In Cayucos, a plunge — in more ways than one

San Luis Obispo couple dips into creative reservoir and comes up with a very cool way to exchange vows

jlamb@thetribunenews.comJanuary 1, 2013 

Officiated through a bullhorn, organized on Facebook and sprinkled with pop culture references, Darci Rourke and Shawn Hafley’s wedding was pitch perfect for the time and place they chose to have it: on the beach in Cayucos, on New Year’s Day, minutes before more than 1,000 people ran into the Pacific Ocean as part of the annual Polar Bear Dip.

The wedding was cooked up by the San Luis Obispo couple over drinks in August, said Rourke, her mouse-ear veil atop her head. 

For Hafley, in shorts and flip-flops for the big day, the dip had become a tradition, and the couple thought, “We should take the plunge at the plunge.” 

So began their low-profile, quirky wedding plans. Later came the Facebook page, the royal blue canopy and the man in a plaid robe drinking a Bloody Mary on the beach. 

From a distance Tuesday morning, their wedding party could have been mistaken for one more group of people readying themselves for a cold swim. 

Amid the half-dressed crowd, milling about on the beach while waiting for the noon dip, the wedding got under way. 

The amplified voice of Rourke’s brother and minister-for-a-day, Joshua Simon, beckoned the small crowd toward the bride and groom who stood on a beach towel. (“I have never done this before,” Simon said before the ceremony. A lawyer by day, he was only recently ordained, he said.) It was just after 11:20 a.m.

“Let the wild rumpus begin,” Simon said as a commencement, speaking through a bullhorn so he could be heard over the crashing waves.

The brief ceremony — all through the loudspeaker — made its way through Shakespeare quotes (“Love’s not time’s fool”); folksy aphorisms (“Marriage is like soup — only those who make it know what goes into it”); a drawn-out “marriage” in allusion to a scene from the film “The Princess Bride”; and, finally, an exchange of vows. 

Simon brought it to an end with a quick and somewhat official-sounding pronouncement.

“I, by the power of Grayskull, and the authority given to me by the state of California, pronounce you husband and wife.” 

A half-hour later the wedding party could not be distinguished from the rest of the freezing revelers splashing in the waves.

More photos from the 2013 Polar Bear Dip »

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