Hosting a wedding! | Two Decades of Kids and Counting | Sally Torbey | Palo Alto Online |

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Two Decades of Kids and Counting

By Sally Torbey

About this blog: About this blog: I have enjoyed parenting five children in Palo Alto for the past two decades and have opinions about everything to do with parenting kids (and dogs). The goal of my blog is to share the good times and discuss the ...  (More)

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Hosting a wedding!

Uploaded: Aug 20, 2018
When dear friends asked if they could be married in our yard, of course I said yes! The couple had met at a brunch we hosted, and I was honored and delighted that our home held fond memories for them.

Our yard has hosted everything from informal PTA coffees to a presidential candidate’s “meet and greet”. The couple wanted a small gathering with a simple ceremony and a brunch reception. They would take care of the ceremony and catering. We would provide the venue. Piece of (wedding) cake, I thought! My husband agreed because he mistakenly thought it meant we’d finally give away the backyard trampoline.

Much to my surprise, however, anticipating hosting a wedding had a transformative effect on my brain, or maybe just improved my eye sight. Suddenly our home had many more flaws than I had ever noticed in the 15 years we have resided here.

I saw bare spots on the lawn, layers of dust on the wrought iron fence, dead tree limbs, streaked windows, stained patio furniture cushions, peeling paint on the doorsills, and ubiquitous cobwebs. And that was just the yard! And this was after the couple had repeatedly assured us that our home and garden were absolutely perfect and begged us not to go to any trouble for their wedding!

So I binged on home improvement projects, arranging for, or doing the necessary weeding, planting, scrubbing, fertilizing, power washing, window washing, mulching, reupholstering, and leaf blowing necessary to bring the property in compliance with my vision of a wedding venue.

Then, the evening before the wedding, I noticed a wilted impatiens plant along the front walkway and the exposed pipes of the central vacuum system, both within site of the chairs assembled for the ceremony. In a state of intense agitation I called my daughter outside to view these monstrosities. My daughter calmly glanced around the yard, looked pointedly at me and said, “Mom, you are officially insane.”

Even after that verdict, I dashed to the plant nursery to replace the flowers and purchase two shrubs to conceal the pipes.

And, yes, it was all so worth it. It was an unimaginable privilege to be part of a loving community witnessing a couple beginning their wedded life together. I relished every moment of sharing their joy and will be forever grateful that they blessed our home with their special day! And, the yard has never looked better!
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by palygrad101, a resident of Professorville,
on Aug 20, 2018 at 7:47 pm

beautiful story! but you should post before and after photos of the yard!

Posted by Fanny, a resident of Green Acres,
on Aug 20, 2018 at 9:26 pm

I love doing things like that! Preparing for a party in a yard is a lot of work, but it's super satisfying.
I'm a landscaping contractor ( my passion and second career) and what I love doing most is helping people to prepare for a celebration in their yard. I really enjoy watching the transformation happen! Your story was heartwarming, and I could definitely relate.

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 20, 2018 at 9:34 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Dear palygrad101,
Thanks for reading and commenting! In my frazzled state I don't have any decent pictures of the yard, but since there was a professional photographer in attendance, I'm hoping he took them!

Dear Fanny,
It was rewarding! And I find myself looking for excuses just to be outside enjoying it!

Posted by Sonya, a resident of Greenmeadow,
on Aug 21, 2018 at 5:22 pm


You are hilarious! Thanks for sharing this wonderful wedding story and about your home improvements. I remember when you were my lactation consultant at the La Leche League in Palo Alto many years ago. Thanks for everything you do for our wonderful community.


Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 21, 2018 at 5:36 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

HI Sonya,
Thanks for reading and commenting! Now that you mention it, I am certain I would have never gotten myself into such a state of agitation over wilted flowers were I under the influence of lactation-induced oxytocin and it's mellowing influence!

Posted by Lisa, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Aug 21, 2018 at 10:26 pm

Wilting impatiens, exposed pipes, re-upholstering??? I see design in your future...we sweat the stuff no one else sees! Welcome to my world Sally!

Posted by Debbie, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Aug 22, 2018 at 12:32 pm

Thank you for writing and sharing this story! Of course the impatiens plant had to be replaced and the pipes covered! I'm sure it was not funny at the time, but nice to laugh about it now.

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 22, 2018 at 6:05 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Hi Lisa,
I realized after the fact I should have called in an expert! I was way over my head! Next time...

Dear Debbie,
Thank you for the validation!

Posted by JK, a resident of another community,
on Aug 22, 2018 at 10:23 pm

I'm glad everything was worth it and I hope that trampoline always stays!

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 23, 2018 at 3:57 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Hi JK,
Thanks for commenting! The trampoline isn't going anywhere. It covers the bare spots of grass beneath it!

Posted by PR, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Aug 24, 2018 at 8:53 am

Thank you, Sally, I love this story!

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 24, 2018 at 8:54 am

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Hi PR,
Thanks for reading and commenting!

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