After a two-year engagement, the date finally arrived for my lifelong best friend to give his daughter away in marriage.
The big day was Saturday, Oct. 11, and so Lori and I flew down to Santa Barbara to witness the union of Nicole Lee-Rodriguez and Andrew Acosta.
Nicole is my friend Al’s only child. And to say they have a close relationship is like saying water is wet.
She’s a lovely young woman at age 28 and it was great to meet her husband, who goes by Drew. They strike me as a solid couple, destined for good things in life. Both are native Californians. She works for the Santa Barbara County District Attorney; he works for a local nonprofit.
The wedding and reception were held at the Rockwood Woman’s Club in the hills above Mission Santa Barbara and the rest of the city. It was an outdoor service, with bridesmaids and groomsmen galore, followed by dinner and dancing inside.
Along with seeing Al and his wife, Elizabeth, bask in the joy of their daughter’s special day, we enjoyed meeting many of their friends and sitting with four of Al’s siblings, who came from different parts of California to be there.
We shared a table with sisters Alice and Cynthia and brothers Alex and Ernie – just four of the nine Rodriguez siblings, including Al. I hadn’t seen these four in probably 30 years, but it was great reconnecting, inasmuch as I knew them from high school and visiting Al’s home.
This was the third wedding in three months for us, spaced about four to five weeks apart, that took us from Washington to Oregon to California.
This one most definitely had a laidback vibe, accented by sunshine and clear skies. The good karma continued the next morning at a scrumptious brunch hosted by Al and Elizabeth for family and close friends.
Having experienced the bottomless pride and joy of seeing my daughter marry her partner in early August, I could imagine what Al was feeling as the day unfolded.
Seated just a few feet away from your baby girl as she recites her vows makes you elated that someone loves and appreciates her as much as you do.
Later, as father of the bride, you feel privileged to stand before everyone as you welcome your assembled guests and offer a toast to the newlyweds.
And, when the night is done and the music is silenced, you wonder where the time went and realize you now have a son-in-law – or, in my case, a daughter-in-law – to formally welcome into your family.
Weddings are a big deal and it’s great to see how today’s young couples make them their own, adapting customs and traditions to their own tastes.
This summer’s brides – Simone and Kyndall, Alexandra and Nicole – are as different as they can be. And yet their commitment to their respective partners and to the institution of marriage is something to celebrate. May they all live long, healthy and happy lives with their spouse.