Glen Ellen's 'royal' wedding
On a recent Sonoma Valley perfect and picturesque full moon Friday, two Glen Ellen kids celebrated their marriage at Anne Teller's beautiful White Barn at the base of the Mayacamas.
Kids? Well, that certainly is no longer the case, but I can't help remembering the first time I ever met Dan Donovan. That was when he was a fresh-faced, smiling kindergartner in David Herbst's class. What a charming kid. Of course, he remains a charmer, if not a kid.
Nor is his beautiful bride Brianne LaVoy still a "kid." Brianne is a lovely young woman, the epitome of a Glen Ellen royalty, if we had such titles.
Just before Brianne walked down the aisle toward the jewel-festooned oak where Dan awaited, three junior bridesmaids came forth carrying a hand-lettered banner announcing, "Here comes the bride." One of the very young guests at the wedding said in a stage whisper, "Oh, look, a princess."
Brianne's curve hugging, off-the-shoulder, satiny, white dress with bountiful layers of sparkling netting emphasized her princess look, as did the cascade of blond curls curving around her neck. She was simply beautiful. Which Brianne is, even in her frequent camping costume of dungarees and flannel shirts. Dan, too, more often seen in jeans and T-shirts, looked dapper in his tan slacks, elegant vest and Windsor-knotted silk tie.
The setting sun lit streaks of pink in the western sky, while the Mayacamas brightened with the glow of a lovely full moon, creating the perfect backdrop for a hometown celebration of this Glen Ellen couple.
While many friends and relatives traveled to Glen Ellen from the Northwest and the East Coast, I most easily recognized a few of the former Dunbar students.
Who would have guessed that Blake Rector would grow up to be a preacher? Well, that's not exactly the case, but he did officiate, leading the ceremony with grace and style. It was great to see the grown-up Rector boys, Blake and his brother, Clark. I also recognized Jordan Hale, who came from Chico with his lovely, new bride, Michelle. Of course, Ray LaVoy, Brianne's brother and Dan's best buddy, stood up with the couple. As we arrived Alika Edwards was parking cars before his bartending duty.
Same smile as I remembered from back in the Dunbar days, but way taller. Back then he wasn't tending bar, but he always extended the gracious welcome of a good host.
Other wedding attendants included Venus Happ, Jason Barbose and Tyler Barrington. Rounding out the wedding party were Brianne's beautiful attendants, Sandra Barrington, Maggie Newman, Briana Donahoe and Kristin Knuedeler, in dresses reflecting the shades of the western sky.
The wedding was a memorable affair with a special toast led by Dan's uncle Ed Donovan from New Jersey, who acknowledged the smiling spirits of Dan's late father, Joe Donovan, and late sister, Molly Donovan.
Hosting the wedding were Brianne's parents Beth Fox and Dan Sooter, with the groom's mother, Carol Donovan, a special guest of honor. The oldest guests were Dan Sooter's parents, Will and Carol Sooter, who arrived via motor home from Seattle having just celebrated their 60th anniversary.
While both the bride and groom grew up in Glen Ellen, they now live in Portland, Ore. where they will return after a honeymoon in Sedona, Ariz. For Dan, it's back to work, while Brianne will be completing her master's degree in nonprofit administration at Portland State.