The Modern Marriage Officer: American Cupid with a Mexican Wingman

I've been known to be prone to a bit of a drizz during Hollywood chick flicks and romantic weddings. But this weekend's wedding brought about a particularly intense case of the waterworks. At the risk of sounding super soppy, it was just…sniff…unbelievably romantic. The venue was a campsite in the Cederberg and the dress code was "comfortable" – so there was nothing remotely Top Billing or Avianto-esque about the occasion. The ceremony took place in front of a dam, with the wild, craggy Cederberg mountains and the setting sun in the background.


The couple’s story itself is wildly romantic: for the past 8 years they have each (separately) divided their time between Cape Town and Seattle. During this time, they shared mutual friends, a love of rock-climbing and probably some transatlantic flights. So they had known one another for many years before their actual romance began just 10 months ago in a tequila bar in Seattle. I know the precise location of the start of their relationship because their marriage officer gave us a great highlights package while he conducted the ceremony. He was evidently as swept up by the romance of their story as I was, because he ended his short ceremony with the words “and they give hope to all us single people out there.” I swear I caught one or two people counting out months on their fingers as they calculated that they too, could be partnered and betrothed by Easter 2011. This may make more sense if I told you that the marriage officer was a full-time Seattle-based attorney and part-time marriage officer to his high school mates. I suppose that using the bride and groom as an example of hope for singletons, is a lot more inspiring than throwing a bouquet or a garter at a bunch of unhitched people and hoping for the best.


Later on, though, I realized that this attorney-cum-marriage officer was a lot more pragmatic than his speech suggested. While the inspiration for hook-ups would come from his words about the newlyweds, the implementation would come straight from Mother Tequila. The good stuff had traveled to the Cederberg from Mexico City via Seattle and Cape Town and was working its Mexican magic like no bridal bouquet had ever done. Coupled with the memory of one of the most romantic weddings ever and a dance floor under the stars, Mr Marriage Officer’s work was beautifully done.