Canopied by a grove of redwoods and sequoias, longtime partners Susan Fadem and Richard Andersen recently exchanged wedding vows at Hoyt Arboretum, a “living museum of trees” in Portland, Ore.
Susan’s two daughters, who had not lived in the same city since high school, presently make their homes, with their families, in Portland. Kimmie Fadem Donlon and Michelle Fadem Kashinsky escorted their exuberant mom down the forested path. Channeling “wood nymph” and boosted by the creative prowess of friends Andrea Lubershane and Dana Barhard, Susan wore lace, blue-and-white tulle, silver sequins and iridescent blue sneakers
Son-in-law Ray Donlon provided moral support and a musical soundtrack. Kashinsky granddaughters Rosie, 6, and Fiona, 4, served as flower girls. Son-in-law Josh Kashinsky, vested online with ordainment powers, performed the ceremony.
Neither Susan, who was widowed nine years ago after a 37-year marriage to Rod Fadem, nor Richard, who was divorced, had expected to find true-blue love again, let alone a soulmate. Bike-riding vegetarians with a passion for culture, the arts, gardening and the outdoors, they met on Match.com. Their first date was vegan night at an Indian restaurant.
Since “couples our age don’t shack up without some formality,” says Susan, they had a non-binding “Commitment Ceremony” five years ago at Lulu Seafood restaurant here. Josh officiated.
Their “legitimizing our bliss” whirl, also attended by Susan’s “machatonim,” Eileen Eisenberg and Marc Kashinsky, of Palm Desert, Calif., included a bachelor/bachelorette party at a Portland vegan strip club (“vixens not veal” and “sizzle not steak”) and wedding brunch at Blossoming Lotus restaurant in Portland.
The newlyweds honeymooned at a Seaview, Wash., lodge offering a hodgepodge of accommodations. They chose a restored 1952 house trailer.
Back in St. Peters, Mo., where they continue to live in Richard’s house, they hosted a wedding reception/BBQ/potluck picnic at Rabbit Run Park. A frequent movie-discussion facilitator, Susan, 70, is an award-winning journalist. Richard, 68, who grew up in Iowa, is retired from the U.S. Corps of Engineers.