Wow, what a weekend I had. After several days of helping my best friend continue to get everything ready for her wedding next month, her and I (along with another friend from high school) drove up to No Cal for the weekend. Her fiance had his bachelor party, while us girls spent the weekend at the Bolinas Tree House in the mountains, complete with jacuzzi and much relaxation.
My best friend loves everything Japanese culture, so for her actual party she chose to participate in a traditional tea ceremony. Luckily, the Green Gulch Zen Center in neighboring Muir Beach offers private group tea ceremonies. It was quite an experience and most definitely something I will never forget.
The bride (and my best friend) wore a kimono she’s been saving for, oh, ten years now. It’s lovely and bright and something only unmarried women can wear. So the tea ceremony was the first and last time she wore it.
Since I am her Matron of Honor, I had the honor of dressing her in the kimono. The tea hostess inspected my dressing job and only had a few negative things to say. Two things: a) it’s not as easy as it looks and b) I actually did an okay job considering I had zero training in kimono dressing.
After that experience, I would love to properly train in kimono dressing. It’s considered an art and people actually make a living dressing women in kimono’s because of the sheer difficulty in dressing yourself in one.
During the tea ceremony, the hostess, along with her apprentice, served us green tea one by one, as well as fresh, organic mochi (not the ice cream!). Yum, yummy! She briefly schooled the group in the traditions and customs of the tea ceremony. She also gave us a history of how the tea ceremony started (it began because of China if you can believe it!) and explained the meanings of all the objects within the tea house itself.
The objects at each tea ceremony are specifically selected to reflect the reason for having the ceremony. In our case, the objects reflected joy and celebration for the upcoming wedding.
The rest of the weekend was filled with chats, laughter, relaxation and, of course, food. The bride and I prepared the meals that were eaten at the house, and for dessert we all shared chocolate, s’mores, wine and champagne.
We ate an organic vegan lunch at the Green Gulch Zen Center before the tea ceremony and after, dinner at a local place called Rosie’s Cowboy Cookhouse in nearby Point Reyes – both were really good.
So, now the countdown begins. We still have much work to do, but at least we each get a two week break before we have to buckle down again and get cracking on the rest of the wedding stuff. My best friend is getting married! w00t!