Eat, Drink & Be Married

Wedding photography by Marvin Tsai Photography, marvintsai.com
Original date photography by Greg Ramirez

Story by David Perloff

Rian and Nami met on a blind date published in the March 2009 issue of PacificSD. At the time, Rian, a native San Diegan, was a chef at the new Tender Greens at Liberty Station. Nami, who had moved to San Diego from Thailand three years prior, was the office manager at Pacific Beach Bar & Grill.

The two met aboard an Epic Limo Bus in Balboa Park, where they talked over a champagne and appetizer arrangement provided by Firehouse American Eatery + Lounge in Pacific Beach. (That place is famous for fostering love connections, or at least sexual ones, anyway.)

After drinks at NuNu's in Bankers Hill, they took a romantic stroll along the downtown waterfront - Rian's hand already around Nami's waist at this point - before heading to dinner at Red Pearl Kitchen in the Gaslamp (RIP, RPK, we really dug you). By the time the camera crew left, they were holding hands, hugging and squeezing, the whole nine.

Today, the couple is living in Los Angeles, where they both work for Tender Greens. They've been together for five years.

Last spring, Nami surprised me with a phone call, announcing she and Rian were engaged and would be getting married in San Diego in about a year. She asked me to perform the wedding ceremony because I had introduced them. I was thrilled and said yes.

Fast-forward to right now - I'm standing before a crowd of 100 of Rian and Nami's friends and family, holding a microphone and wondering why I chose this as the moment in my life to save big on a new suit. Does this quasi-burlap/silk nightmare look as plastic-royal blue and shiny to everyone else as it does to me? Why am I wearing this damn thing? Oh, God. Here we go. Deep breath...

Please rise for Nami. (Nami walks down the aisle.)

Please be seated. Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for helping Nami and Rian celebrate this joyful day.

Before the ceremony begins, I'd like to tell you the story of how the bride and groom met. My name is David Perloff, and I stand before you today because I had the good fortune of introducing Nami to Rian on a blind date that was photographed and published in a local magazine.

I knew Nami as the cute chick who wrote checks at Pacific Beach Bar & Grill. I knew Rian as the chef from the veggie place I wanted to sell magazine ads to. He never bought one.

As soon as Nami and Rian met on a limo bus in Balboa Park, you could see there was chemistry. Ninety minutes later, when the two were split for mid-date debriefings, I asked Nami what she would do if Rian tried to kiss her.

She said, and I quote: "If he tried, and you guys weren't here, I would kiss him back, of course!" When I asked Rian a similar question, I think I remember him sort of salivating when he said, "She is very hot and very cute and very bubbly." By the way, I think that's how he describes the soup at Tender Greens.

That magical night did end with a kiss... and Nami singing the 2009 Estelle/Kanye West hit, "American Boy," which played over and over on the limo bus.

Take me on a trip, I'd like to go some day. Take me to New York, I'd love to see L.A. I really want to come kick it with you. You'll be my American Boy.

Nami, please repeat after me...

I, Nami, take you, Rian, to be my lawfully wedded husband, my partner in life, my best friend and my one true love. I will cherish our union and love you more each day than I did the day before. I will trust you and respect you, laugh with you and cry with you, loving you faithfully through good times and bad, regardless of the obstacles we may face together.

Nami, do you swear to give Rian your hand, your heart and your love from this day forward for as long as you both shall live?

Nami: I do.

Rian, please repeat after me...

I, Rian, take you, Nami, to be my lawfully wedded wife, my partner in life, my best friend and my one true love. I will cherish our union and love you more each day than I did the day before. I will trust you and respect you, laugh with you and cry with you, loving you faithfully through good times and bad, regardless of the obstacles we may face together.

Rian, do you swear to give Nami your hand, your heart and your love from this day forward for as long as you both shall live?

Rian: I do.

Please hand me the rings. The ring is a symbol of your marriage, a circle without beginning or end, and a symbol of wholeness, perfection, peace and unity.

Rian, take Nami's hand, place this ring on her finger, and hold it there while you repeat after me: I give you this ring as a pledge of my faith and love, and a symbol of our unity.

Nami, take Rian's hand, place this ring on his finger, and hold it there while you repeat after me: I give you this ring as a pledge of my faith and love, and a symbol of our unity.

Nami and Rian, you have now sealed your relationship with the giving and receiving of rings. Today this relationship is further symbolized by the tying of a lover's knot.

Rian, take these cords [the best man hands me two short ropes], which represent the bond between you and Nami, and tie a knot to signify your intentions for your gathered friends and family to see.

Nami, please express your feelings by tightening the knot, representing that you will always hold Rian's heart to yours.

Rian and Nami, these two cords represent your pasts, your individual and separate lives before today. As you intertwine your pieces, you are joining your two lives into one, representing the present. The finished knot symbolizes your future, and how your love and marriage will continue to be strong despite any trials life may throw your way. Your bond is not formed of the knots of this cord, but instead by your pledges to one another. May your bond never be broken.

Now that you have joined in holy matrimony and become one, may you strive all of your lives to meet this commitment with the same love and devotion that brought you here today.

By the virtue of the authority vested in me as Deputy Commissioner of Civil Marriages in and of the County of San Diego, it is my honor and sincere pleasure to pronounce you husband and wife.

Rian, you may kiss your bride.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great honor that I present to you, for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Rian Brandenberg.

Copyright © 2018, Pacific San Diego
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