Real Wedding: A Love Song in California
LisaGay Hamilton and Robin D.G. Kelley
When they decided to get married, LisaGay Hamilton, 45, and Robin D.G. Kelley, 47, wanted to throw a party, not a wedding. In fact, the word wedding never appeared on their invitations. There was no gown (a knee-length cocktail dress suited the bride better), no strict schedule (the groom simply announced to the crowd that they were about to begin the ceremony), and no string quartet (instead, their son played an African drum before a favorite local jazz trio took over). But when it came to the vows, Robin, a writer, surprised LisaGay with something traditionally, classically romantic—a love song. He wrote the melody and lyrics, incorporating hidden details only the bride would recognize, then hired a singer to perform. Despite the lack of convention, as parties go, this one was perfectly composed.
A Brilliant Bouquet
LisaGay twisted baby’s breath in her hair. Her bouquet of orchids and treasure calla lilies was by petalforest.com.
A Heartfelt Ceremony
The casual ceremony included water poured out in honor of relatives who had past away and self-written vows.
Music to Her Ears
The song that Robin composed for LisaGay was similar to the many poems he had written for her over the years.
Guests passed around a box that contained the couple’s rings, adding their good wishes and blessings.
A Unique Boutonniere
Robin wore a collard green in his lapel as a nod to jazz pianist Thelonious Monk, whose biography he had just written.
Simple and Streamlined
LisaGay wanted the recycled-wood tables to be seen, so she cut an earth-tone African fabric into strips for runners.
An Offbeat Menu
Beacon, a restaurant in Los Angeles, catered the Asian-inspired meal. Dessert was miniature cakes and pies, plus fruit.
An Unexpected Photo Op
The location, the Smog Shoppe, is on an industrial stretch of La Cienega Boulevard. The couple dashed across for a photo.
Guests left with a copy of Nothing but a Man, one of Robin and LisaGay’s favorite romantic movies.