Tuesday, July 19, 2011

All that was missing was Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn

Back home from my son, Matt’s wedding to Kim in Palo Alto. I’m left with precious memories and bills. Thanks so much to all of you who have offered best wishes and mazal tovs.

Here’s a brief recap of the festivities:

We arranged for guests to stay at the Palo Alto Westin and their sister hotel, the next door Sheraton. Everyone who booked at the Westin got great rooms. Large, spacious, adjoining patios, some received suites. We got a room the size of a closet next to an ice machine, complete with faulty plumbing and a broken safe. And we’re Gold Card members. The Sheraton was also very accommodating to our guests except they wouldn’t upgrade the bridal party. But in a nod to romance they did offer them one night’s free parking.

My lovely wife provided all of our out-of-towners gift bags filled with the essentials like water, cookies, sunscreen, maps, “things to do” suggestions, Kettle Korn, and lip gloss. Not one wedding photo was ruined due to chapped lips! Debby also hosted two fabulous parties. This woman deserves a medal or at least her own reality show.

One plus to the hotels is that they’re only a few blocks from University Avenue, the main drag of Stanford University. Great bars, restaurants, and (look quick) a Borders bookstore. But you’re advised to walk there instead of drive. It’s a little tricky to get from University Avenue to El Camino (where the hotels are) and for some reason it completely baffles the Prius GPS system.  The route kept looping in and around itself. It looked on the screen like an instruction manual for tying a shoe. I think we ended up in Napa Valley.

The weather all weekend was ideal. Sunny but not hot, and 56% humidity – the perfect number for keeping all bridal party dresses wrinkle-free (after numerous portable steamer touch-ups).

The site itself was breathtaking. Mountain Terrace in Woodside, a gorgeous setting overlooking the San Francisco Bay and China. You wind up this steep mountain for seemingly ever and there it is… next to a biker bar. This is where Opie and Lyla on SONS OF ANARCHY should have gotten hitched. Also, across the street is Alice’s Restaurant (where I’m sure you can get anything you want except Alice). I’m guessing they don’t get a lot of walk-in trade.

But once on the grounds you enter a different world. One of serenity, beauty, and free of exhaust.

Had the rehearsal. Not like anything I’ve ever directed. I’m used to people saying, “Why can’t I stand over there?” “What if I gave her the ring?” “You mean I have to follow the grandmother?”

On the morning of the wedding all of the bridesmaids went off for five hours to get their hair and make up done. Now I can understand why they'd need five hours when they try to make Cher look 50, but these are pretty girls in their 20’s. Some lip gloss from our welcome bags and they should be good to go.

Why have a “Maid of Honor”? Doesn’t that just piss off the other bridesmaids?

Am I the only nimrod who can’t figure out all the clips and studs when putting on a rented tuxedo? Invariably I put my cummerbund on upside down, and asphyxiate myself with the bow tie. And borrowed formal wear is one thing, but wearing rented shoes is just weird.

Still, as I Tweeted at the time -- it was nice to wear a tuxedo and not lose an Emmy.

Shuttle vans whisked the guests up to the venue. There may be some who took their own cars. If so, they’re still up there somewhere.

Kim, the bride, was absolutely radiant. And she made the wedding dress herself. Next year at the Oscars when Ryan Seacrest asks Anne Hathaway “Who are you wearing?” I fully expect her to say “Kim Shultz!”

The ceremony was very moving. I decided not to live-blog during it. The rabbi was terrific and even did a few biker jokes. At one point Matt and Kim circled each other seven times. Good thing they didn’t do this before they walked down the aisle. If you’ve ever seen that contest held at minor league ballparks where fans have to circle a bat ten times and then run to first base, you see they get totally disoriented. Bride and groom might have veered off and crashed into trees or trampled through the audience. You don’t want that.

Fortunately, that was at the beginning of the service, stepping on the glass was at the end. If the glass breaking immediately followed the circling, both Matt and Kim would be stomping around for ten minutes trying to find the glasses.

What struck me the most about the ceremony was that I had never seen my son happier. Nor Kim. This is one couple that truly is meant to be together.

The key to any good wedding of course is the efficiency of the bartenders. And I’m happy to say Charlie Sheen would be proud to hire this crew. 

Matt’s sister, Annie was a big hit. The dessert was gourmet cupcakes and Annie designed a replica Fenway Park to showcase them (complete with a hand-drawn Green Monster). And then her speech was one of the highlights of the night. Example: “When my brother told me he had a new girlfriend who was also an engineer and loves the Red Sox I thought, ‘my brother has an imaginary girlfriend’.”

For their first dance Matt and Kim selected “Sweet Caroline”, a Bosox staple. Thank goodness the Dodgers aren't their favorite team. Their first dance might have been “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”

Here’s one tradition I never understood: The bride and groom on chairs hoisted into the air. Held up by eight drunk groomsmen. Safer to me would be walking into the biker bar and telling them to keep it down.

Wow! Matt is marrying into a family that can really dance.

