There were many things I didn't write about during our wedding in May, mainly because I was too busy DOING. I was throwing a huge party, spending time with out-of-town guests, planning the summer's American Idol tour, and preparing to leave town for four months. No wonder I was sobbing in bed the night before I left home, ten days after the wedding. But hey, it all worked out! No Idols or brides were killed so that's cool.
Even though I haven't written much about it, I've since thought about it a lot because other people bring it up. And I love that; I love that it was the kind of party that seven months later is still inspiring stories. I'm proud to have had "the gayest straight wedding" some people have ever seen, that so many more people in my life now know each other, and that I've been told we should have a wedding reunion in May 2011.
The thing is, though, that no matter how much you don't want to make a big deal out of weddings, if you have a big wedding it ends up being a big deal. Bringing 250 people together like we did to eat and drink and dance takes time and money. One way we tried to keep it feeling like us was to hire people we knew and support businesses that were local and/or small and independent.
I might have gone too far sometimes - my cousins Lauren and Mary Beth and friend Sunny probably would have appreciated more direction than "wear whatever you want, I really don't care" for walking down the aisle - but in the end they all looked comfortable and lovely, just not matching.
I hope that everyone felt appreciated for everything they did for us and with us and that if there was any stress it evaporated in the alcohol haze.
Cheryl Eschenbach, a family friend of the Coopers who accompanied Matthew at his many singing recitals growing up, played the piano before the ceremony. Our friend Kevin Frey handled the music during procession and got us the hook up on a ridiculously powerful sound system. The main DJ of the night - though others jumped in, including Matthew - was DJ Identity, another local friend.
Photo credit: DJ Empirical
When I spent the night with Miguel and Mark in San Diego a few weeks ago, they were telling me their favorite moments of the night and we were all laughing. Miguel recalled that the first record Identity put on the turntables got tons of people to jump out of their seats and dance. We don't remember what song it was, I just know that when it happened I was surprised it was still light out and people were already boogieing so hard.
Matthew AKA The Librarian
The fact that we opened the bar before the ceremony started - a hot tip we got from Sara and Michael - may have helped. The bar at their wedding was accidentally opened early and they received many thanks from those who sat through the ceremony nursing margaritas. We decided to do the same, but on purpose.
The night before we had a pre-party in the "train depot" on the Oneonta grounds. We had the land and the buildings all weekend so took advantage of the ability to pre-funk and let everyone get warmed up. I know some people think weekend-long weddings are overbearing but I think that if you have a lot of people traveling in from out of town, it's kind of nice to be able to pace yourself. As long as no activities are mandatory since I hate being told what to do.
The aftermath of the pre-party was a mess with empty and unopened bottles everywhere and from here Jocardo foraged a bottle of honey bourbon that everyone drank after the wedding ceremony was over.
Judy, my mother-in-law
Jim, my father-in-law
Our minister was Sara. The founders of the Universal Life Church may be crazy but they are also brilliant. I think it's beautiful that so many of us now officiate ceremonies for each other instead of some crusty old guy who doesn't even know you.
This is a photo of Sara slow dancing with Laura, our friend who made party favors for all of the guests.
Laura started Blackett Body Basics because her kids had allergic reactions to the products she bought in stores. She handmade all of of the bags we gave out and surprised us with the idea to imprint some of them with our symbols the key and the bee. So sweet. The second photo below is Motor Oil, the hand moisturizer she and Matthew designed for Race Car Productions.
Chrissy from Wai-Ching Clothing made my dress and I got my metal bouquet from the Refinerii Etsy shop. I first saw my boots when Matthew and I were walking around Vegas on Jan 1, the day of our Elvis wedding. I knew they were my wedding boots and went into the Diesel store to try them on but they didn't have my size so I didn't get to wear them that night to the Graceland chapel. Then, a few months later, I found them online for half off. Score!
Neil and Monica, the hair/make up team during the summer on tour, made us look pretty. Neil doubled as ring bearer and Monica as wardrobe. I especially liked when she steamed my ribbons using her flatiron and some heavy breathing and when she smooshed my boobs together so that we could pull the corset tight.
We bought thank you gifts for family members, the wedding party, and people who helped out from Cyberoptix Tie Lab and picked out scarves and ties with different hand-silkscreened designs that made us think of each person.
Appetizers, dinner, and brownies were made by A Forkable Feast, Jane's mom catering company. Thank you Randy Bloch! The wine served was Burnet Ridge, a winery in North College Hill, Cincinnati.
Bob Ihrig, a Cooper friend, took photos after the ceremony. And lots of others helped out, offering to pick people up from the airport, drive people home, do errands, and pitch in any way they could. It was seriously such a group effort and makes me really happy to remember. Plus? So fun.