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Sunday, May 28

A wedding in the family

Ana Lucia and PaulLast weekend, my family and I went up to New York City to attend the wedding of a niece, Ana Lucia Torres, so it was a big family affair. She married Paul Dunkle, a guy that she met shortly after graduating from Hofstra University. Their wedding was at Riverside Church, which proved to be a striking stage for their ceremony, reception and dinner.

The occassion brought together relatives and friends from the far corners of the continent -- from Peru, Uruguay, Canada and the boroughs and suburbs of NYC, as well as upstate New York. Ana Lucia's parents, Teresa's sister Gloria and Mario Torres, reside in Ottawa Canada. We brought the matriach, Maria Luisa, up from Peru so that she could see another granddaughter exchange vows. And then a whole slew of second and third cousins appear ed seemingly from nowhere. Paul's family comes from Elmira, New York, not far from where my dad's family calls home, which can be almost as culturally distinct from NYC as Peru. Paul's family stir center their lives on farming.

I will repeat here what I told Ana Lucia, Paul and her parents the following morning when we were sharing breakfast at the hotel:

Me and Maria Luisa dancing up a storm
Maria Luisa and I dare to dance.

You can tell the humnan quality of the bride and groom by the people that they assemble to stage their wedding -- the photographer was spontaneous, but professional. I learned that she actually was not a wedding photographer, per se, and you could tell she was concentrating on capturing the cusp of the moment, rather than posing the participants.

The bartender was a chatty guy who shared recipes and chat as he poured out the spirits. The waiting staff was cordial and helpful. The wedding support staff at Riverside Church came to the rescue when Ana Lucia and entourage found out that street fairs had clogged midtown Manhattan and threw off all transport schedules so the wedding party ended up going straight to the church.

The musical band -- something called Swingadelic, Baby! -- was a masterstroke because it was clear that they enjoyed playing together, whether it was a jam session or a wedding. I found myself either being drawn into their jazz riffs or dancing to the rock tunes.

Ana Lucia and Paul flew off to Tahiti for a 10-day honeymoon and to rest up from the months put into preparing the wedding. A rest well-deserved and time well-spent. It's clear that they wanted to make the wedding a memorable milestone in their marriage and the wider family's memory.

Cousins from the Chavez Delgado clan

A bevy of cousins and second cousins gather for a picture with the bride. My daughter, Stephanie, is the second from the right.

Matthew Smith
Matthew, my son, has confessed that
he has no immediate plans for marriage.

Ana Luica and Paul share a moment with Teresa

Ana Luica and Paul share a moment
with Teresa, my wife.

So honest!
I'm looking to plan my wedding at the Riverside Church. Did you have the reception there? What was your overall impression?

Thanks for any help.
...sorry, I couldnt find your email on your site.

[email protected]
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