Last month, I gave a friend some money in a small white envelope. She returned the envelope, saying there were some photo negatives she inadvertently found inside. Dan and I decided to have them developed and came back from the photo shop a few minutes ago stunned by what we found.
For the very first time, we are seeing the only photos from our wedding. Yes, the ONLY!. They're candid black and whites taken by a friend. Shocked by this treasured discovery, we're joyfully reminded just how understated and spontaneous our lives were back in the '70's.
Granted, this was a second marriage for each of us... but this is the story of how it came about: In the spring, near the end of the school year, Dan proposed and I accepted. Few people knew we'd been living together (after all, it was the '70's) and when they learned about our wedding plans, our colleagues happily helped us celebrate at the annual end of the year faculty party. There was a cake with our names on it, a champagne toast and a lot of beer.
In July, several of our friends were coming to town to visit and we thought it would be a perfect time to get married. I remember calling my parents on a Monday to ask them what they were doing on Friday night. I asked if they'd like to go to a wedding and they asked whose? When I said it was mine, they cleared their calendar. At least two of my sisters and a brother in law were around, and Dan's mother, brother and his wife. So, maybe there were 15 of us.
The afternoon of the wedding, I remember stopping at a small boutique in Jefferson Valley and picking out a long skirt and a salmon colored t-shirt top that matched. It was a last minute thought, and now, as I look at the photos, I'm glad I did. And then, there's Dan's checkered pants...
We all met at the courthouse in Yorktown at about 7:00 pm, which is where the Justice of the Peace performed the ceremony. Our dear friend read a passage from Khalil Gibran and since we'd all just read Lord of the Ring, I'll bet there was a passage about Middle Earth. Our friends, who were professional singers, likely sang something classical and beautiful. My sisters may have taken part as well. I wish I could remember our vows, but I know we wrote most of them ourselves. I also know the vows and our friends and family helped us get through many tough times in the years that followed.
After the ceremony, my parents invited everyone to Ciro's, a local Italian restaurant down the road, and we had an impromptu wedding reception. It was casual, intimate, raucous and lovely.
For our honeymoon, we had tickets to the Montreal Olympics and arrived with no hotel reservations. I think we slept in the car at least one night and another night in a sleazy motel where we lost electricity. I can also clearly recall that there were very few women's port-a-johns on the massive grounds of the Olympics and the lines were hours long. That needing-to-pee feeling is a more vivid memory than watching the iconic boxer, Sugar Ray Leonard and the great swimming and diving records we were lucky enough to witness. At any rate, I'm not sure the Canadians did enough advanced planning, either.
Here, in the 2000's, who gets married without a guest list, a gown, a reception plan and a honeymoon itinerary?
But for us, over 40 years ago, it was all so simple and seemed so right. Years after that impromptu ceremony, our amazing wedding trip and the complicated, wonderful 42 year marriage, we have a chance once again, to visualize the small wedding and remember the outsized joy of that evening.
We certainly couldn't have predicted this opportunity to relive a treasured memory. So, here's a grateful toast to the serendipitous and simple life of the 1970's!
Do you have a similar story from that time? Seems long ago and yes, it was.