At every wedding on our farm I stand next to my husband - sometimes while the couple are exchanging their vows, sometimes when the family is obviously having a great time dancing while Stewart DJ’s - (imagine the moments we witness of families coming together on the dance floor - grandparents sashaying arm-in-arm, little flower girls and ring bearers trying out moves they have seen on TV,, young, sexy bridesmaids in stiletto heels singing every word of the song while strutting their stuff and a beaming bride and groom swirling together amidst the love of all their guests…), there is a moment at every wedding when Stewart and I take each other’s hands or sneak a dance move together behind his DJ table when we look into each other’s eyes and we KNOW - this is the perfect business for us!
It is utterly corny. Disgustingly sappy. But - how does a couple like us - so in-love after almost 30 years together accidentally fall into the wedding business? The business of love? It seems like such a perfect match - a husband and wife team, totally in love with each other that host weddings on their family farm. (Oh, gag! I know! So drippy!). And, it really is an accident that this is our line of work. I was an elementary teacher. Stewart tried his best to bring the property back to farming the way it had been decades before our time (A noble effort. A financial disaster…). We got asked to do a few weddings at our beautiful place. A few turned to a few more until the work of farming seemed insane and… here we are, “Wedding Belles”, Stewart likes to call us.
Well, our own 20th wedding anniversary is around the corner. I have been thinking about celebrating this occasion for a long time. I want it to be special. I want to include the family and friends that have been with us from the beginning. We could have it here on the farm - it is kind’a set up for a big party already, after all. Or, the only other option is our 2nd favorite place in the world - La Roca restaurant just across the border in Mexico. Other than the farm, La Roca has been the most important place for us in the celebration of milestones over the years. We both celebrated our 21st birthdays there. And we had a late lunch there right after we got married on Valentines day in 1997. (Ugh - gross! Married on Valentines Day, too!?! This is way too SAPPY!!). BUT, WAIT! This was an accident, too!! Our wedding was scheduled for the 16th of February here on the farm. We would be married in Stewart’s family home in the chapel-like dining room with 75 of our closest friends and family. “Big” Stewart would officiate. Perfect! But a phone call from “Big” a week prior and suddenly there was some concern that his credentials would not be legal in Arizona (this was before the existence of “become a wedding officiate online in less than 10 minutes”!). So, we called the courthouse in Nogales and scheduled a wedding with Judge Maley as close to the 16th as we could. I didn’t even realize it was Valentines Day until I woke up that morning! Big met us there with Stewart’s brother and my best friend who picked some wild grasses for a bouquet on her way there and - so it was - we were married on the day that symbolizes love. Our little perfect wedding was followed by the five of us having the best margaritas in the world and La Roca’s amazing mochomos. If that had been the wedding we had planned - it couldn’t have been more perfect! We continued, of course, with the wedding on the 16th, two days later - also perfect. The engraving on my wedding ring says 2/16/1997, but actually, the couple in love after so many years, who found themselves in the “love business” were married, on Valentines Day. If we had planned it this way, we would be guilty of being mushy-lovey-dovey-romantics, but it was all coincidence. Perhaps it was fate?
(Oops - that sounds sappy, too….)