photo courtesy of aaronjv
I could probably cram this post with near-infinite detail, but I will spare you all. More photos will doubtless become available in the future, but for now you can burn up Printroom's servers by checking out Aaron's photos here. (password: wedding) For the ADD-crowd, I've included a couple more pictures below.
In brief, I was absolutely ecstatic about how everything turned out. All the months of planning and decision-making would make a long story unto itself. But once the planning is done, it's time for it all to actually happen. You can't micromanage the day itself, because you're the stars. But we relied on all the right people and everything worked out really well.
Rebecca didn't want to do the traditional walk-up-the-aisle business and originally wanted to sort of zip in the side when it was time to go on stage. But the geometry of the ceremony space didn't quite allow that once the tables were set up. So we went up the aisle together. Rebecca set a blistering pace, which I tried to modify, but then I got the impression that it looked like she was dragging me to the altar, so I quickened my step to match hers. Pat's ceremony went really well and the parable of the umbrellas and yardsticks will linger in my memory for years to come. My readings were well-received, particularly Lord Byron's one-liner: "I have great hopes that we shall love each other all our lives as much as if we had never married at all." I only flubbed one repeat-after-me line, but I think I turned it into a word-anagram of itself with essentially the same meaning. We got our rings on, Pat declared us husband and wife and we raced back outside.
It's hard to describe the whirlwind of socializing that ensued. Many hands shaken, bodies hugged and costumes admired. A few ceremonial nips of fine whiskey from flasks here and there. Emily's masks were, of course, a huge success; many other people had also contrived home-made masks that were equally elaborate.
There was so much excitement and socializing that people seemed reluctant to go after the food, but pretty soon people were tucking in with a will. I got many compliments on the food, which came from San Gennaro. One of the arduous tasks in preparing for the wedding was eating pizza at various restaurants around town. San Gennaro came in second in the taste-test, but the professionalism and responsiveness of their catering people won us over. For the curious, the taste-test winner was Antica, which serves a very authentic Neapolitan style pizza.
As dinner progressed, I visited as many tables as I could before Rebecca demanded that I eat something. I at least got a half slice of pizza and some salad, I think. After a bit, we got the champagne poured for the toasts and Emily, as twin-sister of the bride, gave a wonderful speech. Further toasts followed and they were universally appreciated. Aaron's photos are really helping my memory here: Richard, my granddad (who challenged us to beat his current total of 62 years of marriage), Robert, my dad, Bernhardt (who stole the show), Pat, Kevin M., and Aaron of course.
After the toasts (which fortunately had imbued me with bubbly courage) we went straight into our first dance, which turned out to be more of a crowd-pleaser than I anticipated. We tangoed our way through Tom Lehrer's "Masochism Tango" -- my inexpert choreography and inexpert dancing combined magically into something that worked beautifully, even if I managed to strike obishawn in the head with a flung rose.
That finished off the compulsories, so now it was on to the free-style portion of the wedding. Plenty more hugs and kisses and chatting. Rebecca and I figured that it should probably be cake-time, so we went off to tell Alex (the exemplary manager of the venue) to have our minions cut the cake (since we didn't want any part of a formal cake-cutting ceremony). Alex enjoined us to at least get it started, so Becca and I cut the first piece of cake with maybe three staff members and two guests in attendance. Fine by us!
As the evening drew on, partings and leave-takings began to occur, but soon the remaining crowd grew insistent that THE PRESENT be opened. There could be no mistake which one they meant:
It came from my cousin Kathy and her husband Greg. It is, in fact, an actual pet coffin. If one wanted to know whether nature or nurture was most responsible for one's fascination with horror and the macabre, my cousin's present to us argues for a genetic link. When I was small, she and her siblings and our mutual cousins Tom and Jim all lived in the Bay Area. When we would have family get-togethers, we kids would often stay up as late as possible, so we could watch the horror movies on Creature Features. I digress.
Although Kathy and Greg threatened that it might contain a dead black cat, the coffin was instead full of much better things: a dark cornucopia of mostly morbid gifts. But the topper of them all was the memento (a)mori, cast in concrete and containing one of our Save-the-Date cards featuring Rebecca's artwork that served as the initial theme-art for the wedding:
There are not enough superlatives to describe how extraordinary their gift is.
There had perhaps not been as much dancing as I might have hoped, but as the crowd thinned, I at least managed to be in the right place at the right time with the right company when "Red Right Hand" came on.
More fun and frolic followed, but soon it was time to pack it in. And I do mean pack. In addition to decorations and presents, there was a ridiculous amount of alcohol and other drinks left afterwards, and so it got stowed in Becca's and Emily's cars. We lived off the leftovers from our 4th of July party for about a month afterwards. Our current situation should keep us going well into 2006.
All in all, I had a great time. It was everything I had hoped it would be and very much as I imagined it. I knew that most of our friends would enjoy the non-traditional nature of our wedding, but I was delighted that so many of our relatives really threw themselves into it as well.
Oh, and Happy Halloween.