It was with great interest that I read the piece in the Times yesterday about a couple who opted for a small, do-it-yourself wedding. I wondered when this day would come, and I hope it's the beginning of a trend. Every time I read or hear about a contemporary lollapalooza-style wedding, I feel for the parents, the groom and the bride. It has become a bloated, vicious industry, taking almost all the romance out of the sweet and simple ritual of nuptials. (Gaining on weddings is the trend of "staging" houses that are for sale; another predatory industry).
My own wedding was small and my husband and I wouldn't have had it any other way. Keeping it small made it possible for us to do it ourselves, our way, and that was one of the many joys of getting married. I know, I'm from the generation that eschewed anything that felt out of the Eisenhower years -- grand, big, formal -- preferring instead to be lowkey, casual, intimate. How many baby boomers got married in bare feet, I wonder? Lots. For some time now, we've been deeply back in the Eisenhower ethic (nothing to do with the man, only the era) and gosh I hope that's almost over. I'd love to see flea markets piled with stilettos, hair extensions, vagina jewels and what not. People, let's get real.
My husband I married at our 200-year-old stone and stucco farm house in Upperville, Va. We set the date for May 10th, because it was the same day we met, making our wedding day a Monday. We did all the flowers ourselves, we organized the food with a local caterer, who worked out of her own home kitchen. A concession to grandeur was very good Champagne and very good food. The guest list was small: family and a couple dozen friends. We did have "witnesses," our friends Patrick O'Connell and Rinehardt Lynch, who owned our favorite restaurant, The Inn at Little Washington (not yet a hotel). We had our pre-nuptial dinner there, and it was only family. In other words, small.
A Justice of the Peace married us in the living room at 5-ish. I forget exactly, except I know I followed the rule of the big hand either sweeping up or down the clock. My father walked me from the entrance hall into the living room. My wedding ring was a little gold link ring made by Elsa Peretti. It had one small diamond. (It also later got stolen ... so.)
I did wear a very lovely and traditional wedding dress, designed by Gina Fratini. But I bought it out of the window at Harrod's department store in London. No planning, no fittings, no hoopla. We saw the dress in the window, went in an inquired, and bought it. I knew it was the *dress in which I wanted to get married, even though the wedding would still be a long way off. My wedding slippers were the same white Capezio jazz sneakers I wore the night I met Howard at a private after hours party at Clyde's. He scuffed them and that got my attention. They were sentimental shoes. Besides, I wasn't going to get married in a farm house in a pair of Manolo Blahnik's.
After the wedding ceremony we drank Champagne, ate good food, and delicious cake from the Watergate Pastry Shop (classic pound cake with white fondant).( We saved the top tier for our first anniversary.) The bakery was next door to the salon where I got my hair done earlier that day, by George Ozturk, who now owns George at The Four Seasons. The first time George ever did my hair was for my wedding. It was long and he piled it on my head and placed little sprigs of Lily of the Valley here and there, to match my bouquet. Colleen Birmingham gave me a nice manicure. She's still with George.
I remember Howard and I came into DC in the morning, picked up the flowers, the cake, I got my hair done, etc., and then we drove back to Upperville, to get the house ready for our wedding. It was so simple and so much fun.
That night we drove back into DC, spent the night at the new Four Seasons Hotel, and then departed early the next morning for a honeymoon on Bermuda.
*Call me crazy, but I've already purchased the dress for my next wedding, whenever in the hell that may be. It hangs in my closet, glowing with simplicity and elegance. First order of business is finding Mr. Right II. I know he's out there, but he's not reading this. He fully understands the web, but his doesn't use social media to function. He has a cell phone, maybe the PGA and NFL app, and does email to communicate with his kids. He does not tweet or FB. I could go on...