This post has been a long time coming—it’s definitely been one of the hardest ones I’ve ever had to tackle. If you were there and just want the recipe, please feel free to scroll to the bottom.
Jonji and I drove the cats up, once again, to my parents’ house a little over a week before the wedding. On Sunday, Mother’s Day, many mothers and friends graciously gathered at Auntie Trudy’s house for a truly lovely bridal shower. Delicious mimosas and lunch were followed by a slightly heated game of jeopardy, during which Laken had the best, most randomly successful guess I’ve ever witnessed. Overall, it was a wonderful shared afternoon with some of my favorite women in the world.
For the next seven days, pretty much every single waking moment was devoted to wedding preparation—to-do lists covered every surface, rentals were finalized, signage made, flowers picked up… it was insanity. My dress had to be refitted multiple times (thanks, and sorry, Ann!), and we only just got it back on Friday morning. Mom and Meghan Pickett made all the hummus (the recipe for which is in this post) for the appetizers, and I entrusted Jonji with making all of the beet spread. So many friends and family members came through for us: picking up bread from Tartine, donating cake plates and platters, getting balloons, and so much more: we were, and always will be, SO grateful for all the help!
The day before the wedding, we gathered an army of helpers: Shannon, Reece, Kelly, Bailey, Emma, Uncle Don, plus the Seidels and Cathy. Most of them tackled the buckets of gorgeous flowers that Bailey had procured from farmers, gathering them into the most beautiful bouquets I’ve ever seen, while the rest of us marched around the property like hobbits, putting signs up, doing last minute cleaning, supervising the set up of the heavy-duty farm tables, and generally running around like headless, but happy, chickens. Reece pulled off a miracle by suddenly becoming a master boutonniere-maker, sitting for hours with delicate flowers and pieces of wire until we had five perfect boutonnieres. Meanwhile, I labored over a seemingly endless handwritten seating chart on chalkboard paint.
Sweaty and already exhausted, we ran home to quickly shower and then meet friends and family for drinks and snacks at Beer Thirty. Knowing that we wouldn’t be able to talk to all of our guests during the actual wedding, it was a perfect opportunity to spend more time with friends and family without the strict timeline.
The morning of the wedding dawned sunny and warm. Our house had the energy of a beehive, busy and purposeful. Mom, Bailey, Emma, Molly, and I drove up to the summit first, chatting and double-checking that we hadn’t left anything behind. The land at Uncle Gerald and Auntie Diane’s looked perfect, and the air had the same excited, warm quality that I always imagined the wedding at the Weasley’s to have. Inside, after gobbling up snacks that Auntie Diane had kindly set out and we were each poured a glass of champagne, the getting-ready began. Marla, Cristy’s sister, had been recruited last-minute to do our hair—Mom was going to recreate a style we’d had done, but this way no one had to freak out about messing it all up. Better to leave it to a professional.
After over an hour of braiding, twisting, and bobby-pinning, my hair was done. Kelly, Kerry, and Shauna were there when I hopped out of the chair, in full cousin-party mode, and I flitted around a bit before deciding that I should really start my make-up—seeing as I was doing it myself, I really wanted enough time to avoid any mishaps. As I worked, open windows drew in a light breeze and the sound of quiet voices as the hive outside grew.
My mom and sisters helped me into the dress that had once ushered my mom into her own marriage. But for a few altercations, it looked the same as it had on her; out of the three of us, I seem to have inherited the same shape and stature.
Outside, birds sang, butterflies silently meandered among the trees, and the place generally felt very much like something out of a fairytale as I approached Jonji with his back turned, waiting for the first look. His tremulous smile as he turned seemed to sum up months of waiting for this moment, and this day. We both laughed, giddy and slightly disbelieving that everything was finally happening.
Everyone looked wonderful; Pippin was even wearing a bowtie. After as many family photos as we could squeeze in at the time, we retired back inside to wait until the ceremony. Clustered at the bedroom window, Bailey, Emma, and I watched the procession of guests trickle in through the opening in the fence that the neighbor had generously made after also giving us his property for parking. Finally, everyone was ushered to the side of the house to await the start of the ceremony.
Waiting on the porch, we heard the penny whistle start to play in “Concerning Hobbits”—or, as most people would recognize it, the song that accompanies many Shire scenes in Lord of the Rings. Bailey and Emma went first, soon followed by Arrow, Oakes, and Sophia, sprinkling flower petals in varying states of comprehension. Finally, Dad and I began to walk, closely trailed by Pippin. Smiling faces turned to follow our procession, and Mom joined us in the middle. We quickly reached the place under the tree, one limb draped in a natural arch, where we would speak our vows. Hugs and a few tears exchanged with Mom and Dad, we settled in front of Pat, who began his speech.
After Pat’s opening words, which were excellent and kind and included at least one Harry Potter reference, I readied my vows. Those vows were the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write—finding the right words to sum up the most powerful feeling in the world is no easy task—but saying them to Jonji was a lot easier. And his were genuine and sweet and perfect. It seemed as though everyone watching faded. The words that hung between us were both heavy and light, magic given body in sound, binding us together in their truth and emotion. Friends and family laughed and cried with us, and everyone was left dabbing eyes while Pat finished the ceremony, sprinkling in a couple more Harry Potter references and finally declaring us “bonded for life.” The cheers went up as we kissed and raised joined hands in triumph, walking back down the path as a married couple.
