PATI + ROBERTO
I met Roberto at a wedding. I was friends with the bride and he was friends with the groom. I saw him and actually thought, “Wow, nice.” The wedding was at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, and we were indoors in an atrium because of weather. There was a lightning storm outside, and I literally saw and felt sparks when I was with him.
It was miraculous our first date even happened. We didn't exchange numbers after the wedding, even though we hit it off so well, because it all seemed impossible. At the time I lived in Paris and he lived in Los Angeles. After our magical night together, we both said we had hoped to meet someone like the other and said our goodbyes. A couple days later he called the couple and asked for my number, they were literally out the door on the way to their honeymoon and ran back inside to answer the phone. I was still in NYC and had just found out I got booked in LA. A few days later we had our first date out there. I was so nervous to see what he really looked like – well, more what he really dressed like, because he was prince charming in his tuxedo when we met. Thankfully I liked him out of the monkey suit!
About a month after we met I had to go to Milan for show week. He flew to Milan, the city where he was born and went to school. He showed me his town, which was a totally different Milan than I had ever seen. Seeing him in his home environment was really romantic and I liked him even more. What really cemented the relationship was traveling together. He took me to Central America and we took buses and traveled. As much as I resented the lack of creature comforts, I loved his vast knowledge of culture and the way he connected to the world. I knew that this man would show me the world and teach me in the most practical ways.
I don’t remember when we first said “I love you,” but I know love was very present from the very beginning. After dating for three years we knew we wanted to be together and stay together. I thought that the most important part of the engagement and marriage was the ring and he disagreed.
I've never been the girl to imagine being a bride, and after going back and forth with how and where we wanted to celebrate our union we decided to "fuck the wedding" and elope. Fifteen years later we are still not married "officially," as in we don’t have a marriage license. Our union is a spiritual one.
We eloped to India. We went in December and January, which is the nicest time to visit South India. We took a month to travel the country, picking up pieces for the celebration on the way - my sari in Varanasi, a parasite at Om beach, and the rings in Mumbai. We ended up in a village called Ganeshpuri, where there is a temple very close to my heart, where a Brahmin priest performed the mantras for our union.
The evening before I had henna applied to my hands, and then prior to the ceremony it was all about the sari. The mantra performed by the priest was in Sanskrit, and we added our own words of commitment. We rode to the temple in a rickshaw, it was very Indian!
After the temple we had a small gathering dinner with some friends who were living at the ashram in town. Some friends I knew well, and who were even at the wedding we met at, and some that I knew only peripherally. I don't remember the menu, but I'm sure it was Indian and vegetarian. Saris and kurtas were the dress code! There was no dancing and it was not a late night, just a very mellow evening on a rooftop overlooking the Tansa Valley. Our wedding was also our honeymoon, and it was perfect. I would love to recreate it and bring our daughter to the redo.