Camille Escobedo & Peter Rydberg
October 16, 2010, in Philadelphia
Pete grew up in Atlanta, but he and his guitar were drawn to Philadelphia by the University of the Arts. It was the same music program that brought Camille here from Colorado about four years later. By the time Camille enrolled, Pete had graduated, but he still worked in the campus recording studio. Soon, Pete was teaching audio engineering - he even substituted for Camille's recording professor a few times.
After Camille graduated in 1998, she and Pete continued to run into each other in Philadelphia musician circles. That summer, when Camille was looking for work as a jazz singer, she turned to her university - and Pete - for help. "I need to record a demo, but I've got no money. Do you think you could do it?" she asked. "No problem," Pete said.
After recording Camille's demo, Camille and Pete developed an easy rapport. At a party that summer, Camille told Pete that she had begun to write her own music. "I've got these songs," she said, "but I don't really know what to do with them."
Pete invited her to come by his place, where he had a recording studio. Night after night, they worked together. Pete produced the demo, and also added guitar tracks and bass lines to Camille's vocal and guitar. The demo turned out so well, they decided to start a band. Around then, Jane magazine held a contest looking for songs to put on a 2002 compilation CD, and Camille entered the song "10:1". Jane staffers told her they needed a band name for the entry, so Camille came up with Beretta, which just popped into her head. Pete added a "76" on the end, both as a nod to Philadelphia's role in the country's independence and the more modern '70s era, showing the band's appreciation of rock music from that time period. "It's right on the cusp of punk and glam and power pop," Pete said.
Beretta76 won a spot on the compilation, and bookers started calling.
For the next year or so, Pete and Camille were best friends - but strictly that. "People would say, 'You should go out, you'd be such a great couple!' And I'd say, 'Him? We fight too much! We would kill each other.'" Pete was having similar conversations.
But while working on their first album, Black Beauty, romance slipped in. Camille and Pete both felt it, and both resisted. Camille told him it was hard enough being a female rock singer without people whispering that her success was in some way tied to her relationship with the lead guitarist/producer.
Resistance proved futile.
They kept their relationship to themselves until a ski accident and Vicodin intervened. Pete was in Colorado producing an album when he broke his knee on the slopes. The musician he was working with called Camille. "Pete wanted me to go ahead and call his girlfriend to tell her he was injured," said the friend.
And there it was: She was his girlfriend. He was her boyfriend.
How does forever sound?
In summer 2008, Pete and Camille decided they would marry and shopped for a ring. Then, for about six months, Pete the jokester faked Camille out at every holiday, romantic moment, or family event. She thought the question was coming one day as they walked through Fairmount Park. Nope. The little jewelry box under the Christmas tree at the home of Pete's parents Harry and Jean - the one Pete insisted Camille open before anyone else touched their gifts - turned out to contain a necklace. But on New Year's Eve, Camille walked in to the glorious smells of a steak dinner that Pete had made. After, Pete poured Camille a glass of champagne. She started to suspect this was not another setup, but wasn't absolutely sure until he asked her to marry him.
It was so them
Camille, now 35, and Pete, 39, decided that the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia's philosophy of embracing all cultures and beliefs made it the perfect place to get married for a Mexican American Catholic, and someone of Swedish descent with no formal religion. Plus, rock shows are held there.
Camille's parents, Louis and Yolanda, now live near Baltimore, but Camille grew up in Arlington, Texas. The couple honored her Tejano heritage with the lasso ceremony. She chose her Aunt Dena and Uncle Raymond as her padrinos. Dena and Raymond wrapped the beaded rosary they had chosen as the lasso around the couple's clasped hands in the figure-eights of an infinity symbol, representing Camille and Pete's lifelong commitment.
The couple also performed an updated coin ceremony. Historically, the groom would give the coins to the bride as a symbol that he will provide for her. But Camille, who in addition to her work with the band is an administrator at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, and Pete, who during the day is director of audio at Blue Design, traded the coins back and forth to show they will provide for each other.
The ceremony was held at the Chestnut Club, where 75 guests enjoyed Mexican delicacies along with American wedding fare. The song selection ranged from local band offerings to ELO classics and Tejano favorites, Camille said.
As the guests ate, Camille periodically recruited a friend to go to the ladies' room with her to unzip her gown. Camille's wardrobe generally consists of hoodies and T-shirts, she said, and after four hours, her form-fitting dress had become extremely uncomfortable. Healy, a staff member at the Club, noticed. "Do you want me to get you a cocktail dress from H&M?" she asked.
Camille slipped into the little blush number and instantly felt better. After that, she was ready to dance.
This was a surprise
Nothing could have prepared Camille's Texas relatives for the chilly Philadelphia weather. "In all the pictures of me and my family, they are all huddled close together with red faces and big coats," she said.
"The significance of putting a ring on somebody's finger and committing to being their husband or wife - that is the apex of all of this," Pete said.
The couple's first dance was to Philadelphia native Todd Rundgren's "I Saw the Light." The lyrics tell of trying to run away from love - and then realizing it's impossible. "It tells the story of our relationship, and when we were dancing with each other, I felt like nobody else was there but me and him," said Camille.
A bargain: This couple was budget-conscious about everything, then saved more money with DIY. With the help of the bridal party, rocks became place cards. Friends also helped the couple make the decorations, including buckets hung at the end of each pew to hold the programs.
The splurge: The lighting. These two performers have planned their share of events, so they know lighting can make a big difference. Once they saw the rest of the numbers coming in well within budget, they decided the extra cost was worth making the space look amazing.
Ten days in Maui.
Behind the Scenes
Rev. Nathan Walker of the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia
The First Unitarian Church and the Chestnut Club at Arcadia Theater, both in Philadelphia
Jared Polin Photography, Philadelphia
Schaffer Sound, Media
Tara Keely, JLM Couture
Leigh Florist, Collingswood, N.J.
minted.com, San Francisco
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