Friday evening after returning to Kansas City, Tawn and I met my cousins (one local and two visiting) as well as a few KC-based friends at Cafe Trio. Trio is a nice restaurant/bar right on the Country Club Plaza shopping center with a nice deck that overlooks JC Nichols Memorial Fountain. Of course, they couldn’t handle seating for a dozen so we just occupied the bar area, slowly expanding as adjacent drinkers left.
Eventually, one of the owners came over to see if we were planning on eating dinner. I explained that we wanted a table but the maitre d’ had said they couldn’t accommodate us. Telling him that it was our wedding night (my gaydar went off when speaking with him, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to mention it) and we wanted a table, he was accommodating and a few minutes later we were sitting at a group of tables on the deck. Sitting on it was a complimentary bottle of champagne. Nothing like pulling family strings, huh?
Saturday was the big reception. We opted for an afternoon reception since our guests included several young children and some older adults for whom a late night event might be tiring. The site was Lidia’s Kansas City, the first restaurant in Lidia Bastianich’s small chain. You may know Lidia from her Public Television cooking shows. The restaurant location is a former freight building across the tracks from Union Station. It is beautifully designed and their upstairs reception area has lots of light. We enjoyed great service from our two servers, who really went out of their way to make it a special event.
Above, Albert makes a very nice toast to our health and happiness.
It was a lovely reception with lots of family members, family friends and a few close friends who came in for the event. These included three high school friends who have been close to my family over the decades.
The meal was a three course menu with a choice of entrees: either a lovely lemon chicken or a trio of homemade pasta with included a wild mushroom ravioli, seafood fettucini and a rigatoni with Italian sausage and broccoli rabe. Dessert was a lemon olive oil cake with basil sauce. It was really nice. All their pasta is freshly made on site, which makes all the difference in the taste and texture.
In addition to a very thoughtful toast by Albert, a long-time family friend, my mother made a beautiful speech:
Chris and Tawn:
We never thought we would be able to celebrate this occasion of your wedding. How much joy we feel that it is a reality for the two of you and for our family.
One of the realities of being parents of a gay or lesbian child is that the child is not the only one who much “come out of the closet”. To continue with our relationship as your parents, we had to come out as well. We had to grow into the understanding that this is who you are and that it is necessary for us to continue loving you and supporting you in your life because you are our child and everything else is secondary to that fact. For us, that means sharing your activities with extended family members and friends with the same openness that we share Jennifer and Kevin’s activities.
A similar growth has occurred for your sister, her husband, and more recently their daughters. Likewise, your grandparents have grown in their understanding of this aspect of who you are. Aunts, uncles and cousins, to widen the circle, have also experienced a growth of understanding.
This understanding is: You are of us and we are of you and that will never change.
Today the family has gathered around you, both physically and in spirit, to celebrate this road of your life’s journey. We welcomed Tawn with open arms nine years ago, loving him as your choice of a life partner. Now, Tawn, we welcome you as Chris’ husband and Chris as your husband. We love you both with all our hearts and pray that your life together will be strong.
How lucky am I to have such supportive parents and such a supportive family?
Knowing that we were heading to New York City next, most of our guests had chipped in to make our visit there very memorable. The gift bag, which we are opening below, contained a one night’s stay at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square, two tickets to see the Tony Award-winning show Billy Elliot, and reservations at Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin, which Restaurant magazine rated the 15th best restaurant in the world this year.
Such a thoughtful gift! Something we will really enjoy and, an added benefit, it certainly packs easily!
Saturday evening my sister and brother-in-law hosted an open house, with pretty much all the same guests gathering for further visiting and home-smoked barbecue. It was nice to have several more hours to visit with everyone, especially since several people flew or drove a long way to visit.
Yes, it was small and not nearly as fancy as many weddings and receptions I’ve been to, but I think it was very nicely suited to who we are and what we value as a couple.