Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wedding bells at Harbor Plaza

The wedding of Jo and David Murray, November 19, 1983.

The Port of Long Beach Administration Building has been the backdrop for a variety of unique events, from international trade festivals to beauty contests and more. One of the most memorable was the wedding of David and Jo Murray back in 1983. Jo Murray sent us some photos and her memories of this unique occasion:

"My husband, David, and I were married in front of 925 Harbor Plaza Drive on November 19, 1983.

"We tied the knot at the Port (in the same spot where the international beauties brought water to the reflection pool [at the dedication of the building in 1959 - Ed.])  and held our reception in the grassy area by the huge anchor - complete with a mariachi band that could play "Hava Nagila"!

"Afterwards, we made our escape via a yacht that was docked by the Reef Restaurant.

"Today we have been married 27 years and live in Long Beach, volunteering for sailing regattas, like Congressional Cup, sponsored by the Port of Long Beach."

The Murrays' honeymoon getaway yacht,
docked near The Reef restaurant.
We asked Jo why she and her husband picked the Port for their wedding:

"We love the ocean, cruise ships, and sailing. I worked my way through college as a tour guide at the Queen Mary - and I loved the rooftop view at the Port Building - so that was my wish - but the Port felt it was too risky to have a wedding on the roof - so they offered the front area. It turned out wonderful- with the band playing by the huge anchor and all.

"While I was a guide, I started collecting house flags from various shipping companies. Many times the captains and officers from cargo ships that were in the Port would visit the Queen Mary tour and invite tour guides to visit their ships and join them for a meal aboard. As a memento of our tour and dinner on these cargo ships, often the captain would present us with a house flag.  I grew to feel a special bond with the Port and the ships that visited.

"Being married there was special - we didn't want to leave the ceremony in a limo - we wanted to leave by sailing into the sunset - and a Port wedding made that possible. The Port is more to us than commerce for our community - it has a special romantic, adventuresome place in our hearts."

To see more photos from the Murrays' wedding, click here.

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