The Crowd: A lifetime of dreaming comes full circle

They danced until midnight, interrupted only by an invasion by the famous USC Marching Band. A fun-filled and romantic winter wedding united a charming and promising couple in what was the social event of the holiday season.

Meredith Louise Potter, resplendent in a classic bejeweled wedding gown by Monique Lhuillier, married her beau Charles Alexander Blecksmith (Alex), in a traditional ceremony taking place in the 1920s-era Laguna Presbyterian Church in Laguna Beach. Wedding designer Andrew Gromek lined the altar and the processional with glowing white candles and sprays of white-on-white winter blooms bound in white satin ribbon for the 5 p.m. ceremony, officiated by the Rev. Steve Sweet and the Rev. Michael Roffina.

As guests arrived, some 200 friends and family members — many of whom traveled from around the nation and beyond to witness the vows — a string quartet gently sent the notes of Bach into church rafters. It was surely a scene right out of the film "Father of the Bride." A year of planning and a lifetime of dreaming all coming full circle in a fleeting moment.

As the family entered, a hush fell over the congregation. Parents of the bride, Alison and James Edward McCormick III of Newport Beach, and Cari and Richard Potter of Olivenhain, Calif., joined parents of the groom, Edward and Jane Blecksmith of Napa Valley and Pasadena, walking down the aisle and greeting well-wishers.

Mother-of-the-bride Alison McCormick and grandmother-of-the-bride, Marion Pickens, were a stunning duo in coordinated floor-length teal gowns each with a slight train. Alison wore a strapless silk tulle creation by Monique Lhuillier accented with a diamond belt.

Marion chose a high-necked silk satin gown with a turned-up collar and was a most beautiful grandmother-of-the-bride. Members of the wedding party included maid of honor Catherine Potter, best man Jon Brunzell and attendants Laura Nunnelly, Lauren Pickens, Carlin Schneider, Meg Piercy, Patrick Nunnelly, Chris Dillavou and Christian Potter.

The sound of trumpets signaled the entrance of the bride as the Prince of Denmark's March-Clarke Trumpet Voluntary heralded the start of the ceremony. Soon the couple would light the unity candle and seal their vows with a kiss and it would be off to Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach for a spectacular winter wedding reception.

Andrew Gromek did an exquisite job of decorating the elegant clubhouse with floral arrangements festooned with Christmas balls and holiday merriment, in keeping with the bride's chosen color theme of cream and teal. A cocktail reception with butler passed hors d'oeuvres by waiters in white gloves set the tone of the evening. A cream-colored satin drape closed off the dining room from view while the crowd toasted the handsome and happy couple.

At 8 p.m., the satin curtain was raised to reveal a sparkling dining room dressed in cream silk and silver Chiavari chairs that were surrounding tables decorated with fabulous florals topped with enormous silver Christmas balls. The massive crystal chandeliers in the dining room were dimmed to blend with the candlelight on the tables.

Sentimental toasts from both the father and stepfather of the bride preceded the dinner service, which featured a winter spinach salad and an entrée of braised short ribs.

The bride is a graduate of Chapman University and Newport Harbor High School. An accomplished sailor, Meredith received her four-year varsity letter from the sailing team. She is a member of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club and the Junior League of Pasadena, where she and Alex reside.

The groom is pursuing his MBA from the Marshall School of Business at USC. He received his undergraduate degree from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Penn., where he was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and was on the varsity football team.

Alex is a member of the Jonathan Club of Los Angeles and is active with the Tournament of Roses. He is employed by Colliers International of Los Angeles.

The couple honeymooned in Hawaii and returned home to their residence in Pasadena.

THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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