Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Best Friend's Wedding

Clockwise from top left: the gorgeous bride Deb; George and Deb after the ceremony; Deb post-makeup and on her way to getting dressed in her wedding gown; Deb with her Maid-of-Honor Jeni and her Matron-of-Honor moi; George's Mom and Deb's Mom

My best friend Deb got married on Saturday. Most women my age have long since ceased to use the term "best friend." They may refer to certain women as "girlfriends" or "close friends," but the term "best friend" is frequently seen as a juvenile sobriquet from adolescence. I, too, used to deride the usage of that term, but that was pre-Deb. It's hard to name all the reasons why I consider Deb to be my best friend. Like many good friends, Deb and I have much in common. We share a love of singing and a penchant for dressing ostentatiously. We love watching cheesy teen romance flicks and think that the instant cappucino sold by the pound at Costco is delish. We see nothing wrong with putting clothing on a dog or shamelessly trying to play matchmaker with single friends. But aside from what we share, there are many things that are so wonderfully, singularly, Deb that make Deb my best friend.

Oh, dear, I'm becoming verklempt. I'll come back to this later.

So as I was saying, Deb's wedding was on Saturday, and in typical Deb fashion, it was a spectacular affair to remember. We kicked the day off with hair and makeup for the bridesmaids and moms. At 8:00 am, we met at the MAC Cosmetics corporate office, where Deb had prepared a training room with breakfast, music, and - as a special touch - directors' chairs with a headshot of each of us pinned to it. For the next three hours, it was a mad dash to get us ready, but not to fear - Deb had hired the best and brightest MAC artists to transform each of us.

The bride herself underwent her transformation then, too, and the result was breathtaking - she looked radiant, beautiful, and happy as all get out!
After hair and makeup, we jumped into our gowns and hightailed it to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles. There, we met up with the rest of the wedding party, including the kids. Like the grownups, they were dressed to the nines in adorable formal outfits. Benjamin sported a bowtie, white dress shirt, black velvet suspenders, black knickers, white knee-highs, and patent leather dress shoes. I was worried that he'd balk at having to wear such fussy clothing, but on the contrary, he seemed to love it - a little too much. After preening in the mirror at home, he fairly pranced around the cathedral, and then tried to jump into the baptismal font, which I'm pretty sure is frowned upon.

The flower girls were just as daintily attired as the Boo. Deb had four of them, the younger two of which I sewed dresses for. It was my first time working with organza, a pretty tricky fabric to sew. After a fair bit of cursing, I managed to turn out two adorable little green satin and organza dresses with chocolate colored bows, one for Ciena and the other for little Calina.

Father Antonio performed the ceremony, which was beautiful. I got no pictures of it because I was standing at the altar right next to Deb. Even if I hadn't been standing up there, I probably wouldn't have been able to shoot anything decent through all my tears. Suffice it to say, it was a lovely service that touched even my agnostic heart.

After the ceremony, we took a most unusual mode of transport to get to the reception. No, it wasn't a limo, a stretch Humvee, or a convertible. It was an English-style double decker bus with an open roof. Of course, most of us jumped right up on top to enjoy the LA skyline while clinging on for dear life as we drove down the freeway to CBS Studios in Studio City. We arrived windblown, exhilarated, and ready to party with the new couple.

And party we did. Deb and George had selected the famous "New York Street" set for their reception. In keeping with the high-fashion, Hollywood theme of the day, there was a red carpet at the entrance on which wedding guests could pose for pictures. Once seated, we enjoyed a delicious Chinese buffet dinner beneath a cascade of paper lanterns. An open bar kept the grown-ups happy, while a self-serve candy bar kept the kiddies awake well past their bedtimes.

