On day three of Offbeat Mama-Bride week we're featuring Lasara and Robert's beautiful and simple elopement witnessed by Lasara's daughters and a couple of friends.


The Offbeat Bride: Lasara

Her offbeat partner: Robert

Location & date of wedding: Edge of estuary, China Camp, San Rafael, CA — 8/12/2009

What made our wedding offbeat: We bucked tradition. My family is huge and super-involved in one another's lives. We went against a huge family value, but it was right for us. My family was a bit miffed, but they got over it, and we had a lovely celebration for my family and friends at our home about six weeks later — after tempers had cooled!

Our union was accepted with love and joy, after the little bump in the road. πŸ™‚ And In June of this year (2010), we will celebrate our union for my husband's family and friends with a beautiful reconfirmation ceremony in Seattle.

What were the most meaningful moments of your wedding?: All of them!

But the lifting of the veil (which I never thought I would wear) was a true revelation. And the poem [by a Sufi mystic] that preceded it.

My friend singing the Song of Songs in Hebrew and English, the breaking of the glass, the mix of traditions, both our own and borrowed.

lift the veil that obscures the heart and there you will find what you are looking for -Kabir, Sufi Mystic

The traditional aspects, which for me were very transgressive, considering my hippy upbringing.

My daughters being part of our ceremony, and the youngest calling my husband (her step-dad) “Daddy” with a big smile.

What was your biggest challenge: I broke down a couple of days before, worried about what my family's reaction to our elopement would be. My man talked me through it. And I'm glad that we eloped because it truly was an amazing beautiful, relatively stress-free experience.

Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently?: I had a total hippy wedding the first time around. About 250 guest. Potluck. Overnight. Drum circle. I had no veil, or other “symbols of patriarchy.” And I was four months pregnant. πŸ™‚ IMG_0520

This time: white dress, veil, Book of Common Prayer, traditions from all three of the monotheistic faiths.

There's no part for engagement, so I'll tell a little bit of our story here:

My Mr. and I were engaged before we met in person, so we call our marriage “arranged – by US!” Really, we both feel our union was arranged by a greater power, one that exists beyond and within our own will. He was from a different city, so we had a one week date to see if we were compatible. About six weeks later he arrived in a u-haul and moved in. So technically, we're on our second date for the rest of our lives!

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?: That it really was a day for us. And it was as non-traditional as we could get, considering our family backgrounds.

Biggest lesson? Love conquers all.

Advice for other offbeat brides: ELOPE! Talk about making it YOUR day!

We spent money only on our clothes, rings, and gifts for our daughters, our two friends, and our minister. Oh, and gas money to the site. One friend shot the pix, and another friend sang “The Song of Songs” for our ceremony. They both did it out of love. Our minister was a mentor and long-time friend of mine, and also offered her services for free.

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Comments on Lasara & Robert’s quiet elopement with the kids

  1. You post is like a Lost episode….it left me wanting more. How did you guys not meet until your engagement??

    By the way, I think that you had a beautiful wedding. Everyone looks insanely happy for you.

    • So sweet. Thank you!

      Hmm. As to more of our story, I’m sure we’ve written it elsewhere. I’m not finding any links. And the podcast shows we were interviewed for are down for now. We’ll see what I can dig up.

  2. Katheryn — sounds like an online romance to me! Truly a modern “arranged marriage”. Lol!

  3. I am late to this but wanted to say, thanks for featuring both the Offbeat Bride Mamas, and also more elopements!! Keep ’em coming! πŸ™‚

    Lasara – your wedding looks beautiful and fun! How did u feel about having a more “traditional” v. less traditional wedding, having been down both paths?

  4. Katheryn – the Mr. and I were connected by one degree in many directions, and we were “introduced” by reputation – both us working in the same field (relationship and sexuality education). After one of my working visits to Seattle (his city) a friend of his who had met me encouraged him to encourage me to move there. My then-husband and I were considering the move, so it wasn’t like the suggestion was out of nowhere. I wrote back and said thanks for the encouragement, and always glad to have connections in the field of sexual pioneering.

    My ex and I did not move to Seattle, and that single exchange of e-mails was the only contact Robert and I had until after my ex and I were separated. (About a year and a half later.)

    I had built a vibrant coaching practice, and Robert was offering coaching in addition to classes too. I invited him to do a teleclass with me, and then to trade coaching with me.

    We had a strictly client-coach relationship – in both directions – for over seven months.

    Then a switch clicked, and we realized we had fallen for each other. But there was the issue of distance. I had to know it was for real, before I could give in to it.

    I invited him to visit, and he said “How soon?” It was December, and I invited him to come down for Solstice. He said “Lasara, are you inviting me home for the holidays?” To which I said, “Yeah, I guess I am!” And he said, “I’m going to marry you.” It was a statement more than a question, but I was down!

    He survived the family during the holidays, and our bodies fit together, and we knew how to have fun, and even had the foundation of how to fight fairly by the end of that week.

    By day three he said, “So I guess I’m moving here.” I was glad he was that willing to make the decision unilaterally, because convincing the ex to move and relocating with the kids would have been possibly impossible.

    We both knew what we wanted in a relationship, we both knew each other deeply as people, and we both loved how the other thought.

