This past weekend, I was invited by Brian to be his plus-one to the wedding of our mutual friend. This account will be written from the perspective of a plus-one experiencing the final product of what I assume was a mountain of planning from the parties involved. I think I can pull this off, mostly because my addiction to Yelp coupled with my insatiable need to observe everything around me compels me to do so.
The wedding party was allotted the entire mezzanine level of the hotel, with the ceremony scheduled in the Jim Hogg Room, and the reception to take place in the Maximilian Room right across the way. I found that to be a perfect, streamlined setup. I was one of six of the bride’s “Gay Brigade”, who were easily distinguishable by Ben’s 3-piece suit (with fedora), Brian holding a perfectly color coordinated black-and-white-with-a-touch-of-fuchsia gift bag, and me in my favorite pink Chanel tie.
The Jim Hogg room was the perfect size for an intimate wedding gathering, perfectly accentuated with a gorgeous fireplace. (Former President Lyndon B. Johnson waited to hear his 1964 presidential results from the Jim Hogg room, just FYI). Not only was the bride radiant, but I simply adore civil weddings. They’re just like law briefs: they pack a lot of meaning and information into a short amount of space (or time). As opposed to Catholic weddings, which would be the equivalent of a rambling, never-ending fantasy novel you regret picking up at the airport. Except your butt goes to sleep. But I digress.
The following reception was held in the Maximilian Room, which was originally the men’s smoking room (oh please, how “Titanic”). Everything was set up beautifully, and we were surrounded by eight massive gold leaf mirrors that were meant to be a gift from the Mexican Emperor Maximilian to his wife, the Empress Carlotta. And while gorgeous, the audible gasp I emitted came not for the mirrors, but from the words “open bar.”
Waiters offered an amuse-bouche of Mediterranean steak, as well as a lovely refreshing watermelon bite. I sipped Grey Goose as the wedding party filtered in. The mezzanine also includes access to the large balcony overlooking 6th Street, perfect for smokers, or if you want to feel like you’re looking down on the common folk below you. We photo-bombed a few tourist pictures, I’m sure. And Brian did his best impression of Evita. I learned so much that night: Madonna was NOT the First Lady of Argentina. Then again, I thought the Maximilian Room was named after a Tiny Toons character, but what the hell–open bar, right?
It’s worth noting my friend Jeff apparently had a very lively conversation with one of the wedding guests, Carole Keeton Strayhorn. I wanted to see if she wanted to do tequila shots with me, but I could never really find the right “in” for that, you know?
The food. Where do I begin? The Driskill knocked this one out of the park. The salad was a delicious combination of spinach, lettuce, poppy seeds, almonds, and strawberries. I was planning on hijacking the irresistible cheddar cheese grits, of which I could have eaten the entire pan. Out of the grilled steak, lamb, and scallops, the scallops were the breakout star: cooked and seasoned to utter perfection. The service from the staff was on the ball, and everyone from the waiters to the wedding coordinator were models for the hospitality industry.
I didn’t eat so much as ravenously devoured the decadent chocolate groom’s cake, AND the bridal carrot cake. A photographer caught me shoveling carrot cake in my mouth like a beast. Then she said I had the cutest color scheme of the group. I was both horrified, yet flattered. And she retook the photo, of course.
This ranks as one of the most flawless and elegant weddings I have attended. Of course, we were all so happy for the new couple. And I could tell The Driskill played a huge part in making their special day that much more special. I was lucky to have been a part of it.
Did I mention open bar?