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Happy Anniversary!

February, 1997

Stewart and I were married on the farm 20 years ago this month. We had a beautiful ceremony in the chapel-like dining room of the main hacienda - a special (gorgeous!) room that, since it only seats 40 - is rarely seen by our clients. We were the first in our circle of friends to get married so we had no idea what we were doing (boy, we have come a long way...). Over the 20 years since, I have seen so many couples stressed by the expectations that others have of their special day. In many ways, I think we were lucky to not have the pressure of what we felt we were "supposed" to do. We did what we wanted. We were blessed, of course, with a beautiful venue - very little need for decorating! We had 70 guests - those not seated in the chapel, stood at the double doors. My best friend and maid-of-honor's mother happened to be a florist. I had her make one huge arrangement in a family vase and carried three giant calla lilies as my bridal bouquet. The buffet centerpiece was a stone birdbath that I filled - overflowing - with fruit. My mother made my dress - a silk, slender, bias cut with slightly flared bottom. Stewart had his suit custom made at a tailor across the border (one of the best parts of planning our wedding was being forced to have lunch at La Roca in Mexico so Stewart could attend a fitting next door!). Mom also did my hair - she made me look like I had thick, lovely curls (magic!) I printed my own invitations (remember - that was 20 years ago) on my own printer and tied them with gold ribbon. We opted to not have a sit-down dinner, but after the ceremony, we converted the "chapel" to cocktail size tables for a few to sit and our caterer refilled the buffet table with "heavy" hors oeuvres all evening. A family friend bartended and Stewart's great uncle took pictures. We had a swing band set up in the formal living room and, though we had our "first dance" and parent dances, we never even considered requesting specific songs! I had hoped to have cozy winter fires in the fireplaces, but it was so warm that the doors were left open and the party spread out. Most special, however, was that Stewart's name-sake, Stewart Stern performed our ceremony. He was a writer (wrote the screenplay to Rebel Without a Cause, for example!) and gave us an extensive, rigorous writing assignment that we had to complete before our wedding. Whew! It was exhausting! He then took everything we wrote about each other and, somehow, compiled it into a beautiful, personal ceremony!

At each wedding on the farm these days, I stand - even if I can only find a brief moment - next to Stewart when our clients exchange their vows. We hold hands and have our own moment, but, more than that, I wish our couples the happiness together that we are so blessed to have found!

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