Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Married Off

Barbarella
Barbarella

All weddings, except those with shotguns in evidence, are wonderful. — Liz Smith

The first one was periwinkle and the texture of living room drapes. The second was a shiny satin the shade of sea-foam green. The third — my favorite, as its sable, “iridescent espresso” tone was the only one to suit my strawberries-and-cream complexion — was 100 percent silk. I have worn just three bridesmaid gowns, one for each of my sisters. Heather, second oldest, was first to march down the aisle, followed by Jane, the eldest. Jenny, last to be born, was also last to be married.

I’ve attended my share of weddings — of both gay and straight families, friends and acquaintances — and I have come to believe that the manner in which a couple chooses to interpret the traditions of ceremony and reception reveals not only what is important to them in a wedding, but also what is important to them in life.

Let’s start with periwinkle. Heather (who was a young girl when she decided her future was to be a happily married teacher and mother of two) cherishes tradition and all things right and proper. In the months leading up to her ceremony, Heather focused on favors and programs, painstakingly ensuring that not one point of etiquette was breached. Sean, Heather’s groom and a devout atheist, “converted” to Catholicism by agreeing to hand his children over to the church in order to grant his fiancée’s wish for a traditional Catholic wedding in the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá. Though he didn’t follow her faith, Sean shares Heather’s reverence for tradition, and he was active in the preparations. Heather and Sean met with the deacon and his wife for six consecutive weeks to discuss issues with which many couples struggle. “We weren’t just preparing for our wedding,” Heather told me, “we were preparing for our marriage.”

Their reception was held on the steamship William D. Evans in Mission Bay. This complemented Sean’s nautical background (he’d sailed around the world), while also guaranteeing for Heather that no guests would leave before the garter and bouquet were tossed. My date, upon realizing he would be trapped for three hours on a boat with my family, got cold feet on the gangplank and refused to board the ship, leaving my parents to pay for a meal of lobster bisque and filet mignon that would go uneaten.

Sea-foam green was Jane’s choice of color for her wedding party. She got married right around the time MasterCard released that commercial: “Sea-foam green shoes, $90; sea-foam green dress, $200; a friend that you would wear sea-foam green for? Priceless.” By the time Jane saw the ad, it was too late to change the scheme, but there was plenty of time left for her to fret and feel guilty about making us wear a color that had become a national joke. It turned out for the best because guilt is sort of Jane’s thing; in the midst of all the pre-wedding craziness, the sea-foaminess of the material she chose provided a safe haven for her neuroses, and it gave the rest of us ammunition with which to tease her, the immense power of which remains intact ten years later.

Jane, the family’s fashionista, expressed her nuptials with style. Both the wedding and reception were a fairy-tale affair held at Mt. Woodson castle in Ramona. Whereas Heather’s dress had been adorned with conventional pearls and lace, Jane’s was an elegant plain ivory silk with an A-line cut and a medieval-style high waist. Jane’s ceremony was the most emotional. She and her husband Simon — an outwardly calm and collected guy — sniffled and sobbed their way through the poignant vows they’d written themselves, at the end of which not a dry eye was left in the castle.

Iridescent espresso was not Jenny’s choice so much as it was Heather’s, her maid of honor. Jenny and Brad wanted two things — for the ceremony to be uncomplicated and to share a bit of themselves with family and friends. Jenny left most of the details, like the flowers and favors, to Mom and Heather, who, with their experience and willingness, were perfect choices for the job. Mom found the location overlooking the water behind the Island Palms hotel on Shelter Island and handled all the arrangements. The ceremony itself was perfunctory, lasting no more than ten minutes. The most elaborate feature of the affair was Jenny’s golden-ivory dress, in which her sisters got to see the youngest and only flaxen-haired member of our family shine.

Both Jenny and Brad poured most of their preparatory effort into selecting songs to be played at key moments and choosing photographs for the slide show to be screened for guests during the reception. Music and photos — symbolism and memories woven together — are an integral part of Jenny’s life. The Beatles tune “All You Need Is Love” was the wedding recessional. Jenny and Brad took to the floor to “Square One” by Tom Petty; Brad and his mother danced to “Brand New Day” by Van Morrison, and Jenny and Dad performed their practiced father/daughter dance steps to Abba’s “Thank You for the Music.” Of the slide show, Jenny said, “We wanted to portray as much about our lives and ourselves so people could understand who we were, who we are as a couple, and how we got there.”

