If this isn’t the most romantic and magical love story there ever was, than we don’t know what is! The old-school and inspirational couple, Christina Hamlett and Mark Webb share a one of a kind love story. One that is only ever heard of in films, except this one is in fact real, giving all those hopeless romantics out there faith in the possibility of love at first sight.
What you do for work?
I am a full-time writer, media relations expert and performing arts consultant. My credits to date include 31 books, 157 stage plays, 5 optioned feature films, and hundreds of articles and interviews that appear online and in trade publications worldwide. I also do script consultations for the film business (which means I stop a lot of really bad movies from coming to theaters near you) and a professional ghostwriter (which does not mean I talk to dead people). My beloved is General Counsel and Vice President of a California-based insurance company, as well as a gourmet chef and former opera singer.
Tell us a little about the proposal and the lead up to the wedding?
For starters, I actually wished my beloved into existence by throwing a coin into the magic pool at Bath, England in 1994. I specifically asked that a knight in shining armor come into my life upon my return. My very first day back in the office, who should walk through the door but a lawyer/lobbyist named Mark Webb. While waiting for an unscheduled meeting with my boss, he commented, “I hope you don’t think this is forward of me to say so but you have the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen.” Coming from anyone else, it would have sounded like a line. He said it with such sincerity, though, that I smiled and said “thank you.” He later told me that in the very moment I said that, he knew everything about me there was to know.
Our ‘courtship’ lasted three years. Since we both worked in a particularly political and gossipy environment, he felt it would be inappropriate to ask someone out in an office where he was doing lobbying. He also assumed I was probably dating Tom Selleck. And so instead we simply talked about anything, everything and nothing every time he came into the office. Additionally, he always brought me a single truffle (in a white box) from See’s Candy (which was right down the street from where I worked).
After three years of chocolate and smart conversation, I transferred to a different office (within the same department) that he would never have had occasion to amble out and visit. And so – remembering the date of my birthday – he called me a week before to see if there were any choice lunch dates available to take me to lunch to celebrate. I told him I was taking my birthday off. “Aha!,” he thought. “If Tom Selleck were really in the picture, why wouldn’t he be taking her off someplace fun? Why is she free on her birthday?” And so he invited me to meet him at The Firehouse at noon and there, over a three-hour lunch, he took my hand and said, “I hope you don’t think this is forward of me to say so but I’ve been in love with you from the first moment we met three years ago. Would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?” And I said yes before we even shared our first kiss.
A year later, we exchanged our wedding vows at Stirling Castle (Scotland) in the same chapel where Mary was crowned Queen of Scots. I first saw this castle during the 1994 holiday and decided that if I ever married again, this would be the place. And besides, nothing less than a castle will do when you marry a knight in shining armor.
What was the inspiration behind your wedding theme / vibe?
Mark has Scottish ancestry and I’m pretty sure I was Scottish in a prior life. Not only did we think it would fun to honeymoon in such a beautiful country but having a very small wedding overseas means that you don’t have to feed 500 of your closest friends at a reception. (We took our wedding party to a lovely Highlands inn for breakfast. That evening we returned to the hotel for wedding cake and champagne.)
Favourite detail and/or moment of the day…
As we were wrapping up with our pictures and leaving the chapel, I found myself musing why there hadn’t been any tourists wandering in during the whole time we were there. Turns out that our driver, Sandy Paterson, spoke to castle security and explained what was going on. When we emerged, we discovered that the entire courtyard had been cordoned off by yellow DO NOT ENTER tape, not unlike that which is used for crime scenes. On the other side of these barriers were squillions of very patient Japanese tourists, all of whom were standing at the ready with their cameras. I’m sure they had no idea who we were but I gave my best princess wave as they snapped dozens of pictures of us. They’re probably still trying to figure this out.
Did you undertake any DIY projects, if so what?
With the exception of the Edinburgh solicitor we retained to walk us through all the legalities, the entire event was DIY. Our friend Barbara Langdon “made” our wedding cake by packing her decorating supplies from home and then purchasing a simple white cake and tubes of frosting the day before. She and my matron of honor, Susan Blondin, expertly assembled the bouquets and boutonnières with flowers procured by Susan’s daughter, Becca, and Becca’s dredlocked Spanish boyfriend, Jose. Since all of us had brought cameras, the shots that fill our trio of wedding albums were taken by the participants themselves. When we returned home after the honeymoon, my talented Aunt Liz designed our pen and ink marriage announcement based on a photo I sent her of Stirling Castle.
What does marriage mean to you?
Marriage is a lasting commitment between two people who also happen to be best friends and support each other’s dreams. It doesn’t require extraordinary acts to keep it sustainable but, rather, the most ordinary things such as holding hands on a walk, going grocery shopping together, reading novels aloud, cooking meals, playing with the dog, and surprising one another with small gifts “just because.” Mark is also the first person to read my latest scripts while we’re having cocktails at the dining room table. Since we’ve both been on stage, we’re adept at doing a wide range of voices and really throw ourselves into our respective parts. On Summer nights when the windows are open, I’m pretty sure the neighbours think there are at least 19 people living with us.
Talk to us about your dress, where is it from? How long did it take to find?
My wedding dress was a Blackwatch tartan, double-breasted with black velvet buttons, collar and cuffs and my only jewelry besides my earrings and emerald engagement ring was a silver and amethyst thistle brooch. I bought the dress off the rack at Nordstrom because I liked the color and, even better, it was on sale. Not only do I still have it but it also still fits.
Any funny stories in the lead up to or on the day?
Interestingly, there were seven people celebrating with us that day. (The fireplaces in the Great Hall at Stirling are so big we could have fit our entire wedding party in one of them.) Only three of the attendees were related to each other and absolutely none of them were related to either of us. (Susan Blondin was my matron of honor; her husband George, doubled as Mark’s best man and also gave me away.) Years later, the only one who is still in our lives was the person we met that very morning – our Scottish driver, Sandy Paterson.
Advice for other couples planning a wedding?
If you’re easily given to stress and are planning to marry overseas, our recommendation is that you get married in a short civil ceremony in your home country first.