Last night Jeff and I attended the wedding of our friends Lisa and Doug’s son Alex, who is also a good friend of our eldest daughter Sydney. Alex and Mary, his new wife, are in their early 20’s. Their large circle of friends encompasses a specific demographic which was on stellar display at this event.
A little background info: We have a locally- owned coffee shop in our town that is a mecca for Sydney and her hipster church friends. Many of them either work there, socialize there, study their Bible there, and/or all of the above.
Lisa and I meet up there every couple months for coffee and their specialty oatmeal, named after Molly the manager. We have found that on an average day we have a 75% chance of spotting one of our children, and 100% chance of spotting at least 5 people from our church family (attendees of one or more of three local congregations affiliated by denomination.)
We have also discovered that we can conjure one of the assistant pastors simply by saying his name three times, like Beetlejuice.
This coffee shop has gelato, organic baked goods, and delicious coffee beverages, using beans roasted by their very own roaster. Sydney, during her training, learned the art of the milk pour to create designs in each beverage. It’s a required skill. There’s rarely a time or day when it’s not overflowing with clientele. I prefer the overstuffed leather chairs, but there are many instances we are simply lucky to find a spot.
They have a stage where sometimes there are live musical performances. At other times there are chairs on the stage, and I also like to sit there because it makes me feel like Lisa and I are on a talk show.
This place is like Central Perk from “Friends,” only instead of six vapid gen-x’ers, there are 2 dozen millennials plus Lisa and I.
When we arrived at the wedding, a barn in the middle of an agricultural valley that has been beautifully repurposed as a wedding venue, I recognized many people from our church and from the coffee shop. We immediately began taking mental inventory of the high hipster ambience.
The beard count alone was off the charts. I lived through the late seventies and early eighties and I don’t think I cumulatively witnessed as many beards in that era as I did last night.
Beards also are a common topic of conversation. There is mutual beard admiration, discussion of beard-al qualities, jokes about the drawbacks of the beard (crumb catcher was at the top of that list), and general beard-related topics.
I would say this is the first wedding I have attended where people were wearing beanies with semi-formal attire. One might think a beanie at a wedding might stand out or seem inappropriate, but I must say– they have figured out how to pull it off. These are no poser hipsters. These are all-in hipsters and the beanie is just an appendage now.
Another trend we noticed was the jewel tone suits and sport coats. The stand-out in that category was a magenta suit, complete with magenta skinny tie and matching round magenta John Lennon glasses. The others were wearing horn-rimmed glasses, often tucked into the beanie and accompanied by various sized ear gauges.
Semi-formal in hipster terms apparently means cable knit sweaters WITH leather patches, as opposed to the more casual fisherman sweater without the leather patches. Also, the man-buns are slightly tidier than normal.
One kid was doing what my husband referred to as “Full Bieber,” however I felt it was more of an homage to one of those One Direction guys. You tell me–floppy fluffy hair with skinny jeans and bright white tennis shoes ( I think the youngsters call them “kicks.” ). Bieber or Harry Styles?
At our reception table we were seated with a friend, Missy, who was in town from Texas, her adorable ginger-haired 5 year old son, along with two other younger couples. Both of the couples featured bearded men and wives who were natural and lovely. That’s I think one of my favorite hipster trends- women who embrace their natural beauty. They all look like they’ve just been outside taking a brisk hike.
I asked the couple next to me how they knew the bride and groom. The man said that he had worked with the bride at the aforementioned coffee shop. “Oh,” I responded. “Then do you know Sydney?”
They and the other couple responded that they did.
“She’s our daughter,” I said proudly, invoking my hipster-adjacent credentials.
They all commented about how that made sense, considering she looked like me. I blushed and sputtered my weak protests, but was flattered by the compliment.
Missy stopped in the middle of her conversation with the couple on the opposite side of the table to get my attention.
“I mentioned that Ross Perot was the developer for our neighborhood. They don’t know who Ross Perot is and I’m feeling really old,” She said.
I looked at them. “Ross Perot was the original crazy billionaire who got into politics. He ran for president as an independent against George Bush Senior and Bill Clinton. In 1992.” I paused. “Were you even alive in 1992?”
The wife looked at me as if she was hesitant to answer. “Oh, well, I was born in 1994, so…”
I sighed. “Right. Well, he was an economic conservative who siphoned votes from Bush, ultimately getting Bill Clinton elected.”
The husband nodded, with a serious expression. “Interesting. I’ll have to look that up.”
There’s nothing that makes you feel quite so old as realizing events you experienced as an adult are considered “history” to a married couple expecting their first child.
As for the wedding itself, the bride had chosen what Jeff kept referring to as “Garden of Eden-themed” floral décor. The bride and the bridesmaids wore garlands in their hair of leaves and vines with roses, creating a natural, romantic look. There wasn’t a ton of any decorations except for lighting and greenery, elegant simplicity creating a serene, understated scene.
It was such a sharp contrast to my own wedding, which was filled with taffeta, Battenberg lace, tulle and extravagant flower arrangements. My wedding hair was a traditional up-do, my bouquet similar to the hundreds I had cut out of bridal magazines and pasted into my wedding planner, my music traditional.
So much of my wedding was done in such a way that I thought weddings were supposed to be. We ticked off boxes and went through the motions of a traditional ceremony as if creating a performance for our guests instead of allowing for a moment that was personal and intimate.
I really think these hipsters are onto something. They don’t like a bunch of fuss, they don’t do things because someone said that’s how it’s supposed to be, and they seem to have figured out how to prioritize what’s important to them, casting the superfluous aside.
They want their food clean from toxins, their flannel made with the softest organic cotton, their music to have meaning, and their Instagram to be filled with all manner of adventures.
I can’t resent them for that- I say more power to ’em. Really, who can blame them? I want those things as well. I hope they do turn this planet into the hipster utopia they envision. We would all be better for it.