For Mark and me, our day was already yin and yang, as we headed from the Celebration of Life for our friend Ed Festel held at the Penticton Flying Club to join in the 50th birthday festivities for Leanne Pawluk.
We’d already committed to attending the birthday bash, which another dear friend, Jennifer Cockrall-King (JCK) had offered to host in Leanne’s honour, when we received notice about the event, September 4, 2016, to bid our final respects to Ed. It may seem cold on our part to switch gears to go from one to the other. On the other hand, if ever there was a testament to living life to the fullest no matter what, it was Ed’s story.
And who could resist such a fun invitation?
“Well darlings, it has been a decade since my last milestone birthday (as evidenced by the picture above) so I figured it was high time to celebrate once again! And I can think of no better way than to gather together high atop the Naramata Bench to sip champagne, nibble on chilled lobster, savour prime rib, indulge in chocolate cake, groove to the funky sounds of DJ Mike and, perhaps, chirp a song or two on the Karaoke machine. Are you with me?
Expect white linens, white flowers and pure celebration.
White attire (in some form or fashion) is enthusiastically encouraged 🙂
I humbly ask a few volunteers to bring an appetizer or salad to the fete. 4 salads and 4 appies should do it. Enough for 8 people if you …please. Send me a message to let me know.
Along with the feast, we will be serving super boozy fruit punch along with bubbles galore. If you wish to drink something else, please feel free to BYOB.
We will also be carpooling from Summerland so if you are interested in having a designated driver for the evening, please message me as well.
This is going to be the best one yet… made extra special by having all of you there.
The evening was beautiful and as we drove along Naramata Road enjoying views of Okanagan Lake, orchards, vineyards, wineries and idyllic home sites, it wasn’t difficult to shift from sadness to joy. With the driveway and steps to JCK’s home decked in 50th birthday balloons and the happy chatter echoing from the outdoor patio, the signal was clear we were in for some fun.
The setting was straight out of a magazine spread such as Sunset Magazine. Guests were dolled up as requested and the décor was exquisite. In addition to the lavender gardens and other greenery that bedeck this home, beautiful bouquets of flowers adorned the tables. There was a fine selection of libations such as BC wine and a farm-to-table buffet including fresh lobster.
Our birthday belle Leanne glowed radiantly and her fiancé John Schmidt looked dashing. Who could blame them for deciding why wait to exchange their wedding vows? There’s a line in When Harry Met Sally that goes, “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” I’m not sure if Leanne and John are familiar with that line, however, suddenly there was a lot of whispering and soon a request if anyone happened to know a justice of peace or person qualified to perform wedding ceremonies.
As Barbara De Angelis is quoted, “The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It’s a choice you make – not just on your wedding day, but over and over again – and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife.” Before long, against the Naramata backdrop with the Okanagan Lake glistening behind, we witnessed vows exchanged between two folks deeply in love. Truly romantic.
It reminds me, too, of Zig Ziglar’s line, “Many people spend more time in planning the wedding than they do in planning the marriage.” On a summery Okanagan evening, Leanne and John exempted themselves from such criticism. Before the end of a 50th birthday celebration, they were officially signing documents as husband and wife. I tried to capture some of it on video, and while the quality isn’t what I’d like, click here for a bit of Leanne and John’s wedding.
While I feel a bit guilty it took so long for me to share the joy of the 50th birthday-gone-wedding, I’m writing this on what would’ve been my parents’ wedding anniversary. If ever there was love that endured it was Mom’s and Dad’s.
Leanne’s sister Carolynn had prepared a beautiful Black Forest birthday cake. For me it was the first 50th turned wedding cake.
Congratulations Leanne and John!
JCK, you throw a hell of a party!