I opened my refrigerator yesterday to discover a couple bags of flowers--mostly white roses and orchids tinged with pink and purple tongues. I pushed the bags to one side to find the peppers that I wanted to slice in advance for dinner. I pushed the bags back to the other side to get to the hummus.
What am I going to do with two gallon-size bags of wedding flowers taking up space in my refrigerator?
The refrigerator wasn’t the only thing in my kitchen filled with flowers. A dense centerpiece sat on the island, giving off hints of its floral goodness. A couple white orchid lei draped the backs of two chairs.
My cousin Stef got married a week ago under sunny skies
on a swath of grass above Lawai Beach on Kauai’s south shore, a choice location for a winter wedding.
The centerpiece came from her wedding chuppah, a bamboo structure with mesh canopy under which the bride and groom exchanged their vows.
The orchid lei came from the guest chairs set up on the lawn, celadon green lei for the men guests and white for the women.
The flowers in the refrigerator came from the wedding reception held at Plantation Gardens restaurant at Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation Resort
. We dined in the private Moir Room with flowers spreading across the dining room table, the fireplace mantle, the cake table. So many flowers it seemed like they were growing real-time in some sort of time-lapse, real-world, experimental greenhouse. A beautiful, white, orchid blossom even greeted each of us at our table settings. I practically had to elbow my way through the flowers to eat my delicious vegan meal of Chow Fun Stir Fry. (I was tempted by the Edamame Quinoa, but the waiter edged me toward the stir fry. The non-vegans ordered Seafood Lau Lau, Sugarcane Skewered Pork Tenderloin, Kalbi Marinated Skirt Steak and the Grilled Fresh Fish of mahi mahi.)
It seemed wasteful to leave the flowers behind, destined for a dumpster. That’s how they ended up in my refrigerator. As I shuffled the bags around my refrigerator, I couldn’t help but think about my own wedding.
Twenty-three years ago, I said, “I do” in a traditional church wedding. My college roommate and maid-of-honor forgot the rings, sending shivers of shock up and down my mother’s and father’s faces and delaying the ceremony’s start for 30 minutes. But the day was clear and sunny. The fall trees had just reached their peak of color. The band played Eric Clapton’s Wonderful Tonight
. The next day, my new husband, Eric, and I boarded a plane with shiny rings on our fingers, a fresh marriage license in hand and a suitcase packed with strappy sundresses and sandals. Destination: Kauai, Hawaii. Stef elected to get married on a beach in Hawaii.
My rehearsal dinner took place in a church. Stef’s took place on a Napali boat cruise.
An organist played at my wedding. A conch blower played at Stef’s.
Flowers made of icing adorned my wedding cake. Real orchids decorated Stef’s.
My husband walked down the aisle in a black tuxedo with a teal cummerbund. Stef’s crossed the yard wearing a cream-colored linen suit and slippahs—flip flops.
After the festivities, I had my wedding dress cleaned and professionally boxed, where it’s stayed untouched for 23 years. Stef donned hers again a day later and rolled around on the beach in it. She scrambled on top of a stand-up paddle board in it, and she went swimming underwater in a pool in it. It’s a new tradition, apparently, called “trash the dress.”
But many things about my and Stef’s weddings were exactly the same. Stef wore a long, beaded and sequined, white dress with a train. She carried a heavy bouquet. She spent hours on hair and make up. Her father “gave” her away and gave the first toast. A photographer took hundreds of photographs—amazing ones, I must say, especially during the trash-the-dress photo session.
As I pondered my wedding and stared at the flowers in my refrigerator, my iPhone pinged. It was a calendar reminder that I’d set four years ago, February 28, 2008, when our little brown dog, Penny, died. Penny was one of two dogs who moved to Hawaii with Eric and me some 12 years ago. That’s what I’ll do with them.
I grabbed a bag of flowers and dropped white roses and orchids over the spot in my backyard where Penny and Nestle are buried. A palm tree grows over them. The palm is ridiculously healthy, thanks to the remains of the first two dogs of my marriage, and that makes me smile every time the current two dogs and I walk by it.
Planning a Kauai wedding? These people can help:
Rehearsal dinner: Holo Holo Sunset Napali Cruise
Flowers: Martin Roberts
Hair and Make-up: The Lab Salon (Kristy Love)
Reception: Plantation Gardens at Kilohana Plantation Resort
Photography: Images by Liz
Videography: Zest Kauai
Wedding cake: Cakes by Sandi
Musician: Mike Young
Conch Shell Blower: Pastor Harold Kilborn