Published: Monday, Oct. 4th, 2021
When AMM Minister Max Dovala was asked to officiate an offbeat wedding for two long-time friends at the San Francisco Zoo this year, he said yes right away. He’d known Nick and Stacey for years, and was thrilled to support them as they started their next adventure together.
Soon, the three friends were brainstorming creative elements to include, and it was only a matter of time until someone suggested wine...
Nick and Stacey are wild about wine, and it represents more than just a good time in a glass for the happy couple.
Wine symbolizes tradition, family, and a connection to the land -- all things the couple value in their life together. They’ve spent countless date nights, anniversaries, and vacations exploring wine country in Napa, and Nick’s childhood friends even own a winery in Texas.
Max wanted their ceremony to capture this special history, and blending two distinctive wines into one as a symbol of their marriage was an ideal choice.
Working together, Max, Nick, and Stacey decided to place the toast at the start of the ceremony, instead of fitting it in at the end like many couples do, usually somewhere between the vows and that photogenic first kiss.
This blend of creativity and tradition would kick things off in a fun, free-spirited, vibrant mood that matched their relationship, while Max shared some of Nick and Stacey’s love story with their guests.
And as with any wedding planned during the COVID pandemic, just getting to the venue without a cancellation or postponement deserves a cheers. They’d raise a glass to that!
Stacey and Nick's opening toast
(illustration inspired by Jim Wilson's photograph for the NYT.)
The couple’s connection to Hawk’s Shadow Winery in Texas made choosing their wines a simple and heartfelt decision.
Nick and Stacey met with their friends at Hawk’s Shadow, described their tastes, and left the rest up to the masters. The experts chose two unique tastes to reflect Nick and Stacey’s personalities -- a Syrah with a touch of Mourvedre, and a Tempranillo blended with Tannat -- that would be even better together than they were alone.
After the ceremony, the couple opened a few bottles of their ‘signature blend’ provided by the winery for friends and family to enjoy.
As a sign of the times, the couple also posed (glasses raised!) with cardboard cutouts of friends and family who were unable to attend because of COVID precautions.
Max drew from his many years of friendship with the couple to write a personalized and intimate toast that perfectly captured their values, deepening love, and playful spirit.
He graciously shared his original script with us, transcribed below.
Use these heartfelt words as a starting place, then make the ritual your own:
“Across cultures and religions, wine is used to celebrate joyous moments, and wine also reminds Nick and Stacey of their home here in California. They have chosen to begin this wedding with a wine ceremony of their own.
For them, wine is special because some of their earliest dates as adults after college were weekends in wine country together. They also have family memories there. They've celebrated birthdays, gone for weekend escapes when families come to visit, and found their favorite places to be together with the people they love. It's a place that ties them together with each other and their loved ones, and it reminds them of what they love about their home.
[Pick up decanter, Stacey and Nick pick up already open wine bottles]
The bottles they've chosen to blend have parallels to their lives. Both wines are from Hawk’s Shadow Wines in Texas, who are Nick’s family friends since childhood. Nick has the Wild Child (because he is a wild child), which is a Syrah with a touch of Mourvedre. Stacey has the Quincy, which is a Tempranillo with Tannat. The winemakers put a lot of thought into which wines to select for this special blend. They wanted to make sure the wines are better together, just like Stacey and Nick are.
[Pause and pour the wines]
This blend represents the ways that Stacey and Nick's best qualities enhance each other. The wines they have chosen will be part of their memories of today. And they will grow better with age, just like Stacey and Nick will. Now, please toast your life together!
[They clink glasses and taste the wine]”
Nick and Stacey’s wedding at the San Francisco Zoo was covered in the New York Times.
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