IT WAS, BY ALL ACCOUNTS, A SPECTACULARLY un-Deadlike affair. There were no dervishes whirling in the aisles. No amiable WASPAFARIANS passing pot-filled spliffs. And that was no acid-induced gleam in Jerry Garcia’s eye as the Grateful Dead-head said, “I do.”
For his Valentine’s Day trip down the aisle with filmmaker Deborah Koons, 44, the gray-bearded guitarist shunned his usual T-shirt and jeans. Instead, Garcia, 51, sported a sober suit as the couple said their vows at Christ Episcopal Church in Sausalilo, Calif., before about 50 friends and family members, including his five bandmates and three grown daughters from his two previous marriages. Though Garcia and Koons, who wore white, beamed and giggled happily during the ceremony, the wedding was “more formal than you would think,” one guest said.
The erstwhile hippie did go to the altar tieless (eschewing even his own line of Jerry Garcia neckware), but he reportedly bowed to Koons’s wish for a traditional ceremony. “It was very Episcopal,” says Garcia’s friend, musician David Grisman. “It wasn’t New Age at all.”
Perhaps hoping for a good tailgate party in the church parking lot, the Dead’s disciples tried their best to discover where the ceremony would be held. The location was kept secret even from invited guests until Feb. 14, and the ploy worked—nary a fan disturbed the nuptial peace or crashed the reception at the tony Corinthian Yacht Club in nearby Tiburon. Said a guest: “There was no tie-dye.”
For many outsiders, there was nearly as much curiosity about the bride as the wedding itself. A former educational filmmaker who just completed her first feature—a comedy tilled Poco Loco—Koons met Garcia at a Dead show in the early ’70s. After a brief fling, they reportedly separated. Their romance heated up again last year, as Garcia recovered from an illness brought on by obesity-related diabetes, the disease that caused him to lapse into a near-fatal coma in 1986. Friends say that Koons, who encouraged him to diet and exercise, helped Garcia regain his health. Judging from the good vibes on Valentine’s Day, she brought him some happiness as well.