This is one of my favorite love stories of which an intercultural and interfaith couple hired me to officiate their spiritual-not-religious ceremony. Because the Bride is of Salvadorian descent and the Groom of Sudanese, they wanted to incorporate much of their beloved cultural heritage so they chose to have two ceremonies. Shortly after my Catholic’ish ceremony, an Imam resided over the couple’s Muslim ceremony. The conference center at the old Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Building, now called The Bently Reserve became the setting of this couple’s Bay Area wedding. During their ceremony, I shared the funny and romantic love story.
They say you should never talk about politics especially with strangers. You never know who you might offend. But sometimes it can lead to a surprising turn of events. Such was the case for Paola and Wail.
It was an early spring afternoon and Wail was busy working on a client’s website when his best friend invited him to come over to her Washington DC apartment and work there. Coincidentally, Safia also invited Paola to come over to her apartment that same afternoon. When Paola arrived, Safia introduced the two. Having an eye for fashion, Paola noticed that he was wearing True Religion jeans with a blue checkered shirt; she loved it. Paola says, “He was very serious but kind in the way he said hello.” Shortly thereafter, the two strangers found themselves alone. Seizing the opportunity for some proper DC networking, she asked Wail what he did for a living.
Looking up from his laptop, he explained that he was a computer consultant and engineer working on healthcare.gov. He asked, “You know the one the White House is always talking about?” It was mid-March 2014 and the new federal health insurance exchange website was making headlines in some most uncomplimentary light. Paola nodded while Wail went on to explain how he felt his company was being thrown under the bus for all the system problems even though the administration pressured them to fast track their schedule and go live far too early. While he was explaining all of this, he noticed that Paola was very pretty, that she didn’t speak much, but had a pleasant aura about her and a positive, genuine vibe. Her glasses made him think that she was smart. Wail continued to say that the people at the White House were a bunch of idiots and had no idea what they were talking about. Paola smiled and continued to follow along as Wail continued to vent. Once he said his peace he considerately asked, “Where do you work?” Paola couldn’t resist the opportunity to reply with a tinge of smugness, “The White House.”
“The expression on Wail’s face was priceless,” Paola recalls. For those who know Wail, it’s his okaaaay-didn’t-expect-that expression which lasted only for an instant. His confidence remained intact and made no apologies which Paola found appealing. In spite of the conversation’s awkward beginning, they continued to talk about politics. Wail recalls, “From her responses, I knew that she had a very strong character. She spoke lightly but her strong personality was evident through her responses and calm demeanor. I could also tell she was fashionable because of her outfit and her taste.” Later they and Safia grabbed dinner and went dancing. Before they parted, Paola saved her number in Wail’s phone which is something she never thought she’d ever do especially after meeting someone for the first time. Along with her digits, she added an emoji of a bride and an engagement ring. It just felt right.
Venue: Bently Reserve, San Francisco https://www.bentlyreserve.com/
Photographer: Paul Taborovsky of Tara Weddings https://taraweddings.ca/
Planner: Leah Hwung of Two Perfect Events https://twoperfectevents.com/
New York Times Announcement: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/18/fashion/weddings/paola-garcia-wail-abbo.html