Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wedding Recap

So, as you all know, I went to my friend and codancer's wedding this Sunday, and I've finally downloaded the few photos I took from my camera, so I'm ready to blog about it!

Mr. T and I were lucky enough to score street parking half a block away, so we didn't need to pay for a parking garage. Hooray! Chalk one up for Sunday weddings. Apparently Sundays are a traditional day for Jewish weddings, which I didn't know. As Mr. T and I battled the light rain on our short walk to the venue, we noticed other folks in red and black--the invites called for "fashionable red and black attire." It was easy to spot other wedding attendees! And once inside, everyone looked so fabulous--it was fun to see everyone's take on the red and black ensemble.

The wedding was held at a gorgeous historic San Francisco building. The ballroom had dark wood paneling, red carpet, and beautiful light fixtures. It was hard to take photos due to the dim lights, but here are a couple of crappy ones that I got:

After we arrived we checked our coats at the "self-serve coat check" (so smart!) and waited for the other guests to arrive and the action to begin. While we were waiting I occupied myself with taking photos of the lovely floral arch over the doorway in the cocktail area:

There were also rose petals scattered on some of the tables and all of the windowsills. After mingling for a little while, we all gathered in the ballroom where the rabbi--who was hilarious, and could have had his own stand-up act--gave us a little explanation on what goes on at Jewish weddings. This wasn't an orthodox situation, since the groom isn't Jewish, but they found a progressive (and funny) rabbi who would perform the ceremony for them. He taught us a little wordless melody to sing as the bride and groom entered, one at a time. If you look closely, you can see the bride entering on the arm of her parents in this picture:

Shortly after we'd entered the room, Mr. T murmured to me, "Oh, they have the good chairs. What are those called again?" I said, "Chiavari. And they're $10 per chair at our venue, so don't get too attached!" But I thought it was hilarious and a little sweet that he's taking notice of little details like the types of chairs.

Unlike your usual ceremony, where the parties head straight up to the altar (or in this case, the chuppah), instead the bride and groom sat down at a table in the back of the room, while we all stood around them in a large circle. They each read very sweet letters to each other (they did it without crying, which I'm not sure I could've managed), and then they and their witnesses signed the ketubah, or Jewish marriage contract. After that we all took our seats and the groom proceeded up the aisle to the chuppah (their wedding attendants were already holding the four poles holding the chuppah up).

The bride came up the aisle next, again accompanied by both of her parents. I really liked this and I wonder if I could talk my parents into it. Hm. I could see my mom feeling shy about doing it and my dad feeling a little hurt that I didn't want to have just him escorting me. They stopped halfway, hugged, and then the bride's parents walked up the rest of the aisle on their own, leaving the bride there. They walked up the chuppah, hugged the groom, and then took their seats. The groom then walked to meet the bride in the middle of the aisle and they did something that I've never heard about before: The bride circled the groom three times, and then he circled her three times. It was pretty sweet and also funny--both of them were grinning and giggling the whole time, and so were all of us. Then they walked up to the chuppah together, which I also liked.

The ceremony was nice--not too long, and involving audience participation--we had to say "Amen" frequently, and of course "Mazel tov" at the end, but I'll get to that. What struck me most was the bride's face--she was beaming the entire time. I couldn't see the groom's face, but I imagine he was the same way. I wonder if I'll be beaming or crying? Hopefully beaming. It's easier on the makeup. The rabbi included some personal details in his ceremony about the couple, which made it that much more special (and funny--the groom himself is hysterical, and one of the details the rabbi mentioned about the groom had us cracking up for a couple of minutes straight).

At the end the groom stomped on the glass and we screamed mazel tov at them, and they were married! They left the room to be alone together for a little while, which I totally plan on having us doing. It seems like a nice moment to celebrate what you've just done, without friends and family pulling on you for your attention.

They'd hired a great band to play immediately following the ceremony (a Balkan brass band), and once the happy couple was back, we all danced! We did some quasi-traditional Jewish line dancing (the horah), although most of us didn't really know the steps (that's what made it "quasi"), and after that came the part where the bride and groom were lifted up in chairs. I just kept thinking of that Sex and the City episode where Anthony tells Charlotte to keep her legs together while she's in the chair, "because no one wants to see the bride's beaver." Crassness aside, the bride later told me that the chair dance was "terrifying"--I guess it feels pretty unsteady, although neither of them were dropped, so it was a success (and no one saw anything, either, in case you were wondering). After that they lifted the two sets of parents in the chairs.

After the chair part was a really fun part where the bride and grooom sat in those chairs on the dance floor and we had to do crazy stuff try to make them laugh. Of course the belly dance ladies did a little piece (comprised of all of the dumb stuff we do in our rehearsals to make ourselves laugh), and their other friends and family stepped up too. I loved it! This devolved into just a general dance party with everyone on the floor. And this was all before dinner!

After all that craziness was cocktail hour. The food was delicious and plentiful, which was good since we were all hungry after all that dancing. It was an open bar, so we were all able to order our favorite cocktails, and I took advantage of the time to take photos of the escort card table and the bride's bouquet.

All of the escort cards had little icons on them corresponding to the table decor, and in addition there were maps of the ballroom indicating the placement of each table. I thought that was very cleverly done.

Because I'm a bad blogger I didn't go around and take photos of all the centerpieces. I actually didn't even take a photo of the centerpiece at our table. Ah, well. We were at the "lamp" table, which had a centerpiece comprised of three sweet little candle lamps and lovely red fabric. I liked the non-floral centerpiece idea (although of course now we are doing flowers for ours...but I still like the idea).

Speaking of flowers, her bouquet was gorgeous and covet-worthy:

Love, love, love, the black magic roses, the little curly things, and the hanging things. You can see how much I know about flowers through my use of the technical terms for them.

After the cocktail hour we were ushered in for dinner, which was delicious. The tables were taking turns making noise and being rowdy, which was funny. I can only hope our wedding is as uproarious. After we were done eating various family members and attendants made speeches, all of which were short and heartfelt. Then the bride got up and thanked everyone, explaining that as this was not a traditional wedding the first dance was also going to be untraditional. Then she introduced our bhangra teacher and her dance partner, who did a lively and fun performance. During their song we all got up on the dance floor and danced along--again, this crowd was ready and willing to dance! I loved it. After that the DJ went into some 80s tunes and we danced our hearts out, at least until the cake was ready to be cut:

Look at that crazy topsy-turvy cake! I watched as they wheeled it in, and every bump they hit set the top tiers jiggling like crazy. I have no idea how they cut it all up for us. In the bottom photo you can see part of the bride's gorgeous dress (her second dress, actually--she had major drama with her first dress maker and ended up paying for a dress that didn't fit her at all). You can also see the groom becoming sick of having his photo taken...I think men are just not used to being photographed. That's my theory on why Mr. T didn't like the engagement pix.

Anyway, to wrap up a long post, yummy cake was served (my piece was red velvet with strawberries, yum...I understand there was a chocolate tier in there too), more dancing and drinks were had, and then we went home and were very tired the next morning for work.

The happy couple left for their honeymoon in Vail and is, as I type, sipping hot chocolate and/or hitting the slopes. Mazel tov!


bilunabirotunda said...

This wedding looks like a lot of fun! Where is it, actually? It's a beautiful venue.

Also, more pics of Rachel's dress, please, if you have them!

bluntbelly said...

Its in the Regency Grand at Sutter & Van Ness, on the "Lodge Level".

I hope to have more photos of the dress this weekend, when we get the professional photographs back...