Chilly, misty fog enveloped the Big Sur. Not the weather Katie Connor and Gregg Nelson had hoped for on their big day this past August. About 100 friends and family were on their way to the Carmel Mission Basilica in Carmel, CA. The couple had arranged for mini coaches so guests could enjoy majestic views and whale watching.
“The Night Before I Do Bar-B-Que” was cool and overcast. The next morning, Mother Nature’s mood had not improved. Katie says, “I knew there was a chance for fog. On the drive to the ceremony, I told myself the fog has its own beauty and romance. But it was not what i’d hoped for.”
Guests included Katie’s girlfriends from childhood in Grosse Pointe, MI, and from Wellesley College and Gregg’s from New Jersey and Rutgers. They came to the Big Sur from all over—Boston, New York, London, Hong Kong. Katie’s mom had argued for Napa so guests could spend free time golfing or wine tasting. But Katie held firm.
The wedding was called for 1 pm. About 2 minutes before the bride and bridesmaids’ mini coach reached the basilica, the clouds cleared. The sun broke through.
Katie glanced at Marilyn and said, “It’s Grandma.” On the drive back, the sun shone.
Our good friends, Marilyn, a retired exec with Neiman Marcus, and Michael, a retired Michigan Court of Appeals judge, had two sons in the 1970s. They were delighted when their third was a girl. Katie was born two weeks early, on grandmother Alvina’s birthday.
(Fashion detail: Though unable to make the wedding, Burton and I did make it to Katie’s christening in the backyard of the Connor home, overlooking the Detroit Golf Club. I remember baby Katie’s charming embroidered white organza dress. Alvina made it from Marilyn’s graduation gown, worn on graduating from Holy Family Academy in Chicago, a Polish girls school from which Alvina also graduated.)
When Katie was little, Marilyn often told her a story:
When Alvina got to heaven, God said, “You lived such a good life taking care of your invalid husband. What can I do for you?” Alvina asked God to send his dearest angel to her daughter. God said, “But this is heaven’s favorite and sweetest angel.” Still, on Alvina’s birthday, God granted her wish. On that day in Detroit, major storms struck. Marilyn explained, “The other angels were crying because their favorite angel was leaving them and going to earth.”
Katie, who inherited her mom’s musical and theatrical talent, grew up to be a talented singer/songwriter. She performs as Kat Solar. Gregg is a chief operating officer in Europe for Macquarie, an Australian investment bank. They met in New York, Katie says, “when friends dragged us out on a night we both planned to stay home. Gregg was tall like my dad with an old world charm that reminded me of Humphrey Bogart.” (Gregg is 6’7′; Katie, 5’6″.)
Back to the wedding: Dinner at Ventana Inn overlooked the Pacific on what Katie calls “a flawless night.” Three hours after midnight, some guests were still dancing; the rest, asleep. None felt the geologic event that took place 100 miles away. Northern California was struck by the biggest earthquake to hit the region in 25 years. A magnitude-6.0 tremor shook the Napa Valley, triggering fires and power outages and tumbling chunks of buildings.
How’s that for a wedding night? Talk about the earth moving.
Katie didn’t remind her mom that she’d lobbied for Napa.
(Any Godsigns stories in your romantic life? I’d love to hear them.)