Night Mode Night Mode
Day Mode Day Mode

Drunk ‘brides’ March through downtown

Brides of March Gallery: Taking it to the streets.

San Francisco plays host to a number of crazy traditions all year round, many involving costumed drinking.

Sunday afternoon, a few hundred men and women done up in their wedding funniest pranced through and around the Union Square area. Dead brides, pregnant brides, male brides and brides in wheel chairs made up the annual procession know as the “Brides of March.”

Starting at the Tunnel Top bar on Bush above the Stockton tunnel, marchers looped through Union Square sipping hidden flasks, waving to curious tourists, and stopping to pose for whomever asked.

Naturally, the procession ended at the endangered Gold Dust Lounge.

Brides of March started in 1999 as a whimsical protest against the fictitious ideal marriage propagated by commercial interests to fuel consumerism. Today, the event still mocks marriage at its worst, but many people use it as an excuse to relax and have fun with their friends.

“It’s an opportunity to suspend reality and be silly,” said Cindy Paigen as she sipped a cocktail inside the Tunnel Top with friends.  It was Paigen’s second March, though her friend Chris Scherer was on her sixth or seventh.

Others feel like it is their duty as San Franciscans to keep the event alive. “It’s all about having fun with your friends and showing people what SF is all about,” said four-time marcher Cynthia Gregory, smiling through sparkly butterfly-shaped glasses.

Gregory said that an unexpected mingling of the Brides of March with a “Free Syria” rally in Union Square was actually symbolically appropriate:

“It makes total sense because it’s all about being who you really are and you can’t do that if you are living under a dictator.”

Meanwhile, long-time marcher Rick Washburn explained the appeal of the March very simply: “Just the outrageous stuff people will do.”

Brides of March 2012

Photos by Alex Washburn/SFBay

Photos and story by Alex Washburn/SFBay

Haight Airbnb
Scroll to top