Newlywed Gaylen Wada’s favorite book is “The Wind in the Willows.” The 1908 classic by Kenneth Grahame was read to her as a child. She loved it, and has often reread it.
After meeting her future husband in May, she learned he likes science fiction. Yet the first gift Ed Wada gave her was an illustrated storybook, “The River Bank.” It’s a sequel to “The Wind in the Willows.”
They wound up at the Everett Public Library on their first date. And on Dec. 9, a rainy Sunday, they returned to the library to say their vows.
Their nuptials, held before the library opened that day, were celebrated near the west-facing windows in the soaring, arched reading room. The Wadas, both seniors and retired, make their home at Tulalip, where Gaylen is raising her 13-year-old granddaughter, Belle Rose.
“Congratulations, Gaylen and Ed!” the library posted Sunday on its Facebook page. “We’re so touched to be included in your special day. May your life together be filled with love, family, friends, and (of course) books.”
Gaylen Blue was a widow when she found Ed Wada on the eharmony dating website. Her late husband, Walter Blue, died nearly two years ago. There was another devastating loss in her life. Her daughter, Sophie, died when Belle was just 3½. She has had custody of her granddaughter ever since.
Wada, who lived in Shoreline, is a father of two grown sons and has three grandchildren. Divorced 19 years, he dated before meeting Gaylen. She hadn’t dated anyone else before telling her granddaughter she’d met a “pen pal” online.
Their first date was May 30, about two weeks after they began corresponding. Meeting at a downtown Everett bus stop, they walked to Kate’s Greek & American Deli on Colby Avenue for a long lunch, where Gaylen said they “just talked and talked.”
Talking continued that day in the coffee shop at the Everett Public Library.
“The more we spoke, the more we really knew how alike we were, and how well suited we were to each other,” Ed Wada said.
About four months after that first date, he proposed. Gaylen accepted, and Belle greeted her grandma’s happy news with a thumbs up.
The couple considered other wedding venues. None seemed as meaningful as the library. Gaylen, retired from an administrative support job at Everett High School, had been a frequent library visitor. Ed first saw the library the day they met.
They’re grateful that Everett Public Library Director Abby Cooley was enthusiastic about their request. Their wedding was scheduled before the library opened to the public at 1 p.m. David Cooper, of Seattle-based Forever, Together, performed the ceremony.
It wasn’t the library’s first wedding. A couple exchanged vows in the Northwest History Room there in 2013. At the time, they lived next door at the Library Place apartment complex.
Cooley said the request for the Wada-Blue wedding was the library’s first since she became director in November 2017. Although some libraries rent spaces for events, Cooley said the Everett library isn’t set up for large gatherings, nor is there a policy regarding them. “This was kind of a unique situation — a very small wedding party and such a lovely story,” she said.
The Wadas paid no fee, but there was one condition: “The deal was, we got to post it on social media,” Cooley said.
A wedding picture shows the happy couple with their attendants. The best man was Ed’s son, Ben Wada, of Shoreline. And in a pretty dress was Belle, the maid of honor. After the ceremony, they returned to Kate’s restaurant for lunch and wedding cake.
Originally from the East Coast, Gaylen worked in public schools in Savannah, Georgia. She worked at Everett High for 32 years. Ed Wada moved from California in 1996. Before retirement, he worked with vision-impaired adults and children through public and private agencies.
Not sure what traditions they’ll start for the holidays, Gaylen said “every day is a new day in our lives now.”
“We are just happy to be in each other’s company,” her husband said.
How did Gaylen know he was the one — and how did Ed know?
“So many reasons why,” she said, noting Ed’s kindness, intellect, passion for sports, a mutual love of the arts and “our je ne sais quois attraction.”
Her husband jokes, “Gaylen and I have been looking for each other for 20 years — me for 19 and Gaylen for one.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; email@example.com.