Sam and Mark's Super Happy Wedding Funtime

Posts Tagged ‘reception

I may have pulled my hair up, clipped some Kleenex on my head to mimic a fancy fascinator, tossed on my wedding dress, and swished around the apartment like a pretty, pretty princess.

I have to test this thing out.

What I found is that hair makes a difference. A big difference. Originally, I was going to do my own hair. I was going to find some lovely headband on Etsy, plop it on my head, and be done. The trouble is, this dress requires more than that. This dress, like Audrey II, requires a bit more than I can eek out of my fingertips. This dress requires a full size professional.

I know what you are going to say, I know because I’ve said it: PLEASE. You can do your own hair. You can. You really can. It isn’t that hard. Get some product, some clips, watch a youtube- bob’s your uncle- bouffant. Easy. This is not an expense you should try to justify. This is frivolous. This is silly. This is everything you aren’t. Don’t give in to wedding bell peer pressure. This isn’t a requirement. You don’t need hair for your wedding. YOU ONLY NEED LOVE.

But at what point does austerity stop? I mean, I DO NOT need to get my hair done. But I also DO NOT need a dress. I DO NOT need a sit down meal, or wine, or friends or family. Heck, I could even forgo witnesses with a confidential marriage license. I DO NOT NEED ANYTHING.  I CAN DO IT ALONE.

Well, almost alone. I still need Mark.

We can have indulgences. It is OK. It is our wedding, after all. If Mark wants a bespoke suit, Mark can have his bespoke suit. If I want a professional to make my hair do something other than lie flat against my face, then let’s book an appointment. I’m not going to get my hair done because I have to have some crinkly eight tier updo I saw in some magazine. I’m not getting extensions or changing color, I’m just getting someone to make me look like my best self. I’m not doing this because of SOCIETY, but I am doing it because it is my wedding day and I’m going to wear a pretty dress, and damn if I don’t want some pretty hair, too.


Ladies and Gentlemen, we have officially entered what I have decided to call the “Apothecary Jar” phase of wedding planning.


This is the phase in which we have a wonderful discussion in which we decide to jam a lot of crap in apothecary jars to make pretty centerpieces and all is lovely and wonderful and then I totally freak out because no one will be at our wedding to see them. Because my wedding is an inconvenience. Because I am reclusive and weird and never go out, so why would anyone bother coming out for me. Because I enjoy freaking out.

But whatever. My parents will be there. My brother. Mark’s family. Mark’s friends. My friends. And if they can’t make it, then they can’t make it. Things happen. Life happens. It won’t stop me from loving them. It won’t stop me from getting married. It won’t stop me from eating a delicious fish dinner. It won’t stop me from getting drunk (it will probably just make me extra drunk). And it won’t stop life from going on. It won’t make my marriage better or worse. It is one day. One party. One moment. One memory.

So I’m going to go back to focusing on all the wonderful, colorful, odd, fun what-have-yous we can throw into apothecary jars. That is a much better use of my time.

When I was really sick last year I stayed home and watched every episode of “Say Yes to the Dress” available on NetFlix. Wedding dresses are a little silly. And brides who spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a dress they wear once, these women, these families, are effing crazy. But I watched them tear up and cry and hug and bridge generation gaps and have these moments that they would remember forever. And thanks to the power of television, be able to relive any time they felt like it.

And I cried with them (I had the flu!) and I laughed with them and I was so happy for them for finding this thing that brought them such emotion. And I was happy for myself that I would never, ever spend that much on anything. I was to practical. Too realistic. Too unsentimental for such trivial nonsense.

In the old days (of western culture),  if you were a a regular person, your wedding dress would just be your best dress. This was in a time when dresses were worn daily, so women had a best dress.  If you look to the past, the only people who wore gowns (and few were white) were nobility and they were showing off. Weddings were land deals and political maneuvers and you needed to put your money and power on display. Prominently.

