the Casa Rondeña Winery sign, and turned in the direction it pointed. There were cars everywhere, along the road, overflowing the parking lot. Definitely an event going on. We parked along the road and walked through the parking lot and into the large building. There were lots of people there, though none that I recognized from the ceremony… however, the bride did say that there were going to be lots more people at the reception…
We wandered through the tables set up with food, and people that we didn’t know stared at us. I felt uncomfortable, so we ended up outside near a pond and a table serving wine. The server offered me a glass, so I took it, and consequently continued my wanderings with a mostly full glass of wine. I saw the cake – a large, tiered piece, with the groom on the top with a fishing pole, and the bride down at the bottom, clumsily reaching for the ring that dangled at the end of the fishing line… Weird, and oddly misogynistic, though, whatever they want – it’s their wedding (though not the type of decorations I’d expect from the couple, but I really don’t know them that well, so…). Mike talked with the wine server. “How do you know the couple?” “Oh, I went to yoga school with them.” The conversation continued with Mike describing how he just played music for them at the ceremony… The server seemed sort of confused, but smiled and nodded anyway. Somehow we ended up back inside. A server was trying to seat us at a table for food, but there were very few spaces open, and still no one we recognized. I still had the same full glass of wine. We were awkwardly avoiding sitting down to eat, when this large man – I can only describe him as “Texas” – and his entourage come up to us. Dressed in tuxes, I assume he was the father of the bride (and probably paying for that glass of wine I’m holding). “Who are you people?!” Tex thunders at us. “I think we’re at the wrong place,” I say, thinking out loud. I don’t remember his exact reply, but it was something along the lines of “You’re damn right!” No waiting for an explanation, no laughing about the mixup – no, just several large men glowering at us, so we excused ourselves, I set my glass of wine down with the server who gave it to me, and we made our retreat. The wait staff was amazingly supportive. We talked to one of them outside and told them our dilemma, and that we definitely didn’t want to walk out through the building for fear of our safety, and he directed us out the back way and we walked out through the vineyards in silence.
We didn’t even want to search out yet another winery, so we decided to drive home and stopped for some beer to drink to forget the whole thing. While at the store, our bride calls and is wondering where we are, and finally convinces us that she really wants us at the reception. We agree to go, and get directions from where we are now. Turns out, the winery was several miles south of the one we first ended up at. We arrived (I was relieved to see a few people I recognized), and told the story, still shell-shocked, to the bride and groom. They thought it was hilarious, and proceeded to tell most of the other guests (I’m glad they didn’t include it in a toast, though maybe they did, and I’m just blocking that memory, too). We were known as the wedding crashers for the rest of the evening, though the atmosphere was one of friendliness and mirth. I can only imagine that the other wedding party was talking about the wedding crashers, too, but in less joking manner, and I felt really bad for “ruining” someone else’s event. I can only hope that they, like me, have learned to laugh about it over time.
We went home and watched Wedding Crashers .