A Truly Sacred Place

Photo by Patricia InsheiwatOur wedding march was George Clinton and Parliament. My wife's flowers were pilfered from the receptionist's desk. The toast was made with root beer (the only fizzy thing in the office fridge). Yet when Weekly features editor Dave Wielenga began to speak about the solemnity of marriage and the importance of love, there was suddenly a near-overwhelming feeling of spiritual gravity on balance with any church wedding I had ever been to.

It had happened something like this: in the weeks that led up to our June 23, 2000, nuptials, my then-girlfriend Lea and I had begun to discuss marriage. Lots of reasons came to mind: we'd lived together for more than three years, survived two cross-country road trips and never had a serious screaming fit. We were certain we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. We wanted the tax break. Weekly editor Will Swaim kept referring to Lea as my wife anyway. Best to get it over with.

We considered Vegas but quickly learned that it was just as easy and much cheaper to do it here. A big wedding was out of the question—our friends and family are too widely dispersed. No, it had to be informal, and it had to be soon, lest we talk ourselves out of it.

The catch: we needed a witness. Figuring that no one at the Weekly does any real work, we assumed someone would be free to come along. Swaim was enthusiastic. Things snowballed from there: while tying up loose ends so Swaim could leave, it was revealed that Wielenga is a minister in the Universal Life Church. They'll let anyone be a minister.

Things happened quickly from there, and I don't seem to recall anyone actually making a decision: somehow, it seemed perfectly natural to have the wedding right there in the newsroom. Lea and I drove at death-on-the-highway speed to Santa Ana, where we got the license, and returned to find that associate editor Patrice Marsters had taken up the role of wedding coordinator.

Wielenga warned us that this was his seventh ceremony —with no divorces.

It started with great jocularity. Wielenga acknowledged the good humor, but then reminded us that we were here—all of us—to participate in a ritual of almost unmatched sobriety. He talked of love and commitment, and the irony fell away and the wedding became something real. I felt tears building, and blinked them back. My hands shook slightly. And there, surrounded by people I've worked and laughed and fretted deadlines and bitched about edits with for the past few years, I kissed my wife and knew, deep in my heart, that I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Victor D. Infante

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