60 Moments that Gave Me the Chills During Seattle’s First Day of Marriage Equality (via Evany) reminded me of the day I went down to San Francisco’s City Hall to photograph the couples who married during the month that Gavin Newsom granted marriage licenses to about 4,000 couples. California is the only state that once granted same-sex marriage licenses and has since discontinued the practice.
Weddings always make me cry, but right now I’m weeping openly in a coffee shop. The women who’ve been together 36 years? The young couple holding their new baby? I find it strange and awful that people who’ve made such profound commitments still can’t marry in many states. Congratulations, Seattle!
Is marriage for same-sex couples legal in your state? And how do you feel about it? Have your opinions changed over the years?
Photo by Matt Stopera.
Whenever Bryan or I started freaking out about wedding planning, we would remind each other that it was just a big party. Our main thing was that we wanted everyone to have fun. Real fun, not “wedding fun.”
Here are a few of the things we did to make things a little more comfortable for guests:
-Instead of inviting all the out of town guests to the rehearsal dinner, we had cocktails with everyone the night before at our hotel. Everyone had an extra night to get to know one another, which made for more spectacular hookups the following night.
-In the church waiting area, we had two cork boards. One was pinned with rosemary boutonnieres(rosemary symbolizes friendship), and one pinned with hankies.
-We served cake (technically cupcakes) right before our first dance, and had sparklers on hand, so guests would have something to do while we took to the dance floor.
-We had a box of cheapo spa flipflops for when the heels got to be too much. I wore these half the night, and they facilitated much kid chasing.
-I can’t say enough about having comfort boxes in the bathroom. Seven years later, I’m still getting comments on ours, which had spray deodorant (so several people could use the same bottle), band aids for blisters, dental floss, toothpaste and single use tooth brushes, moisturizer, fashion tape, pads and tampons, safety pins, hair bands, bobby pins and barrettes, and combs (…and condoms).
-We let the crasher crash. He pretended he was French, we pretended we believed him. Be our guest, not-French-Guy!
-We situated our kids’ table between two adult tables, and seated parents at the surrounding tables with their backs to the kids. This made for easy intervention in the instance of fits, but some adult interaction when the kids were behaving. Excellent.
-We set up a web site with tips on how to enjoy the city.
-Two months after the wedding, we went through our photos and printed up the best one of each guest to send it as a holiday card. They were so much fun to put together, like a personalized wedding favor, and we still see our wedding photos pinned to friends’ fridges.
-We had a birthday cupcake waiting for my bridesmaid Trisha, who had put aside her own special day for ours. Trisha is awesome like that.
Our photojournalist wedding photographer showed up at the hotel at 7 a.m. I was wearing a silk robe that I got at Thrift Town in Sacramento for $10. It’s still one of my favorite things.
I changed into one of those horrifying velour tracksuits that was very popular at the time, and one of our groomsmen remarked that I looked like a movie star trying to go incognito. Mostly I just wanted a zip-front something to wear all day so I could change out of it without ruining my hair and makeup. Also I might have wanted to practice a cheerleading routine or something. You never know.
(That kissable bundle is little Evan Frasier; I was his nanny briefly. He is 43 now.)
My dream wedding dress was Audrey Hepburn’s bridal dress from Funny Face:
I’ve mentioned before that I have clothing nightmares. We were on a tight budget when we were married, and I was accordingly horrified by the idea of spending $1,500 on a dress.
I was set on a short dress, which I thought would be easy to find, but absolutely no one wore them at the time. When I say no one, I mean I went to every bridal salon and department store in San Francisco, and found exactly one short, white dress, for $1700 dollars. It was not cute.
Three months before the wedding I still didn’t have a dress, and I was beginning to hyperventilate and have tooth-griding nightmares. For those of you who’ve never been married, lots of women order their dresses a year out, and many bridal salons look at you like you’re nuts if you expect less than a six-month turnaround.
Bryan finally had enough of my whimpering and rocking in the corner. He said, “We are going to the Gunne Sax outlet and buying something.” We ended up buying two dresses, one that would become the bodice for $80, and a size 14 tulle monstrosity for the skirt, which was about $100. I asked my dear friend Lisa (Hi, Lisa!) from Stitch Bitch if she could lop off the skirt and smush the two dresses together. She did it for less than $100, because she loves me. This is how we ended up spending less for my dress than we did for the bourbon at the wedding. Fact!
