Two Weddings

#1 – Saturday night
Malibu beach at night. Beautiful dahlias and matching red and orange tablecloths. Congressman with dentist-white teeth officiated, full bar. When I say “Malibu Beach,” I mean that. We were not allowed to go inside the historic mansion. Cold. Gathered around heat lamp. Sneaked back to cocktail area, swiped red shiny tablecloth and wore it as my wrap the rest of the evening, as we foraged for food. To be fair, they DID serve food. Tiny burgers, cones of fries, grilled cheese that quickly cooled in the windy night air, little Chinese containers of shrimp chow fun. Danced and danced and danced in order to preserve all limbs from falling off.

#2 – Sunday morning
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at LA Music Center. Bagpipes ushered us in. Stunning view of Downtown and mountains from 5th floor on impossibly crisp, clear LA day. I was inspired to begin with, because the bride is my good friend Liz, who is 62, has never before been married. She was fine, alrighty, with her perpetually terrific haircut and living her good political life, making the world a cleaner, greener and more honest place. Then six years ago she went to the opera, by herself, and the man who sat next to her, also by himself, was to soon become her best friend. Then boyfriend. And now, husband.

The amazing thing about this wedding was that it was all organically Dale and Liz. From the second the 60-something matrons of honor took the stage, I became unraveled. He read her a thoughtful, funny, poignant letter of vows. She read from her hurriedly scribbled paper, tacking on a “right to revise and expand” clause. The officiant was kindly, warm and wise in his words. One child sang “Home,” from the Wiz, another played a slow and sweet excerpt from a concerto whose composer has left my brain. Throughout the ceremony and reception, Dale and Liz were cool, collected, and wildly passionate about starting their lives together.

I choked through mascara-laden tears because I was so truly, genuinely touched by how they made this day their own, how they will go forward and make their life their own.

And I took their vows, and made them my own. Just in case.

Vanessa McGradyTwo Weddings

Comments 1

  1. Don Cummings

    How brilliant!
    We have gone to two weddings recently. One in Minneapolis to a first-timer of 47 years of age. The other, up in Sonoma, this weekend…the vows included much from The Velveteen Rabbit about becoming REAL. So nice. So beautiful. And lots of Dahlias, too.

    SWAK! Marriage is in the air!

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