I was lucky to be invited to the wedding of Yutzel Alejandra Garcia and Alejandro Gonzales on Saturday June 7th. The ceremony took place at St. Mary of the Angels Catholic Church in Ukiah. The church is modern and traditional at the same time and filled with natural light from the ceiling. Yutzel wore a fairytale strapless (but modest) gown beautifully beaded on the bodice with a full skirt and a sweeping train covered with many small ruffles. She wore her hair pulled back in a classic chignon, which set off her lovely face. Her veil was worn cascading over the top of her hair and cascading down her back. The service was given in Spanish so I only understood parts but Angeles Segura explained to me afterwards that the priest who was wearing a plain white smock with Simple pale blue embroidery down the front was telling them that marriage is forever. I could tell by his pointing finger that he was giving them lots of advice. Both bride and groom looked impossibly happy and excited. After the ceremony Yutzel received hugs from many outside the church as the sun glinted off her sparkling gown. It was very sweet. When the couple went back into the church for pictures the guests moved to their cars to return to Anderson Valley for the reception at the Fairgrounds Apple Hall.
The Apple Hall was unrecognizable. Every wall was draped in flowing white cloth accented with sophisticated black touches. There were five elegant chandeliers hanging from the ceiling over the guest tables. All the folding chairs were covered with white stretchy suits and black satin ties making the room look like a ballroom. The head table where the bride and groom and some of the wedding party sat was underlit to glow softly. I never saw Yutzel’s mother Veronica or father Ulises sit down even for a minute. They were the ultimate host and hostess looking out for the comfort and service of their guests every minute. There was a wonderful meal of pork carnitas with all the extras. We also ate giant strawberries on skewers that we dipped in a chocolate fountain and there were about 8 custom cakes of different sizes in chocolate and vanilla with fruit and nut fillings. Father Ulises works for Navarro winery and served wonderful Navarro wines of many kinds. I had the rosé.
High Points included the “crack the whip” dances that all the able bodied women in the room did, running under a bridge formed by the bride and groom with the veil over the top before vying for the tossed bouquet. Next the men did the wild ride same, polishing it off by hoisting the groom atop their arms on his back, tossing him high in the air and finishing off by removing his shoes and socks and throwing him out into the room with great laughter. All this was accomplished while a lively funeral song played in the background. I guessed this was the symbolic “death” of his freedom. If this was the case he sure didn’t look too sad to see his freedom go! Alejandro only had eyes for Yutzel throughout the ceremony and party- it would be hard to find a happier or prouder looking man. Yutzel also looked radiantly happy- this was her special day and I think she enjoyed every single minute. There was a money dance were we all took turns cutting in on the couple and pinning bills onto their clothes (pins provided in advance). Alejandro had a money crown and people even rolled bills and stuck them behind his ears! Yutzel had folded money bows in her hair.
There was a wonderful pair of DJ guys with fancy lighting effects and music for every mood and part of the party. Yutzel, who is a professional dancer urged us all to Bailar! And we did! There was a whole lot of dancing, going on and on and on. It was wonderful. It seemed like time stood still and the only thing that was important was happiness, and good wishes and dancing the night away. Life should be like this more often. While we danced the kids ran in and outside to a bouncy house that they rented for the purpose. They were going wild bouncing for hours and seeming never to tire. Tiny little toddler girls who looked like walking flowers moved to the music. Teen-aged girls in fantasy short prom type dresses added a very glamorous touch especially since most of them were wearing 5” unbelievable stilettos (how did they walk let alone dance?). I guess at their age you can do anything. A long stag line was arrayed along the back wall. They really appreciated the beautiful girls in a surprisingly shy way. There were lots of group dances when the whole floor was packed with glad people of all ages shapes and sizes.
Many pictures were taken and my partner Bob Sites took this one for the paper. Just the two of them at the head table smiling for their audience. It was a wonderful wedding. I was so glad I got to go.