10 Years Ago: Neal Schon Marries Michaele Salahi on Pay-Per-View
Their ceremony, which took place on Dec. 15 at San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts, was billed as "the first pay-per-view wedding to double as a concert and fundraiser for typhoon relief efforts in the Philippines." (Super typhoon Haiyan had hit the country in early November, killing over 8,000 people and displacing thousands more.) Pay-per-view tickets cost $14.99, and Journey also donated $350,000 to the cause.
"Everyone at the networks wanted to put their own creative spin on the event," Schon explained in a press release at the time. "Michaele and I discussed it, and we decided to hire a great crew and do the whole thing ourselves because this is really our day. What's surprising is that no one had ever thought to do anything like this before we did."
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"This is an amazing, beautiful, over-the-top event," Hagar told the San Francisco Chronicle at the time. "The ceremony was unbelievable. The minister's rap was the best I ever heard. And on his wedding night, Neal gets to be a musician. Michaele seems to love and embrace that."
"We searched the world for the perfect location," Schon said, "and finally I said to Michaele, 'San Francisco is my home. Now it is our home. I want to be married there, in the most beautiful city in the world, to the woman of my dreams.' Everyone said they wouldn't let us have the wedding there, but when our wedding planner took my passionate plea to the management, they said yes. We couldn't be more happy!"
The Newlyweds Sue
Extravagant as the event was, there was drama ahead. Two years after the couple were married, Schon filed a lawsuit against the city of San Francisco, claiming it had "extorted" him for hundreds thousands of dollars and that it had held Schon's wedding permit until certain fees were paid.
The initial fee quoted for Schon's wedding to take place in the rotunda of the Palace of Fine Arts was $60,000, a number that swiftly rose to include a $100,000 "premium reservation fee," a $50,000 "park regeneration fee" and other costs. This was, as Schon's attorney James Quadra said then, "unconstitutional."
In total, Schon and Salahi paid $236,366 for the Palace of Fine Arts rental and another $59,199 to rent the nearby Exploratorium building. And in the end, the City of San Francisco settled the lawsuit, agreeing to pay Schon $290,000.
"Despite what the City's government did to us, we love our 'City by the Bay' and its residents," Schon said in a statement to the San Francisco Examiner. "We couldn't be happier that we've been vindicated."
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Gallery Credit: UCR Staff