A major event for me a year ago this week was the wedding of my niece, Charlotte, to Donovan King, in San Francisco, California.

Charlotte and Donovan King

As weddings go, comparatively, we saw very little of the bride and groom. The best part about the weekend was that is was a family reunion with all my immediate family and all the kids, even if not all the spouses. We haven’t enjoyed that in gee.. 17 years? Wow, crazy. I think the last time we were all together was my parent 50th wedding anniversary in the Virgin Islands (So long ago that the post is pre-Wordpress blog!).

The whole family!
The whole family!

I flew on from Missoula, Montana, Wednesday in mid-September. Mike, having vowed never to fly again, did not join us. Instead he enjoyed another all too infrequent, weekends alone in the RV. You know when you live in a 400sf house, a little space is welcomed. My parents and little sister (Monica) arrived the same day. We stayed at a hotel about a mile and a half from my brother, Keith, and his wife, Sylva’s (the brides father and mother), house in San Jose. That evening we enjoyed visiting at the house, meeting Sonya’s (another niece) husband Michael, and catching up with my nephew, Nick, who has been living in the Philippines for the past couple of years.

Before the wedding

Wine Tasting

The next day Keith rented a bus and the wedding party came down from San Francisco and we went on a private wine tasting tour of Santa Clara county. The bus company did have a screw up and 8 of us had to go in private cars, but aside from the screw up it was a perfect social event.

Before the Wedding.  Charlotte and Donovan

San Francisco

Thursday evening Nancy arrived with her husband, Mike and daughter, Ashley. They drove in from Albuquerque. The next morning her son, Christopher, flew in from Indianapolis, and we moved the whole party up to San Francisco. We stayed at the Stanford Court, right across from the University Club, where the wedding was held. The hotel was right downtown. What fun to be in San Francisco. It has been many years since I have been there.

Immediately after checking in, a group of us went to the cathedral at the top of the street, then ended up at the “Top of the Mark” for drinks. You can see the whole of San Francisco from there.

View from the Top of the Mark San Francisco
3 generations : Monica Swenson (sister), Topher Collopy (nephew), Barbara Swenson (Mom
Monica Swenson (sister), Topher Collopy (nephew), Barbara Swenson (Mom)
Monica walking the Grace Cathedral Labyrinth
Monica walking the Grace Cathedral Labyrinth

Rehearsal Dinner

That evening the wedding “cocktail party” was held at “Sparks” a collection of food trucks in a trendy part of town. They rented the double decker bus and adjacent firepit for our party and roasted s’mores over the fire. The last family stragglers, my daughter’s, Kelsey and Sara, arrived during the party after their roadtrip from Albuquerque.

Wedding Rehearsal party at Sparks
Wedding Rehearsal party

Exploring the City

Saturday we walked to Chinatown, a couple of blocks away, rode a trolley car, and ended up eating lunch at fisherman’s wharf/Pier 39. Nancy and family toured San Francisco on the Hop on Hop off bus, and Keith’s family, of course, was occupied with wedding stuff.

The Wedding

The Wedding was at 5, Cocktails (and pictures) at 6, dinner at 7, toasts at 8, Dancing and cannoli (no cake) at 9… then I faded and left at 10. Kelsey and Sara showed back up at the hotel at midnight, and the wedding proceeded to a nightclub for a private party with a big name band. The party continued until 4am. It was quite the event!

Barbara & Don Swenson, Michael Shacher (Sonya’s husband) Second Row : Mike & Nancy (my sister) Collopy Third row : Sara Grubb, Monica Swenson, Topher Collopy
Mike & Nancy Collopy, Barbara & Don Swenson
Brides immediate family : Sonya, Keith, Charlotte, Donovan, Sylva, Nick

After the Wedding

Sunday morning anyone who didn’t stay out until 4am, went to Dim Sum in Chinatown. Many of us had never experienced that before, but Keith took care of ordering for us. We didn’t go home hungry (although the Carnivores in the group perhaps were not 100% strict.)

My immediate Family : Monica, Don, Nancy, Barbara, Keith, Phyllis

From there Keith took Mom, Dad, and Monica back to the airport. Sylva and I rode with Kelsey and Sara back to San Jose, via the house I lived in for the summer in 1984, and the curviest street in the world (No not Lombard.. Vermont street, with 2 more curves than Lombard). Then Kelsey and Sara left for the roadtrip back to Albuquerque. Nancy and Family and I stayed at Keith’s that evening and enjoyed a relatively quiet dinner to celebrate Christopher’s birthday, and then Topher and I both flew out early the next morning for home.

After the wedding : Sylva Swenson

In hindsight, a typical Swenson reunion weekend.. non-stop activity, Great fun catching up. What a treat we will all value for a long time… Thank you, Charlotte and Donovan! And hey.. by the way, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

One thought on “A San Francisco Wedding (a family reunion)”

  1. Nice to see so much of the family in your photos. I am glad you had this great reunion surrounding Charlotte’s wedding. I’m happy for Charlotte and Donovan too.

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