Standing on the cliff, overlooking paradise cove, one of the grooms pulls out his vows and attempts to speak them. What comes out of his mouth can best be described as cry laughter.
So moved my this moment, he is unable to speak. These words are so true and tightly wrapped around the inner workings of his chest that they won’t come out. They cling so tightly to his heart that all he can do is try to gather himself before attempting to release them again. These words are so heavy, carrying the depth of a heart in love, dedication, and appreciation, that he can’t even lift them with his voice.
He cries and laughs after each futile attempt to read the first three words in front of him. He laughs at how ridiculous it is that he can’t manage to get through on sentence. He cries because the words carry everything.
I should have known that this would be an emotional moment. As we gathered ourselves on cliff, getting ready to start, he said to his partner, “Wait, before we start can we just have a moment and embrace?” So they did! They hugged and held each other tightly. It was a way of centering themselves, marking the most of the moment, being present. It was a way of anchoring before this big moment.
What should have taken one minute of speaking his vows, ended up taking twelve. In that time I could have turned around and caught the spectacular view of the sun inching closer to the water, but if I would have done that, I would have missed the best view!
I hate that feeling when you reach into your pocket to grab a pen, but one isn’t there. Panic sets in while you try to play it cool. Acting casual, you ask the couple if they have a pen to sign their marriage license, because you forgot yours. Then when they don’t have one you walk to your car hoping that one is there, all the while scanning random people at the Griffith Observatory trying to figure out who is most likely to have a pen on them.
The bride and groom flew all the way from Kentucky to elope at #griffithobservatory but when he went to put on his suit this morning, he realized that he forgot his pants!
The wedding photographer forgot her purse at her house and panicked a little when she saw the signs about paying for parking. I guess you can say she forgot to read the entire sign, for you don’t have to pay before 11am on weekdays.
After we greeted her in front of the observatory, she placed her bag down, took a photo, and then we all proceeded to the back of the building. We didn’t realize that she left her bag until we were about to start the ceremony, so I ran to grab it. Thankfully it was there. I was more concerned about finding the bomb squad circling the bag than a thief!
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I forgot their names, right? No, I did not! I don’t know why so many people like to ask me that question!
However, as I was walking away, the bride held up a phone and asked, “did you forget your phone?
“You helped me remember my value.” For some reason those words that she spoke to her groom hung in the air a little longer for me.
As much as we want to think we’re strong and secure individuals, the people around us influence how we view ourselves. How we’re treated in our most intimate relationships (parental and romantic) have a profound power to affirm or warp the perception of our inherit value.
I remember sitting with a counselor talking about my crumbling world. I can’t remember what I was talking about, but my framework must have been so depleted and incredibly skewed that he had to stop me to ask, “what makes you valuable?”
I couldn’t answer.
I didn’t have an answer.
So we went on for 30 mins with him asking me questions, trying to draw out of me a new perspective. In that time he slowly gave me a new framework to view myself, as he had me list out things, one after another, about why I have value.
As I think back to that moment, my eyes begin to swell. I was was at a place where I was more broken than I’d ever been, but I was fortunate enough to have someone who spoke something powerful into me. That hour session was a turning point, it began a process of putting together and build back up. It was place where healing found its roots and dug in. It was place where I could look past my immediate wounds and see family and friends who saw value in me.
So there I was at this elopement in Pasadena, listening to her speak that one phrase in her vows.
If you were driving around last week in Palos Verdes and thought you saw me riding 15mph down the road in a lime scooter with my suit on and briefcase over my shoulder, know that your eyes were not deceiving you.
Abalone Cove’s parking lot was closed and the nearest parking was a mile away at Terrenea Resorts.
What else was I to do?
I downloaded the app, put some money in the account, and unlocked the scooter.
Unfortunately the battery ran out with .2 miles left, so I did have to walk a little there, and then also trek down the dirt path to the ocean.
After the elopement, I walked the mile back to my car, but it was a beautiful day, so I can’t complain
This is a thank you note from a couple that I married this morning. Originally, we were supposed to meet up yesterday morning at the Observatory, but the park has been working on the roads and the building so everything was closed off these last three days
They asked to push their elopement back a day, which worked for me. I mean, what else am I going to be doing at 5:30 in the morning???
The Park opened the sidewalk for pedestrian this morning, so we had to park at the bottom of the hill and hike up to the Observatory.
There was literally (and I’m using that word in a literal sense) nobody else up there, so we had the whole place to ourselves.
So when they write “Thank you for (literally) going the extra mile for us”….
I may have said to the bride, “wow, I don’t think I put enough gel in my hair today.”
It was so windy at the beach yesterday that I felt like this couple hired a mad scientist to officiate their elopement.
After I said that, she gave me a look that made me realize this…
She doesn’t care!
That’s right! She’s getting married to the love of her life and so the flow of my hair doesn’t matter. Lol
His hair was flipping around in the wind too and guess what???
It didn’t matter either!
So many things don’t matter. Who has time to worry about the inconsequential?
What did matter was where I was standing. I was on a cliff, very close to an edge. The wind was so strong that I could feel the pressure against my body.
But as I continued with the ceremony, I lost track of where I was standing. It wasn’t until everything was over and I was walking away that I contemplated how a movement one way or another would be met with a hard fall.
But it’s okay. At least I was worrying about my hair!
I was just remembering an elopement from a few weeks back when I took this photo.
Confession: I often don’t use last names in my ceremonies, just because a few of them can be very difficult to pronounce. I think I came across my hardest one for this elopement.
What I enjoyed about my memory of that morning (besides the great view), were two people so much in the moment and just so happy to be marring each other that any trouble I had with her last name was so insignificant to the magnitude of their love and commitment.
Not every couple really enjoys the moment. Some get nervous, which is totally understandable. But some are totally present, laughing and crying. They aren’t in their mind…. but just present.
I don’t think this is indication of anything or that it’s a red flag if you do get nervous. I just think that it makes the day more enjoyable for the couple.
So I’ll remember this morning for presence of the couple, their beautiful vows, and the wonderful sunrise.