By CHUCK OFFENBURGER and MARY RICHE
DES MOINES, Iowa, Sept. 5, 2022 — A former pastor of ours at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ here sometimes talked about how in moments of extreme happiness, we are “blissed out!” And that’s how the two of us have been living since our marriage at late morning on Friday, Sept. 2, in the rotunda of the Iowa State Capitol here.
Our friend retired Judge Janet Johnson, who was the first woman to serve on the Iowa Court of Appeals, officiated at the brief ceremony Friday. Special notes: Mary’s vows were stunningly good, and she ended them with an even more stunning singing solo on “Love Me Tender.” Chuck was in tears. He recovered to read his handwritten vows to Mary from his ever-present reporter’s notebook.
Then Sunday morning, Rev. Jack Mahoney, an associate pastor at Plymouth Church, blessed our marriage just before communion, during the early “Word and Table” Service. Special note: We both wore black & white saddle shoes.
You can watch the entire 16 minutes of the wedding ceremony, by clicking here: https://bit.ly/3ejMbw9 .
And enjoy these photos here by Chris Werner, Sue Evans, Bonnie Green, Pam Kenyon and Mary Ann Beard.
Here are the two of us with the matron of honor Babs Hein and best man Randy Evans, both longtime friends of ours.
Judge Johnson opened the ceremony with a reading of the prolific American poet Wilferd A. Peterson’s classic “The Art of Marriage.”
The “blissed out” newlyweds were beaming during the ceremony.
Mary concludes her vows by soloing on “Love Me Tender.” She told no one beforehand she was going to sing it, “because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get through it.” She did it perfectly, as you’ll hear in the video. She has soloed publicly only one other time in her adult years — at the beginning of the eulogy she delivered at the funeral of her great friend former Lt. Gov. Joy Corning when she sang “To Know Her Is To Love Her.”
The old newsie mentioned that “I’ve lived most of my life in these reporter’s notebooks,” and he read his vows from one.
Happy hands in matching platinum wedding bands.
The newlyweds amidst the inspiring artwork around the rotunda of the State Capitol.
Here we are, starting new life together.
The two of us at the Capitol with Chuck’s sister Chris Werner and her husband Karl Werner, of Cedar Rapids.
Another kiss before we left the Capitol.
After our wedding under the Golden Dome.
Here we are with the “bridesmaids,” as we were calling them — (left to right) Mary Ann Beard, Pam Kenyon, Babs Hein and Bonnie Green, all longtime friends of Mary.
Joining us for the wedding and lunch afterward, at St. Kilda’s Collective in West Des Moines, was our pal Doug Burns, veteran newspaper executive from Carroll in western Iowa.
Best man Randy Evans and his wife Sue with us at lunch. Randy Evans for years was Chuck’s editor and boss at the Des Moines Register.
With Pastor Jack Mahoney at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ after he’d blessed our marriage Sunday morning before the early communion service there.
Chuck Offenburger and Mary Riche both wrote long columns about their relationship, and those were posted immediately after the ceremony on Friday. If you haven’t seen those already, you can find Chuck’s column right here https://bit.ly/3AMJUBl and Mary’s column right here https://bit.ly/3KGPHge.
You can write directly to the two columnists by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. You can also comment on the story and photos by using the handy form below here.