My speech was delivered during the rehearsal dinner. Here is an excerpt -- wedding tips for the happy couple. You’re welcome to heed them yourself.

Find out what Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward did for fifty and just do that.

If you decide to have children, the best way to love them is to love each other first.

Find something other than a Red Sox win to set the mood for sex.

Remove your names from Match.com.

Intimacy is vitally important. At least once a day text each other that you love them.

Making mix tapes is douchy. You’re married now. Cut that crap out.

Move your parents down on your speed dial. Your spouse is number one.

Breathe Right strips help prevent snoring. Get some.

Be supportive of each other’s work. Since neither of you have a freaking clue as to what the other does, at least be positive.

Never eat at Jerry’s Deli.

And finally -- Love will keep you together. Laughter will keep you in love.

All in all, a spectacular event. Even the bikers got a little choked up.  Congratulations again, from your sappy old dad.


Carol said...

"Love will keep you together. Laughter will keep you in love."

If I knew how, I'd be needlepointing that onto a pillow right now.

bmfc1 said...

Great speech and what a wonderful cake. Congratulations to all.

Mac said...

Very moving, Ken. I'm glad you and the family had a wonderful time.
Clearly your daughter is highly gifted in the cupcake department. I remember some pirate-themed ones that looked magnificent.

RCP said...

"If you decide to have children, the best way to love them is to love each other first."


Ian said...

Ha! I've been reading your blog for years. I also happen to be one of the bikers that's always up there at Woodside/Alice's. Sounds like an amazing day.

Max Clarke said...
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Max Clarke said...
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AlaskaRay said...

Congrats to you and Debbie, and to Matt and Kim (and Annie too). I remember well when they were babies (well, not Kim). Now don't you start to cry again.


Howard Hoffman said...

I'll say it again. Coolest. Family. Ever.

The Curmudgeon said...

Congratulations to the families and best wishes to the bride and groom. I was going to comment on the first wedding post you did... I've been through this with two of my kids so far, and my speeches weren't nearly as funny... but I didn't get around to it. I mean, who knew? They play Sunrise, Sunset at Jewish weddings too?

katherine. said...

Well done Dad.
(that venue is one of our favorite destinations on the bike...easy jaunt from santa cruz)


nice SOA reference.

Anonymous said...

I am going to steel your wedding tips...if my 27yo daughter ever gets married, lol.

What a wonderful wedding. Best wishes to the bride & groom. And a hearty "Good Job" to both sets of parents.

Pam aka SisterZip

Max Clarke said...

Congratulations to two and all. Palo Alto and Woodside are great towns to start something big. Hewlett and Packard got married there.

Satisfying play-by-play, Ken, and your description of the University-El Camino confusion is accurate. Driving near Cal Train and Stanford is rough on rookies.

Annie's cupcake tribute to Fenway was beautiful, bobble heads you can actually eat. Also, "...my brother has an imaginary girlfriend," hilarious.

Will there be more photos later?

YZF said...

Mazel tov!

Cathy S. said...

Congratulations to you all. I think your daughter may have won the day with the cupcake ballpark and the "imaginary girlfriend" line. Okay, your son and new daughter-in-law won the day. My best to them both.

Although that "imaginary girlfriend" joke was great.

Karl said...

We attended the wedding of some dear friends there, and as out-of-staters (Wisconsin), the roads up and down from the site were...interesting...in a oh my god where are the street lights we're all going to die sort of way. But the wedding and site itself were fantastic, a wonderful setting. Congradulations to your son!

VP81955 said...

Perhaps the newlyweds can tick off Athletics and Giants fans by establishing a Red Sox camp in the Bay Area, as has been done in D.C. (much to my disgust):


Curse you, Larry Lucchino and the New England Evil Empire!

Roger Owen Green said...

"If you decide to have children, the best way to love them is to love each other first." Agreed.

Keep dating each other, even, maybe especially, after the kids start coming.

SebiMeyer said...

"Maid of Honor" is a title only when females hear it. Males hear that term as a challenge.

Harvey O. Hare said...

Hey, does Annie have an imaginary friend she would introduce to me?

Tim Susman said...

Congrats to the newlyweds! I'm glad you enjoyed your stay in our area. :) The Mountain Terrace is where a friend of mine got married almost two years ago, and she knows some of the owners of both that and Alice's. Glad to hear they were up to expectations.

Also we shot part of a short film for the 48-Hour Film Contest at Mountain Terrace seven years ago, but I can say for sure that your memories have better dialogue.

Chasme Chasme Galhi said...

Maybe by the time Matt & Kim have their first child, the Mariners will have scored. I know, not likely.

Bruce said...

Wonderful speech, especially the "love each other first", just brilliant. Congratulations to all.

Jeffrey Lampert said...

Reading this gave me a nice sense of deja vu. We were married at Mountain Terrace a couple of years ago. Coincidentally, it was also a Jewish wedding, *and* I'm also a Red Sox fan :)

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Jack said...

Wow, the noses in your family.