First of all, for those who learned on Facebook, let me apologize! Ya see, this all just happened in one crazy week. Let me explain myself…
Dina and I have been together for 19 years (ok, we had 3 years off in there, but the gist being, we have been together a long time.) She is amazing, wonderful, marriage-material-from-day-one! A few years back, I really can’t remember, I asked her to marry me. She knew that marriage was actually a difficult topic for me, so she had said, “I won’t pressure you, I won’t even ask. But someday, you are going to ask me. Even if I have to wait until I am 65, I know someday you will ask.” So, a few years back, after working through my own self doubts and hesitations, I asked.
Of course, she said yes.
But what did it really mean? It was a sentiment from my heart. I want to marry you. But, there really was nothing else to do at that point. I didn’t want to get married in a different state and then come back to California. So, we waited. Between then and know, I probably asked her to marry me again a couple dozen times.
On June 26th, 2013, Prop 8 and DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) went down in flames. I watched, riveted, to my television at 7am (which I usually never do). I texted my son that love conquers hate. He asked me if we were gonna go for it. I said, “I think so. Wanna b there?” He said, “Don’t you dare do it without me!”

Then, there was the court's 25 day stay. We were still in waiting mode. Suddenly, that Friday afternoon, June 28th, Kamala Harris was able to lift the stay and we watched over the Internet as she married the women plaintiffs, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, from the Prop 8 case. We didn’t cheer, we didn’t cry, but we looked on in awe. And then we knew. We’re getting married!
I imagined Dina and me waiting on line with hundreds of other couples and us tweeting as we were getting closer to our turn. “Marriage in 2 hours.” “Meet us in 15.” Truth be told, we didn’t even know HOW to get married. It was Gay Pride weekend, so that Saturday, we asked another couple who had recently partaken in this ancient ritual, how it was done. Go online.
On the City and County of San Francisco website, they announced that they would be marrying couples all weekend. City Hall is usually closed to the public on Saturday and S
unday but they knew the time was now. I told my good friend, Sue Baelen, that we were getting married. I couldn’t even tell anyone else. I was letting it all sink in.

On Sunday, we got on line with hundreds of other giddy, in love couples. There were families with children, two men, two women, some in tuxes, some in sneakers and jeans. As each couple passed with their marriage certificate, the crowd cheered. Dina and I filled out our application for a marriage certificate and after 2 and a half hours, we were done with part A of getting married. We needed to wait for Tyler for part B, the ceremony.
Fortunately, Tyler, who is 21, came home from college the next day. We went online. We made an appointment. July 9th, 1:30pm, County Clerk’s office.
Ok, what did that really mean? Where exactly in City Hall were we going to get married? Could we have lots (I don’t know, a hundred?) people there? The website said 4 witnesses only. The gals at the party had said, “Don’t worry about that, it is a public building. Anyone can be there.” Alright, I’m ok with that.
By Tuesday, July 2nd, we were starting to plan, but I was dreaming of a bigger venue in City Hall. I skimmed over a wedding package on the San Francisco county website where more people could come. Then, I found it. Weekday Balcony rentals. Click. I called to the City’s Events Planning Office and asked what they had available, as soon as possible. Tuesday, July 9th would work on the 4th Floor Balcony. You can have 120 people. I’ll take it!
Dina and I went down that afternoon to look at the balcony. It is on the fourth floor with beautiful natural light and white marble everywhere — certainly a gorgeous place to have a wedding. But still, somehow, I felt that my crowd – babies, kids, strollers – would be cramped. The woman showing us around also showed us the Mayor’s Balcony. I call it the Kamala Harris Terrace because that is the now historic balcony where she married Perry and Steir just days prior. But that balcony was on hold. We could challenge it if we wanted, then the previous couple would need to confirm and pay their deposit within 48 hours. If they did not, it was ours. So, we challenged and waited for 48 hours. Either place would be wonderful, but I was definitely hoping for the KH Terrace. Historic, open, regal, plenty of room for toddlers to roam.
July 4th. Potluck at Stephanie Forster’s. Which shirt do you like the best? What shoes should we wear? Stephanie, Sam and Liz took us under their wings and coached us for 3 hours about what we needed, from girlie undergarments to make-up and hair. What?? Stephanie appointed herself our Wedding Production Manager! Dina and I came home overwhelmed, excited, and maybe a little nauseous. This was really happening.
I asked my friend, Suzannah, if she would take photos. My midwife-friend Maggie would come from Monterey to officiate (We would need to deputize her as a Marriage Commissioner for a Day.) My client, Melanyann, with a 3-day baby in hand, sent me an email of the best taco trucks in town. On July 5th, we went down to the SOMA Food Truck Park to check out El Tuca. While we were there, we saw that they have a “barn” to rent. I asked Tyler, “What do you think? Should we have the reception here?” Yes!
The weekend of the 6th and 7th was spent inviting friends, families; each day I would think about another person that I needed to call. I wanted to put out an email newsletter like this one to invite everyone, but somehow, time was speeding up and I didn’t get to it. Someone asked if I had put out an Evite. No time — this was all just on the fly. My heart broke for favorite friends who were out of town; we were thrilled silly when people were willing to change their schedules to attend our very impromptu wedding on a Tuesday, midday.
The 8th. The Day Before Our Wedding. We still didn’t have rings. Down at City Hall, checking out the venue. Here’s the plan: 93 in the Bridal party!! Tyler and Viola are the Best Man and Maid of Honor. The Colety boys (Josh, Zach and Noah) are the ring bearers. 15 midwife bridesmaids with 17 babes in arms will follow, announcing the baby’s name and age. Dina and I proceed in. 53 flower girls and boys follow, each announcing their name and age and giving Dina and I one flower each. They will be arranged by height, with the the non-walkers first, all the way up to 6-foot-tall Havel. Obviously, these are all "my babies", from 9-day-old Micah to 22-year-old Natasha. Introductions, vows, rings, kiss, merriment. I’m panicking that it is too much for Suzannah, the photographer, to take in. It’s not too much for us to take in, I’m having a ball! And by the way, those rings -- we still didn’t have them!
Downstairs at the base of the main staircase, we watch a few weddings before we leave. In a moment of serendipity, my friend, Patrick, sees us and walks up. He is the father of one of the girls on Viola’s volleyball team. He is always with a huge camera, taking photos of the games. He says he only comes to City Hall about twice a year. We tell him we are getting married tomorrow. He says, “I can come and take some pictures.” What?? Did the universe actually hear inside my mind and send this angel to us?? Yes, photos, yes, tomorrow!
Rings. Yeah, those. Ok, we make one last ditch effort to find rings in our sizes before we will have to order them and just use stand-ins for the wedding. We go to the back of REI to the Diamond Center on a tip from Kevin Ehrenrich, Oliver's Dad (Baby 1001). There we find a man who says he can make our rings, to size, with engraving, by 11am tomorrow. Really? It’s GO time!!


