By: Heather Somaini
Weddings are kind of awesome and ours was no exception.
Tere and I had our commitment ceremony two years after we met on December 28th. It seemed fitting to have it during the Christmas holiday since that was when we met. Many of our families came in for the event. To be honest, I think most people hadn’t been to one – including our friends – and were curious. Tere and I were determined to have a traditionally untraditional wedding. Since it wasn’t legal in the state of California in 2003, we could pretty much do anything we wanted.
Picking an officiant was super important to me and the only person I really wanted was my Uncle Roy – a deacon in his very Catholic church. My Mom told me it was unlikely he would agree to do it so I kept trying to come up with other options but it wasn’t happening. I was chatting with my grandmother and relayed to her my dilemma. She said she would be happy to float the idea by Roy and see what he thought. Much to all of our surprise, he said yes. I wrote the entire ceremony from a number of different ones I found and I think Roy only changed three words in the entire thing. He was just what we needed – calm, direct, authoritative without being over the top – he was great. If you ever find yourself in Vermont requiring his services, I highly recommend him!
On a lark, we had visited a very high-end, fancy shop in Beverly Hills and I found the perfect outfit – it was just ridiculously expensive. I hunted down a woman, online of course, in Seattle who made corsets for a fraction of the price. It also happened that she was going to be in Los Angeles shopping for fabric so we could be fitted and pick out the materials in person. It worked out great and I wore red to my wedding!
We had fallen in love with Suzanne Felsen’s jewelry so we not only had her make our wedding rings, but she also outfitted the entire wedding party – from cufflinks for the men to earrings and necklaces for the women. On the day we were picking up our rings, Tere and I got into a terrible row. Tere has a serious “flight” response when confronted and loves to run away from a disagreement. But this time I was refusing to let it go. I followed her from room to room until she had no further place to go. I confronted her head-on about whatever we were arguing about. Suddenly, I got a bout of Tere’s “fight” response which apparently kicked in and she pushed me to get me away from her. Now, normally that wouldn’t have been a big deal but the corner of the bed was right behind me and I had no way to step back. I fell hard to the left, jamming almost all the fingers on my left hand. My ring finger immediately started to swell. Needless to say, it was challenging to try on my wedding ring a few hours later. To this day, Tere refers to that incident as the time “she pushed me down” and reminds me not to underestimate her!
Our cake was made at Rosebud Cakes in Beverly Hills, the same place that made Tere’s mini-birthday cake back on her 40-present 40th birthday. It was simple and perfect and just what we wanted. We placed framed pictures of both our sets of parents cutting their wedding cake with it.
My parents very much wanted to contribute to the wedding and since they were still living in Germany, I asked if they would ship their favorite wines and champagne for us. They had so many great options; they had to narrow down their wish list. I happened to call them on the day they had a blind champagne tasting with some friends – I swear my Mom will take any excuse to throw a party. I wish I had been there; it sounded like a wild time and I vaguely remember having a conversation with my Dad about using a full-size blow torch on their crème brulee!
One of the best things that happened at our wedding was the effect it had on others. Two of our friends, Chris and Jeff, who already had a son and no intention of making a public commitment to each other, realized at our wedding how important that declaration actually is. Two years later, we were at their wedding. It was gorgeous and lovely and their family grew to four.
We had 100 people at the Argyle Hotel – now the Sunset Tower – out on top of the pool for a sunset ceremony followed by dinner and dancing indoors. The weather had been abysmal for days and we were shocked when it cleared for our big day. It was really quite amazing, calm, and somewhat surreal. All the planning I had done was over, there was nothing else for me to do and I had to let it all go. No hiccup was going to make me upset – I was at peace with whatever transpired. We got ready and watched them setting up from the window in the penthouse suite. The ceremony went off without a hitch. I had been super nervous beforehand but I made it through without my voice cracking and I even made Tere laugh a little when she got weepy.
Tere though, had an ace up her sleeve and I suppose she was trying to get even with me for my long, drawn out proposal. You see, she had given me these little message stones probably six months earlier. They hadlittle words of wisdom on them like PEACE, LOVE, etc. What I didn’t know was that she had taken one particular stone out. After the ceremony, when I was finally breathing a sigh of relief, we had a few moments to ourselves before we went to greet our guests. It was so clear that this was the calm before the storm and I relished the quiet just with Tere. We were soon to be caught up in the festivities with all of our friends and family.
She gave me a card saying that now, finally, she had the one thing from me that she wanted and then that message stone fell out with the word FOREVER. It was so sweet and thoughtful and unexpected. Unexpected – my favorite part of Tere.
[Photo Credit: Teness Herman]