Maz and Courtney’s wedding was absolutely wonderful! In fact, it sort-of won me over to weddings.
I’m not big on marriage. The idea of promising to be with someone forever has never made sense to me. If others want to get married, of course I’m happy to let them, but my sentiments generally boil down to: “anti-marriage, pro-gay-marriage”. So big weddings with lots of hoopla have never been my thing.
But Maz and Courtney’s wedding was awesome.
It was BIG. There were more than 200 guests and Maz and Courtney had reserved the fountain area of Soka University, an immense open area with white granite and blue water. It’s a striking space and the weather was perfectly sunny. The seats had been decorated with hand-made taiko-shaped shakers and Abe Lagrimas played ukulele as we arrived. The ceremony was conducted by Bishop Noriaki of the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple in Little Tokyo. His speech was fantastic, emphasizing the joy of shared experience and the couples’ connections to the larger community. Maz and Courtney’s vows were incredibly sweet, but not sappy. Once married, Maz and Courtney exited to a recording of a new track the two had recorded together. It sounded great. The whole thing felt honest and creative and fun.
We were treated to dinner, toasts by family and friends, musical performances by Courtney’s mother, Kenny Endo, and On Ensemble, and finally a dance. I use the word “treated” because what struck me most about the wedding was the way we guests were made to feel so appreciated by Courtney and Maz. I expected the wedding to focus on us celebrating them. Instead, at every turn, it felt like we were the ones being celebrated. Maz and Courtney used the wedding as an opportunity to thank their friends and family, and to tell us how much we’re loved. The two of them put months of work into finding ways to make us feel special and it felt like an event that could only be accomplished by a creative, productive, loving couple. I was deeply moved.
The bike rides there and back were great. It was hard — 70 miles is just about the max for my knees and bottom — but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The new bike (review coming soon) was amazing, and the bike-centric GPS worked like a charm to get me there, including bike trails and dirt paths where possible. The return ride was easier physically (somehow my knees didn’t really hurt) and psychologically (knowing the route made it feel much shorter) but harder emotionally. I left the wedding at 11pm and rode all night, thinking how tired I’d be when teaching the next day (Sundays I teach for 8.75 hours). I got home at 5:30am, showered, and headed to the Institute. Miraculously, my classes all went really well. I came home and slept for 10 hours.
Here are some photos from the trip. I was too busy having fun to take many photos at the wedding itself but thankfully, professional photographers were everywhere so I’m sure Maz will have more extensive photos coming soon.