Crimson would have been the color for my bridesmaids had I had any, but I did not plan a wedding. It may seem contrary to my nature to forgo such a great opportunity for attention, but my choice to elope is very much in line with my values. As the black sheep of my family, I have never embraced the traditional. David and I are religion-free, child-free, and unconventional in myriad other ways. Years before our “wedding,” we’d already considered ourselves partnered for life; we entered into the institution of marriage not for sentimental reasons, but for practical ones — it was the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to change my name and legally grant my love his pull-the-plug rights. And so it was that one Wednesday just over a year ago, wedged between errands to the supermarket and the dry-cleaners, David and I made our way down to the county courthouse and joined the ranks of governmentally approved couples.

The day after Jenny’s wedding, the entire family, including a horde of relatives from Brooklyn, Jersey, and Staten Island, congregated at Mom’s for a celebratory bash. Children squealed and splashed in the pool while most of the adults guzzled wine, beer, or daiquiris while discussing everything from who should be the next president to whether or not Uncle Jimmy needs Botox for his 50th birthday. Heather and Sean, Jane and Simon, Jenny and Brad, David and I shared stories and laughter with the rest of the family. When I noticed each couple had at some point stepped away from the crowd to have a moment to themselves, it occurred to me that despite the differences with which we had each handled our marriages, my sisters and I had all, quite similarly, fallen in love with men who, as far as we can tell, were specifically designed to make us happy.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Fall equinox, smoggiest days, Chinese flame trees, Saturn and Jupiter near moon

Natural San Diego, September 21-28
Next Article

Not your father's Normal Heights

"All the neighbors came out and danced in the streets"
Barbarella
Barbarella

All weddings, except those with shotguns in evidence, are wonderful. — Liz Smith

The first one was periwinkle and the texture of living room drapes. The second was a shiny satin the shade of sea-foam green. The third — my favorite, as its sable, “iridescent espresso” tone was the only one to suit my strawberries-and-cream complexion — was 100 percent silk. I have worn just three bridesmaid gowns, one for each of my sisters. Heather, second oldest, was first to march down the aisle, followed by Jane, the eldest. Jenny, last to be born, was also last to be married.

I’ve attended my share of weddings — of both gay and straight families, friends and acquaintances — and I have come to believe that the manner in which a couple chooses to interpret the traditions of ceremony and reception reveals not only what is important to them in a wedding, but also what is important to them in life.

Let’s start with periwinkle. Heather (who was a young girl when she decided her future was to be a happily married teacher and mother of two) cherishes tradition and all things right and proper. In the months leading up to her ceremony, Heather focused on favors and programs, painstakingly ensuring that not one point of etiquette was breached. Sean, Heather’s groom and a devout atheist, “converted” to Catholicism by agreeing to hand his children over to the church in order to grant his fiancée’s wish for a traditional Catholic wedding in the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá. Though he didn’t follow her faith, Sean shares Heather’s reverence for tradition, and he was active in the preparations. Heather and Sean met with the deacon and his wife for six consecutive weeks to discuss issues with which many couples struggle. “We weren’t just preparing for our wedding,” Heather told me, “we were preparing for our marriage.”

Their reception was held on the steamship William D. Evans in Mission Bay. This complemented Sean’s nautical background (he’d sailed around the world), while also guaranteeing for Heather that no guests would leave before the garter and bouquet were tossed. My date, upon realizing he would be trapped for three hours on a boat with my family, got cold feet on the gangplank and refused to board the ship, leaving my parents to pay for a meal of lobster bisque and filet mignon that would go uneaten.

Sea-foam green was Jane’s choice of color for her wedding party. She got married right around the time MasterCard released that commercial: “Sea-foam green shoes, $90; sea-foam green dress, $200; a friend that you would wear sea-foam green for? Priceless.” By the time Jane saw the ad, it was too late to change the scheme, but there was plenty of time left for her to fret and feel guilty about making us wear a color that had become a national joke. It turned out for the best because guilt is sort of Jane’s thing; in the midst of all the pre-wedding craziness, the sea-foaminess of the material she chose provided a safe haven for her neuroses, and it gave the rest of us ammunition with which to tease her, the immense power of which remains intact ten years later.

Jane, the family’s fashionista, expressed her nuptials with style. Both the wedding and reception were a fairy-tale affair held at Mt. Woodson castle in Ramona. Whereas Heather’s dress had been adorned with conventional pearls and lace, Jane’s was an elegant plain ivory silk with an A-line cut and a medieval-style high waist. Jane’s ceremony was the most emotional. She and her husband Simon — an outwardly calm and collected guy — sniffled and sobbed their way through the poignant vows they’d written themselves, at the end of which not a dry eye was left in the castle.

Iridescent espresso was not Jenny’s choice so much as it was Heather’s, her maid of honor. Jenny and Brad wanted two things — for the ceremony to be uncomplicated and to share a bit of themselves with family and friends. Jenny left most of the details, like the flowers and favors, to Mom and Heather, who, with their experience and willingness, were perfect choices for the job. Mom found the location overlooking the water behind the Island Palms hotel on Shelter Island and handled all the arrangements. The ceremony itself was perfunctory, lasting no more than ten minutes. The most elaborate feature of the affair was Jenny’s golden-ivory dress, in which her sisters got to see the youngest and only flaxen-haired member of our family shine.

