Jan 17

Weddings and Such

In Brief—Musings on the author’s wedding…and a little advice.


Love Blossoms Unexpectedly—

It was a beautiful day in late spring, but aren’t all wedding days beautiful!

We gathered on our front lawn, a light Southern California breeze carrying the scents of the ocean and the flowers that abounded. A few friends, a rambunctious child, the minister, a flute player…and my wife-to-be, the woman I had been searching for all of my life, as lovely as she has ever been. Dressed in my casual white suit, nervous as a whore in church, I will never forget that picture.

2 HeartsWe had written our own vows and committed them to memory. The Unitarian minister from Santa Monica, the man who stood waiting and would represent the state, had loaned us the book that contained suggested vows. We tailored one to fit our belief in the necessity for recognition of each individual’s uniqueness. The vows that we recited that day were a perfect fit; they still feel perfect today.

Somehow, despite the nervousness we felt that threatened to freeze the words in our throats, we repeated the vows to one another. The traditional kiss sealed the contract, the rambunctious child was corralled, the musical notes bathed the hearts of all present and all was right with the world. And then my mind draws a blank.

My next memory is of the reception in the Malibu canyon. The rustling oak trees cast their shade over the rustic restaurant. A perfect setting for a perfect day. The wine flowed to lubricate the celebrants such that we hardly noticed the slow service. I did, but I didn’t let it spoil a perfect day. We had gone from my wife’s cool rejection of my flirtation three years earlier to the commitment of our vows. Evolution works in strange ways.

We met in the summer of 1976 as she crossed the work area of the pottery studio where I taught. “Wow,” I thought and immediately asked her out to coffee. “No, thank you,” she coolly replied as she walked away. Talk about dampening my ardor. She was understandably skeptical of this guy in his patched jeans who had a reputation as a chaser. It was only when she noticed that I was reading a book by a notable psychologist that the thaw began.

I soon invited her to a party thrown by the studio owner. Despite the entreaties of the owner, we spent the evening talking with one another and learned that we had much in common even though we had grown up on different sides of the Atlantic Ocean. There were ups and downs over the months, but eventually we bought a house together. The wedding on that perfect day was in the front yard of that house. The rest is history. Oh, the stories of the past thirty-six years.

Everybody has a story to tell and a marriage or relationship that has lasted through the years. Some of the weddings are traditional, some are lavish, some are in cheesy Las Vegas chapels while others are in a forest amid grand trees that reach the heavens. Some are not weddings at all. Some weddings are of two men or two women. Some are of bisexual or transgender couples. What makes them alike is that there are two people who love one another enough to stick together through thick and thin until death do us part. All are special.

It doesn’t make any difference whether those people are of different races, religions or no religion at all, whether they are young or old. What matters is that love blossomed between them. Whether it’s love or circumstances that’s the glue holding them together, it’s the togetherness that shines through.

I wish you love!


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  1. I remember that day, Don. It was at once, unique, charming, and somehow more meaningful than a monster event in a giant cathedral with massive amounts of flowers and choreographed to the last detail. Simple, elegant, and real. Everyone should have such a wedding.

    But Don….a whore in church…..really?

      • Don Bay on January 17, 2016 at 18:52

      The “whore in church” expression comes from the family collection of many years. Though spicy, I included it to emphasize just how nervous I was…both of us were.

      Our wedding was more memorable than any I have seen or even imagined. It was perfect. The memory is engraved on my mind for as long as I live. It was perfect.

    • Brenda on January 17, 2016 at 17:35

    Yes Dave, you have a good question – a whore in church? How would he know?

    Don, a beautiful and touching story brought to us from your special memory bank. That is life–special memories, sad memories, but life goes on, and mostly we withdraw those special memories from our brain to give us strength. Keep it up.

      • Don Bay on January 17, 2016 at 19:02

      As I mentioned to Dave, the colorful expression comes from my family’s bountiful collection. My wife has even started collecting them. Some are even more colorful.

      Our wedding lives inside my memory bank as if it happened just yesterday. It is on call as often as I need it. A special day.

    • Kit Moorhouse on January 17, 2016 at 20:36

    Thank you Don, such a touching memory, a real tribute to Ewa, I might add. How gratifying to know that your very personal musings are enjoyed by so many of your readers. By the way was your reception held at the old Santa Ynez Inn in the canyon? The clues made me think of that spot, gone now I’ve heard.

      • Don Bay on January 18, 2016 at 15:27

      It’s as clear in my head as the day itself. It’s certainly a tribute to Ewa, but a good connection takes two to succeed. We had and still have a good connection.

      Our reception was in the Malibu hills under the oaks beside the creek at the Inn of the Seventh Ray. Funky, good natural food, relaxed. Couldn’t have been better.

    • Kathy on January 17, 2016 at 21:19

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this lovely– and loving– memory.

      • Don Bay on January 18, 2016 at 15:08

      Thanks for the kind words. It was almost as if it had been written. It was a magic wedding on a magic day.

    • Donna on January 17, 2016 at 23:09

    ooh- nice, Don. It sounds like a perfect wedding for you and Ewa. Could you envision then what your marriage would be like 40 years later? :You’ve had a lot of ups and downs during that time, but the fact that your marriage has held together through it all shows that the love that was there then is still there or even more so now. Must have been some vows – – – !

      • Don Bay on January 18, 2016 at 15:16

      Nearly forty years with the right kind of woman for me. Ups and downs, yes, but it’s as solid as ever. The vows had a flavor of Gibran that allowed the space we needed to develop freely as individuals. Perfect for us.

    • Linda on January 18, 2016 at 18:34


      • Don Bay on January 18, 2016 at 21:09

      Your one-word compliment aptly describes my bride-to-be and the day we were wed. Thanks.

  2. Well said my friend.
    Thank you for sharing
    we wish you both all the best

      • Don Bay on January 18, 2016 at 21:15

      Nearly forty years with the right woman have been the best years of my life, so your wish has been granted. Keep potting and painting, my friend. You have given the world much beauty.

    • Kitty Courcier on January 21, 2016 at 09:41

    Your sharing of that magical day reminds me of my own wedding that you were present at. I have the pictures of my wedding that you shared with us. The love that is shared during a wedding is like no other. Two people know they love each other, but the sharing of and acknowledging that love in a public way is a powerful experience. So glad you shared that experience with me.

      • Don Bay on January 21, 2016 at 16:02

      The memory of our wedding just bubbled up and had to be shared. A wedding announces that two people love one another enough to tell the world. A solid commitment outside of a marriage is wonderful as long as the two individuals treat the commitment as a binding promise. I am all for both marriage and a binding commitment outside of a marriage, but for me and for you, the marriage vows put a thumb on the scales in favor of the public announcement of our commitment.

      You are a caring person who loves your husband with your whole heart. In turn, you are lucky to be the recipient of your husband’s love and commitment. There will be ups and downs, but a true commitment will weather the downs and emerge stronger. I’m honored to be your friend and that we share the strength that our unique weddings have delivered. Thanks for giving me the chance to say that.

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