Clever advertisers in post WWII America sold us on the idea of a big white ball gown. Just like De Beer’s sold us on forking over mad cash for a crazy diamond ring. The big white dress is a new thing. So getting all teary-eyed over tradition is just non-sense.

And yet anytime I’ve seen a friend in a stupid big white dress, I tear up.

So now that I’m faced with the prospect of getting my big white dress, I feel decidedly uneasy. Part of me thinks I should just find a really pretty dress, screw the word wedding, and be done with it. A nice party dress. Something I could wear AGAIN some day. Then there is another part of me, some weird twisted part of me that says no to this. This part of me is insisting I should forgo practicality and get a dress that screams (in my own special way) Wedding Dress. A dress I’ll only wear once. A dress that probably costs more that I am comfortable spending.

This is, of course, further complicated by my size. Most party dresses in my size are for older women on cruise ships. While, this may in the end fit the theme of my wedding (more on that later), I don’t think it fits my personal style.

These dresses scream “Isn’t that lovely, Mertyl?” and “I love shrimp cocktails” and “My what a fabulous buffet!” (Though, I do kinda like the gray one.) Overall, this is not what I want. I want a pretty, fancy dress, but these… these just are not right. I want something fun and fabulous and that doesn’t look like I pulled it off the “Mother of the Bride” rack at David’s. I’m the BRIDE, dammit! If I’m going to thwart tradition and avoid the this:

(though, it is lovely, isn’t it?)

Then I want to look really cool doing it. And chic. And young.  There, I said it, I want to look young. And like a bride. But a bride NOT in a wedding dress.

Practicality is probably not going to win this battle. Size will make it exceedingly difficult. And my own refusal to not wear a wedding dress but yet a wedding dress, is probably going to invoke some sort of stress spasm that may or may not require medication. In the end, it will be a gut feeling. Something will pull me and I’ll say “yes, that is it, that is the one.”

And I’ll probably get all teary-eyed and ridiculous.

This one really breaks my heart. Actually, not hypothetically, because this was our Plan A.

Zazie is an adorable little french bistro in Cole Valley. I first went to Zazie for brunch with my friend E. She and I met on a bright sunny morning and had eggs and mimosas. It was a wonderful time. The best time. Zazie was warm and inviting and the food was wonderful and the whole day was a wonderful day.

Every time I’ve been back, even if we have had to wait (and oh boy, you do have to wait for brunch on the weekends!), I have had an absolutely delightful time. The food is always wonderful. The service is always friendly. The sun, it would seem, is always shining.

So OF COURSE this is what I wanted for my wedding. Sunshine? Yes! Delicious food? YES! Warmth and conviviality? BIEN SUR! (that is french for “Fuck Yeah”) (no it is not) Mark and I also want easy and relaxed and we thought we had found the perfect package here.

(Check out their photo album)

And we did. But one of the many reasons Zazie is so wonderful is that is a small restaurant. That warmth and conviviality is due  in part to the size. Size that just can’t handle our guestlist. And our guestlist is already less inclusive than I would really like it to be- so cutting more people would be more heartbreaking than having to scrap our Plan A and figure out a Plan B.

(Plan B, by the way, NOTHING like Plan A. And also everything like Plan A. And I’m going to need a REALLY pretty dress…)

Soft holds on my venues mean I guess this is going to actually happen! Now the fun begins- PAYING for all this…

This one kind of kills me. I would so, so, so love to have an elegant cocktail reception at the Ferry Building. I mean look at this:

Look at those people. They are fancy people for my fancy cocktail reception at the fancy Ferry Building. They arrive by streetcar, because even though they are fancy, they also are environmentally conscious and know that parking sucks.

Seriously, though, look at the Ferry Building:

It is beautiful, right?

The Ferry Building is a sort of microcosm of San Francisco. Let’s start with the building, at one time this was the second busiest passenger terminal in the world. The addition of bridges and crazy freeways and redesigns to make space for dark offices turned it into a dank place no one really wanted to go to. Then a giant earthquake knocks down the double-decker freeway and the Ferry Building is no longer cut off from the rest of the city. San Francisco decides to take an interest and restore the once grand structure to something of its former glory. Still an active terminal for ferries, the interior is partially restored, turning what was once a dark, uninviting space into a haven for purveyors of fine foods and luxury goods. A gorgeous tourist trap, sure, but something the locals still use without the requirement of out-of-town guests.

