Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wedding Report

This past weekend seems to have been wedding central. I know of at least three in my extended circle of friends. Because I'm nosy and actually love weddings, I volunteered to report back to bellybee on the wedding I attended. I apologize in advance to the bride and groom and their entire families should any of them read this through the serendipity of the web and think me less than grateful for their hospitality, which I'm not. Having gotten married myself, I also know that to plan any wedding is a big pain. Herding 100 people around is not to be taken lightly.

Having said that, the wedding was classy, but surprisingly typical. The bride is a Ren Faire/Victorian porn/theater kind of person, and the groom, while quieter, is after all marrying her and from what I've seen can definitely keep up. And not much of that was reflected in the wedding, which was disappointing.

The invitation was made with artwork specially created for them, which I think is classy: it had a stained-glass Japanese effect if that makes sense, and the autumn colors were carried throughout the wedding without the two-tone team-sports effect you sometimes see. The wedding was at the Lafayette Park Hotel and Spa at 3. The ceremony took place in the courtyard and the reception in a small banquet room just off the courtyard. A pleasant place, but unfortunately at least 93 degrees that day and some seats in the full sun. Sept/Oct is a great time for Bay Area weddings, but you cannot count on the weather! As you walked in, there was the guestbook table, with a framed invite. I liked the tea set:
Someone (a "hostess") was assigned to woman the guestbook table and offer guests small boxes of tissues (that's what's in the basket). I thought that was kind of weird, actually - I guess I just never assume people will be overcome with emotion for me. But I could be wrong. :-)

I was also a hostess. My duty was at the gift table, where I stuck cards to presents with double-sided tape. On the table, they had set up a Japanese laquer tray for cards. Classical music before and during the wedding. They walked in to Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, second movement. I thought it was a good choice.

The ceremony itself was modern, pleasant, and slightly Christian.  The pastor at least was mic'ed (cordless); I don't know about the bride and groom. Here are the bridal party, the flower girl, and the bride walking in.

Then, interesting touch, the two mothers went and got a beautiful wedding kimono that had been lying in state on a table by the door and draped it over the bride. The bridesmaids also got ceremoniously decked with antique black silk kimonos. I can't recall if the bride is part Japanese, but in college we all had beautiful antique kimonos (long ones) because we had a cheap source, and would wear them sometimes to class on special kimono days. So this was a personal touch on her part.

After the ceremony, the pastor announced that we were all to stay in the courtyard while the bridal party took photos. So the bar at the back of the courtyard opened, and waiters wandered around with champagne and hors d'ouerves. They had naturally set up the bar before the wedding started, and it was a full bar, and free. The picture-taking went on for about an hour (!) - and oddly after awhile they came back out to the courtyard and took millions of photos while everyone milled around and watched them. I say oddly because I am a fan of the receiving line, but I think that's just me.

Finally at 4:30 we started to go in for the sit-down dinner. They had a table set up outside with everyone's name cards and what table they should sit at - color-coded by their meal choice. You took it with you to your table. I thought this worked well, though my friend who hostessed that table complained that some people took the wrong cards and others were missing their cards, so I guess there's only so much you can do! The seating was grouped by interest rather than randomly, so we were sitting with other college-era friends of the bride, at what we quickly discovered was the geek table. (There are always geeky men around me. It's one of those things.) At least the conversation was pretty natural.

The reception went slowly - or at least it did to those of us wanting dinner. After we'd all been seated, someone announced the bridal party for all the world like they were stars in a show, and they trooped in. The bride and groom sat at a table by themselves, and the bridal party was distributed amongst the guest tables. The first dance, the food, the slightly strange wedding dancing, the garter toss, bouquet toss, and the cake cutting were all entirely normal. We left pretty soon after the cake. Here's some cake cutting.

They did do the smashing of the cake, but carefully. And watching them clean each other up was cute. You can see her dress a bit better here - it was quite simple and nice, with a corset-like back. Of course not in bellybee's style. :-) Here's the bride, and a shot of the bridesmaids' dresses.
And here's a shot of me with the bride and the friend I hung out with for the entire time: my roommate from my junior year of college, who I hadn't seen in more than 5 years. Didn't stop us from immediately making snarky comments about anything and everything going on. 

So, in summary, a nice wedding, though not what I was expecting. I keep thinking about what the bride emailed me a few days ago - that they'd get the ceremony over nice and fast so that everyone could enjoy themselves. But I think that's the wrong approach. After all, all those people were there to see them get married (and surely that's why they themselves were there?) A party with people we didn't know is a bonus at best. Perhaps it's hard to seriously display your emotions without feeling like you're on a reality show? I don't know. As I said, herding 100 people is hard enough without having to be genuine at the same time. Anyway, thanks to bellybee for inviting me to post, and all the best to her!   


Bellybee said...

Thanks for posting!! Exciting to have another report from the field...I should have one in a couple of weeks, after we attend Mr. T's cousin's wedding.
I like the kimonos and all the fall colors. I disagree re: the receiving line: even if you only spend a minute talking to each guest, with 100 guests, that is a long-ass time! I'd rather try to just mingle naturally.
However, I'm also all for taking most of the photos beforehand, so you can enjoy your own party!
Announcing the bridal party is a thing now. People pick out special entrance songs and everything. I don't think we'll be doing that, though. Mr. T was like, "are we going cheesy Halloween, or scary Halloween, or more fall-like with Halloween accents?" and I told him, "We are throwing a Halloween party where we just happen to be getting married." ;-)

Anonymous said...

A minute is way over the time you spend with people in the receiving line - it's more like 15-30 seconds apiece or a couple, tops. It's not visiting. For the attendees it's a chance to congratulate the couple, and for the couple it's a chance to be congratulated :-) and to welcome people - especially people not too connected with your family who may feel a bit odd. Then you do the mingling/visiting during the party. But really I think the hostly task of greeting your guests is what's missing if you give it up. You just have to suck up spending 30 min being congratulated. It's a terrible chore. :-) However, you do what you want. I know I am old-fashioned in this. And I won't be offended by your lack of receiving line!

I had fun posting - spent way longer than I intended! Thanks again for asking me.

Pica Maloria said...

Yeah, if you mingle, you really won't make eye contact with everyone - the receiving line is fairly handy (IMO) for that. You really don't spend a minute per guest in it either. It gives you the opportunity to say "thank you" to your mother's cousins half sister Joan and not feel bad when you realize you didn't talk to her at all at the party. ;)
We had a friend shamadahn us in as our announcement - that was fun.
I really thought the kimono's were an awfully pretty touch. I haven't been to a wedding in years - thanks guys for "bringing us along". :)

Pica Maloria said...

"Kimonos" not "Kimono's". Ugh. that's one of my pet peeve errors, too!