Both Jenny and Brad poured most of their preparatory effort into selecting songs to be played at key moments and choosing photographs for the slide show to be screened for guests during the reception. Music and photos — symbolism and memories woven together — are an integral part of Jenny’s life. The Beatles tune “All You Need Is Love” was the wedding recessional. Jenny and Brad took to the floor to “Square One” by Tom Petty; Brad and his mother danced to “Brand New Day” by Van Morrison, and Jenny and Dad performed their practiced father/daughter dance steps to Abba’s “Thank You for the Music.” Of the slide show, Jenny said, “We wanted to portray as much about our lives and ourselves so people could understand who we were, who we are as a couple, and how we got there.”

Crimson would have been the color for my bridesmaids had I had any, but I did not plan a wedding. It may seem contrary to my nature to forgo such a great opportunity for attention, but my choice to elope is very much in line with my values. As the black sheep of my family, I have never embraced the traditional. David and I are religion-free, child-free, and unconventional in myriad other ways. Years before our “wedding,” we’d already considered ourselves partnered for life; we entered into the institution of marriage not for sentimental reasons, but for practical ones — it was the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to change my name and legally grant my love his pull-the-plug rights. And so it was that one Wednesday just over a year ago, wedged between errands to the supermarket and the dry-cleaners, David and I made our way down to the county courthouse and joined the ranks of governmentally approved couples.

The day after Jenny’s wedding, the entire family, including a horde of relatives from Brooklyn, Jersey, and Staten Island, congregated at Mom’s for a celebratory bash. Children squealed and splashed in the pool while most of the adults guzzled wine, beer, or daiquiris while discussing everything from who should be the next president to whether or not Uncle Jimmy needs Botox for his 50th birthday. Heather and Sean, Jane and Simon, Jenny and Brad, David and I shared stories and laughter with the rest of the family. When I noticed each couple had at some point stepped away from the crowd to have a moment to themselves, it occurred to me that despite the differences with which we had each handled our marriages, my sisters and I had all, quite similarly, fallen in love with men who, as far as we can tell, were specifically designed to make us happy.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Protestors accuse Trump Boat Parade of trading in racist stereotypes

White Suprema-sea?
Next Article

Afro hair, piercings, obsession with abdomens, T-shirts talk, the beauty of henna, worry about fat

What San Diegans think of their clothes and their bodies
Comments
7

What a delightful slice of life!

Yours is ALWAYS the first column I read in the Reader every week. The entertaining glimpse into your world makes Thursdays (the day the Reader hits the newsstands) special.

The Uncle Jimmy needing Botox comment knocked me off my chair!

Your description of the wedding has brought back memories of how we Italians celebrate (anything) in such a unique and wonderful way.

Pat

Aug. 1, 2008

Thank you, Pat, what a nice comment! And thank you for reading each week, it makes it more fun for me to write when I know people are actually reading my words. ;)

Aug. 1, 2008

SDdancer, I'm not a parent, but I believe I speak for mine when I say I couldn't agree more -- all parents want (most of them) is for their children to be healthy and happy. In that regard, my parents have been fortunate in getting what they wanted. And I am delighted to know that you enjoy my stories! :)

Aug. 6, 2008

Great article again! Usually your article is the only one I read as the articles always bring a smile to my face. I loved the pix, comments about each sister's wedding, and the father/daughter dance! My favorite part was imaging how wonderful it would be as a parent to have each child married to a wonderful man. It looks like a great time was had by all. Keep up the great work (which seems to get better each year).

Aug. 5, 2008

Awww, I had my wedding at the Island Palms too. Congratulations to Jenny & Brad!

Aug. 6, 2008

The William D. Evans is not a steamship. If it were truly steam-driven, it would be a steamboat. Having worked on tourist boats in this area for 20 years, I'd bet money that the Evans is diesel-powered.

That factual discrepancy aside, I enjoyed the comparison among the different approaches to weddings. I've officiated at quite a few over the years, and the variety is truly amazing.

Aug. 6, 2008

Thank you for the clarification, jgreene. I just checked, and you are indeed correct, the William D. Evans has "twin 400-horsepower, turbo-charged diesel engines [that] provide more than those steam-powered giants could ever dream of producing," according to one description. I had assumed the word "steamship" also described the style of the boat, even if it wasn't powered by steam.

Thank you for reading, and for your informative and thoughtful comment! Best, Barbarella

Aug. 7, 2008

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close