Irvine Park. I recall what it was in its former self. Now, I suppose, there is no assurance of its previous glory as I haven’t returned in decades. In the 1960s and 1970s my family, and later myself independent of family, visited the park grounds. Visitors were graced with lush greenery and the site where one could establish group picnics. Frisbee competitions, hiking, miniature boats, and the sweet Shetlands children could ride, were all a part of the celebration at the park. Let’s talk celebration for a moment more. When it was my turn to scope out the best possible location for my wedding and reception, Irvine clinched it. I knew nothing else would do. We had the expanse that the ranger’s residence afforded us. This was a section not meant for the casual park visitor. But, rather, the area set aside for the ranger to live during seasonal changes. It included a 2 bedroom house complete with workable kitchen, baths and living space. This became our “control central” as we awaited the caterer, the cake-lady, and I finished with hair and make-up. Outside the house was the spacious area of green grass and mature trees that served as our wedding backdrop. The rain had fallen two days before our ceremony (this was August — when does it ever rain in an Orange County August?!)
But the vestige of rain was literally rooted deep under the grass as we had only bright sunshine to welcome us on that day, August 20, 1977.
The ceremony and reception went off without a hitch. I have simple tastes in this kind of thing. Huge, sparkly adornments do not resonate with me. My understated full-length lace dress suited me. I had previously sketched the kind of dress I was looking for, and I found it after a ten minute stroll down Olvera Street in Los Angeles. The day was made to order. And I look back on the park treatment of our wedding. The minister did not have to raise his voice. It seemed as though the public had decided to honor our day. Thank you Irvine Park. You delivered us a memory of natural simplicity in a setting that I claim as my own.