Two years ago this afternoon, ten years one month and one day after our first kiss, my husband and I drove silently up the California coast. Liquid gold late afternoon sun glinted through the window as we drove, suspended in the moment. We were on our way to get married; an impromptu, sunset ceremony.
We had planned on getting married and had our marriage license but had been unable to coordinate times for a courthouse ceremony. Synchronicity influenced events and Patrick unexpectedly got the weekend off, my friend Gabriella's step-mother - an non denominational minister - happened to be in town and free. One of my other friends happened to be in town from the Bay Area painting in a local Plein Air festival. And her sister happened to be a photographer and lent my friend her camera.
We stood on the beach, my mother, Babou, and Gabriella's father standing nearby.
and the ceremony began. We pledged our vows, centered and unselfconscious,
with the sun setting behind us, waves lapping near our bare feet.
As we parted from our closing kiss, we were surprised by the sound of clapping.
So immersed we were in our circle and vows we had not noticed the other beach goers watching from a distance. The cheering continued, as well as much well wishing, and we happily, giddily walked to a little picnic table near the beach. There we had our quickly pulled together sunset picnic of baguettes, cheese, fruit, and champagne. Gabriella's father toasted us, and we watched the perfect evening turn to dusk.
Looking back on that day, I realize that although I had always thought I wanted more of a traditional wedding, that the wedding I had was actually the perfect wedding for me. We were so in the moment, so unselfconscious, so focused on our words and what they meant, so focused on each other. We were able to take our vows in a way that meant so much, in a way that really was a union, a blending of two. Our marriage, the blending of two very different people, has allowed us both to become more authentic and balanced versions of ourselves. We both felt the change, everything was the same and yet completely different. A golden evening that will last forever in my memory.