Sitting beside the jars of late summer peaches that we put up last week is a photo of Gwyn and David who were married here five years ago. They were the very first couple to be married at Rancho del Cielo which had not even been named when we offered it to them for their wedding celebration. Their plans for a ceremony on the beach had fallen through a month before the wedding and though they did a good job of trying to put a positive spin on things, it was a deeply disappointing blow.
We had not yet moved into the house so we offered it to Gwyn and David even though we had misgivings about the way it looked. Our site was very different then. There were no gardens, no lawns, no walls, no outdoor fireplaces, no lights, very few trees and the sideboard was a plastic Costco table just inside the door with a cloth thrown over it. It was definitely not on the beach, but it did have a great view of the ocean.
To our surprise Gwyn and David said yes and an army of relatives and friends mobilized all their resources to make them a perfect day. The groom’s sister made a delicious cake which was decorated with hydrangeas from a friend’s garden in Oregon. The groom’s mother set the tables with her collection of vintage picnic tablecloths, and an eclectic mix of dinner sets. The bride wore her grandmother-in-law’s wedding gown. Family and friends arranged the flowers, set the tables, cooked the food, designed and installed the lighting -- the ceremony was even performed by a relative.
For our part we had to decide very quickly that Rancho del Cielo was going to be called that and paint the sign (very very quickly) that guided the guests to our house. The sign is still there and there have been many other lovers’ stories in the years since. And that’s because at the end of that very first wedding, we looked at each other and decided that this was something we really wanted to do.