    When we met in person it was like a taste test, or a test drive. We just had to be really, really sure, even though we already knew we had found our “One”.

    • Foot note: I had just spent quite a bit of time in the Middle East, and had witnessed the arrangement of a marriage, which was amazing. I had never thought about the benefits of arranged marriage before, since culturally we westerners have such a negative view of it. But seeing from inside the culture (Islamic) gave me a new understanding of both the richness and common sense aspects of it.

      Unbeknownst to me, Robert had always had a fantasy of an arranged marriage.

      So, the idea of a marriage based on what seemed a good match from not only a romantic angle but also intellectual and ideological perspectives made us happy.

      We both knew we wanted a match for life. He wanted to marry into a family, but not have kids. I wanted to marry a man who would make my relationship with my kids stronger, not distract me from it. We both needed an intellectual match. We both have a lot of “non-traditional” values that we needed to know there would be room to explore.

      We also both needed the physical and romantic connection to be as strong as the intellectual one. That’s where the taste test came in. And for the record, it was love at first bite. πŸ˜‰

      • Wow – your story is amazing! I met my husband on the internet too (which I completely forgot to mention in my post, darnit) and we pretty much knew we were going to click as soon as we met. Which we did, in spades. πŸ˜‰ There really is something to be said for connecting with people mentally before you meet physically – the first impressions are completely different. Congratulations!

        • I couldn’t agree more! I too met my FH online, and we knew instantly that we had found the one. Our “third date” was my moving to NC to be with him, but we knew we would spend the rest of our lives together after the first. When we marry on August 7th, we’ll have known each other ten and a half months, been a couple almost eleven, and lived together seven. Talk about whirlwind πŸ™‚

        • I think it would be super cool to be a marriage broker. There’s a lot to be said for starting from the values and intellectual based end of things, and in this culture we have no one to provide the service that brings people together that way.

          Thank god for internet dating! It’s the closest we have.

  5. LLS – I think traditional and non-traditional rites both have their place – it just depends on where you are.

    I will say that the “trappings” – or symbols – of the monotheistic traditions felt very powerful to me.

    The vows being the ones you hear over and over was powerful to – especially the “’til death do us part.” – was mind and life altering.

    For my first wedding, my ex and I wrote our own vows, and we intentionally didn’t include the life-long part of the commitment. I think my ex and I were both clear our marriage wasn’t going to be a life-long thing.

    Which I think is fine. We all have reasons to marry, and the reasons my ex and I had at the time were valid. But out grew the relationship, and neither of us have misgivings about that fact.

    Robert and I are 100% in this for life, and it’s a really different deal, and our wedding was a very different experience than my first one.

    It wasn’t Robert’s first marriage, either. But we know it’s the final (and eternal) one for us both, and have beautiful plans about how we’ll grow old together.

    So, the traditional vows felt wonderful, complete, and accurate. As did the breaking of the glass, the lifting of the veil – along with this poem by Kabir, a Sufi (Islamic Mystic) poet:

    lift the veil
    that obscures
    the heart

    and there
    you will find
    what you are
    looking for

    • Thanks for your reply! That was very well thought-out.

      I don’t have too much to add, I was sitting here nodding along with your post πŸ™‚ . So just wanted to add another Congratulations on your happy wedding and marriage!! πŸ™‚

      • I do have something to add! The non-traditional route was very powerful, too! In writing our own vows, my ex and I defined our marriage on a foundational level. And it really worked for us. We reread our vows early, and even added some over the ten years we were married. It was like a charter or a constitution.

        Our ceremony also reflected our spiritual beliefs and included our spiritual community.

        My spiritual path shifted considerably in the 12 years between my two marriages, and the more traditional ceremony landed me right where I live.

        After being raised Pagan in a hippy enclave, I have moved more towards mysticism, and that’s lead me to monism, monadism, or qualified non-dual monotheism. The monotheistic aspects fit fine for me and Robert.

        And where the parts that are handed down culturally from “patriarchal” roots offended me in my mid-twenties, as I have moved about more – physically, spiritually, and psychologically, they have come to hold different meaning.

  6. Wow,that is a magical story. I have lived in a Hindu culture for the last two years, and while I chose a love marriage, I can understand the arranged marriages. All of my friends that are in them love their partner with all they have. And quite simply I believe that is the best thing you can ask for in a partnership.
    I actually met my future mr while there. So I love that I will be able to share both worlds with all.
    I said it once and I’ll say it again, your story is amazing

  7. Katheryn – congrats on your upcoming nuptials!

    I’m grateful to have the best of both aspects; arrangement (by mutual design) and the certainty of The One Big Love.

    I hope to hear about your journies through and the sharing of “both worlds”, as you put it. Are you a friend of mine on facebook? You can find me here: http://www.facebook.com/lasara.firefox.allen.mpnlp

    Naida – Thanks! When is YOURS going to be featured? You should submit it. Love!

  8. Your wedding is absolutely beautiful, but I’ve been enjoying reading your comments, too. My FH and I fell in love over the internet, although we lived in the same city and were hanging out as friends each Saturday. But it was the intense, hours-long email exchanges that really cemented it for us. The intellectual connection we have is amazing. I wish you and your family all the best!

  9. I love your love, Lasara and Robert! Happy to stumble upon this here. πŸ˜‰

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