The Wedding

by Matthew Burfeind

The happy couple

No personal web site is complete without a wedding section, preferably with photos of such things as the bouquet toss, the toasts, and of course, the bride. Fortunately, I have been through just such an event. Unfortunately, the fact that I was half of the event means that I was kind of busy, and as a result I took very few of my own photos. So, some of the photos here are mine and the others...well, who knows. Everybody sent us their double prints, so if you were there, some of these could be yours.


It may be a cliche, but I have to say that we had the perfect wedding. It was the right size, the right place, and we had the right people there. We had a February wedding...outdoors. To a native New Englander, this concept takes a little getting used to, but believe me, you can get used to it. We accomplished this feat by getting married in Southern California, where Jennifer grew up and where most of her family still lives.

When we first got engaged, we had grand plans to get married here in Brookline, in July, 2000. Of course, that would have required a two and a half year engagement, and quite frankly, we got a little impatient. I was planning to attend a conference in Los Angeles in February of 1999, and Jennifer was planning to come along at the tail end so that we could have a week's vacation together. About six months before that, we suddenly decided to just get married while we were there. It would make things so much simpler, or so we thought...

The Site

Choosing a site in a place where one does not live can be traumatic. Fortunately for us, we had the right people on the job for us. Jamie Dickson, Jennifer's cousin, suggested a little place in Pasadena called La Casita del Arroyo, or as I affectionately referred to it, the Little House in the Canyon. Jamie had a friend who had been to a wedding there, and Jennifer's mother, who teaches in Pasadena, had been to an event there as well. They both thought we would love it.

La Casita del Arroyo, Pasadena La Casita del Arroyo, Pasadena La Casita del Arroyo, Pasadena

La Casita del Arroyo is a small, Spanish-style community center located in the Arroyo, the canyon that runs down the western edge of Pasadena. It was designed in the early 1930s by Myron Hunt, who designed the nearby Rose Bowl as well as numerous other buildings in the area. Hunt donated his time in designing the building, and the materials were recycled from the area; the stone came from the canyon floor, and the wood for the ceiling came from the bicycle track for the Olympics, recently held in the Rose Bowl.

The Weather

Colorado Street Bridge from La Casita del Arroyo, Pasadena

As you can see from the pictures, we had perfect weather. It was 70 degrees and sunny -- just gorgeous. Of course, we had no guarantees that the weather would be nice, since L.A. in February can have as much rain as sun. We did know that it would be better than Boston, whether it was raining or not. We were just excited that we wouldn't be wearing boots and heavy coats. If it rained, we would have the wedding ceremony indoors, in front of the large fireplace. If it turned out to be nice enough, we'd be able to have it outdoors, on the lawn in front of the building. The reception would be indoors either way.

We arrived in L.A. a week before the wedding, and it didn't look good. Lots of rain and gray skies for the first few days. It cleared up by Wednesday, although it was a little chilly by L.A. standards (Look at my pictures of the Getty Center to see what a beautiful day that was). The weather threatened to turn nasty again in the next few days, but it never did, and by Friday night we knew that we'd be setting up the chairs outdoors.

The People

The end of the ceremony: The Burfeinds [sic]

One of the many advantages to moving the wedding location was that we could be married by Reverend George McGraw, an old friend of Jennifer's family who had married her parents and baptized her. He was retired but happy to marry us, which meant a great deal to both of us. And he has a really great Scottish accent!

The choice of minister actually dictated the choice of denomination. I grew up Episcopalian, and Jennifer grew up Presbyterian, but neither of us had any objection to being married in either church. In fact, if had we been married in Brookline, it would have been an Episcopal ceremony. In any case, the order of service is remarkably similar between the two denominations, and I was quite pleased with how beautiful the Presbyterian ceremony was. Besides, Reverend McGraw was a great coach. He's done this sort of thing a million times, and he walked me through it with no sweat.

When we first planned the wedding to be in Brookline, we decided only to have one attendant each. Our friends seem to be scattered all over the globe and we wanted to keep it simple. Especially since we were paying for it. Jennifer Galbraith has been our closest friend in Boston since (my) Jennifer showed up her at doorstep five years ago. Ralph Fierro has been one of my closest friends through high school, college, and beyond. Both had agreed to be our attendants, and when we decided to move the location, they were happy to come along.

Jennifer Galbraith at La Casita del Arroyo, Pasadena Ralph Fierro at La Casita del Arroyo, Pasadena Nick Richey, Jeneva Shea, and Alec Dickson

We also wanted to have Jennifer's youngest cousins involved as much as possible. Spencer and Nick Richey, Alec Dickson, and Jeneva Shea were our "flower children", although we didn't ask much of them, since they were two, three, three, and four years old, respectively. We came up with the idea of having them carry a garland in the procession. That way, if one or two of them decided they weren't up to it, it wouldn't be any problem.

That's really the trick with having little kids in a wedding. You have to be prepared for anything, and you have to be able to laugh at anything. As it turned out, Spencer ended up having a little meltdown before the procession, so four became three. Then Nick decided he should go sit with his mommy, except he didn't let go of the garland. Once that got worked out, the remaining troopers made it to the the front of the aisle and stood in front of me, where I realized that we hadn't told them what to do when they got there. When Jennifer bumped into them, she calmy directed them to stand over by the side, where Alec proceeded to whap Jeneva on the head with the garland. All in all a successful procession. And a sign of things to come.

Jill Gold and Doug Almond, both friends of ours since we were twelve, agreed to do the readings. We went for a traditional readings, including the omnipresent 13th chapter from 1st Corinthians. Doug did a great job reading it, although he apparently frightened his neighbors on the plane ride over by asking the flight attendants if they had a bible he could borrow.

More text later...

Jennifer's bouquet Jennifer and her father The beginning of the ceremony The middle of the ceremony; Jill Gold's reading The cake, before it was devoured Ralph's toast Mothers of the bride and groom: Jeanne and Lynne Doug Almond Jennifer tossing the bouquet The happy couple showing off their margaritas Disneyland The Giannini family with Ralph Fierro Jill Gold and Barbara Roscoe Katie Estes The Burfeinds: Paul, Lynne, and Matthew Nick Richey Jeneva Shea

© 1999 Matthew S. Burfeind
All rights reserved
Last revised November 22, 1999
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