Your Dad and I got married four years ago today. We were living in New York City at the time and had considered all sorts of different weddings. We had flown to Sonoma the previous Christmas to see about getting married at a vineyard. We even chose one and made a deposit, but that night I had major second thoughts about asking our families and friends to fly across the country for our wedding. We thought about having a big wedding in Chicago, we considered a small ceremony in Italy, we talked about eloping. Ultimately, we landed on a very small gathering in Central Park. Nonnie and Pops, Grandma and Grandpa, Uncle John and Aunt Jamie, and Aunt Liz and Uncle Rob were invited. We also planned to have a party in Chicago so that we could celebrate with all of the other important people in our lives. Grandma and Grandpa could only come to one event, and we wanted them to meet my whole family, so they decided to skip the New York wedding and come to Chicago. It was hard to leave out Aunt Robin and Aunt Beverley and Uncle Mike and Uncle Paul, but we really wanted to keep the group small. Uncle John and Aunt Liz were our witnesses.
Sept 19, 2008 was a Friday. We had spent the night before eating pizza and meeting with Michael, who would be our officiant. Dad worked with Michael's wife, and knew that he was ordained. We told him about how we had met, and what kind of ceremony we wanted to have: short and simple, but meaningful. The morning of our wedding, I woke up earlier than anyone else. I couldn't stay put in our little apartment, so I walked to the grocery store. I remember running into our friend Forest on 23rd St. "We're getting married today!" I exclaimed. He gave me a big hug. Later that day Aunt Liz tried to show me a funny video about someone named Bon-qui-qui, but I was too wound up to appreciate it, and she finally gave up on explaining it to me.
Dad, Pops, John and Rob spent the afternoon together. They had lunch and then went to Ermengildo Zegna to get custom shirts designed. Nonnie, Liz, Jamie and I went to see Krister, who cut my hair when I lived in New York (and even sometimes after we moved to California, when I was on business trips.) He did everyone's hair that day. We drank mimosas and his assistant ordered us lunch. We stopped at a random bodega for my bouquet and finished getting ready back at home, without the boys. Then a limo picked us up to take us to the park.
We had decided to get married at Turtle Pond, near Belvedere Castle. This was technically illegal, so Michael crafted a story for us in case we got stopped. We were going to be actors rehearsing a wedding scene. We got to the entrance we had agreed upon and everyone started trickling in from their respective prep locations. Michael arrived, as did our photographer Tyler, dressed in a t-shirt and camouflage pants. "I thought this was a casual wedding!" he exclaimed, when he saw my long white dress. We assured him that his attire was perfectly acceptable. And it was good that he was dressed that way, because he ended up on the ground, running ahead of us through the grass, and hopping through bushes to get the perfect shots.
The only people missing were Dad and Uncle John, who had decided it would be a great idea to take the Subway to the wedding. It got delayed, and they were down there sweating in their suits. Finally, they made it, and we all walked through the park together, the meandering pathways our very own makeshift aisle. We did not get hassled by any authorities, but plenty of people stopped to watch and congratulate us.
The ceremony was short, but lovely. Michael had prepared some readings of Rumi, and some thoughts on how Dad and I had found each other. We said our vows and exchanged rings, kissed, and were married. Then we made our way to the castle to take more pictures. The limo was waiting to take us for a champagne toast at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, with a beautiful view of the park. From there we went to dinner in Tribeca at Scalini Fedeli (Steps of Faith.) I wish I could tell you what I ate, but all I remember is laughing and more toasts. And one very careful trip down the stairs to the bathroom. The whole group finished the evening at the Gramercy Park Hotel, where Dad and I had chosen to spend our wedding night. There was more champagne on the rooftop and definitely more laughing.
It was the perfect wedding day.