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Thursday, July 27, 2006

It's a nice day for a WHITE WEDDING

Can you feel the Billy Idol menace and lip curl from that title through the monitor? Ah well, me neither.

This past weekend I had the honor of serving as a bridesmaid for one of my best friends, Cala. She got married on Saturday to a strapping scientist named Vik. The ceremony took place just outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico in a place called Bernalillo. I had not been back since I was 12, so it was nice to check things out. The food and culture and even the weather is very reminiscent of Phoenix, my hometown. Here is my attempt at a brief travelogue, with pictures sprinkled throughout.

I arrived Wednesday night, and promptly got down to business. Thursday morning I got to conspire with my fellow maids on a casual bachelorette soiree. After the scheming, I began crafting my ass off. I tied things and cut things and tied some more things, all in the service of Cala's exquisite favors and programs. I got a tour of the UNM campus from Cala (go Lobos), and then got prepped for the bachelorette dinner.

I was a little nervous at first walking into that group, because they had all known each other forever and I was the "East Coast Interloper." They really made me feel welcome though. Lucrecia, Nikki and Alisha were so friendly, sweet and fun. I got such a big kick hanging out, conspiring, kvetching, sharing makeup and laughing with these girls. Cala has very cool friends, and I was made to feel like part of the group, so I was very comfy. In fact, we even started a gang of sorts. Our calling card? Packs of Dick Tarts in strategic flavors.

Friday was the day of the rehearsal dinner. Cala and her mom accompanied Lucrecia and I to the nail salon so we could get our manis and pedis on. The fine ladies at Saigon Nails drew blood from me, but what do you really expect from a $10 manicure administered in 7 minutes? I still have the color on my toes, and it's fantastic. I need to find the equivalent and use it all summer long. While the pedicure was kind of scary and violent, I enjoyed the results and have decided to get them at least once a month.

Once we packed up, we traveled to the B&B where the wedding was held and set up camp. We started getting ready with hair and makeup, then helped Cala with hers. She then got to dress in a gorgeous sari brought from India by members of Vik's family. His mother dressed Cala, and we all got to watch in wonder. Saris are not easy outfits to get into, but they look so beautiful, and Cala's in particular was such a perfect color for her. After a brief rehearsal,we went to a place called the Frontier for the dinner. The Frontier is open 24 hours, and has a lot of eclectic artwork. The food was good, and the conversation was fun. We convinced the bride and groom to join us at a bar called Anodyne afterwards. We didn't stay out too late, but we had a blast. The first thing we saw inside was a ginormous dog sitting in a booth. The row of billiard tables and laid-back vibe made it a great spot to have a couple of drinks and hang. It was like a much nicer Buffalo Billiards.

Afterwards, the groups were re-divided to drive back to Bernalillo. We lost our guide to another car, but we managed to find our way back to the main highway and got home alright. Before turning in, we stopped at a gas station. Nick and I decided that in addition to bottled water, we really needed Power Ball tickets to survive the night. I made Nick pay for the Power Play option, so we were both out $4 (and are still out to this day, unless he secretly won and isn't planning on coughing up the winnings we promised each other). Back in the room, Spencer and Nick helped deal with a couple of major beetles. I was pretty freaked out, and then I opened up the sheets on our bed to find a sizable dead spider. Needless to say, Friday night was fairly sleepless.

Saturday was the big day. We woke up early to help with chairs, table placecards, and crafting the table set-up "template." After a ton of rushed work, and a fun trip to the local Walgreens to secure final makeup and hankies for the ceremony, we did some more prep. The owner of the inn was kind of a handful, and she was stressing people out right and left. Luckily, the maids and I carved out some time in the middle of the madness to practice our big poetry reading. I managed to get out of reading the verses that included references to a duck since I was sure that I would screw it up and say "dick" a la Dick Tarts during the ceremony (please excuse the crappy photo, but I'm afraid of what will come up if I try to Google an image). We came up with some sweet Motown-inspired choreography with Cala's mom, but ultimately decided that we'd save that for the reception.

Cala's photographer Vlad showed up and took tons of candid pictures of the prep. Getting Cala ready was fun, and I ended up doing her hair with the assistance of flowers, hairspray, and awesome shine wax stuff. God bless product. Then we got to string our poor bride up in her corset. Lucrecia and I made a good team, and remembered all the helpful hints from Frederick's of Hollywood. It's like a huge iceskate. That's really all you need to know to succeed. All primped and ready, it was time for the couple to be revealed to each other before the photo shoots. That was a very special moment, and I helped lead Cala backwards to her suprise. She almost ended up in a bush, but I steered her out of the way at the last minute and crisis was averted (thank you stunt driving skills!).

The ceremony was lovely, and our poem went off without a hitch. The winds started to pick up, and the judge just kept on rockin' till the ceremony was over. About two seconds afterwards, a crazy hail storm started up. The carnage was massive. Okay, I just got some ice pellets on the forehead and the bridal party's table was trashed. We moved our group under the tent when it was over and the party began in earnest.

The dances and toasts came after dinner. Everything was just lovely. Alisha and I kept threatening, in lieu of a toast, to perform our a cappella version of "The Rose," Bette Midler's classic song experiencing a revival of sorts (for me anyway) thanks to its use in Napoleon Dynamite. Needless to say, we practiced self-control and did not. Lucrecia gave a lovely toast after Vik's brother went. He was very much prepared, with a long-ass piece of paper and everything. Both of them did well. Then it was time to dance! Nick and I jumped onto the floor the moment they started playing "Let's Go Crazy," our party modus operandi. We had an awesome time, laughing and chatting until way past the bride and groom's beddy-bye time.

I won't bore you with Sunday details, other than to say American Airlines sucks, one should not try to fly standby, and if one does, you should not do it at the ABQ airport, where you probably need to visit five or six vendors to get a complete meal put together.

I had an amazing time. By the end of the long weekend, I felt like I had met so many great people, and even identified some dedicated "crashers" for my wedding in Fall of '07. Plus I got to see one of my nearest and dearest get hitched to a great guy, who truly makes her happy. All of this makes my heart smile.

Mazel tov, Cala & Vik!


  • What a lovely recap! And thanks for making me choke on my lunch when I read of your fear of what would come up if you Googled "Dick Tarts." Hooo-eeee....

    I had such a blast with you East Coast Interlopers, as well. Most fun wedding I've ever been to (hi, Cala!).

    By Blogger lucrecia, at 11:59 AM  

  • The google is not too bad - unless you look at the images (with the safe filter off) - this pictures you don't want to bring up at work.

    By Anonymous spencer, at 4:44 PM  

  • When I requested that you post a blog on my wedding (yes, I did make such a request!), I thought I would get a couple of nicely crafted lines. Instead, you compose a fantastic travelog complete with pictures and details you, thankfully, spared me during the wedding itself (I am so sorry about the spiders!). I love you Kristen and am so glad that you had such a good time in Albuquerque, despite a few mishaps along the way. Smooch! You're next!!!

    By Blogger Cala, at 5:07 AM  

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