Larry and Cathy's Wedding Page

Life as we know it ended on May 11, 1996

[Larry][Cathy] [NOT Cathy]
LarryCathy Cathy (without makeup)

[under the thumb]How I'll probably end up [In the stocks]

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| Wedding details | Honeymoon details | Travel photos | How we met | Webrings |

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Wedding details

This was about as informal as a wedding can get, both of us viewed it primarily as a big party for friends and family to celebrate. We held it at our neighborhood community center to save on costs. The ceremony lasted all of about 10 minutes, and that was only because we encouraged anyone who wanted to say something to stand up and make a few (choice) comments. For the ceremony part itself, we found some nonreligious ideas from the internet , including a very nice Apache Wedding Prayer and some meaningful vows. We didn't do rings and definitely aren't changing names. If anyone asks for Mrs. Kahn they will either get my mother's phone number or a swift kick in the ass, depending on Cathy's mood.

Dress was casual, Cathy and I found some great HOT PINK material for a dancing dress for her and a matching polo shirt for me (to go with the bright turquoise shorts and a brand new pair of white sneakers.) The invitation had warned that any ties would be snipped, one of my college buddies showed up in half a tie, it was great.
We did our own decorations with flowering plants flower that we bought at our favorite nursery. We got baskets of New Guinea impatiens and tuberous begonias the previous weekend and brought them over the day of the wedding, then gave them to some of the guests to take home. One basket had to stay at our house, a pair of finches found it, built a nest, and laid eggs, all within one week.

Food was buffet style, with as many different ethnic varieties as Maryland Country Caterers could provide. They were excellent, and I'd highly recommend them to anyone in the DC area. We didn't have a traditional wedding cake. Instead, we got two sheet cakes to give the guests a choice. One was chocolate truffle, the other was fruit Bavarian. My cake was suitably decorated with sugar letters spelling out "Happy Bite The Big One Day". As soon as we put out the cakes, it was like watching hogs at the trough. I think both cakes were completely gone (crumbs and all) within half an hour.

Following lunch we had about 3 hours of dancing. I can recommend a very good DJ if anyone needs one. Cathy led me out for our first dance with me wearing a noose and a ball and chain; I then presented her friend Mary with a rubber chicken since Mary had been too much of a wuss to get up in front of everyone and recite part of our ceremony. Cathy and I both swing dance and our first dance was to the old Marvin Gaye song "It Takes Two". Amazingly, we didn't even fall on our butts once during the aerial moves. Check out the photos, I think we should send a few of them to the XXX rated sites.

Here's what our invitation looked like. Definitely not Emily Post approved.

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Honeymoon

In late June we left for 2 1/2 weeks in the Scottish Highlands, then on the way back we stopped over in Iceland for a few days. We had a great time, the only negative thing was the weather, it definitely could have been better. I think we must have had rain on two thirds of the days, although most of that was off and on and not a constant day of it. Nice, cool temperatures, also, just what I like, in the 50's and low 60's.

I did all the driving in Scotland and we did a hell of a lot, over 2000 miles in the two weeks we had the car. The first week was in the highlands where most of the roads are these puny one lane tracks with passing places. And a lot of these are the A rated roads, which means they are top of the line. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous, lots of hills and mountains, mostly green with heather and other peat loving plants, and tons of huge purple rhododendrons. They apparently grow like weeds over there and some of them must be over 20 feet tall. From the air you can see large purple areas on the ground, these turned out to be forests of flowering rhodos.

Most of the days were spent driving to where we wanted to go since not much was very close. We took an entire day to go out to Skye, look at a few castles and some of the scenery, and then come back. 12 hours on the road, at least, but definitely worth it. Another long day was spent going to Inverewe Gardens on the west coast. Since the Gulf Stream is so close they can grow plants that you wouldn't think could grow that far north, including a few palm trees. We took a several hour walk with the head gardener and learned quite a bit.

Another day we went to the island of Rum, a wildlife sanctuary with lots of bird life. Probably the best part of that day was the train ride out to the ferry landing, the route is famous for some of the most beautiful scenery in the highlands. It was fairly sunny that day so hiking on the island was enjoyable. We also did some hiking on other days, and did a chairlift ride up one of the large mountain ski areas and then hiked around up there. Luckily, that day was fairly sunny also.

We planned to drive up to the Orkney Islands and stay overnight, but after 3 hours of driving to get to the ferry we found that it was outrageously expensive to take your car over, so we just did the day sightseeing trip instead. It was very interesting and I wish we had had more time to explore, as it was we only got to be there for about 6 hours before driving all the way back to the timeshare that night.

After a week we headed over to the other timeshare which was to the east and bordered on the highlands and the Grampian area. This area had lots more castles and we did a lot of driving to get to them. We like castles in the original form rather than the ones that have been fixed up as stately homes and didn't visit many of the modern ones. One of the best castles I've ever seen is Dunnotar, it was perched on the edge of a cliff, and to get to it you had to hike down to close to sea level, and then back up to where the castle was. About the best possible defensive site you could imagine, and there was a lot of good history about the castle available. On the same day we saw that castle (south of Aberdeen) we also went to Inverness in the evening to do a ghost walk. That was a lot of fun although the two people running the tour hammed it up a little too much.

