Live Shots: Surreal Valentine's re-wedding at Eternity Ball

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Photos by Bowerbird Photography

For Valentine's Day, Sam Love and I celebrated by going to one gigantic wedding reception. Oh wait, there was a wedding ceremony too. Actually a re-commitment ceremony, where a popular SF wedding officiant, Cynthia Gregory, in her formal black robe, honored a husband and wife's 20 years of marriage together and blessed them and their continued union. The bride still fit in her wonderfully fluffy satin wedding dress a-la 1992, cinched tight in the back with a gigantic bow.

Weddings are expensive. Tickets to the Eternity Ball, were steep, at $150 a pop, adding to the feeling of a genuine wedding experience. But also like a wedding, any second doubts or financial jitters could be easily soothed with an open bar, and then liberated on the dance floor with a good shake, to all the best 1980s cover songs by some fine Bay Area wedding crooners.

I have to say, I was a bit nervous that the event would be a snooty, swanky affair, but despite the fact that the invitation suggested tuxedos, ball gowns, and wedding dresses as appropriate attire, it was really just another excuse for San Franciscans to do what they do best: dress up and go wild.

One bride sported a pink wig, and her groom wore a black top hat over his flowing dreadlocks. A posse of about six ladies dominated the color palette in their fire engine red, polka dot country girl dresses. Way back in 1985, one of the women bought the dresses at Gunny Sacks for two dollars each. She wrapped them in boxes and told her girlfriends to come over for a surprise, and to bring their pearls. They opened their “gifts,” and after some adjustments, went out on the town, looking perfectly matchy-matchy.

The dresses still fit and come out once or twice a year. This time, the ball gave them a chance to be instant bride's maids. Besides dancing, costumes, music and drinks, there were space-age edibles to nibble, like mac-and-cheese served in a flying saucer and truffles floating on liquid nitrogen. The whole evening was rather surreal and amazing, much like a wedding party dancing in a house of mirrors, and fueled with a bottomless supply of booze.

But there was one thing missing … where was my slice of wedding cake?