What’s the most unusual wedding you can imagine? For example, do you know someone who got married on top of the Golden Gate Bridge? Crazy, right?
On the day he turned fifty, Greg sat down all by himself and took stock of the first half of his life. Life had been good to him. He had enjoyed a succession of happy relationships. He had always followed his passions and been successful in what he did. Starting with a Masters degree in Education, he had become a public school teacher. Then he had studied Classical Composition and finally found his passion: he studied Screenwriting at NY University and achieved an MA degree here as well. He was now teaching Screenwriting at UC Berkeley. His first feature film had been accepted at the renowned Sydney film festival. Having become a SF firefighter – and just having been promoted to Lieutenant – had allowed Greg flexible work hours and a steady income to support his artistic pursuits. So far – perfect.
And yet – the most important dream of his life still remained unfulfilled: to find his partner for life and have a family. On that very day, Greg decided to make this dream his absolute priority for the next years of his life. And – unsurprisingly – he tackled this new task with his usual systematic approach and perseverance. He realized that at his age his chances of finding a partner young enough to still have children were slim at best, especially in a youth-centric Western culture like the US or Europe. On the other hand, he had always admired and also studied Asian cultures, especially the Thai Buddhist culture with its emphasis on peace and harmony. That’s where he would start looking for the perfect mate: College-educated, sharing his passion for art, music, and literature, non-smoker. To maximize his chances, he chose an online dating service.
Little did he know that at the very same moment, at the other end of the world – in Thailand, actually – Oh, a College-educated young accountant in search of the perfect husband and practicing Buddhist, was making a wish list of her own: College-educated, Western culture, non-smoker. She had always admired the Jewish culture with its emphasis on learning and education – so, preferably Jewish (which Greg happens to be…). Age difference no problem. To maximize her chances, she chose an online dating service… the same one as Greg!
Done deal? Not at all. At their first date, the two were not overly impressed with one another. They both kept looking. But still – their mutual interest was piqued. They stayed in touch via phone and Skype. It took months until their first shy kiss, and it took several more visits of Greg to Thailand to have their encounter blossom into a romance. On November 1st, 2010, Greg proposed on exotic Phiphi Island, and Oh let herself be persuaded to follow Greg to America.
As unusual as their whole story is – just as unusual was their wedding, truly one-of-a-kind. They wanted it to happen on top of the world – well, at least on top of the Golden Gate Bridge! As a San Francisco firefighter, Greg was able to obtain the exceptional permission for a site visit at the top of the South Tower on June 1st, 2011, accompanied by his bride and his officiant (his colleague and friend Mark, who had become an ordained minister just to be able to marry the two). Up they rode in the tiny, drafty elevator to a platform some 750 feet above the water of the Bay; and from there they had to climb up a metal ladder. Oh, totally fearless, kicked off her high heels, climbed up, and got married – barefoot! But married they got, look here:
Their long, tortuous journey had finally reached its destination. That same evening, they raised their glasses at an intimate wedding dinner with family only:
A few months later, the two invited friends and colleagues to a belated wedding dinner at the romantic Forest Hill Clubhouse in San Francisco. Oh, a terrific cook (another passion she shares with Greg!) had insisted on cooking everything herself, and the whole party feasted outside under old trees and the stars. And this year, the two got married just once more – in a traditional Buddhist ceremony in Oh’s native Thailand, in Bangkok:
They stayed on for a little while – Greg found a new job as a rickshaw driver…
well, just kidding… and then they enjoyed their real Honeymoon in Myanmar, concluding the yearlong wedding festivities! Oh has meanwhile settled into San Franciscan married life, assisted by her new four-legged “stepdaughter” Sadie, Greg’s Yellow Labrador Retriever. Now life is really good for the three of them!