Monday, June 21, 1999

Fairy-Tale Wedding For Getty-Jarman In Napa Valley


``Where's the bride?'' squeaked 5- year-old Sarah Jarman as she tossed rose petals on the red carpet and at guests sitting close by. She was a winged flower fairy, not an earthbound flower girl, in the Bay Area's version of an outdoor royal wedding Saturday at the home of Maria Manetti Farrow in the Napa Valley.

The bride, Sarah's half-sister, Vanessa Jarman, was waiting to make her entrance -- riding sidesaddle on a speckled horse. Her Prince Charming, Billy Getty, was waiting to help her off the horse and marry her.

Vanessa looked exquisite with jewels (real) in her hair and a diamond bracelet from Billy on her wrist. She was wearing a white gown by Narciso Rodriguez, whose only other wedding dress was designed for another American princess, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy.

The wedding, with Judge Bill Newsom, a close friend, officiating, was held in front of the gateway to Maria's huge garden. Before the couple exchanged vows and rings, Billy's father, Gordon, sang a beautiful Welsh song, and party planner Stanlee Gatti, another friend, who created the Renaissance setting for the wedding, read a poem by E.E. Cummings.

Supervisor Gavin Newsom, who is in the restaurant and wine business with Billy, was best man, and Vanessa's sister, Natalie, was her only attendant. When the ceremony was over, avid golfer Billy and Vanessa drove off in a Hummer golf cart for the reception.

Guests included lots of Gettys, such as cousin Chris and wife Pia from New York and cousin Mark and Domitilla from London. Mayor Willie Brown and newlyweds Don and Kelley Johnson were there too. Don wore a light tan suit: ``I've failed as a wife. I forgot it was black- tie,'' said Kelley. Because it was black-tie, Billy's oldest brother, Peter, bought an Armani tux Friday -- along with the black New Balance running shoes he wore with it.

Billy's mother, Ann Getty, wore a Balmain sand-colored gown with a matching embroidered coat; Vanessa's mother, Maryann Opperman, wore a strapless Pamela Dennis gown, and Vanessa's stepmother, Katie Jarman, was in a gown with matching stole by local designer Lily Samii.

The dinner, catered by Paula LeDuc, for 168 guests was served on three banquet tables, covered with wine-colored velvet cloths, on the terrace in front of Maria's house. What did it matter if the wind kept blowing the candles out? ``I just went behind the house and did a dance to stop the wind, but it didn't,'' said Stanlee, who then started putting hundreds of votives on the tables.

At the start of the dinner, there were minstrels provided by Walt Tolleson, and then Pride & Joy took over for dancing. Everyone was on the dance floor -- some dancing alone, others with two or three partners at once. The wedding cake by Perfect Endings seemed to be all sorts of cakes at once -- chocolate, a creamy white cake and a berry-flavored one -- quite appropriate for the wedding that takes the cake.

Billy and Vanessa also were honored at a dinner-dance given by his parents two nights before the wedding. Because the wedding was rela tively large, with Gettys, Jarmans, Oppermans and Gilberts (Ann's family from Wheatland), the dinner- dance was huge, with about 350 who wined, dined and danced throughout the first floor of the Getty house. Ann created her own Belle Epoque setting for the party.

Billy's brother John gave a barbecue at his Berkeley home Friday for the couple, and Ann and Gordon took over Tommy Toy's for the rehearsal dinner. People were still talking about that at the wedding -- no one could recall just how many courses they had: Was it eight or nine? Maybe the newlyweds were able to count them on their long flight to Bali, where they'll honeymoon for two weeks -- and might run into other honeymooners, such as Stephane and Alison de Bord and Jessica and Stephen Galloway. May they all live happily ever after.

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This page was created on August 11, 2000 by Alex B.
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