I received a phone call this past summer from a very excited Lorilei Pinley. I know some of Steve's story and his fight with cancer. I know because my own Dad was diagnosed around the same time. This family had a special place in my heart before, but now this experience will be something I won't ever forget. Before she told me any more details, I knew that I had to be there. That this was something I wanted to capture for them to hold on to. She told me of their plans to renew their vows. To have an intimate day with close family and a few friends to say "we still do." She was so excited, and talked a million miles an hour about her vision for the day, and most importantly how much she loved Steve, and wanted him to know she still meant every vow she said 30 years ago. They were to the part of marriage that people often times jump ship. The part where the sea gets rough. In sickness and in health goes out the window, because you didn't really think the sickness part would ever happen to you, right? "In high or low tide" is what she said to me. So, how very fitting that we would be climbing onto their boat and sailing out for the day.
Lorilei and Steve have such an incredible story. They really, really lived. They adventured, and never stopped adventuring. Even this day, one of his last outside of the hospital, was such an adventure. She told me how their wedding 30 years ago was changed last minute, because they were fighting a wildfire in California. They met last minute with a few close friends, she picked some orange flowers, and they just did the thing. Nothing else mattered, because they had each other. September 30, 2017 was no different. The day didn't go exactly as planned...in fact just about everything that could go wrong did. It rained, I mean poured down. The boat ran over a line in the water and we were stuck for hours until their son in law swam under the boat and cut it free (literal merman). Lorilei's dress was forgotten in the car, which sort of made the boat being stuck a blessing in disguise. We ended up being able to grab the dress using the dingy. I watched as the day slowly drained Steve's energy. I could tell he didn't have too much left in him. We weren't left with enough time to get out to the island, so we went out onto the bow of the boat. They held each other, and I knew I was looking at something so rare. Love that fought every obstacle. Love that refused to give up, even staring cancer in the face. The rain was freezing and soaking them, and Lorilei looked at Steve and said "well, are you going to ask me?" Steve got quiet for a moment, then with all sincerity looked up at his bride and asked "Lorilei, would you still marry me?" Tears streamed down her face as she said "Yes. I still do. I love you." Looking back, I wonder if that small quiet moment was him wondering if she would say yes again, knowing what the future might hold, but I know he knew the answer. They had been saying yes over and over for the last 30 years. Today was no different, really.
A special thank you to Nancy of Saltadena cakes, and Lilly of Colibri blooms. I love that there are other vendors that want to come around people in the community and build them up. Thank you for being so giving and thoughtful and helping me go above in beyond in giving this couple a day to remember. The orange touches in the floral and on the cake represented the Pinley's time spent fighting fires, and her orange bouquet on their wedding day 30 years ago. The colors in the cake were for their love of the ocean and each other, no matter how stormy it may get.