First impression a lasting one GRETA OWENS AND ANDREW SAWYERS


October 04, 1998|By Joanne E. Morvay | Joanne E. Morvay,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Andrew Sawyers saw the woman he thought he should marry well before he was ready to settle down.

Andrew first crossed paths with Greta Owens nearly five years ago when she came to a function at Morgan State University. Greta was a graduate of the school's master's degree program in city and regional planning. Andrew was a student in the same program.

"I thought she was a real fascinating girl," Andrew recalls. After speaking briefly to Greta, he adds, "I said to myself, whenever I was ready to settle down I would go seek that girl out."

The years passed and Andrew earned his master's at Morgan and began pursuing his doctoral degree in environmental economics at the Johns Hopkins University. In the meantime, he also became director of the Energy and Environment Project at the Baltimore Urban League. He saw Greta a handful of times - always in a professional setting. She is a planner with the Baltimore City Planning Department.

In the spring of 1996, Andrew showed up at the planning office, determined to strike up a friendship with the woman who had piqued his curiosity for so long. The way he remembers it, he had Greta paged, they began talking and he finally asked her out, taking her to lunch a few days later.

Greta - who has no memory of any earlier conversations, though she does remember seeing Andrew at professional functions - says she was taken in by Andrew's lilting Jamaican accent and his flimsy premise (their mutual interest in planning and civic matters) for taking her on a date.

She learned very quickly that Andrew is a personality unto himself, a straightforward man who "never curbs his tongue when he asks questions." She says, "He's confident - sometimes too confident - but that's my Andrew and I love him dearly."

Andrew realized just as quickly that he had met his equal. Greta is a warm, intelligent and beautiful woman who easily captivates everyone she meets, he says. But beneath that friendly exterior is a strong will. "If I had any thoughts about having my own way, they were discarded when I met her," Andrew says with a laughs.

"You still try," Greta says teasingly.

Over the past two years, the couple built a relationship based on caring and respect. "We're comfortable with each other spiritually, mentally and socially," Greta says.

On Sept. 27, Greta and Andrew were married at the Orchard Street Church in Baltimore. The ceremony was the centerpiece of two lively parties. The rehearsal dinner, two nights before at the Urban League, was a veritable Jamaican feast. It included specialties such as curried goat, jerk chicken and rice and peas - all cooked by Andrew's godmother, Dorothy Moss of New York.

The wedding reception at the Overhills Mansion in Catonsville offered dinner and dancing, multiple toasts and two cakes, a traditional wedding cake and a Jamaican rum cake.

In addition to two honor attendants, nine bridesmaids, nine groomsmen, five hostesses, six ushers and four flower girls, the wedding party included Greta's mother, Willie Owens of Baltimore, and Andrew's aunt, Polly Williams of Jamaica. Andrew's mother, Barbara Bailey, was not able to make the trip from Jamaica.

Songs and poems included in the Baptist marriage service touched on the couple's eternal commitment to one another, urging them and their 200 guests to love forever and to always cherish the relationships God gives.

Greta and Andrew also shared their own definition of marriage in their wedding program: "Marriage is an institution that behooves two individuals to love and cherish one another; to care for and nurture one another; to secure and protect one another; to want and need one another; to compromise and make sacrifices for one another; to yearn for and desire one another; to make and keep promises to one another; and to grow and love one another to eternity."

Light of love: Greta and Andrew light the unity candle at their wedding ceremony.

Pub Date: 10/04/98

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