Last Saturday, September 29, I had the privilege of attending my friend Angela’s wedding in Monterey, California at the Memory Garden at Custom House Plaza. It was a really sweet ceremony and I have never seen Angela look more stunning or happy.
Angela and I became friends when we were 14 and freshman in high school, both running cross country and track for our high school. I was slow freshman year, but eventually got a little faster and Angela and I started training together. 6 days a week, 11 months a year basically we would run together (and often race against each other). We were very close in speed – our senior year, when our team went to Nationals – Angela was #7 and I was #8. Our coach even combined our names to be “GonzoClow” a few times, which always confused us. It is hard to describe the type of bond our team had and the memories that come along with it. By the time high school was over, I had felt like Angela and I had been roommates based on the number of times we’d shared hotel rooms for overnight meets.
Angela and I also both ended up at Cal for college, and happened to live in the same dorm, one floor apart. We branched out in college and did our own things, but always had that strong cross country bond. Our junior year, Angela joined my sorority, adding another layer to our friendship.
It is crazy that it has been 10 years since our first trail runs at Juan de Anza or our first trip to Clovis – and thinking about all of these memories made the weekend that much more meaningful to me personally.
But enough about me…
I drove up to Monterey with Melody, another girl from my sorority, and Angela’s cousin, Steven who we picked up in Thousand Oaks. We made it to Monterey in the early evening after just a couple of stops along the 101. I had never been to Monterey before (my parents and Uncle may be able to correct me on this – but if we ever went, it was in my pre-crazy memory was fully formed), so I was excited to check out the city the following day.
At 6:30 am on Saturday morning, I met Angela at the hotel she was staying at with her bridesmaids for a 4-mile run. She had written on my Facebook wall a few days earlier asking if I’d be down. OBVIOUSLY I was down! Running with my friend/teammate on her wedding day? This is the stuff coaches make up to encourages their athletes to bond – but nope, this was real life. I got to hear all about the wedding plans, Angela’s job, etc. as we covered 4 relaxed miles through Monterey.
I caffeinated and then rejoined Melody (who I was sharing a hotel room with) for a walk around Monterey and then some down-time before the wedding.
We got ready and headed to the venue. I was able to spot the bride + bridesmaids before things got going and nabbed a few photos.
I love her dress.
We headed in to the Memory Garden and I chit-chatted with a few old friends – both from high school and my sorority.We sat down shortly after. I was the FIRST PERSON to start crying. I don’t mean pretty tears, I mean full on crying. I lost it as soon as Angela started walking down the aisle, with both her Dad and her Stepdad. After the ceremony, Adrian told me he couldn’t look at me because he would lose it – and the photographer at one point turned around and took a photo my teary-face. COOL. My personality’s weird disjointed-ness weirds me out sometimes.
The Officiant was great – she was light-hearted but earnest. I love that she explained how Angela and Adrian met (at Ruby Skye nightclub in San Francisco) and that she shared a few details of how their relationship began. The other sweet moment during the ceremony was the poem shared by Adrian’s grandmother. After the traditional vows, Angela and Adrian became Mr. and Mrs. Gralin! (and I finally stopped crying).
Afterwards, we all congratulated the bride and groom, and chatted with the bridesmaids and other guests. I loved the taco bar they did and (of course) all of the beer.
A little later, we all sat down for a delicious buffet-style dinner and to hear the toasts.
Next up? The dancing. The couple’s first dance was sweet, and then everyone got into it. The DJ played some current classics – and even appeased my obnoxious request of PSY’s Gangnam Style (although he had to purchase it from iTunes upon request…tsk tsk).
After a little dancing, it was cake time.
We enjoyed the rest of the night and were there to see Angela and Adrian head out. It was a really memorable evening and I am so honored to have been able to have been part of it. Congrats again, Angela and Adrian!
The next morning, I grabbed Starbucks and Melody and I trekked back to LA. After a brief stop by a SLO Police Officer for speeding (no ticket!) we made it back to LA – full from the Chipotle in our bellies and exhausted from the excitement and happiness pervading the weekend.