Buddy Holly Marries Maria Elena Santiago

In June 1958, he met Maria Elena Santiago, who was working as a receptionist for Murray Deutch, an executive at Peer-Southern Music, a New York music publisher.

Holly managed to have Santiago invited to a luncheon at Howard Johnson's, thanks to Deutch's secretary, Jo Harper. He asked her to have dinner with him that night at P. J. Clarke's. Holly proposed marriage to her on their very first date. "While we were having dinner, he got up and came back with his hands behind his back. He brought out a red rose and said, "This is for you. Would you marry me?" He went to her guardian's house the next morning to get her approval. Santiago at first thought he was kidding, but they married in Lubbock on August 15, 1958, less than two months later.

I'd never had a boyfriend in my life, I'd never been on a date before. But when I saw Buddy, it was like magic. We had something special: love at first sight.”

— Maria Elena Santiago

Travis Holley agreed, saying, "I admit I was surprised to hear Buddy was getting married. I didn't think he was stupid enough to fall into a trap like that so early in life. But I could understand when I met Maria. She was a little beauty, and very charming.

"She was very doll-like; she reminded me of a porcelain toy in a store. She was very beautiful, and Buddy was an adult and making his own living. I think Mom and Dad were skeptical because of her not being the same religion. But I just figured he would change her, or she would change him."

The wedding took place on Aug. 15, 1958, at the Holley family home at 1606 39th St.

Family pastor Ben Johnson presided over the ceremony.