One little kiddie did not make it past his bedtime. The poor Boo was so tuckered out from his busy day filled with laughter, tears, and preening that he was passed out by 8:00 pm. Luckily, we had his blanket, stroller, and trusty sidekick Mr. Monkey handy, so Benjamin had no problems sleeping through the revelry around him.
The next afternoon, Deb and George had a picnic in nearby Chase Burton Park for out-of-towners, family, and close friends. With the madness of the wedding behind us, we were able to relax and enjoy the beautiful day. To our amusement, Benjamin found himself a new best friend, groomsman Zaldy, AKA "Uncle Z." It's too bad Z lives so far away; he would have made an excellent manny!
So back to the topic of Deb and why she's my best friend. Lest I get verklempt again while writing it all out, I'll just let the toast I gave to her during the reception explain it all. It was a bit emotional and a tad on the long-winded side. But then again, so are we.
And Deb, once again, CONGRATULATIONS!!!
The first time I met Deb was at Santa Monica Beach. I'd been playing volleyball with a group of friends, including George. This petite girl in a big grey sweatshirt pushing a bike came up to me. She introduced herself as George's girlfriend Deb, and we started to chat. It was apparent that we had a lot in common. We both had pugs. We were both singers. We both had moved here from far-away places. And we were both extremely talkative. We exchanged info, but this being LA - and me being a cynic - I figured, "I'll probably never hear from her again."
A few days later, I got an email from Deb. It was a very "Deb" email, and if you've ever emailed Deb, you know what I'm talking about. It was filled with emoticons, exclamation points interspersed with question marks, these weird animated happy faces, and entire passages that were inexplicably ALL IN CAPS. Her emails make me laugh, because they are just so Deb: exuberant and lively. And in person, she is a force. She'll greet you with that amazing smile, tell you how fabulous you look, ask how your significant other, child, latest hobby, or pet is doing, and then give you a hug that feels like it came from a linebacker. The funny thing is that even if you're not in the best of moods, her enthusiasm has a way of working its way into you so that suddenly you're smiling, too. Yes, Deb is one of those rare individuals who has the power to light up a room just by being in it.
Her incredible zest for life is the reason why she is able to fit more into her schedule than is humanly possible. Deb is the hardest-working person I know. It's difficult to remember all the things she does, but I'll try. She sings at weddings and other engagements. She cantors. She is a recording artist who has released multiple albums just in the past few years. She performs with a local rock band. She is in the process of developing a television show. Oh, and she has a full-time job. It's a good thing that she has to fly to Canada to see her family, because if it weren't for that fact, I doubt the girl would ever take more than one day off in a row.
But even in the midst of her bajillion responsibilities, Deb makes time for her loved ones. She may neglect to eat, sleep, or get her oil changed, but she never neglects her friends or family. This devotion is why she's played such a large role in my son Benjamin's life. In the months after his birth, I was sleep-deprived, depressed and incapable of taking care of myself. Enter Deb. She'd magically show up at my door when I needed her like a hip, young Mary Poppins. Within moments of arriving, she'd take Benjamin off my hands and shoo me to bed. To make me feel better about accepting her help, she'd assure me that she'd work on her laptop while I slept. But she never did - when I'd wake up, it would be apparent that Deb had been cleaning my house. Everything would be tidy, the kitchen would be sparkly, and the shoes in the entryway would be lined up like little soldiers. I used to tell her that she was like the creepy guy from Sleeping with the Enemy because the perfectly-lined up shoes would be a dead giveaway that she had been in my house. Anyway, I can't count how many times she did this for me, and she never wanted anything in return. I'd ask to treat her to a meal to say thanks, but she'd get annoyed, saying that I'm family and it's not a big deal and she'd had fun hanging out with Benjamine. Sometimes she'd even try to convince me that I was the one doing her a favor. No, she was the one helping me. She was a lifesaver in those dark days, and since then, she's become like a second mother to my son.
It seems like fate that someone this selfless and giving would wind up with a person as caring and kind as George is. And they complement one another perfectly. George is grounded, and Deb can be... hyper. When Deb gets really excited, her voice will climb to decibels not audible to human ears, and George will say, "BON!" and do his trademark (make gesture). These two balance each other out. Deb may be flying into the outer reaches, but George is in the control tower making sure her that she makes it back down to Earth.
Guys, I feel blessed to have known you and seen you through so many different stages, both in your lives as individuals, and in your life together as a couple. You make each other laugh, sometimes you make each other cry, but you always bring out the best in one another. And the love and happiness you share is inspiring enough for this cynic to say with 100% certainty that you always were meant to be together. I'm so excited for the new life that begins for you tonight, and the adventures that you will enjoy together as husband and wife. Congratulations!


Yvonne said...

AWWWW!!! *I'M* getting verklempt, ladies!! Deb looked gorgeous that day and if it weren't for Vince and George, I'd think you two were meant for each other. ;) Love you both!

Deb said...

THANK YOU Liliputz for posting this INCREDIBLE INCREDIBLE synopsis of the most amazing day of my life. Amazing, not only because I FINALLY married George - but also because I was able to celebrate every step, every moment right next to YOU and the rest of my girls. I have been wishing for my copy of your toast because it was just SO touching, halarious, and the kind of write up that I would read over and over again.... especially on the days I forget just how lucky I am. Thank you for this - I couldn't have put this in words half as eloquent as you did, and I can't WAIT to pass this on. Yes. Verklempt. And you know my tear ducts can't take this!

I love you so much. You are an incredible human being. I Love you!
D&G *Finally*
P.S I am about to scroll up to the top and read this all over again for the 30th time. xx

Debbie Kee said...

So... months later - I'm still revisiting this post (along with all my other Boo and Bump faves!). I love this post so much. Thank you again for putting it up. It came in so handy today :)

It's Thanksgiving day officially today - so just in case I haven't already said it a million times... I'm so grateful for my Lils! :)

And dang girl - you can write!?!?!

Love youuuu!