My first wedding was so FUN. It was the best party I’ve ever been to. And a lot of my guests said the same. I danced so hard that I spent the next month on crutches. I mean, that’s a good party.
But… the thing is… I don’t really remember connecting with my guests in a meaningful way. It was lots of passing each other in hallways, all “Heeeeeeeyyyy! Thanks so much for coming! Gotta go over here and do this thing now!” Or bumping up against each other on the dance floor for a few seconds. But, with the exception of the receiving line, I barely got to speak with anyone outside of my bridal party the whole evening. And we had 100+ guests. Don’t get me wrong… it was fun to be able to look to my right, and to my left, and see friends and family all around me. But the night lacked a certain level of intimacy and connection with the crowd, because the frenzy of the party was so high. But, at 31 years old, it was the kind of party that made sense to me.
This time around, I’m 36 years old. I’ve been through a divorce, which cost me a large chunk of my local circle of friends, and taught me a lot about who my real friends are. This time, I crave a more intimate, close-knit event, with our most core group of people. I want to be able to spend time talking with them. To remember, years later, their faces on that day. To feel connected to the group who will bear witness to our commitment and celebrate it with us.
Lucky for me, Paul is totally on board with the same feelings (even though it’s his first wedding). He was much more concerned about us choosing a venue that had special meaning for us, but that made the decision simple. On our second date, he took me to The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel for dinner, and that night, we became a couple. Two months later, he took me and my sister there, and gave the most impromptu, romantic speech about how much he loved me and how he planned to “marry the shit out of me” one day. Ten months later, we took our parents there, to celebrate the day my book released. We went back for Valentine’s Day this year, and again last weekend for our 1-year anniversary. The hotel and restaurant were designed by Philipe Starck, and have a very whimsical but elegant sort of “Alice in Wonderland on acid” kind of aesthetic. It’s quirky, modern, stylish, unexpected and sophisticated. And it’s perfect for us.
The Chef du Cuisine for The Bazaar and all SLS properties is José Andrés, a protégé of legendary chef Ferran Adrià, and a darling of the molecular gastronomy movement. If you watch “Iron Chef America,” you’ll recognize him as a semi-regular judge on the show. Paul and I are HUGE foodie nerds, and Chef Andrés’ food is nothing short of spectacular.
In The Bazaar, there’s a private dining room called SAAM. Touted as a “secret oasis of calm with The Bazaar” it seats about 40, and they usually serve an exclusive chef’s tasting menu of delicious, unique, very fancy courses. And it’s the perfect spot for our wedding.
And rather than a pants-off-dance-off style reception, we’ll have the kind of party that really reflects who we are as a couple: a fabulous dinner party, featuring 18-20 courses of food by one of America’s most-beloved, progressive chefs, to be enjoyed with an intimate group of our nearest and dearest. Great food, great company, great celebration — our style.
But first, we’ll have a ceremony. In one of their lovely, mirrored, white draped meeting rooms. (Imagine it without the tables, and more set up for a wedding, but you get the drift.)
And then we’ll whet our collective palates with cocktails in The Bar at Bazaar, which is absolutely fabulous, and features a bad-ass liquid nitrogen Capirinha cocktail that I adore.
And the best part? This whole shebang, done our way, will cost about 1/3rd of what it would have done to do it more traditionally, with a ballroom reception and 100 guests in the same hotel.
I am so thrilled we were able to follow our hearts and dream up a wedding that felt authentic to us, and mirrors our values, tastes, and personalities. Here’s to the second time around, and hindsight being 20/20!