The Wedding


The wedding “if-thens” for us were pretty simple:

  • If we wanted to have all four kids attend the wedding (given that all four are in college, one in Ireland), then the wedding had to be in the summer.
  • If we wanted to have all four parents there, then the wedding had to be in the Los Angeles area (given that Alison's parents and Dave’s parents – well, Kate's, technically, but Dave has known Bill and Janet for more than a quarter of a century and he thinks of them as his parents now – all live in greater Los Angeles and all are old enough that they don’t want to be flying hither and yon any more.
  • If we wanted to avoid intersecting with various birthdays, previously planned trips, college shenanigans and the like, then the wedding had to be in the first two weeks of July.
  • If we wanted to make it easier for out of town people to attend, then planning on a four-day holiday weekend made sense so that people who were travelling had an extra day.
  • If we wanted something beautiful, elegant and (relative to, say, planning a destination wedding at the Mt. Everest North Base Camp) easy, then we should have the wedding at a nice hotel.

Ergo:  Sunday, July 5, 2015 at the Langham Huntington Hotel  in Pasadena.  The Langham (formerly the Ritz Carlton Huntington Hotel) is one of those grand Pasadena landmarks that has maintained its luster for more than the century that it has been in existence.  

The Langham Hotel

The Lobby of the Langham

The three day wedding extravaganza started off on Friday morning with – of course! – some bridal party pampering for Alison, Brie, Maddy and Janu with the famed SoCal “manis/pedis” at the Langham spa.  This bit of frilly primping (where wine was served!) was followed by much more intellectual pursuits as a group went to the Huntington Gardens in the afternoon, before the wedding rehearsal.  Or, at least some of us did.  Dave’s good friend Rick flew all the way in from Boston for the wedding and he was supposed to hop in one of the cars headed to the Huntington as we were all divvying up in the “I’ll ride with you, no, no, no, YOU” driving scramble and … we left him behind.  Oh yes we did.  Not only that, we DITCHED him.  Just totally and completely ditched and forgot the poor guy when he ran up to his room to grab a hat. 


So poor Rick had to settle in at the Langham pool bar with its airy misters and its ceaselessly attentive may-I-get-you-another-drink-sir waiters and a cold brewski(s) while the rest of us got to tramp around the Huntington Gardens in a 100 desiccating degree heat with the sun mercilessly beating down and nary a cloud in the humidless sky.  Oddly enough, Rick took it all in remarkably good humor and stride when we got back.  Go figure. 

After an easy wedding rehearsal, a lovely dinner followed at The Terrace, the Langham’s casual restaurant.  Between the actual wedding party, close friends, and welcome family we ended up with around twenty-four people drinking and dining.  

The pre-wedding dinner followed on Saturday evening, when we hosted the extended family and out-of-town friends at Seco restaurant in Pasadena on July 4th.  With over forty people, we took over the restaurant’s entire front patio.  And may we say that the restaurant folks at Seco were delighted:  we made their night because, it being July 4th, the rest of the restaurant was pretty much dead.  We all ate, drank and were merry and got absolutely great food and service!

Jesse, Arielya, Lucia, Tommy, Joey, Heidi

Maddy, Noah, Will, and Janu

Aidan, Brie, and Lisa

Bill and Anne

Bruce, Rick, and Carol

Nick and Janet

Lisa and Nick

Brie, Aidan, and Jenny

Liz, Dorothea and Raphael

Lisa and Bill

Sonja and Alison

Paul and Dave Maker and Pam

If you don't know you should be reading this

Matt, Cindy and Jesse
Ben and Jay

Jane and Kevin

Jay, Libby, Ashley and Jon

These dinners were great in and of themselves.  Although completely unplanned (at least consciously), absolutely the best thing about them was that they gave folks the opportunity to get to know one another before the wedding on Sunday.  Three different strands of family were interwoven over the course of the weekend:  Kate’s family through Dave, Alison’s family, and Jeff’s family through Alison.  By Sunday, faces were familiar where they weren’t before, just making the Sunday wedding that much … warmer?  Lovier?  Happier?  Just better as everyone joined to celebrate! 

Sunday was the big day:  a morning ceremony in the Langham's Japanese Garden, followed a courtyard cocktail reception, then a buffet brunch (with deviled eggs and a chocolate fountain – whoot whoot!) in the hotel’s Georgian Ballroom.  There were over a hundred people in attendance from all sides of the family, along with Alison’s friends and the gaming crowd that Jeff and Dave have had in common for thirty years.  The day started overcast and cooler than normal, which was a fortuitous and great thing both for pictures and for an outdoor ceremony in LA in July!  Maddy, Brie, Will and Noah were in the wedding party.  And best of all, the wedding vows included Klingon, courtesy of our wedding officiant, Alison's friend the Hon. Colin Leis, Judge of the Superior Court.  A man of rare good humor who rose to the Klingon occasion with flare and gusto (not to mention excellent pronunciation), he probably didn't know that our wedding rings also have "One Ring to Rule Them All" inscribed on the inside – Alison’s in the classic Elvish and Dave’s in the more modern yet tasteful Klingon.  

Wedding Ceremony in the Japanese Garden  

Family at the Wedding

The Georgian Ballroom

Afterward a wonderful wedding, we retired to our room, where we discovered to our delight complimentary champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries and the bed covered in rose petals!  All that, plus every piece of furniture -- including, we kid you not, the toilet! -- sporting flowing floral bouquets!  One reason you want to get married at the Langham.  Just sayin’.

These are only a small, small sample of the wedding photos – there are lots! You can see them all here

Getting married in your 50’s is pretty awesome.  Planning a wedding in our Wedding Princess for a Day culture can turn into an overwhelming tsumani of decisions, details and doubt if you let it.  Did you choose the right day?  The right colors?  The right dress?  The right guests?  The right place?  Perfect Pressure is everywhere.  But at our age?  You know that Perfect doesn’t exist and, if it did, wouldn’t matter one wee little bit:  it’s all about celebrating with your friends and family, wherever that celebration is and however you choose to do it.  Sure, things will go wrong, surprises will pop up with vigor, and … you just know you’ll deal with it whatever it is.  Because the important thing is us, you, friends, family, all together, getting married, laughing, and letting the bittersweet memories spark and tingle even as we joyfully celebrate together. 

Life is a crazy beautiful thing, isn’t it?