Lisa didn’t want the dress to be too heavy, so instead of using 300 layers of tulle, she put some horsehair ruffs under the sides of the skirt to make them stand out. This meant that the skirt was nice and poofy, but I could still use the restroom withoutout aid. Bonus.
I got a satin headband at Britex, and my mom-in-law sewed a circle of tulle to a metal hair comb the night before the wedding. I’d hoped for a cage veil, but this was in the hours before Etsy, and they were impossible to find. I thought about skipping the veil entirely, but when my girlfriends pinned my veil in my hair, it was the moment I realized I was really getting married.
I grew up with a gardenia bush in the backyard, so I had a gardenia in my hair and one for each of the bridesmaids. They wore them in their hair or pinned to their shirts as they chose.
Thanks to tequila and vigorous dancing, my hair flower fell out, and no one mentioned it because they didn’t know I had 14 more in the back. Word to the wise brides, extra hair flowers ladies.
I also wore red shoes, which was strange at the time. One of our guests mentioned that he particularly loved my shoes because his mother always said red shoes were for little girls and whores. I like to think I fall squarely in the latter camp:
Later, I pulled on a red sweater with a rhinestone brooch, because it gets cold on the docks in San Francisco. The sweater was a merino Bennton cardigan, and I still wear it.
Bryan’s suit was a striped Donna Karan cashmere blend on sale at Nordstrom Rack. His tie was Calvin Klien. My maiden name is Berry, so the boutonnieres were Eucalyptus leaves with unripe blackberries, all collected on the wedding site. We asked our groomsmen to wear black suits, and we got them matching ties.
My bridesmaids were from size 0 to size 14 and were 4’11” to 5’10” — we even had a pregnant attendant — so I had to find something that would be flattering for everyone. I chose white cotton wrap tops and red wool skirts from Foley’s, which I asked the bridesmaids to wear full length or have hemmed to the knee as they chose. My bridesmaids actually did wear the pieces again, and the whole outfit was $70. Separates!
Pro tip: When you’re getting married, it’s helpful to have girlfriends who are all knockouts. I love you, girls.
Old? A penny in my shoe. New? My dress. Borrowed? My lipstick. Blue? My engagement ring, which is a giant ’60s era cocktail Aquamarine. Oddly, I do not have a close up photo, but it is lovely.
For the rehearsal dinner I wore a red, heavily embroidered shift, of which I also cannot find a single photo. By the end of our wedding I was so through with red that I could barely look at a tube of lipstick without shuddering, but seven years later I’m coming back around.
So, today is our wedding anniversary, Internet.
Bryan and I have been married lo these seven years, which I hear is very good luck. Right? Right! We’ve been together for nine years, which officially makes us saints. (Especially the me part of us. Trust me. I am the Mother Theresa of married chicks, but with shorter skirts and more tequila.)
Every so often, one of you emails asking about what happened at our wedding — what we wore, where it was, what we ate. You think you’re having trouble finding it on the site. Wrong! You’re sure that if you look hard enough, you’ll find my wedding day shoes and a full list of our readings. Not true!
The truth is, we were married about a year before everyone started sharing details of their weddings publicly. At the time, it was considered a little too personal, unless you happened to have eloped. This is because we are very, very old. (WHAM! Orbitz! What are roller blades? ) So I’ve decided that this week is the wedding tell all.
Are you getting married right now, you sweet young thing? Congratulations! Here’s yet another dose of the giant stash of wedding porn that is the Internet.
Happy anniversary, Bryan R. Mason. You continue to be a very nice young man, and I love you.
In the comments of my wedding etiquette post, Philip pointed out this tribute by Andrew Cohen, who’s in love with a woman marrying another man. He published it on her wedding day:
Then Sarah mentioned that Lizzie Skurnick had written a response column:
If I were the bride, I would have been less than flattered. But I’m curious about what you guys think. Selfish creep, or hopeless romantic?
A couple of favorite photos from the wedding I attended last weekend: