The Oz Club’s board of directors’ meeting and OzCon International timing gave me a perfect excuse to stay in the Los Angeles area and attend the unforgettable wedding of Emma Ridley. In 1985 she was the young actress cast as Ozma in Disney’s live-action film, RETURN TO OZ. Since an invitation to Ozma’s wedding doesn’t come along every day, I determined to accept. I’m so glad I did.
Emma and I have been Facebook friends since I stumbled into her page when looking for her birthday to include in an Oz Club calendar. I finally met her in person at Oz: The National Convention in 2017. (Actually, I helped her get into her Ozma costume for the event, but that’s another story.) She was thoughtful enough to include me with a handful of Oz fans on her guest list.
Of course, my first problem was finding a wedding present. How does one shop for Ozma? Nothing I thought of pleased me until I contacted Bill Campbell. He and Irwin Terry make wonderful stained glass through Century Studios in Minneapolis. In the film, Ozma was trapped in a mirror; there had to be something Bill could do with that.
I loved the result, and when a delighted Emma shared it on Facebook it was clear she did, too.
Cut to the wedding day. Morning dawned bright and beautiful in sunny California. I arrived and slid into a pew with other Oz fans. The church was filled with flowers, friends and family wearing their finest. Darling flower girls came down the aisle in Ruby Slippers. Soloists and choirs sung. I remember “Amazing Grace,” “At Last,” “Young and Beautiful,” and of course, “Over the Rainbow.” Vows were shared, rings exchanged, man and wife were pronounced and kissed. Emma couldn’t have looked lovelier, nor her groom Michael Carter more pleased.
We showered them with rose pedals and sent them off in a horse-drawn carriage fit for a princess.
A fantastic party followed at their home that lasted well past midnight. The living room, like the church, was alive with pink flowers. The dining room was a buffet of cakes for high tea. The bar was stocked and drinks kept coming. Emma’s personal dance studio was transformed into a photo booth. Dinner was served in a sprawling outdoor tent.
Music was everywhere — a pianist in the front room, a harpist playing on the veranda, a live band and soloists set up near the pool house. “Over the Rainbow” was performed again, once as a song and once as an aerial performance. Emma changed dresses a time to two.
I gave in to my curiosity and — often with an Oz friend or two in tow — looked around the house for signs of Oz. Success! The Ozma doll Ace Genaro made for her, which was presented last summer at the Oz Club’s convention, was in the dance studio off the bar. Photos of her from RETURN TO OZ were in the hallway. Her Ozma glass panel was high in a living room window.
It was a wedding — and party — we’ll all remember. All my thanks to Emma and Michael for giving your guests such a marvelous day. And a toast to your future happiness!