In Dark Days, A Wonderful Wedding

The weather was not great. The mood of the country was worse.

But love endures.

This past Friday — in the midst of a frightening pandemic — Steven Rawlings and Reka Reisinger got married on Old Mill Beach.

The plan had been to wed on June 27, in upstate New York. But with so much uncertainty about the future, the couple decided to make it official now.

They did not want to get a license at still-crowded City Hall in Manhattan, where they live. Steven is an attorney with the SEC; Reka’s a photographer, and sells and restores pianos in her family business.

So they enlisted the help of their Compo Cove friends Isaac and Ellen Sonsino.

Their daughter Genevieve is a close, longtime friend of Reka’s. Reka’s dad has passed away, so she’d already asked Isaac to walk her down the aisle in June.

Amazingly, the Sonsinos’ next door neighbor at Old Mill Beach — 92-year-old Wally Meyer — is a justice of the peace.

Also amazingly, his housemate Clark Hanford does costume work. He said he’d alter any of 3 gowns. Reka decided to wear a traditional Hungarian dress, but that offer epitomized the amazing spirit of the wedding.

Reka Reisinger in a traditional Hungarian wedding dress, and Steven Rawlings in traditional tails. (Photo/Ellen Sonsino)

Isaac contacted Westport Town Hall. Officials promised to make arrangements online. When the license was completed, Isaac met a woman from the town clerk’s office in the back parking lot. Wearing gloves — and keeping her distance — she placed it on a picnic table, for him to pick up.

On Friday — just 24 hours after planning began — Steven and Reka were wed.

Wally Meyer prepares to marry Steven and Reka. (Photo/Ellen Sonsino)

Fewer than a dozen people were present: Steve’s parents, Robert and Ronnie; Reka’s mother Klara and her partner Rob Botti; the 3 Sonsinos, and 2 close friends of Steve’s rearranged their schedule on a few hours’ notice to attend.

A self-distancing selfie: Steven and friends.

Robin Tauck — an Old Mill neighbor — happened to wander by too. She couldn’t resist!

All kept an appropriate social distance, as Meyer led the vows with grace and joy.

(Photo/Robin Tauck)

There was lovely oboe music, courtesy of Bach and Botti. Amazingly (again!), Reka’s mother’s partner plays with the New York Philharmonic.

The New York Philharmonic played at Steven and Reka’s wedding. (Photo/Ellen Sonsino)

There were Champagne toasts. A cake too, of course. And of course, everyone ate it carefully, one at a time.

Reka’s mother Klara toasts the happy couple. (Photo/Ellen Sonsino)

“It’s a wonderful way to start life,” Steven says. It’s poignant in another way, besides taking place amid a pandemic. Friday marked 6 years to the day that Reka’s father had died.

An elbow bump for the justice of the peace.

After the ceremony, the newlyweds took a walk on the beach. They were heartened to see other people enjoying the water — all at a safe distance from one another.

They’re spending their honeymoon at the Delamar in Southport. Everyone there has been great, Reka says.

And the restaurant is open for takeout.

(Photos/Robin Tauck)

(Photo/Steven Rawlings)

(Video courtesy of Genevieve Sonsino)

19 responses to “In Dark Days, A Wonderful Wedding

  1. Tony Durrant

    What a heartwarming story. Congratulations to 5he happy couple

  2. Michele Coppotelli

    Dan. More stories like this. This is what we all need
    Very nice

  3. Congratulations to the both of you. May you have a happy and beautiful future together. God bless you both.

  4. Elissa Moses

    Beautiful story! May they have a long happy life together! Great to see Wally Meyer called into service. 🙂

  5. Janette Kinnally

    What a great way to start my day! Thank you for the heartwarming story. We need many more of these right now. Too many negative articles written all over the place, so this really brought me joy! Love and kindness and a wonderful community is all around us. Thank you Dan! 😃❤️

  6. Wonderful way to start this day in all the present bleakness. Thanks, Dan, and congratulations and best wishes to the newly married couple.

  7. 💙🥂🌈

  8. Ellen Sandhaus

    Wonderful story. Glad to hear Ellen and Isaac are well – haven’t seen them since early days in NYC and college reunions. And remember there newborn daughter!

  9. Todd Freemon

    Wonderful – Congratulations to the happy couple!

    And as others have said, thank you for posting this!


  10. What a wonderful wedding in the time of social distancing! Life goes on. The oboe sounds so great with the ocean waves. Congratulations to the newlyweds, they got married in style!

  11. Congratulations and Best Wishes Steve and Reka!!

    Cindy and Pat Brown

  12. Susan Hopkins

    Oh Happy Day! Happiness, joy, and congratulations to the newly married couple.

    What a wonderful way to open a new day. Thank you, Dan!

  13. What a lovely story, and certainly memorable! I wish them a lifetime of love and happiness.

  14. Nancy Silver

    For all the cancelled celebrations this wonderful ceremony was a joy to read about. Wishing you endless love and a special beginning to lasting happiness.

  15. Elizabeth Thibault

    How beautiful and absolutely in the spirit of love. May they celebrate many happy anniversaries together!

  16. A truly memorable and heartwarming day with wishes for many more to follow! With you in spirit on this day and along the way, and may it always be as special!

  17. Congratulations Steve and Reka! So happy for you two!!