Justin & Laurie's Wedding

I timed my stateside arrival perfectly to witness Justin ‘My Last Name Means Lover’ Amador marry Laurie, the girl of his dreams. Justin and I met in algebra class the summer before our freshman year of high school—I can’t believe that was over a decade ago! We also ran cross country and track together, which seems to be the common thread that runs through some of my greatest friendships. Pun acknowledged.

The ceremony took place on a warm summer evening in late August at a country club in Rancho Santa Fe. I was tickled pink to see Justin and Laurie so happy—I even shed a few tears. I’m not much of a public crier, but their vows were genuinely beautiful.

After the lovely ceremony, guests indulged in stiff cocktails and small bites while the wedding party took part in a photo shoot. Compared to the last wedding I attended in Saigon, this affair had dramatically less brash drunkenness, even though there was plenty of booze around. The bartender created a special drink for the evening dedicated to J&L named Love Potion #8.31.08. It was a strong pink number made with vodka and blueberry liquor and garnished with a lemon wedge.

Little nibbles included a savory bread pudding that tasted like toasted stuffing (above, left) and tri-colored chips with salsa.

My favorite offering was the baked brie paired with fresh fruit, buttery crackers and a mango chutney.

After the cocktail hour, The Astronomer and I, along with a horde of guests, piled into the dining room for the reception. Here’s J&L being introduced to the crowd as Mr. and Mrs. Amador. Woot!

I snapped this picture of the gloriously stoked couple when they made their rounds to chat with guests. Justin and Laurie’s happiness was contagious this evening.

After the couple danced their first dance, and the bride and groom waltzed with their father and mother respectively, dinner was served. The first course was a simple salad comprised of romaine and spinach leaves, tomatoes, carrots and red cabbage dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette.

Our main courses were chosen months ago when we RSVP’d for the wedding—choices included salmon, chicken and vegetarian. I went with the vegetarian option out of curiosity. I was served a plate of grilled vegetables (broccolini, eggplant, carrots, yellow pepper, portobello) accompanied by a tart tomato puree.

The Astronomer’s salmon was sauced with hoisin and an apple compote, and served with a sweet potato mash. Justin recently told me that the food tasted better at the tasting than on the actual wedding day. No matter, The Astronomer and I were pleased with everything we were served on the big day.

In between dinner and dessert, guests danced up a storm, the bride and groom were toasted, garters were flung and bouquets were tossed. By the way, I wasn’t aggressive enough to catch the bouquet and The Astronomer failed to grab the garter. You know what that means…

The wedding cake was not only pretty, but delicious as well. The layers alternated between chocolate cake with Bavarian cream, and white cake with strawberries and Bavarian cream. By the time we made our way to the cake table, the chocolate slices were already gobbled up, so we went with the strawberry, which was good enough to garner a second helping. Oink.

Justin and Laurie cutting the cake. I was hoping for some cliche cake-in-the-face action, but Justin and Laurie played nice.

Cheers, friends! Thanks for letting us share in your momentous celebration! LOVE!

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