On March 19, 1999, Gary and I went to the Sonoma County Courthouse and got married by a Justice of the Peace.

We’d been together 8 years already. Neither of us particularly wanted to go through the legal process. But, we went ahead and did it for practical purposes — health insurance being one of the main reasons.

Up at the county office, we found out we needed a witness. We hadn’t thought of bringing anyone with us. Luckily a kind, older woman named Nuala, who was waiting for a friend, said she’d “stand” for us.

The ceremony was simple and quick. We promised to be kind to each other. So far so good.

We then drove to the beach, stopped for a beer, went out to dinner back in Petaluma and then went home and watched a movie. Plus ├ža change …

We threw a party for friends the following day — a reception of sorts. We gave everyone an egg-shaped stone — a symbol of new beginnings on the Spring Equinox.

This is what we looked like on our wedding day.