On The Avenue

Social Safari: The Wedding of the Year

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Lydia Hearst marries Chris Hardwick

High society and haute Hollywood dined, danced and laughed at the Wedding of the Year. Lydia Hearst, the actress whose great-grandfather was the media mogul William Randolph Hearst, married Nerdist CEO, Talking Dead host and Emmy Award–winning comedian Chris Hardwick during a ceremony and celebration that rivaled a royal wedding for wit, whimsy and drop-dead glamour. The invitation to the festivities was in the shape of an old-fashioned English phone booth that evoked the TARDIS from the British TV series Dr. Who. This engraved masterwork, sent out by the bride’s chic mother, Patricia Hearst Shaw, foreshadowed the entertaining and clever eccentricities that were to come. Guests were also invited to access their pre-wedding webisode titled Our Wedding Apocalypse, which referenced Star Wars and The Walking Dead. (I almost expect it to be nominated for its own Emmy.) The dress code was cocktail and cowboy boots with Western accents, such as bolo ties and jeans with tuxedo jackets. This allowed for some singular ensembles: it was anything but dull.

Hearst Castle

Lydia had her bachelorette party at Hearst Castle, which included a dip in the castle’s iconic Roman Pool, created between 1927 and 1934 and modeled after an ancient Roman bath. I’m told the pool was filled with whale, pineapple, and donut-shaped floaties for the occasion. Have you ever? The lively rehearsal dinner was held in Los Angeles, while the big event took place at the stately Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, built in 1907. With nearly 500 guests flying in from all points, they had to bunk somewhere, n’est-ce pas? The NYC platoon included the bride’s aunt Anne Hearst McInerney; her children, Randy Harris and Amanda Hearst; Christopher “Kip” Forbes, in a dinner jacket made from denim; Baroness Milly de CabrolSharon Bush, George Farias, Somers Farkas, Tom Knapp and Cornelia and Marissa Bregman, and those who are only used to seeing their names in the Blue Book. I knew we were going to be in for a memorable night when everyone realized the waiters serving us champagne and caviar were in full zombie makeup (you read that right). What a hoot and a holler, and it just keeps getting better. The bride’s mother preceded her daughter down the aisle in an off-the-shoulder sapphire blue number, with a cascade of diamonds dripping from her ears, on the arm of Christian Simonds, in a tux topped by a black cowboy hat. He is the dashing husband of her elder daughter, Gillian Hearst Simonds, who was resplendent in a gown that sported a ruby and diamond brooch at her décolletage that could choke a horse.

The Dress

Everyone gasped as the bride, signaled by a perfectly timed cell phone ring (you laughed as you realized it was rigged, because all electronic devices were checked at the door) appeared underneath an arch of red roses with a matching bouquet. Lydia’s magical confection, of white satin and tulle with delicate diamante beading, became luminescent as pin-spots of moonlight ignited the bodice and sleeves of her gown and the waterfall of tulle, which was seemingly sprinkled with fairy dust. The dress, by her pal Christian Siriano, a wizard of grace and drama, was nipped at the waist and then bled into hues of pale pink, blush and crimson as it cascaded toward her dainty ruby-studded slippers. Pictures do not give this dress its due: you had to see it to feel it. Lydia was a combination of Grace Kelly, Glinda the Good Witch and Rita Hayworth, with her willowy figure and long, rich mahogany-toned hair. She is the Bride of the Year.

R5-D4 and the Enchanted Mountain

After the minster’s invocation­—Jaime King was the other officiant—it was time for the ring and the “I dos.” Suddenly, the audience broke into spontaneous giggles and chuckles as R5-D4 accompanied by a merry band of Jawas headed down the aisle. When the droid got “stuck,” Hardwick, snappy in a Prada tuxedo and lizard cowboy boots, “yelled” out from the white flower festooned stage, “You said this would work.” He dashed down the aisle to retrieve the ring. (Well, Lydia calls it a ring; mere mortals might call it “The Enchanted Mountain.” This stunning

jewel was passed down to Lydia and Chris from Patricia’s mother, Catherine Hearst. Lydia’s grandmother always wanted Lydia to have this rock—I mean ring.) We all witnessed romantic and private vows I won’t repeat. (How’s that for a change of pace? I mean, “I won’t repeat,” I vow to break this habit soon enough!) We all pranced back down the aisle to the accompaniment of violins and cellos to the ballroom, which was spectacularly bedecked in geometrical shapes of TARDIS blue hydrangeas, Vanda orchids, red roses and other exotic fleurs inspired by the couple’s love of science fiction and comic books. Chris said, “I wanted traditional things at our wedding, like a TARDIS cake in the shape of a phone booth, Jawas, droids, donuts and lots of zombies.” Lydia was over the moon, confiding, “I’m blissfully happy—I could never have envisioned a more perfect wedding day. It’s more magical than I could have ever dreamed of.” Her best friend told me, “Lydia’s been planning this day since she was 8.” The first dance was sung by the bride’s favorite singer, country and western star Clay Walker. Among those joining them were comedians Seth Green, who broke into a polka with the groom (how times have changed for the better!) and Sarah Silverman, as well as Michelle Trachtenberg, and Edith and Joe Tobin, Frank Sinatra’s

stepson Bobby Marx and his wife, Hillary, Kathy Hilton, and others too fabulous to mention. James Van Der Beek from Dawson’s Creek and the two Property Brothers TV show siblings, Drew and Jonathan Scott, lead a battalion of Tinsel Town’s brightest young things onto the floor. There were fine wines, Chilean sea bass and filet of beef from the Hearst Ranch in San Simeon for supper. The wedding was produced by Mindy Weiss, who has also done the nuptials of Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux, Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum, and Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi. Lydia summed it up best, confiding, “Every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favorite,” adding of her husband, “My love for Chris will never die.” The couple toured Japan on their honeymoon, and in lieu of presents, they generously requested donations be made to Best Friends Animal Society, GLAAD, Operation Smile, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Who else would tell you these things?


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