San Francisco, California
For the next wedding, Jennifer wore a red dress with a black short-sleeved sweater. Jessica wore the opposite.
The wedding was at the Franciscan room of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. It was the nuptials of college sweethearts, a 31-year-old Mormon former Navy SEAL, David Harrison, and 36-year-old Jewish FBI Agent, Penny Edelstein. They prepared for their non-denominational, spiritual wedding. He had short blonde hair and blue eyes. Her brown hair was a long, straight ponytail. Her eyes matched her hair color. Although, he thought that she wanted to marry him for his money, she fell in love with him anyway and did not care about the fact that he was wealthy. Last year, he recovered from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and proved to be mentally capable of being a husband, father, and maintaining a non-military career.
Harrison wore a black tuxedo with symbols of a Christian cross and a Mormon star on his breast pocket. Edelstein wore a white, sleeveless gown which fit her three-month pregnant stomach. She wore a yellow and white flower behind her ear because she hated veils. Edelstein’s stepfather walked her down the aisle while the Maid of Honor, the bride’s childhood friend, sang and played with her guitar to Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up.” She had the voice of an angel. The bride carried a bouquet of pink, red, yellow, and white roses.
As usual, Jennifer jotted down a few notes. Jessica already did the photo shoot at the Legion of Honor. Simultaneously, Jennifer interviewed the couple and some of the people who were associated with them. During the aisle part at the wedding, Jessica took a couple of pictures and set her cameras aside.
On the other hand, this particular day was also the 13th birthday of David’s paternal cousin, Diana, who was one of Penny’s bridesmaids. She and the other bridesmaids wore Penny’s favorite color, pink, in different shades. Diana didn’t mind that the wedding was actually on her birthday. She already celebrated her birthday last week. She thought it was cool that her cousin was getting married on her birthday.
The officiant addressed, “Welcome, everyone. David and Penelope, you have come together today in this beautiful place to seal your love and commitment to each other in this wedding ceremony. You have come to confirm this union in the presence of your family and friends. Above all, you have come to rejoice in love and its possibilities. If anyone objects, speak now or forever hold peace.”
No objections, thankfully.
The officiant continued, “To bless this union we ask God to be present to guide us through this ceremony and to lead this couple into their common future. Marriage is the promise made and kept between two people with intentions of trusting, supporting and loving each other. It will help you to grow as individuals, as well as a couple, and allow you to see each other as your soul sees them-as beautiful and powerful spirits of light. And now say your vows.”
“I, David Harrison, take you Penelope Edelstein as my wife. I promise to respect and love you. To support you and care for you. To be your best friend as well as your loving husband. As fortune may smile, as challenges may come, I will be the shoulder you can lean on. And the rock that stands by you. I promise to love you all the days of my life,” said David.
“I, Penelope Edelstein, take you David Harrison, as my husband. I promise to respect and love you. To support you and care for you. To be your best friend as well as your loving wife. As fortune may smile, as challenges may come, I will be the shoulder you can lean on. And the rock that stands by you. I promise to love you all the days of my life,” said Penny.
“May we have the rings please?” asked the officiant.
It was time for the Ring Blessing. The Best Man, David’s friend from the Navy, handed them out.
Jessica elbowed a snoring Jennifer. Jennifer woke up.
Suddenly, a couple of gunshots fired outside of the room. Everyone was alarmed.
The hotel manager bursted in the Franciscan Room, apologizing for the inconvenience. Two people were injured, but nobody was dead. Apparently, the shooter was a disgruntled, mentally ill ex-employee of the hotel. The manager reassured everyone that everything was fine. The police already have the shooter in their hands. Everyone calmed down.
“Carry on,” said the manager. He left.
“Now, where were we? Oh, yes. The ring blessing,” said the officiant. He cleared his throat.
“May these rings be blessed as a symbol of this union. May these two people find the love in each other that all people desire for. May they always return to each other and in their togetherness. May they establish a home in which many will find a friend,” said the officiant. “Repeat after me, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and my commitment to you. Just as this ring has no ending, neither has my love for you.” David repeated that as he slips the ring on Penny’s middle finger. Nervously, Penny tried to repeat that, but she forgot the words and laughed. So, the officiant repeated it to her. Penny nailed it as she placed the ring on David’s forefinger.
“True partnership is only achieved by separate and whole beings that retain their individuality even as they unite. The most beautiful example of this partnership is the marriage relationship, and so we ask God to bless and protect this union. Today, you have committed to share the rest of your lives with each other,” said the officiant. “David and Penelope, you have shared this moment and these promises with your family and friends, as a symbol of deeply loving each other. You have formed your own union in friendship and love. I pronounce you as husband and wife.”
David steps on the glass with his right foot. Everyone stood up, cheering and applauding. He gently touched Penny’s face with his fingers and glued his lips onto hers. She wrapped her arms around his neck. Everyone applauded again. Jessica snapped a few pics.
As they released the kiss, the officiant gave his final blessing. “Many years ago, you both found a place where life slowed down for you long enough for you to see and to discover something that not merely opened your eyes, but awakened your heart. As a result today, you stand here committing to each other; giving the most beautiful gift anyone can give, the gift of yourself. I would like to close this ceremony with a blessing that is as timeless and enduring as love itself. Please join hands.” Everyone joined hands.
The officiant continued, “Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion for the other. Now though you are two persons, there is only one life before you. May beauty surround you both in your journey ahead and through all of your years. May happiness be your companion and may your days together be good and long upon the earth. David and Penelope, believe in what is yours, believe in the depth you share and go now in great happiness assured that your love for each other will grow as well as your understanding and your friendship. And be assured that you will always have the love of your family and friends to remind you of this special day. Family and friends, I present to you Mr. and Mrs. Harrison. Please rejoice with them in their love and happiness and support them as they go forward in their new life.”
Everyone applauded. David swept Penny off of her feet carefully. She patted her pregnant stomach. He left the aisle carrying her in his arms.
The reception was in a different private room. First, the bread rolls were an appetizer. Next meal was Caesar salads. Lastly, the entrée was asparagus, mashed potatoes, and filet mignon. The bride’s mother, the groom’s stepmother, the Maid of Honor, and the Best Man told funny, embarrassing stories and made sentimental toasts about the newlyweds.
After dinner, Penny and David had their first dance to Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Then, she danced with her stepfather to Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.” David and his stepmother danced to Celine Dion and R. Kelly’s “I’m Your Angel.” Afterwards, Penny, David, and most of the wedding entourage did a Flash Mob to Bruno Mars’s “Uptown Funk.” Jennifer and Jessica thought it was awesome. Jessica recorded it and Jennifer jotted it down. When the floor cleared out, David danced with Diana to One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” as her birthday. The DJ switched to J-Lo’s “On the Floor” for everyone else.
When it was cake time, the couple stuffed each other’s mouths with drizzled strawberry-vanilla cake. Optional, some people dipped fruit melons and biscotti in a huge chocolate fountain. In the ladies’ room, Penny secretly had two mini Kit-Kat bars to satisfy her craving. Eating for two was not a piece of cake for her.
Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” was playing during the “catch the bouquet” scenario.
Jennifer and Jessica drank at the bar solemnly. They wished the Hills were there.
Outside of the hotel, as the couple walked out, guests cheered, blew bubbles, and threw color confetti at them. Everyone waved goodbye at the newlyweds as they climbed in a black limousine. A sign, “Just Married,” was on the trunk.
Jennifer and Jessica departed. “Our work is done.”