When Craig and Lara Marsh got married, the vows could have been “I do, or not I do.”
They took the plunge on July 3, 1999, onstage at Shakespeare on the Green. Now, 20 years later, they celebrated their anniversary Wednesday at the same Elmwood Park location, Nebraska Shakespeare’s home for 33 years.
Both Craig and Lara are involved in Omaha theater, Craig as an audio engineer and Lara as a freelance director and stage manager and a Nebraska Shakespeare employee since 1996. She also worked for many years at the Omaha Community Playhouse before she decided to pursue her master of arts degree.
“We have a great interest in the Elizabethan era,” Lara said. “We made (Shakespeare on the Green) a tradition, even in our dating days.”
So what better place to gather for a big platinum anniversary bash? Family and friends who share their love for Shakespeare, perhaps including a few who were present in 1999, were there. The festival’s party tent was theirs for the night, thanks to Nebraska Shakespeare, and they enjoyed sweet treats and drinks before attending a late-night performance of “Hamlet,” one of the Bard’s most frequently produced plays.
Back in the day, Lara said, she and Craig got lots of suggestions for their wedding.
“Everybody kept telling us what to do, and anything they said got crossed off our list and we did our own thing,” she said.
That thing was clasping hands in front of the set for “Macbeth,” one of the Bard’s other iconic tragedies, and repeating vows before a judge dressed as an English friar. Lara and Craig both wore heavy Elizabethan-era costumes which were quite stifling, Lara said, given the hot, gooey conditions that evening.
It also sprinkled a little on their wedding day, leaving them scrambling to cover up food and wedding paraphernalia.
They had no regrets. To this day, Lara says, they’re grateful that Nebraska Shakespeare allowed them to get married in a place that remains so meaningful to both of them. Friend Wesley Houston, who is the organization’s director of production, said he thinks the story is a great reminder of the many traditions created each year at the festival and “part of what makes our city a great place to live.”
Who cared about a little rain, Lara said.
“My husband told me rain is good luck on a wedding day.”
And for the Marshes, it was.
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