“Just Get Me to the Church On Time,” A Tale from Gregorio and Sarah’s Courthouse Wedding

I wrote this piece back in 2014 right after Gregorio and Sarah got married at the courthouse in June before their “real” wedding in November at St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church, Hollywood. Three kids later, I had to laugh when I read this. Nothing like a little stress on your wedding day.

Sarah and Gregorio told us several weeks ago that they were going to get married “at some point this summer.” To which they quickly added, “But this isn’t the “real” wedding.  We’re just going down to the courthouse and sign the papers alone. We’ll have a big wedding and party in November.”

Now, as the mother of the bride, I thought, I want to be at your wedding whether it’s the big one or not, but, having basically eloped myself (neither set of parents were at our tiny wedding with a judge presiding), I could hardly pitch a fit. I took a deep breath and said, “That’s fine. You guys do what you need to do. I’ll help you with the wedding in November.”

They also showed us a ring that Gregorio had found while out hiking in the woods. It was sterling silver, signed by the artist who designed it, and had an ancient design.

Gregorio turned to Sarah and said, “The earth gave this to me so I could give it to you.”

Sarah smiled but looked a little skeptical. “I like it, but it’s a little too wide for my finger. Maybe we should see how much money we could get for it on eBay.”

“eBay?” he said.

A week and a half ago, Sarah told us that they had gone down to get their marriage license and had set the date for Friday, June 14th. She added that perhaps since her cousin, Jim, and his family were going to be in town for Rachael’s graduation, then maybe we could all come to the ceremony. (Though she wasn’t exactly sure if this was just a signing of papers or an actual ceremony.) I, having wanted to go in the first place, jumped right on the opportunity to be included. “We’ll be there with bells on,” I said, then added, “What about the ring?”

“We’ve decided to use the one Gregorio found,” she said. “It’s fine.”

On Thursday evening before the “non-wedding,” Rachael received a text from Sarah saying, “Could you come tomorrow morning and help me shop for a dress? I have nothing to wear!”

Of course, this elicited the proper Mother response from me: “I want to go too.”

So, on Friday morning, Rachael and I headed off to Sarah’s bright and early to help her go shop for a dress. We had about an hour to locate just the right one with one of us holding Luna while the other helped Sarah in and out of a dozen dresses. Luckily, several fit perfectly and one was exactly right for the occasion. Then there were shoes to buy and after we returned home, I trotted out to find red roses for a bouquet and a boutonniere.

Meanwhile, Gregorio, who had already showered and had his new clothes all ready, went off to attend to some business at school related to his Master’s degree in Archaeology. “I’ll be back by one o’clock,” he said.

Sarah gave him a look and said, “No being late today. If we’re not there to check-in 30 minutes early, then they will reschedule the ceremony.”

The check-in time was 2:15. The trip to the East LA Courthouse Branch was about 30 to 45 minutes. Sarah said, “We should leave no later than 1:30.”

“No problem,” Gregorio shouted over his shoulder as he rushed out the door.

Meanwhile, Sarah took a shower while Rachael and I entertained Luna, then we bathed Luna while Sarah got dressed. Then we ate a little snack to tide us over until after the ceremony when we were all going to a Mexican restaurant for a meal.

At 1 o’clock, there was no Gregorio. Sarah called him.

“I’m almost there,” he said.

Fifteen minutes passed, no Gregorio. Twenty minutes passed. Sarah started looking out the window for him to drive up. I went into the bathroom and contemplated the possibility that he had perhaps had a change of heart.

One-thirty came and went. One-forty.

Sarah’s face was tight. She returned to the window.

My thought: If Gregorio does make it back home, his life might be in danger.

At one-forty-five, he burst through the door. “Give me five minutes,” he called as he disappeared in the bedroom.

Sarah marched in behind him and firmly shut the door.

Rachael and I exchanged glances. My thought: Perhaps here was the end of a perfectly lovely relationship.

A few minutes later, Sarah emerged from the bedroom. She was smiling.

“Well?” I asked.

“He was out buying me a wedding ring,” she whispered.

This was the moment that Gregorio secured a permanent spot in my heart. “Oh, my,” I said, “that is very sweet.”

Gregorio made good on his “five minutes.” We all piled into the car and headed off post-haste. We made it just in time. As we pulled into the parking lot, he turned to Sarah and said, “See, I told you it would be fine.”

The wedding ring is white and yellow gold with a row of diamonds.

Gregorio may be late from time to time, but he never errs when it comes to love.

I believe we’re looking at a solid and good marriage for these two lovely people.

I am pleased for them both.

church on time

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