Growing up, I always had a flair for the theatrical. I think I inherited this inclination from my awesome hippie parents. You see, my parents’ 1972 Hippie Wedding is a thing of legend in the small town of Alameda, California.
New in town, they posted signs on telephones poles inviting the town-folk to attend their “no-hoopla wedding.” The ceremony was held in a small, tree-shaded park across the street from their apartment. They expected 50-odd guests, but attracted crowds in the hundreds. Some musicians walking by set up on a stage and jammed into the wee hours. My Dad’s co-workers surprised him by pulling up in a converted school bus turned hippie love bus filled with libations.
Greeting guests in front of the hippie bus.
Cutting the cake for throngs of hungry children.
I have heard the legend and have admired the terribly groovy photos, but the elements I treasure most from their big day are the handmade ones. My Mom recently brought over my Dad’s handmade wedding vest and her vintage bridal shoes, so I could admire their handiwork.
My Dad, the ZZ-Top looking fella’, was “just not into suits” and asked if my Mom would make him a “groovy” wedding vest.
“He actually joked that the wedding would be called off if I didn’t make him one,” my Mom recalls.
“I had just started to crazy quilt at the time and decided to go patchwork for his vest. I handembroidered around each patch, and in the centers of some on the backside, I embroidered your father’s initials. We found a pink paisley shirt at the Five & Dime, and I made him a pair of red velvet arm garters to finish off the look.”
My Mom and her bridesmaids decided to make their gowns from simple, store-bought patterns.
“We decided to make our gowns because we were on a budget. Back then, you would have to go to a fancy boutique or department store to find a gown. I found them to be very intimidating and impersonal.”
“I chose ivory brocade, which was a bit rebellious at the time. In Chinese culture it is traditional to wear a red gown for good luck. I figured since there was nothing traditional about our wedding, I would buck the ‘old ways’ and wear what I liked. I wore my red dress in our engagement photos instead, which made your grandfather happy…”
Of course, no wedding day would be complete without something old.
“We found my vintage (now antique) bridal shoes at a small mom & pop shop during a road trip to Monterey. They were wrapped in their original packaging materials and were in pristine condition. I really loved the silk embroidery and the bright colors, a lot of work went into them. They were the perfect finishing touch on my perfect ‘no-hoopla’ wedding ensemble.” I would agree.
My parents celebrated their 36th Wedding Anniversary in October.
If you have a soft spot for nostalgia, check out more posts about real weddings and their vintage elements. Not only are Kim’s parents fabulous, you should see her hats! Watch this video we made with Kim about her millinery, topsyturvydesign.