Princess: Oh, what a night |

Princess: Oh, what a night

Alison Berkley Margo

Two years ago today at this very moment, I was in the basement of the Aspen Mountain Club getting ready for my wedding.

It’s funny what you remember about your wedding day. I remember the little things.

Like, I remember getting ready and thinking we were short on time and my makeup wasn’t done and taking like two sips of that gazillion-dollar champagne, and then, just like that, everyone was gone.

The only person left was Rita, my hairstylist and dear friend. I was like Jennifer Aniston and her hair guy, Chris McMillan. Rita snapped photos with her point-and-shoot camera all proud while I smiled, wondering where my mother was and why we hadn’t had that mother-daughter moment the wedding planners had told me was always so emotional. At least Rita got a photo of me doing pranayama breathing.

I remember walking down the aisle, and everyone stood up. I totally forgot about that part, and it caught me off guard. So I lifted my flower bouquet like it was a trophy, like I had just won an Academy Award or won a race or conquered something. I guess in many ways, I had.

I remember standing on the wedding deck on top of Aspen Mountain thinking about the stories I’d heard about brides who had fainted and puked up there because of the altitude.

I remember our first dance, when one of my friends who managed to get totally wasted within the five minutes of the reception decided to form a circle around us with a gaggle of other girls. My mom didn’t like it. I saw her in slow motion come bounding onto that dance floor with her arm out in front of her like she was doing the Heisman, her face contorted with determination and fury. I stood frozen as she seemed to launch into the air in an attempt to full-body tackle my drunken friend as she screamed, “Father daughter!” at the top of her lungs but in a voice that was like 10 octaves deeper than normal so she sounded like something out of a horror movie.

I know what she meant to say was, “First dance!” but what came out was “Father daughter!” So my dad, who is sort of an absentminded professor, the guy whose glasses are always on a little bit crooked, came bumbling up with this goofy grin on his face and said, “Father daughter?” and cut in on our first dance.

Meanwhile the band, a three-piece jazz ensemble led by my friend Ross, was playing “Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue,” a 1930s polka number we’d found in a songbook Ryan’s grandfather had kept for his accordion. My dad had this silly grin pasted on his face that remained there throughout the entire weekend like he was half catatonic, so shocked that he had finally, thank effing God, found someone willing to marry his high-maintenance, neurotic, overly emotional and very expensive 41-year-old daughter. So his face was sort of stuck like that.

“It’s not every day you give away your 41-year-old daughter,” he’d said during his toast.

I remember the toasts — the toasts were the best part. Sarah made Ryan cry. I have photos to prove it because Dan Bayer took like 100 of them in 30 seconds. If you scroll through them really fast, it looks like a video. She nailed it out of the park with that toast.

The food was good, and I loved the dahlias we’d bought the morning before at the farmers market, those giant ketchup-and-mustard variety, the red-and-yellow ones that are like the size of your head. We had them on the tables in bell jars. I was really proud of that because it was important to me not to be wasteful. I couldn’t imagine spending thousands of dollars for flowers that would be enjoyed for a few hours. People went nuts over those dahlias.

I’d also hand-written personal cards for every guest that I’d put in little jewelry boxes as place settings. People loved them. I was really proud of that, too, because I hate it when you go to weddings and you see the little gifts being left behind on all the tables. I really wanted to do something that meant something.

I remember the photo shoot we did with Kate Holstien and Dan at the top of the mountain after everyone had gone down. Dan was taking photos for the New York Times article that Lois Smith Brady would write about us for the “Vows” column. My mother nearly fell over when she found out.

“I’m not marrying a Rockefeller,” I told Lois. “I’m marrying the maintenance guy.”

But still. My East Coast family was thrilled. Ryan’s parents, being from Minnesota, were like, “Oooo yaaa?” They don’t really care about that kind of stuff, which is precisely what makes them so awesome.

I remember when my drunken friend who interrupted my first dance gave one of those really embarrassing drunken toasts, spilled an entire pint of beer on me and then puked in the kitchen at the Sky during our after-party.

I remember when my cousin told my friend Holli that Bob Braudis was Neil Young and she believed him, going so far as to ask our former sheriff for his autograph. I always did think he was a rock star.

I remember when someone figured out that our thousand-dollar wedding cake, which had been mistaken for a display cake and never served, was real. He started passing it around, and everyone took huge bites out of it. I have a great photo of my mother-in-law with her whole face in that cake — so busted.

I remember thinking, “I can’t believe I just married the most amazing man in the whole world.”

Two years later, I find myself sitting here thinking the same thing.

The Princess forgot to thank Christian Dior for those dreamy wedding shoes. Email your love to


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