In a summer that seemed somehow to be more abundantly beautiful and glorious than any other (am I getting older and more appreciative? Maybe.), two events rose above all others, aesthetically and soulfully.
The achingly beautiful Lydia Hearst and the achingly funny Chris Hardwick (also quite cute) united in marriage at a ceremony at the Langham Huntingdon in Pasadena that combined both qualities. Patricia Hearst, mother of the bride, oversaw the preparations, though from afar…Africa, to be precise. She also provided grandmother Catherine’s engagement ring for Chris’ proposal. And Christian Siriano designed Lydia’s ethereal ombré pink dress and Mom’s regal blue one. Though the unconventional components (a bowling bridal dinner, zombie waiters, a robot ring bearer, and cowboy-booted female guests) were at first confusing to all but their bosom buddies, everything crystallized delightfully. Chris’ father had been a champion bowler; the makeup artist from his TV show, Talking Dead, gave zombie makeovers to the waiters as the wedding gift; and the couple loves all things sci-fi and western. The original Star Wars droid, R5-D4, rolled down the aisle, carrying the ring. When he conked out midway, the comedian Seth Green sprang out to clear the rose petals, thinking that was the problem. Few of us knew that this was a scene from the movie, and that the able Jawas would do a relay and bring the ring to the groom. The family’s minister, Father Ted Dumke, read from Corinthians (“When I was a child…When I became a man, I put the acts of childhood behind me”), at which point Chris turned to the congregation, who burst out laughing. As Patricia said, “His career depends on childish behavior.” Among the 400 guests were James Corden and Julia Carey, Sarah Silverman; an array of Hearsts, including matron of honor, Gillian Hearst Simonds; Anne, her children Amanda and Randy, and Lisa Hearst Hagerman; and Kip Forbes, Kathy Hilton, Craig Ferguson, and Milly de Cabrol. And the registry? A carefully selected list of worthy charities.
On our home coast, George Farias once again blew every other summer party out of the water with his American Summer, One More Time dinner. Collaborating with David Monn, his longtime go-to event designer, they transformed his already beautiful Lily Pond Lane property into an enchanted garden and dining pavilion. One long table, covered by a single piece of hem-stitched linen, seated 86 guests. The 20-feet pitched tent was swathed in bamboo and laced with hanging ferns. George’s own silver tureens and julep cups lined the table and surrounded his china, purchased in London from Lady Annabel Astor. David’s ingenious table cards instructed guests to follow the dot on a table plan to a personalized potted plant. Peter Duchin’s music played through our caviar pie starter and lamb dinner. The grand piano gave us a clue of the after-dinner performance. George had read about Timo Andres, a Pulitzer Prize nominee, in the New Yorker, and asked if he would consider performing for us. He did one better, composing for this evening a special piece titled “Bruckner Boulevard” (to be sure, a long way from Lily Pond Lane, though it may have resonated for some). Among the lucky revelers: Kathy and Billy Rayner, Estrellita and Dan Brodsky, Caryn Zucker, Susan Stroman, Robert A.M. Stern, Marlene Hess and Jim Zirin, Alex Papachristidis and Scott Nelson, Rudy and Judith Giuliani, Monica Crowley, Barbara and Bobby Liberman, Tracy and Jay Snyder, Robert Zimmerman, and Serena Boardman and John Theodoracopulos.