After being set up by one of Ann’s best friends, Pam McMahon, Ann Foster and Howard Freedland found they had much in common, the least of which included a mutual respect for each other’s life experiences and goals, and a fondness of one another’s families. After many joyful excursions, including music, art, traveling, and family visits, Howard couldn’t wait any longer to share the rest of his life with the woman he fell in love with. In October 2002, only eight months after they were introduced, Howard surprised Ann with a trip to France for her birthday. He reserved a suite at the Chateau Vault de Lugny, in Burgundy, where, over a bottle of champagne, in front of a roaring fire and on bended knee, Howard asked her to spend the next fifty years with him.
A whirlwind romance needed a wedding to match, and the day after the proposal, Howard rented the chateau for the wedding set for spring. However, due to traveling concerns by guests, a disappointed Ann and Howard decided to cancel their dream wedding in France. During their search for a new location, Ann received a tip from a good friend, who had recently read about a new resort in Laguna Beach, California. The Montage Resort & Spa, with its fabulous architecture, wonderful art collection, and magnificent view overlooking the Pacific Ocean promised a perfect environment for an unforgettable wedding.
Howard and Ann designed their own invitations, made of handmade paper from India, and silk ribbon. The sharp invitations cheerfully instructed guests to “Dress to the Nines!” Together, the couple chose Ann’s wedding gown: a gorgeous, silk pleated tiered ball gown skirt, with a hand-embroidered silk bustier, with matching scarf and evening purse. Howard suggested a coordinating, but lighter, separate silk skirt to wear during the reception dinner. Next, they chose one black and one white wool and silk 3-piece suits for Howard to creatively mix.
The night before the wedding, guests were transported from The Montage to The Balboa Bay Club, where they were presented with silk flower leis, and served coconut-cup pina-coladas, and tikki mug mai tais. A Hawaiian buffet and traditional Hawaiian musicians kept everyone in the mood to celebrate.
The ceremony was held at the resort’s Pacific Lawn, overlooking the ocean. 51 guests entered through a patina iron gate, covered with a variety of roses, leading the eye up the aisle scattered with rose petals to a custom-made iron gazebo, also adorned with bunches of multi-colored roses. During the ceremony, Howard’s sister, Stacie, stood as his “best woman,” and Ann’s daughter, Aimee, and son, Alex, stood by her side. Guests of the resort crowded the balconies and pool deck, to get a glimpse of the love and friendship exemplified by the gorgeous displays.
After exchanging personally written vows, family and friends were incorporated by offering toasts and prayers to the couple with champagne and sparkling water. Howard and Ann were officially pronounced “husband and wife,” and wedding guests (along with guests of the resort!) cheered and applauded.
At the reception dinner, held at the restaurant at the Montage, the ultimate eleven-course dinner was served, followed by a 3-tiered wedding cake of chocolate, lemon and raspberry, and pistachio, decorated with white chocolate seashells.
The weekend was the tying together of two hearts as well as two families, and Howard and Ann look forward to their future together. Pal Ed McMahon toasted the couple to a lifetime of happiness, and the newlyweds teasingly add “After all, it took us fifty years to get it right!”