Bobbie Wayne's Blog
A Musical Wedding
Thirty-one years ago, Dan and I got married on October 18th. It was a garden wedding, at the home of our dear friends, Eugene Martinez and Antonio Alfani. Antonio, a professional cook, made a risotto and our wedding cake. We were serving smoked salmon, salads, and bagels. Large buckets of ice next to the swimming pool brimmed with bottles of white wine and champagne.
The weather in the Hudson Valley, where we lived, had been unseasonably hot for weeks. The day before the wedding, a cold front moved in, creating a dense fog, and muting the colorful foliage. My father, stepmother, and aunt had arrived from Florida and Ohio several days early. As I drove them on a tour across the Bear Mountain Bridge, we could see the Hudson River, dark and grey-green below, but the tops of the mountains were shrouded in clouds.
On the morning of the 18th, friends were coming from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York City, and upstate New York. I drove from our apartment, several miles away in Tappan, to Eugene and Antonio’s house in Blauvelt to get things prepared. Friends had offered to make dishes of food, decorate, and bring flowers, but the fog slowed everyone down; nothing was ready. I raced around with curlers in my hair, decorating, placing food in dishes, and checking the clock. My father, stepmother, and aunt, three normally take-charge people, seemed incapable of making the smallest decisions regarding setting up. I was exasperated! “Oh please,” I prayed silently. “Don’t let it rain until the wedding is finished.”
I had on the diaphanous top of my two-piece wedding gown and my jeans when I realized my makeup was in our apartment. I climbed over a split-rail fence to get to my car faster. My stepmother, Pat, shouted to me, “I wish I had a camera to get a picture of you right now.”
The service was being officiated by a monk and a rabbi. Brother Andrew was a Scottish Anglican Benedictine monk friend of mine. Dan’s mother had her heart set on having a rabbi perform the service, so we asked Rabbi Gelberman to share the service with Brother Andrew. Both, we noted, were the same height with white vestments and white hair; a matched set. A stoop outside the kitchen door would serve as the altar, facing rows of chairs on the grass for the guests. The wedding party would proceed through the garden, being piped in by our friend, Phil, a Highland piper.
Everyone seemed to arrive at once; guests, priest, rabbi, and everyone had questions for me. My matron of honor, Linda Russell, handed her baby, Hallie, to her husband and hurried upstairs with me to dress and take communion. I had spent months creating my gown, veil, Linda’s dress, and chaplet of flowers, as well as the figures atop the cake and party favors; now it was all about to happen. Guests took their seats as Dan and I stood together in the back doorway. “Doesn’t this feel just like we’re about to do a gig,” I whispered to him.
“Yes, except your harp and my guitar aren’t out there.” We heard the skirl of Phil’s bagpipes. Brother Andrew and Rabbi Gelberman wound their way down the path followed by Linda and Dan’s best man, his brother, Paul. As we made our way to the altar, the fog lifted enough to bathe our guests in a golden light. A sunbeam appeared, spotlighting us where we stood.
The service went so smoothly that one would think the priest and rabbi were a team. When it was time to break a wineglass for good luck, it was handed it to the rabbi in a white bag I had sewn. “I assume this is your work too?” he smiled. Everyone laughed, knowing what a workaholic I was. Phil piped us out of the garden. The rain miraculously held off and we posed for photos while our guests helped themselves to the food. We opened our wedding gifts and then everyone went inside and took out their musical instruments: three Celtic harps, a hammered dulcimer, a mountain dulcimer, five guitars, two fiddles, a mandolin, and an autoharp. Then the real party began.
We played traditional tunes and sang songs; some old and others we had written ourselves. At least eight of us were musicians who had sung together aboard the environmental sloop, Clearwater, as well as at festivals. Everyone, including our parents, harmonized. Too soon, it was time for Dan and me to leave for our honeymoon in Martha’s Vineyard. We would stay in Rhode Island overnight and hoped to beat the rain. Phil concluded the wedding with a bagpipe tune. In the low-ceilinged room, the sound was deafening. We all held our fingers in our ears, but we wore smiles on our faces.
Dan loaded my harp and his guitar into our pre-packed car, already stuffed with suitcases, sleeping bags, coats, boots, and our bicycles. The fog had become thunderclouds; it was beginning to rain. We ran the gauntlet of friends throwing birdseed and as the raindrops beat against our windshield, made our way to the New York State Thruway and our future.
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