A Backyard Wedding

On September 6th, the Neebor Lee House hosted a wedding. It was a small wedding, with only 35 guests consisting of immediate family members and close friends of the bride and the groom, who was my oldest son. My wife and I spent a good part of the prior month preparing for this wedding. The Neebor Lee, after all, needed to look her best. Thus, we landscaped, cleared brush, plucked weeds, manicured the lawn, finished the doors on the old shed (which we now call the “barn”), planted flowers, and cleaned up the house and yard in general.  By the day of the wedding, she looked great.

And then there was the decorating and lighting. The wedding and reception was to take place in the backyard in the late afternoon and evening, which meant that lights needed to be installed so that the guests weren’t walking around in the dark.  Lights were mounted along the edge of the home’s lower roof beside the rear porch to light the area that was to be used for the staging of hors-d’oeuvres. Old and broken flood light fixtures were replaced in the two rear corners of the main house to light a path for arriving and departing guests and to light the area between the old servant house and the main house to accommodate food preparation by the caterer.  A 150 foot length of LED tube lights was also strung out along the ground in the front of the house so that guests could safely walk to their vehicles at the end of the reception. To add some flair, the rear yard’s old oak trees were wrapped with LED lights and the pagoda-style tent that we assembled for the wedding dinner was decorated with lights provided by the bride’s parents and bunting made by a friend of the bride.

Guests entering the year yard were greeted by freshly squeezed lemonade, bottles of local wines, growlers of craft beer from a local brewery and yard games. The yard games ranged from bocce to croquet to frisbee kan jam. When not playing games, guests could snack on hors-d’oeuvres in the Neebor Lee’s rear porch area. I’m proud to say that among the hors-d’oeuvres served were my very own baked clams, prepared from a family recipe, that were made at the special request of the bride and groom. In perhaps the most disappointing part of the evening, no clams remained for post-wedding snacking; every one was eaten.

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The wedding ceremony was held in the rear corner of the yard, with the guests taking their seats under the shade of trees facing the heavily vegetated east-central portion of the property, which provided a beautiful green backdrop. As reported in the prior post, the wedding was “self-uniting” and thus did not require a pastor or other officiate. A close friend of the groom, however, did stand in as an emcee, leading the guests and placing the ceremony in a proper context.

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Once darkness arrived, the caterer, who came in from Philadelphia, served dinner. In addition to the staging area constructed between the old servant house and the main house, the caterers were provided free reign over the Neebor Lee’s kitchen. The entrees served were seasonal dishes, including slow roasted lamb shoulder served over potatoes, cipollini,  and citrus; trout almondine butter-seared with almonds and served over lemon risotto; and pumpkin agnolotti, which was homemade pasta filled with pumpkin served with light cream sauce, browned butter frizzled sage, pine nuts and pecorino.  The meal was served under the tent lights family style, which meant that every guest was able to have a taste of each of the entrees if he or she so desired.

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Professional photographs were taken by a family acquaintance. He was a photographer whom my wife and I had known from our participation in the New Jersey State Fair prior to our move to Pennsylvania. My wife and I had always admired his photographs of the Fair.  He made good use of the many different features of the Neebor Lee in his photographs and I look forward to sharing them with you sometime in the future. In the meantime, you’ll have to tolerate the few photos that I personally snapped during the wedding.

I have to admit that I was concerned about pulling this wedding off. Much work needed to be done to prepare the Neebor Lee which was made more difficult by the 90 plus degree temperatures that we experienced right on up to the day prior to the wedding. With help of family, however, we managed to pull it off and the wedding proceeded without a glitch.

Now the Neebor Lee is quiet again. The guests, including all three of my children, have gone home leaving the house to myself, my wife and our little pet schnoodle. As I sit here I cannot help but think that my wife’s plan, which was to purchase a large and interesting house that would become a destination for our children, was working very well.

 

 

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