Hello all, this is Bilunabirotunda. Our lovely Beth has asked me to share the two weekends (back to back!) I spent at weddings.
Executive summary: I am now jaded on normal weddings. Despite being a classicist at heart, I hope Beth and Mr. T will go all out in being themselves, having fun, and helping us have fun!
These two August weddings were nice, but kind of dull. Very similar format: Ceremony at one location, then traipse over to another location, wait around for food and/or bridal party to show up, make conversation with strangers, eat, wait, wait, wait, dance. Cake. Home.
Ceremony 1 was at Preservation Park in Oakland - non-denominational. Ceremony 2 was at Founder's Chapel at the University of San Diego, and was a full Catholic nuptial mass! My first for that.
I don't have any pics of bride 1's dress, but it was the usual white strapless affair, corset lacing - however, with a dark purple insert in the back from top to bottom, long train, and silver embroidery edging around bodice and insert. The bridesmaids wore dark purple and the groomsmen wore red. Bride 2's dress was also white and strapless, but straight, and with a layered skirt. She had a silver belt and her bridesmaids wore purple too. (She told me later, though, that her dress had been accidentally bustled the whole time!) Groomsmen had gray suits and lavender shirts, purple ties. Is this the in color scheme? I liked both dresses - not a big strapless fan, but both brides are thin and have nice figures so it worked for them. Similar veils. Both weddings also had flower girls who just walked up the aisle and ring bearers with the traditional sulky look.
Reception 1 was at the California Ballroom in downtown Oakland, and reception 2 was at the Catamaran Hotel in San Diego. It was at this point that I really appreciated the organizational skills of team 2 - at reception 1, no one, including my friend the groomsman, knew what was going on, where people should be, or when food/bridal party would show up. At reception 2 it was clearly stated in the lobby that we'd have cocktails on the beach for a certain time, then dinner in the ballroom. Cocktails on the beach was undeniably lovely - so we passed the time not unwell. I think the alcohol was free all around, but I liked the champagne/chambord cocktail the waiters brought round, so never checked it out. Also, as part of the package, exotic bird handlers walked around showing off parrots.
And there were baby hula dancers off to the side (not part of the wedding).
Reception 2 scored for flowers, dinner service, and room to sit, but the actual food was better at reception 1 - three or four buffet stations with different things, though you had to stand in line, and there was some disgruntlement. At reception 2, everyone got chicken except my vegetarian husband, who scored pesto pasta. As on an airline flight, the vegetarians do better in the mass meal production line.
The usual toasts, etc, and formulaic dances. Couple 1 do Dickens Fair a lot, so I liked the guy who said, "and may nothing Dickens wrote about ever happen to you!" Couple 1 scored for dancing - they and most of their friends are rabid Victorian ballroom dancers. Couple 1 also had a live band the whole time. And one of their friends had commissioned an original waltz especially for their wedding, which the band played! The dancing was beautiful to watch if intimidating to join. (The Vegetarian Husband does not like dancing and I was in a bad mood caused by a delayed dinner.) Couple 2 just had a DJ, and run of the mill wedding music. Fun for the young people if dull for the older ones. Wedding 2 also had higher heels because it was farther south in CA.
I liked both cakes. Cake 1 had cool molded chocolate leaves with real red currants as accents, and cake 2 was decorated only with real orchids. Classy.
Both weddings had sweet moments and periods of boredom. I guess it's hard for a wedding to be all things to all people. ;-) Couple 2 were so tremendously happy! I liked that. But my favorite moment was at reception 1: the four young flower girls were dancing by themselves, and the flautist played Pop Goes the Weasel for them to dance to. Kind of summed it all up. Get married and have a party. The rest is just showing off, and though I hope Beth will top the lists, as long as they're happy and I don't have to sit around waiting too long, this wedding guest will be just fine.