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    The Officiant - Part III

    On March 17th, 2019 I had the privilege of officiating my friends wedding in Pleasanton, California.  Chen and Dalia were the third couple whose wedding I’ve officiated.  I’m very grateful to them for entrusting me to wed them, and for giving me permission to post the speech here.  This is what was said:


    We are gathered here today to celebrate the marriage of Chen Tang and Dalia Martinez, two of Livermore’s finest residents. It is no small feat to draw over one hundred people to a golf course in Pleasanton without a golf tournament taking place, but Dalia and Chen have a strong network of family and friends who have come from near and far – including Los Angeles, Seattle, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio, Texas, Toronto, and Melbourne –  to witness and support their wedding here.  In addition to those present, we must also acknowledge those loved ones who could not make it today but are here with us in spirit, and who’s support for Chen and Dalia’s marriage is not diminished by their absence or distance. 

    For most of their lives, Dalia and Chen had lived in the same town but their paths never crossed until December, 2012, when they met at work.  Back then, Chen was Livermore’s most eligible bachelor, and in Dalia he not only gained a new co-worker but also a new friend.  Dalia and Chen shared common interests and enjoyed each other’s company, and luckily Hayden liked Chen enough to grant Dalia permission to date him. As their relationship developed from a friendship into a romance, Chen and Dalia began exploring their own backyard together by going hiking in regional parks, wine tasting, and trying out every new restaurant in the Tri-Valley area – something they still do to this day.   Gradually, their adventures expanded beyond the borders of Alameda County, and they took road trips and excursions to the Russian River, Muir Woods, Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, and up and down the California Coast from Santa Cruz to Santa Monica and beyond.  Despite six years having passed since the start of their relationship which has played-out like a Disney love-story featuring an Asian Price Charming and Mexican Cinderella, Chen and Dalia’s exciting journey has just begun.  And I’m not referring to the honeymoon in Hawaii that they will embark upon next week, I’m alluding to the fact that Chen was a bad boy and Dalia is now six months pregnant and is on her way to providing Hayden with a little sister named Kennedy –  not to mention adding a new member to the Tang family dynasty.  Though this is not downplay the honeymoon – Hawaii’s cool, too. 

    Chen and Dalia have a bright future and they can achieve anything they set their minds to.  Surely there will be challenges and losses, but the almost-annoying positivity they possess provides a strong foundation for them to overcome any form of adversity realistically foreseeable.  They embody characteristics that one cannot attain through education or purchase for any dollar amount.   A person cannot attend a university and learn how to become compassionate; you cannot buy the ability to discern right from wrong or the strength to continually do the right thing.   For so many here Chen and Dalia have proven to be reliable friends and family members. Chen is the type of guy who you can call when you’re facing a problem in the middle of the night and he will pick up the phone and he will be there for you.   We are thankful to their parents for raising such outstanding children and for all the sacrifices that they have made so as to allow them the opportunities to pursue success.  We especially owe a great deal of gratitude especially to Chen’s amazing grandmother, for if it were not for her, none of us would be here right now. Chen and Dalia have come so far but have even farther to go, and if all goes well then one day in the future they may be on a golf course watching their own grandchild getting married, but only with more robots.

    With that said, it’s time to exchange vows.

    Dalia, do you vow your love and devotion to Chen, promising to care for him in the joys and sorrows of life, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse? 

    Do you promise to support him throughout his fasting and raw food diets, to love him as your corazon even when is behaving like a pendejo, and take care of him after he returns from long work days in the kitchen no matter how badly he smells of banh khot, pho hai san, and bun bo Hue?

    Chen, do you vow your love and devotion to Dali, promising to care for her in the joys and sorrows of life, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse? 

    Do you promise to continue to take her to pumpkin patches and Latin music concerts, to make her pickled pork feet, and be there to celebrate all the Cino di Mayos, Dias de las Muertos, Feliz Navidads,quinceañeras, and sweet sixteens that will come your way over the years?

    Chen and Dalia, please turn toward each other and repeat after me:

    I, Chen, take thee Dalia to be my lawfully wedded wife; to love, honor and respect, from this day forward.  With this ring, I thee wed. 

    I, Dalia, take thee Chen to be my lawfully wedded husband; to love, honor and respect, from this day forward.  With this ring, I thee wed. 

    Now, by the power vested in me, and in accordance with the laws of the state of California, it my honor to declare across the entire Tri-Valley area - from the top of Mount Diablo to the bottom of Lake Chabot – Chen and Dalia as man and wife.  You may now kiss the bride!

    Chen and Dalia.  Godspeed.

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