The Brides of March beautiful enough for the cover of GQ marched through San Francisco this sunny Saturday afternoon, not just down the aisle but also the Stockton tunnel stairs to the Tunnel Top Bar, a dive at the top at Union Square; Down Bush past the gate to China Town; down Kearny past high end retail to Maiden Lane where prostitutes used to sell their services during the Gold Rush; Right through the glass doors of Prada with it’s expensive shoes and make up counters; into Union Square for a group photo amid the construction; Through the revolving door and up about six flights of escalators beneath the glass domed Neiman Marcus before settling into the Irish pub Lefty O’Doul’s for the buffet and adult beverages.
Creator, leader and doorman Michele Michele of the Cacophony Society also co-founded Burning Man. He led the pub crawling retail shopping brides en masse using a bullhorn which emitted a police siren. There must be a connection to Burning Man, which started when a woman held a bon fire on the beach in honor of her former beau. This year at Brides of March SF more than one bride seemed to let things go to her head, which was shrunken. Check out the photos.
Here is the progression on video. Tunnel Top Bar start; Brides head to Maiden Lane; Brides promenade on Maiden Lane; Union Square sing along and group photo; Neiman Marcus escalators.
No shotguns in sight, just a priest with his Bible in hand and the flask inside it; and a bishop in a bright red cape. Lewis O’Neil, who played the priest, sat at Lefty O’Douls and said ‘I had been Elvis last year for Las Vegas style weddings.’. He stood ready to perform services even for those who write their own vows or just wish to offer confessions. He stood ready to lend his Bible to those wishing to swear upon it. Yet the organizers allow no bridegrooms or tuxedos, no bridesmaids. Just brides, all in white. One bride said with delight she had just found her gown for $9 that morning at the Goodwill. The website shows instructions for splitting seams to make the gowns fit.
Rem O’Donnelly wore an off white hippy wedding outfit with a cotton skirt and cotton lace top along with the wreath of plastic flowers and a layer of netting for the veil. He said nobody is allowed inside the Tunnel Top bar where the event starts and that turned out to be true, with organizer Michele Michele whom O’Donnelly says is one of the founders of Burning Man, guarding the door. He can do it too. Michelle stands a good 6’2” or more, tall and lean with a cigar, long red tresses and a bullhorn that played a police siren.
He led the parade from the Tunnel Top to Union Square’s group photo. There, a sing along of sorts broke out with ‘Going to the Chapel’ but first, ‘It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To’. One bride in a beard and husky voice bellowed ‘It’s my special day’. Another shrieked ‘It’s my special day don’t ruin it’ while others in the mass wedding broke formation to thank hapless tourists for coming. ‘I know you traveled a long way’ cried one grateful bride.
Whether or not you caught a bouquet this year, anybody in a wedding dress may join in the procession. It’s actually a national event with Brides of March happening in other major cities and in Canada. Photographers were asked to wear wedding dresses to be appropriate and keep in the spirit. Some took specific brides out of line for impromptu photo shoots, one male and female couple into the alley with it’s garbage bins while the couple modeled in their corsets, dog collars and chains along with black patent leather platform heels. Only one incident was noted in the revelry. A bride got a bloody nose. She tripped while promenading down the sidewalk on Bush Street from Tunnel Top. She ended up sitting on the pavement while her sister brides gathered around her to comfort her and give her tissues.
For more information: Brides of March