My family and I traveled to see the wedding of a dear, dear friend recently. The bride is a wonderful person (as is the groom, but I do not know him as well). The ceremony just perfectly embodied who my friend Emily is: beautiful, humble, gracious.
It got me thinking about my own wedding, some sixteen years ago and more. We chose a decidedly nontraditional approach to our ceremony. It is a choice that has endured and I continue to be glad of it. My wife, Andrea Jarrell, and I met doing civic activities. These things were the center of our life at the time. We were (and are) both true believers that a good person leaves their community better than they found it, or tries to. We wanted our wedding to embody the civic ideals to which we aspired.
It’s a neat story.
How We Met
The day before primary election day in Los Angeles in June 1991, my not-yet-wife and I had both begun volunteering on behalf of an acquaintance, John Emerson, who was in the midst of a pitched battle for a seat in the California state Assembly. John was Deputy City Attorney for Los Angeles. Andrea and I didn’t know one another yet. We ended up phone-banking next to one another, and got to talking. The next night, at the victory party, we talked more.
John lost by a heartbreaking 31 votes, which entitled him to a recount but he decided against it, opting instead for party unity.
Over the next months, we got to know one another. We both had jobs that caused us to circulate in Los Angeles’ civic realm — I was a major gift fundraiser for my alma mater, and Andrea was an executive at the premier speaker’s forum in town. Our courtship is for another time, but suffice to say we hit it off, became friends, fell in love, and got engaged to be married — all very quickly. By October we’d made the decision.
Will You Marry Us?
We wanted John to marry us, which he could do as a City official. We met him at a downtown diner to ask him. We had no real idea how kind John was being to meet with us, two young kids. He had a very, very big job. But I think he was flattered, or his heart was touched. He said yes. Continue reading Our Civic Wedding