Some of the other things we did were a distillery tour (I'm not much of a drinker and while the whiskey was smooth I didn't care for it all that much), a wool mill tour (not my idea and I was pretty bored), various day trips to historic sites, and some more hiking. Roads in the east are better and getting around was easier. Gas is very expensive, the equivalent of about $3 a gallon, so it costs about $30 for a tankful. Food at restaurants was pretty bad, although I did get to have some haggis. Mostly we cooked dinners at the timeshare and made sandwiches for lunch. Bread over there is outstanding, you can get it a lot grainier than over here, but fresh fruit and vegetables aren't cheap and variety is limited unless you shop in a large town.

The last two days we spent in Glasgow, one evening we went to the major Scottish country dance hall in town and had a lot of fun trying out all these really weird dances. Most of the steps weren't too hard and you could pick them up fairly easily. Some of it was similar to square dancing, and some was purely partner dance. On Saturday there was a huge parade dealing with the Protestant celebration of winning some battle long ago. Same thing that caused the riots in Northern Ireland, but it was mainly peaceful where we were. However, everyone was drunk off their ass and guys would just about drop their pants in the middle of the road to take a leak.

Sunday was probably the best weather of the whole trip and we walked around a lot of the city and arboretum most of the day. We figured we must have walked close to 10 miles; Glasgow is a very pretty city these days with lots of parks and green space. But you can tell the city's industrial history since the buildings that haven't been washed are just about black. Beautiful architecture on a lot of the old buildings.

Then we flew on to Iceland, where we lucked into getting an extra day, all expenses paid. When we were ready to leave the flight was overbooked so we volunteered to stay over, free room and meals, plus we got an extra $400. The food in Iceland was the best I've ever had. An incredible selection of fish and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. But everything in Iceland is outrageously expensive, meals were about 3 times as much as I'd normally pay. No tipping anywhere, they build that in to just about everything, I think the VAT is close to 25%.

Since our time was limited, we planned guided tours for every day. On the day we were supposed to fly to the Westmann Islands it was so windy that flights were cancelled so we did another tour instead. The best part of that one was a visit to a pool they call the Blue Lagoon. It's basically a manmade pool from the outflow of a large geothermal plant; the water has lots of sulfur and other chemicals and is at about 90 degrees so it's like a giant hot tub. We got to swim there for about an hour before having to move on.

Iceland is an extremely clean place, and they use their natural resources very effectively. About 80% of the houses are heated directly from hot water from underground and most of the power is in some form geothermally related. As a result, there is virtually no pollution and the air was extremely fresh and clear. Plus we had daylight almost round the clock, I think the sun is at the horizon for about 4 hours, and up the rest of the time.

On the other days we visited Gulfoss waterfall, and a geyser area where one goes off about every 5 minutes. On what was supposed to be our last day we went horseback riding up a mountain trail. I hadn't been on a horse in years and my back and butt were sore for two days. The flight was overbooked so we volunteered to stay an extra day, all expenses paid plus an extra $400; we couldn't resist that. On the last day we walked up to a viewing point (a huge ultra-modern building) that was built into the six large hot water storage tanks that Reykjavik uses.

Scotland photos

Iceland photos

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How we met

First, a little background. I was very much interested in finding someone permanent, and saw that as more or less a goal in my life. So I was putting a lot of time and energy into meeting and dating women. Cathy, on the other hand, was pretty fed up with men, viewed them as pretty much worthless and was quite happy to work on her masters and have her own independent life. I don't think she had bothered to go out on a date in close to a year. To this day she considers most men hardly worth her time.

Anyway, I put a personal ad in the June 1994 issue of Washingtonian Magazine. It read:

Enthusiastic, eclectic engineer. 40, athletic, irreverent, dependable, affectionate SWM seeks fit, witty nonsmoking SWF unswayed by typical Washington yuppiness. Happiness is marrying your best friend and sharing a spontaneous, childfree, lifelong romance. Failing that, free chocolate.

Meanwhile, Cathy just happened to have gone in for an operation during that same month. Her friend Mary gave her a copy of the magazine saying that she was going to answer some of these ads since she didn't have anything else to do while recovering. This is something Cathy would never normally consider, but Mary sort of insisted. So Cathy picks out a few ads to answer but Mary doesn't think they are any good, so selects a few others, mine was in these.

I get Cathy's letter and we arrange to meet. Now, I am not Cathy's ideal physical type at all, and in all her previous relationships they started basically 100% physical, if she wasn't highly attracted to the guy and wanted to hop right into bed with him then no way. But because of the operation she couldn't do anything like that for at least 6 weeks, so she had to focus on other things. We talked a whole lot right from the start, and she told me that after the first date she hardly remembered what I even looked like since she wasn't focusing on the physical. The only reason she continued to go out with me was that she couldn't think of a reason not to.

To make a long story short, things progressed according to plan (see my system engineering guide to love and romance for details). We bought a house together in June 1995 (it's within walking distance of Wolf Trap Farm Park), and got married on May 11, 1996.

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