The DOW is down, the economy is tanking and consumer confidence is in the toilet. It seems that everywhere you look it is doom and gloom. But wait, what is that I got in the mail? It is an invitation to the wedding and reception of my good friend of 10 years John and his lovely bride to be Ida.
Last Saturday evening my wife (Mary) and I got dressed up and drove out to the San Fernando Valley to attend the wedding of John and Ida (Kulukian) Berejiklian. You can probably tell by the last names that these folks are Armenian. What you may not know is that it does not matter to these people what is going on with the economy, this was a day to CEL-E-BRATE and these people know how to PARTY!!!
The wedding was held in an intimate setting, an elegant Armenian church in the San Fernando Valley that featured lots of beautiful oak and artwork. John and Ida arrived in a huge Cadillac Escalade limo and everyone in the wedding party looked fantastic. It is their tradition that during the ceremony rings are exchanged in the beginning. Another tradition is that a couple of times during the ceremony, the bride and groom join their foreheads together. This signifies that the two are joining into one. The ceremony was done entirely in Armenian and was not too long for those of us that did not speak the language.
It was off to the reception, where the real party began. We gathered in the foyer while the final touches were being done to the banquet room were treated to hor d' voures and drinks. This lasted about 20 minutes until they opened the room for the crowd estimated at about 300.
Mary and I were seated at a table just off the dance floor that had a nice view of the room and with both an American couple and an Armenian couple that we had never met before. We all got along fabulously. On every table there was a bottle of Absolute Vodka and a bottle of Johnny Walker Black. There were also bottles of wine everywhere and an open bar.
Within minutes, waiters appeared out of nowhere carrying platter upon platter of amazing food. We counted and they brought 17 different huge platters of appetizers to our table. The Armenian gentleman, Vahe seated to my right, cautioned me to pace myself. He said that the Armenian reception food drill was just like being at a buffet, but that waiters bring you the food and that the food would not stop coming anytime soon. He also, kindly described to us what some of the food was that we were not familiar with.
After awhile, I got up from the table to walk around the room and see what else they had in store for us. In one of the corners, I found an area that had 12 different trays of cookies and a chocolate fountain that you could dip strawberries and marshmallows. Many of the children gathered in this area.
I returned to the food decadence to find that after all the appetizers, it was time to get down to the real business of eating. The main courses were starting to arrive. The first one featured beef and fish with rice and onions in the middle of the platter. About every 15 minutes, our waiter would bring another platter and this went on for a total of 6 different main courses. Along with the beef and pork, we were treated to more beef and pork and then fish and fowl. Anyone who has eaten with me knows I love to eat and I tried to heed my tablemate's advice of pacing myself. I had to stop at the 4th platter and throw in the napkin in. I was done, I couldn't keep eating.
After the main courses, there was a platter of fruit served and then the wedding cake. Of course there was the tossing of the bouquet and the garter and lots and lots of both Armenian and American music to dance to. I was so happy to dance with my wife; it is something that we don't do often enough.
When we left around midnight, the party was still in full swing and probably lasted into the wee hours. These people know how to party! I thanked John and Ida for the wonderful experience we had enjoyed and also thanked her father, who I'd had the pleasure of speaking with before. I'm sure he had shelled out big bucks for this amazing event.
I shall remember this day for a long, long time. I laughed, I smiled, I ate, I danced, I helped celebrate my friend's new marriage and I forgot the financial troubles of our current market, if just for that day.
Next time that you're feeling not so hot, see if you can get yourself invited to a party like this, you won't regret it!