Cocktail hour (or rather, hour and a half) passed by in a blur of photos, congratulations, and excited chatter. The bar and appetizer tables, laden with Tartine bread, hummus, beet dip, radishes, and strawberries, were under constant attack. Eventually guests were told to seat themselves for dinner. As we were announced, walking down to our mini table in the middle of the top row, we saw a sea of smiles, scattered in rows amongst the newly trimmed apple trees, the fading light arrayed in golden streams.
We were first to get food, and we stepped up to the truck at the end of the path to get our tacos and salad. The feast, by Gordo Gustavo’s, was absolutely superb. We ate while everyone else slowly got their plates, and then snuck away to take sunset photos with Molly and Jeff. Creeping somewhat nervously onto the edge of someone’s field down the road, we were rewarded by the gorgeous view of the mountains that looked almost exactly like the watercolor I had done for the invitation.
Dinner finished a bit late and, since the cold had crept over the party as quickly as the sun retreated, we got right to the speeches. Everyone who spoke had something succinct and sweet to say, each getting laughs and a couple tears from the guests. Still feeling a bit chilled, we rushed to cut the lovely little cake and then start the dancing. After a quick first dance/father-daughter and mother-son combo dance, everyone joined us on the dance floor and remained there pretty much the entire night. Our DJ, Teddy Raven, surprised everyone with his saxophone accompaniments, which made the dancing more lively and exciting. Later, so many people said that it was the most well-attended dance floor they’d ever been on.
My top three dancing moments: first, when Eddie and Adam impressed everyone immensely with their incredible salsa skills. Secondly, when Get Outta Your Mind came on and all the O’Regan cousins plus Jonji and a few others took the title of the song to heart and essentially created a mosh pit. And finally, when Emma was passed the cowbell that Teddy had brought. For a minute, everyone cheered and bounced with her as she swayed with the beat of September, hitting the cowbell held over her bowed head, becoming the heart of the dance floor.
At around 11pm, Teddy had to pack up, and Uncle Gerald put out his speakers to keep the party going. Many people had left by then, but the last stragglers didn’t leave until close to, or after, midnight. Finally, Jonji and I gathered our stuff and drove off into the night to our Airbnb close by, where I couldn’t wait to take out all the bobby pins stuck in my frizzed hair.
The next morning we returned to what was now being called, “The Venue,” where we helped clean up. Fortunately, Madeline and the small staff she had brought had done a ton of organizing and cleaning the night before (by the way, I HIGHLY recommend hiring a day-of coordinator—Madeline was a lifesaver and made everything so easy and enjoyable for us). After stacking chairs, picking up signs, and reminiscing about what a wonderful wedding it had been, we headed over to Taz and Pat’s house, where they were hosting the post-wedding brunch.
Munching on delicious egg and bacon sandwiches, with plenty of much-needed coffee to go around, we happily chatted with friends that we hadn’t had a lot of opportunities to talk to the day before. Sitting in their backyard, there was a general feeling of elation and contentment.
And so, after so many months of planning, it was all over, and it had gone incredibly well.
I now know that planning and executing a wedding takes either a ton of money and/or a generous group of family and friends. Fortunately for us, the latter really came through for us. Thank you, Uncle Gerald and Auntie Diane, for not only giving us your home and land for our special day, but for working tirelessly to make it the best dang wedding venue we could ever have imagined. To Mom and Dad, thank you for putting everything else aside for months and for applying your hearts and minds to every element of planning—we definitely could not have done it without you. Barbers, thank you for doing everything we asked and offering your time and energy whenever it was needed. And thank you to every other family member and friend who helped us make that day better than we could have imagined: we will be eternally grateful to all of you.
Since I couldn’t possibly fit our mini-honeymoon, Jonji’s graduation, and our move to Palo Alto in this post, look for those stories next time.
This hummus recipe has now been officially written in as “Hana and Jonji’s Wedding Hummus” in my mom’s cookbook. Its flavor and texture was perfected during that crazy week leading up to the big day, and now it has become a family favorite. Everyone who eats it loves it; and really, that’s all you want for a wedding feast.
makes 3 cups • adapted from Melissa Clark’s Dinner
juice of 2 lemons
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/3 cup tahini
1 tsp ground cumin
3 cups cooked chickpeas, a couple tbsp reserved for garnish (if using canned, drained and rinsed)
3/4 – 1 cup olive oil
ice water (optional)
paprika, for dusting
If cooking the chickpeas yourself, be sure to soak them overnight in cold water. The next day, drain and place in a large pot. Cover with water, add about 2 tsp salt, and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for 40–90 min (just be sure to check them often). Remove excess foam from the top.
In a food processor, blend the lemon juice, salt, and garlic. Let this sit for about 10 minutes, then add the tahini and cumin, blending to form a paste.
Add the chickpeas and olive oil (add this in 1/4 cup increments because you may not need all of it) and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides occasionally to make sure everything gets caught in the blades. Add ice water by the tablespoon, or more olive oil, if it’s too thick for you. Taste, and add salt or lemon juice to your liking.
Dollop the hummus into a serving dish and top with the remaining few tablespoons of cooked chickpeas. Sprinkle with olive oil and dust with paprika.
We love to dip rice chips, bread, and cucumber slices in this hummus, but you can eat it with whatever you like. Enjoy!