The management has recently been criticized for forcing out some older tenants in order to raise rents.  This means the beautiful fruits and foods and gardening hats on sale are going to be more expensive than somewhere else. Sound like San Francisco? And sure, the farmer’s market is filled with one of the most beautiful assortment of veggies that I’ve ever seen, but you pay for that view. The price at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market is way higher than any other farmer’s market in the area.  But you get prestige points for shopping there. Right?

When I first moved to San Francisco, I used to go over to the Ferry Building and have coffee by the water. This was before Blue Bottle opened their doors (yeah, I’m a hipster). I’d go and grab a coffee and sit by the water and just be happy to be in such a beautiful place. Something about the waterfront makes me giddy. Even on gray days, I loved to watch the boats and the birds and enjoy the fresh sea air. It was always lovely, always magical.

So OF COURSE I want to get married here.  I mean, look at it dressed up for a wedding:

It would have to be a nighttime reception. As good as the Ferry Building looks in the day, there is just something about the exposed steel beams and the skylights and windows that make it seem so cozy.

Oh, boy, think of it! So elegant! So refined! So sparkly! I think I might do something like this:

A nod to our hippie forebearers...

But finding a dress would certainly be difficult (I know, I just spent 2 hours on the interwebs looking for one… for a blog post- I can’t even begin to imagine what finding a dress for this place would be like…).  It would have to the right amount of retro, but not too much on the poofy underskirt. It would need to be structured and organic and amazing. This is the sort of venue that you couldn’t wear just any dress to.

Which is one of the reasons this is out for me.  Too much pressure.  If I stress myself out over looking for a picture of a dress for a blog post about a wedding venue I AM NOT GOING TO HAVE A WEDDING AT, then actually having a wedding here would probably kill me. Not to mention that the site fee and a meal for 60 (nothing else) would be about $26,000 (yeah, I did the math right-  I double checked).  I think that’s enough to ruin the Ferry Building for me forever.  I don’t think a beautiful, specular, gorgeous party would be enough to clear out the stress and the cost.  I think I’ll keep enjoying it for free.  Or for the cost of an overpriced (and totally delicious) salumi sandwich.

OK.  I’m not going to have a band play my wedding, but if I were, here are my picks:

Talking Heads (see also: David Byrne as the Talking Heads are now defunct)- This is my favorite band.  I fell in love with music dancing to Burning Down the House in my bedroom.  I’m sure I did not, I’m sure that it started much earlier, but whatever, this is the story I’m going with.  We still lived in Georgia and I had a radio and a yellow room and I loved, loved, loved this song. Oddly enough the Atlanta DJ later moved to LA and I heard him every day until KROQ became completely insufferable.

Phoenix– Easily one of the best live show’s I’ve ever seen.  The music just makes you want to dance! So much joy and life!

Spoon– Spoon is solid rock and roll. They have those janglely guitars, Brit’s voice is amazing, and the band is everything you want in a rock band.  Even Spoon’s sad songs make me happy because they are just so darn good.

Arcade Fire– I think Arcade Fire playing our wedding would somehow turn the whole thing into a post-modern take on weddings.  But that’s OK.  They have a lot of energy.

M. Ward– Have you seen that guy play guitar? It is amazing.  And beautiful.  Perfect, I say, for a wedding.  Plus, it is just one guy.  That’s got to be cheaper…

The Flaming Lips– You wouldn’t need wedding decorations.  The confetti cannons will take care of everything.

Ray Davies– The first show Mark and I saw together was Ray Davies at the Warfeild, so of course, there is sentimental value there.  Plus the Kinks have some of the greatest songs ever written, so why not play them at the best wedding ever weddinged?


Sam and Mark