A day for style -- and tradition


Donna Lynch And Steve Archer

November 14, 1999|By Joanne E. Morvay | Joanne E. Morvay,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

In a ceremony that combined Eastern philosophy, age-old Celtic tradition, their own artistic style and their love of autumn, Steve Archer and Donna Lynch became husband and wife.

The setting was the small Gothic chapel at the Cloisters in Brooklandville. The date was Oct. 29.

Candles flickered, illuminating the butter-yellow walls. Autumn leaves and pumpkins intertwined with grapes and other fall fruit on a mantel, while nosegays of flowers hung from a chandelier. The altar, a small, circular table at the front of the room, was covered with a tablecloth the shade of the deepest red wine.

Among the 130 guests crowded into the chapel were Donna's mother, Carolyn Wells of Bel Air, and Steve's mother, Lorraine Latham of Alexandria, Va. Steve, 28, wore a tuxedo with a mandarin collar. His dreadlocked hair -- colored red, blue and purple in addition to his usual dark brown -- was festooned with silver ribbons.

Donna, 25, entered on the arm of her father, Patrick Lynch of Glen Burnie. Her dark platinum gown shimmered in the light. Her auburn locks were pulled atop her head by a garland of ivy and wine-colored ribbon.

The ceremony began with a traditional Buddhist address. The Rev. Joyce Klein told the couple, "Nothing happens without a reason, Donna and Steve. Your union has not come about accidentally, but as the result of many past lives. The future will bring much happiness. Your marriage will be firm and lasting."

The four bridesmaids -- representing the elements of earth, air, fire and water as well as north, east, south and west -- consecrated the space by standing around Donna and Steve at the altar. The three groomsmen stood by, representing the past, present and future.

After the couple shared a small cake and a goblet of wine, Donna offered her right hand and Steve put out his left to be bound with ribbon in the ancient tradition of Celtic hand fasting (a nod to the cultural heritage of Donna's family).

Donna and Steve recited traditional Celtic vows and then vows they had written themselves. When it came time to say the latter, Donna had to fight back tears before she could talk. Steve, obviously moved, offered his sentiment in a voice so low only Donna could clearly hear him.

The ribbon around their hands was removed in one piece -- never to be broken, Klein said. As Donna and Steve were pronounced husband and wife, the chapel resounded with applause.

It was exactly the sort of wedding friends and family expected of Donna and Steve, a couple with eclectic interests who strive to leave their own particular imprint on the events in the lives.

They met in January 1998 at Orpheus, a dance club in East Baltimore. A printmaker who also works with oils on wood, Steve offers private art lessons at Angelfall Studios in Baltimore, which he founded. Donna's poetry and art is showcased there, along with the works of others.

Donna, the assistant manager of Stikky Fingers, a "punk-rock" boutique in Fells Point, also teaches voice (drawing on her five years of training at the Peabody Institute).

In addition, Donna and Steve perform together as members of Ego Likeness. With another woman, they use electronic instruments to create their own brand of alternative music, which they call "ambient triphop industrial."

Their shared interests quickly created a bond between them that Donna and Steve say they never felt with anyone else. "We have a lot to offer each other," Donna says. "We learn things from each other all the time. We don't fight and there isn't even a whole lot we really disagree upon."

Though he admits he'd never been big on the idea of marriage, Steve knew proposing to Donna was "the right thing to do." In September 1998, he proposed as they walked together in one of their favorite places: the herb garden at the National Cathedral in Washington.

The newlyweds honeymooned in another of their favorite spots: New Orleans, over Halloween.

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