Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I Like To Think God Giggled.

Lord knows, I love making plans.

In the 44 months after David proposed, we planned aplenty. We planned to take dance lessons. We planned to choreograph a wedding dance with all four kids. We planned a wedding video of the two of us – belting out Love Is An Open Door -- on a boat, of course.

We planned to serve a whole roast pig at the reception – with bushels of oysters. Since our first date was on a boat, and we were engaged on a boat, we’d be married on a boat. We’d have receptions in Charlotte and Charleston. We’d process down the aisle as a gospel choir sang, To Make You Feel My Love. Maroon 5 would surprise everyone by showing up to perform the altogether adorable Sugar. And we’d toast each other with a drink concocted specially for our big day.

Hey -- it could’ve happened like that. We had years to think it through. But in the end, on a whim and a wing and prayer, we pulled together a wedding – our wedding -- in something like six weeks. No choreography. No boats. No videos. No Maroon 5. And oysters in April? We know better.

So planners that we are, we came up with another plan. We’d get married here at home.

Fortunately, there isn’t much rain here in Charlotte in April. So we chose to be married in the backyard. By the Lake. We planned like crazy. We planted flowers. We cleaned the decks and patio and gazebo. We installed new outdoor speakers. I bought cunning little sandalwood fans to cool overheated guests.

And then it rained.

Hey -- you know what they say: As we plan, God laughs.

And as He laughed, we moved everything inside. So much for the music. So much for the garden party. So much for decks and flowers and outdoor speakers and cunning little sandalwood fans.

Our hastily planned outdoor wedding turns into something far more cozy, far more intimate, and far more precious. A forever friend performed the ceremony by our fireplace, and our guests could hear every thoughtful, inspiring word. The kids’ toasts got everyone’s tears flowing. David and I could take the advice of another friend, pausing to regard in awe the exceptional gathering of friends and family who have supported and loved us these many years.

It was perfect. 

I like to think God laughed. I know we did. Praise the Lord.

Anyone in the market for 70 cunning little sandalwood fans?

Bonner4Real Sangria
With no time to "concoct" a special wedding cocktail, we relied on a reliable favorite -- cranked up a notch. This has to be the most requested recipe I've ever developed. Be sure to give yourself a week or two in advance to spice the rum. Cheers!

4 bottles of dry, light red wine, chilled
4 cups orange juice
4 bottles or cans of ginger ale (the spicier, the better)

for garnish, fresh sliced limes, lemons and oranges

Super Spiced Rum
1 liter spiced rum (give or take)
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 orange, sliced thinly
1 lemon, sliced thinly
1 lime, sliced thinly

As much as one month in advance, combine "Super Spiced Rum" ingredients in a large, covered pitcher, stirring well until sugar is completely dissolved. Store in a cool, dark area, stirring every few days, until needed.

On the day of your event, strain the spiced rum through a fine sieve, discarding the spieces and fruit. Then, make sangria one pitcher at a time, combining one bottle of wine, one cup of orange juice, one bottle of ginger ale, and one cup of Super Spiced Rum. Stir well, and serve over ice, with citrus garnish.