Say Goodbye to Hollywood...
We had a great time in LA-- we ended up staying in the Roosevelt like I had hoped. I booked a Junior Suite, but we were upgraded to a King Suite! Our room overlooked the Graumann's Chinese Theater, the Kodak Theater, the Hollywood sign and the "Walk of Fame" on Hollywood Boulevard.
The first night, we got together with my friend Christian. We had some drinks at his apartment and then he took us on a tour of some of the West Hollywood hot spots. We saw the Viper Room, but it looked like a hole in the wall joint so we didn't stop in.
The next day, I got up early and walked Hollywood Boulevard.. did a little shopping and had breakfast at McDonald's. We rested up a little and then headed to the city of Lomita where we visited the wedding chapel and got married!!! We've been planning this for months, so it wasn't a spur of the moment thing. We had a simple ceremony with just the two of us and Pastor Nixon in attendance. We had written our own vows, but the pastor apparently forgot that part and continued the service using his own pre-written vows. During the wedding, I saw that Michael was about to object. I know he wanted to say the vows that he had written. I stopped him and let the ceremony go on as the pastor had planned. It turns out that the pre-written vows were perfect and very touching. I had to go first and I hadn't gotten through the first two sentences before I was tearing up and unable to speak the words. Michael had the same problem when it came time for him to repeat the vows. After the ceremony, we were walking to the car and we decided to read the vows that we had written. We both teared up again. It was one of the sweetest moments of my life. I really had expected this wedding to be pretty cheesy-- the two of us in a wedding chapel and all. But it turned out to be the most moving wedding ceremony that I have ever attended.
From Lomita, we headed towards Redondo Beach. We took a sunset walk along the pier and stopped to have a drink in one of the seaside bars. We must've looked a little out of place wearing our suits and ties and trying to order champagne. The bartender didn't appear to know what champagne was, so we settled for a couple of $2 Bud Lites.
When we got back to the hotel (a 30 mile drive that took about 2 hours because of the LA traffic), we had dinner at the Dakota- an upscale restaurant in the lobby of the Roosevelt. The food and service was incredible, and the Maitre D even sent a couple of free glasses of champagne to our table when she found out that we had just gotten married that night.
Oh yeah.. to backtrack a little- we had our picture taken with a couple of Marilyn Monroe impersonators at the Chinese Theater enroute to the wedding! This is probably my favorite picture from the entire trip-- it totally encompasses our Hollywood wedding!
Everything was going so perfectly that I never fathomed that the trip home could be a disaster. We were flying on Buddy Passes, which means that our flights were not confirmed. We were flying standby and didn't even consider the idea that we wouldn't make it on our flights. The worst case scenario unfolded when we realized that we were numbers 16 and 17 on the standby list and there were only 14 seats available. Luckily there were a few no-shows and they confirmed us as the last two passengers. However, when we got to the plane door, they told us that there was a mistake and only room for one of us to take that flight. I let Michael go and waited a couple of hours for the next flight. I sat in the terminal and cried. No, I actually sobbed! The most horrific thoughts were going through my head-- what if Michael's plane crashes? What if my plane crashes? What if I don't get on the next flight? If I missed that one, I would be on a red-eye and wouldn't arrive in Atlanta until 5am the following morning. Michael had no car keys, no house keys. I had no cash. What would happen to us. How could I marry my best friend, and then be 3000 miles away from him half a day later?
I came very close to missing the next flight, too. I was confirmed at the last minute-- the last passenger on the standby list that got on the flight. So, it turns out that Michael and I spent our first wedding day an hour and a half apart, across the USA. Not a disaster-- but not the ideal honeymoon!
All in all, it was a great trip and one that I will remember til my dying day. We didn't bring home any souvenirs-- just the wedding rings, memories, and a love that got deeper the moment we said "I do".