There are times in your life when the right set of circumstances and people converge, and something magical happens. Our wedding day was one of those times.
I woke up around 6 am and checked on the Bay Bridge. Unfortunately it was still closed so I had to use Plan B for my trip to Alameda to get my hair done. I took BART to Oakland then caught a cab to The Parlor. My hairdresser, Juanita, did a beautiful job on my hair and refused to take payment - what a lovely wedding gift. Then it was back home to San Francisco via cab and BART.
I took a relaxing bath and had a sandwich then I was off to the Stonestown Nordstrom where Breanne at the Smashbox counter did my makeup. She did a fantastic job and also refused any payment - another thoughtful wedding gift.
When I got home around 3 pm I packed up my clothes for the wedding and Bill helped me finish the seating cards. He double checked the list and I added the ribbons which would indicate the entree for each guest. I had delayed this because I was using curly ribbon and didn't want it to get crushed.
We finished that task around 4:30 and had just enough time to replenish the kitties' water and food and clean out the litter boxes. They were all three inside already so I flipped over the kitty doors. In the meantime Bill got dressed in his tux.
Bill's sister picked us up around 5 pm and as we drove to the Cliff House along the coast, I could see that the weather was spectacular and that we would have a beautiful and clear sunset. It was exactly what I had hoped for and it was why we were getting married in October. We arrived at the Cliff House around 5:30 and as we went in Chris was just finishing delivery of the flowers. He proudly showed me my bouquet which was exquisite. He told me he felt it was the most beautiful bridal bouquet he had ever created and I could see why.
When I arrived in the Terrace Room I was thrilled. The centerpieces with the venetian masks were stunning and the table cards (each table was named for a couple) with the mask logos and pictures looked wonderful. Our photograher and good friend Michael had set up his backdrop and had already taken photos of the tables. The favor boxes and masks on a stick were arranged as I had asked and Chas the DJ was setting up as well. Everthing looked beautiful.
Bill's sister and I went down to the banquet office where I wrote a few checks and made notes about my toast. We were sipping complimentary champagne and soon it was time for me to dress. Buffy helped me then went upstairs. In a few moments Massoud (the Cliff House banquet manager) came down to let me know that it was 6:15 and just past sunset. I told him I was almost ready and he told me to come up in a few minutes, then he went upstairs. Michael came down and took a couple of pictures then he went upstairs. I applied one last coat of lip gloss, took a final look in the mirror and said to my reflection, "It's showtime!". Bouquet in hand, I got in the elevator.
When I got to the Terrace Room I stopped by the reception table and was surprised and thrilled to see that only two guests had not picked up their seating cards. Given the situation with the Bay Bridge closure I had anticipated more no shows and was touched that so many had made the detour to be here for this special day. I was soon let into the room and stood behind the drape over the door.
Massoud asked everyone to stand and pulled the drape back. The first sight I saw was our officiater - our dear friend and neighbor - in his full dress Firefighter's uniform with the sun setting on the Pacific Ocean behind him. My brother escorted me down the aisle to the strains of Loggins and Messina's "Watching the River Run".
I joined my fiance and as we exchanged our vows and rings I could hear the ocean in the background. Then it was time for the kiss and we walked down the aisle into the Terrace Room. Guests followed and I was surrounded by well wishers - hugs, kisses, laughter - the fun began!
We took a few posed photos then enjoyed cocktails and hor d'ouvres while visiting with our guests. Once we were seated for dinner Bill and I performed our own little imprompteau karaoke song by asking our guests to join in a round of "Goin' to the Cliff House and we're gonna get maaaaaried" sung to the tune of "Goin to the Chapel".
Then the toasts began. Bill's sons, our Best Men, gave us a beautiful toast together that brought tears to more than a few eyes. Other guests toasted us, then I toasted Bill and he toasted me followed by a round of singing Ein Prosit - a German drinking song that is a Cereske family tradition passed on from Bill's grandfather. Next the DJ played an old recording of "Mama's Gone Goodbye" by the Anson Weeks Orchestra. This was a tribute to Bill's Grandmother who had been dating the drummer when the band played at the The Palace Hotel in 1956.
After dinner it was time to dance and did we ever! Bill and I did our first dance to "Fallen" by Lauren Wood. The second song "Let's Groove" by Earth, Wind & Fire set the tone and the dance floor rocked. I think we surprised our DJ - he probably didn't expect a mostly "50-ish" crowd to dance our asses off but we did! I dragged more than one guest out there (you can't refuse the bride hee hee) and as the evening came to a close we boogied to YMCA, Monster Mash and Thriller. Then the final song, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" ended the evening.
A limo picked us up and we were off the The Portals Tavern, the scene of the crime where we met in July 2002. After a few drinks with some regulars there and some of our wedding guests the limo took us home and we were in bed with the kitties around midnight. Our wedding day was over.
The stars and the planets aligned on Halloween 2009 for a magical night. The flowers, the photographer and the DJ were excellent. The venue and the weather were enchanting. Our beloved friends and family joined us. Most importantly the greatest magic of all happened - we are married and beginning the next phase of our adventure together.