July 9th. Wedding Day. Excitement, beauty, joyful ruckus, happy chaos. Kate Holcombe (mother of Calder, Hayes and Sam) came up to us at the last moment and gave us both something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. We loved it!! All went perfectly and beyond our wildest dreams. We felt so much love and support from this amazing community. We feel blessed, grateful, giddy, overjoyed, lucky.

Thank you thank you to everyone for the love and support, blessings and well-wishes. By definition of community, we couldn’t do this without you. Dina always said that she wanted to get married so that the community could witness our commitment to each other. We will rely on you in challenging times for support and encouragement. We will celebrate with you during times of joy and ritual.
So for those of you that I love so dearly, but didn’t get a chance to notify, call us up! Come on over! We will re-enact the scene for you, celebrate together and show you the photos! We leave for Haiti on the 19th of July, but would love to get together in September when we are both back in town! I LOVE being MARRIED and I am so happy to share our celebration with you!

Also, if you didn’t get an email, it means you are not on my yahoo group. I am happy to have you join! Just go to yahoo groups and search for Wisewoman Childbirth Traditions. Somewhere you can click to join!
Melanyann (Mother of Pryor and Pryce and Taco Truck Advisor) wanted me to post the poem I wrote for Dina, so here it is:


Now it’s official,
We have a new date.
For sure, getting married
Was always our fate.
The judges have spoken,
The people have cheered.
Our future is before us,
The pathway is cleared.
You’ve waited so patiently
For this wedding day.
I’ve been dragging my feet,
But now, I’m OK.
Our love is forever,
It’s already been tried.
But now we are solid,
The knot can be tied.
You are my true love,
It don’t get no better.
We have Tyler’s approval
And from Viola, the setter.
Our community’s here
To witness our bond.
We love them and need them,
Of them, we are fond.
The midwives have gathered,
They’ll guide us along.
Together with family,
We can be strong.
Into this marriage,
I put my hopes and my wishes.
That we’ll have the best life,
And you’ll do more dishes!
The Red Shoes are playing,
My shoes are not right.
I don’t even wear make-up –
My gosh, what a sight!

Tacos and cupcakes,
120 people, I bet.
For a shotgun wedding,
This is the best we could get!
I’ll always remember
This real wedding day.
We got the license and venue
And we got to pay!
Our love is priceless,
This is a dream.
Our wishes came true,
Cuz we’re a great team.
It’s time to commit
To the love of my life —
Without any doubts,
Hesitations or strife.
My life with you, Dina,
Is always a ball!
Look at us now —
We’re getting married in City Hall!

This was a good idea,
I’m glad it was pitched.
Cuz, Dina Maria,

Here's lookin' at you kid...

Well, Haiti is not really a honeymoon but we're going! Viola, my Maid of Honor, and Mary Louise, Assistant Wedding Production Manager, will be going as well. Follow us on my blog (see link below!) Click the link below to see Dina's latest microdocumentary about Midwives For Haiti! Of course, if you are so inclined, you can make a donation to Midwives for Haiti in honor of our wedding. Mail checks to Maria Iorillo, 206 27th St., San Francisco, CA 94131.

Midwives For Haiti: "Magdala's Story"

Women in Charge is at


Contact Info:
Maria Iorillo, Licensed Midwife ~ 415-285-9233 ~
Office Address: 1347 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114
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