On October 14, 2011 …
… Jay and I prepared to exchange rings and formalize what we had already felt in our hearts since moving to San Francisco together in 2005.
… we arrived at the Julia Morgan Ballroom quite early, and spent a few hours snooping around while everything got set up; ordering two insanely large platters of Mediterranean salads, hummus, falafel, gyros, and shawarma wraps for friends and family who intended to stop by; running around downtown San Francisco in search of pita bread once we realized it had been omitted from our order by mistake; and spending a wonderfully private lunchtime together.
… I kicked Jay out once my mom arrived with my dress in tow, and sent him back to his parents and grandmother at the Omni Hotel across the street.
… the scene was set with flickering candlelight, plush couches, roaring fireplaces, and a colorful assortment of fall elements, ranging from purple and green artichokes to fiery calla lilies to Brussels sprouts, gourds, squashes, chili peppers, pumpkins, and berries.
Yes, those are artichokes in my bouquet; it was utterly fabulous.
… my sisters Cassie and Kate buttoned me into this dress, so I could twirl around in the hallway.
It was a lot more dress than I had previously realized and more dress than I will ever wear again, so I had to take advantage.
… I draped my great grandmother’s pearls around my neck. But they kept dipping inappropriately into my cleavage, so I wrapped them around my right wrist three times instead.
… clusters of ivory, champagne, gold and grey pearls dangled from my ear lobes and left wrist, and a simple, triple-strand antique brass headband dotted with the same pearl assortment rested atop my curled, tousled and pinned-up hair.
… Jay and I took a sneak peek at each other after getting all gussied up, and I stole a premarital kiss in front of the fireplace, reminiscent of our engagement.
… we paused for a more dramatic kiss in the Merchants Exchange Building lobby where our ceremony would be held in just a couple hours’ time, and then we hit the San Francisco streets.
… after jaunting around a bit in the glorious 75-degree weather, we planted ourselves on bus stop benches to give my feet a rest from 3 1/2-inch high heeled madness.
… we let loose with the Omni bellhops, who in turn threatened to let us loose down California Street.
… we basked in the love of our families.
… we descended in opposite elevators, and met in the middle to walk up the aisle together while our talented friend Brian strummed this song on guitar.
… my uncle Bill delivered the most incredible wedding ceremony speech I have ever heard, weaving together our cultural backgrounds, marital advice, and personal elements. We teared up. Then Bill advised us to “not forget the lemon zest,” and I succumbed to hysterical laughter.
… we got symbolic and lit candles with our beautiful mothers.
… we vowed. Jay went first and, naturally, delivered a perfectly poised performance. I, on the other hand, apparently heaved a big sigh right into the microphone before starting to speak. Audience laughter ensued. Thanks guys.
… having been declared husband and wife, we retreated giddily down the aisle to this song.
(Background: the first time we heard it, we were UCLA students, driving down Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, and Jay adamantly refused to believe me that his favorite band of all time – 311 – had released a cover of The Cure’s song; then the song ended, and he stood corrected by the radio announcer.)
… I felt so loved.
… we began married life with romantic smooches in the beautiful shadows cast by downtown San Francisco’s city lights.
… we offered wine, beer and specialty cocktails for our family and friends to enjoy in the bar and lounge while we spent private time together in the ballroom (i.e., we nervously tested out the dance floor before our coordinator opened the doors and invited everyone in).
… in lieu of a formal, sit-down dinner, we opted for a more social approach: tons of appetizers.
… our guests enjoyed passed appetizers ranging from duck mole taquitos and chilitos rellenos stuffed with chorizo and mango salsa, to bacon-wrapped and gorgonzola-stuffed filet mignon, brie and pear phyllo purses (not pictured), and goat cheese and spinach crostini.
… Chef Gustavo served butternut squash soup in teacups, crab cakes on spoons, and shrimp diablo tequila cocktail shooters at a station.
… we listened as our parents and then our friends toasted us.
… we thanked our families and friends for supporting and celebrating us, then immediately moved into our first dance, unannounced.
… for a minute or so, we glided across the floor to this song, which Jay sent me via AOL Instant Messenger to cheer me up on a lonely night back in college; then boogied down Dirk Diggler-style, wearing fabulous shades we picked up in the Haight just a day earlier.
… I danced so enthusiastically that I stepped on my dress at the end and ripped out the button holding up the bustle.
… my sisters MacGyvered something out of rubber bands and a binder clip, but I ripped that one out 30 minutes later.
… I hiked up the dress, slung it over my arm, and mentally thanked Bar Method for all the pushups and bicep curls that made me strong enough to carry the dress around the rest of the night.
… speaking of dancing snafus, one of our friends so thoroughly enjoyed the
libations music that his legs got away from him and he got up close and personal with the dance floor. Naturally, I called our photographer over immediately to capture the moment.
… after I got questioned about it all night (even before the appetizers were served!), the homemade-by-me dessert spread emerged, finally.
… guests attacked the s’mores brownies, and the stand needed prompt refilling. Thank goodness I made more than one for every person there!
… Jay clued me in that the dessert bar had opened. Immediately, I dragged him up to the microphone so I could reveal the surprise double chocolate sour cream cake I had made him before everyone else devoured it.
… after cutting my new husband a slice, I served the heart-shaped top of the cake to my adorable soon-to-be step-niece.
… the crowd continued to swarm the dessert bar and venue staff continued to refill the platters throughout the rest of the evening.
… coconut macaroons, curried cashews, and rosemary bourbon-brined almonds vanished from the tables holding 32 square feet of my homemade desserts. Oh the insanity!
… one friend turned evangelical and started spreading the good news … about my Mexican wedding cookies.
… other friends basically molested me, although they claimed to be helping me hold it up. Apparently girls love playing with a big dress!
… we tried to stop once in awhile and take everything in, but in reality, the night was a blur.
… we hoped the half-empty glasses left at the night’s end meant everyone had as incredible a time as we did.
… we bid our friends and family so long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night.
… a car whisked us away and back to our apartment, where we continue to float on a newlywed love cloud three months later.
Thank you to all the amazing people who made our wedding day so wonderful:
All photography in this post was shot and edited by sisters Dana Hargitay and Gina Logan of enLuce photography.
Pearl cluster earrings and headband was custom designed and created by my incredibly talented high school classmate Jen of Glowfly Designs.
Pearl cluster bracelet was custom designed and created by Paige of Little White Chapel.
Floral and candle arrangements were designed and provided by Carol of An Added Touch Flowers.
Artistic, delicious array of appetizers created by Executive Chef Gustavo.
Beautiful signage designed and created by my dear friend Courtney of Darts Meet Heart.
Bridal hair and makeup services were provided by Jane of The Glamourist.
Incredible reception music provided by Jeremy and Jeannine of DJ Jeremy Productions.
Ceremony and reception were held in the lobby and Julia Morgan Ballroom within San Francisco’s Merchants Exchange Building, with event management and coordination provided by Linda Hylen, Anna Fecskes, Kim Thornton, and Tosca Clark.