For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls

The wedding season is upon us.  And I, like so many, am feeling giddy.  Because let’s face it, everybody loves a wedding.  And while the tabloids are quite interested in the upcoming wedding of Prince Will and Almost-Princess Kate, the wedding that I am most interested in is my sister’s.  Which is tomorrow.  Which brings one of those, “Whaaaa?  Where did the time go?!?!” reactions as I peruse my wedding-preparation to-do list and notice how much is left to check off.  But her wedding will happen regardless and by tomorrow night what did or did not get checked off of a list will no longer be important.  The only important thing will be that the wedding happened.  All the little hiccups involved?  They just become the fodder for great stories and memories in the future.

Because as we all know, weddings include little boxes getting checked off that the lovely couple may not have anticipated.  So, in honor of weddings and their excitement, let me share some of my own wedding hiccups.

Well, first let me set the stage with the needed wedding photo.  That picture over there?  That’s me and Mister Soandso circa 1992.  I was 24 and looked it.  Who knew I ever had a full head of dark hair?

So that wedding day?  Here are some highlights from the blessed event:

Mister Soandso and I were fresh out of college (he one year more freshly than myself) and our wedding reflected many aspects of my being a young college graduate who majored in history and English literarure.  For example, I had some strong opinions on wedding traditions that I refused to include.  There would be no blusher (historically it was used to hide the bride from her betrothed who often saw her for the first time at the event) and no one was going to give me away, no way!

The blusher, in hind sight, whatever.  No big deal one way or another.  But having an escort may have been a nice idea seeing as it turned out I was a bit nervous to get married.  At least having someone, any one, to stand next to would have given me somebody to babble nervously to instead of only myself.  I’m sure I didn’t look the least be insane, mumbling to myself.

That mumbling?  It reflected my two clearest memories of my wedding:  the feeling that I might at any moment vomit upon myself and the thought “Oh no.  Now they’re all going to stand up and look at me.  Yep, there they go.”  That’s it.  The clearest memories I have are not my handsome husband looking at me or our first wedded kiss.  How romantic am I?  Apparently only as romantic as a queasy stomach and a bit of stage-fright.

Also, because I refused to have any words said at my wedding that even hinted at “obeying” or such nonsense, we wrote our own vows.  And we practiced them; we especially practiced Mister Soandso’s lines so that he wouldn’t be nervous on the big day.  And yet, if you were to watch the whole thing go down on VHS, you would hear Mister Soandso quite audibly and oh so eloquently say his vows.  Me?  Not so much.  Oh, my lips move but not a single sound is heard.  Who knew I could ever be silenced?

That VHS also evidences a particular highlight for Mister Soandso and I.  The tape captured the entrance of the minister, Mister Soandso and his best man.  Then, blip, blip as the two groom’s men walk past to take their places at the altar.  With just a slight pause, I’m sure as he took note of the goings on, the minister steps over to the groom’s men and says something.  That something was “weren’t you supposed to pick up the girls?”  Blip, blip go the groom’s men back to the narthex.

Now, of course, no wedding would be complete without a receiving line and mine was fairly staid.  However, I hadn’t really planned on the effect of hugs on a veil clipped to one’s hair (your hair gets yanked, over and over, while you keep a smile plastered upon your face even while a bald spot appears like some magic trick) or just how much lipstick will be deposited on one’s face by well-wishers (folks really should try to coordinate their lipstick shades for the benefit of the bridal couple’s cheeks during the remaining photo opportunities).

But the hand’s down best memory from my wedding night, aside from being carded at the bar, is when Mister Soandso’s grandmother sat down next to me, patted my hand and whispered “Just remember that no matter what happens tonight, he loves you very, very much.”

So there you have it.  No wedding bell tolling in doom.  No falling cake towers, doves refusing to fly, broken wedding gown zippers, or crying flower girls, no wedding horror stories.  Just a gathering of friends and family to usher us with high excitement and little drama into married life.  Which is pretty much how my marriage has been…lots of excitement but not much drama, just great friends and family helping us make great memories since 1992.

And I didn’t cry or puke or otherwise embarrass myself.

But if I had, it would have been okay.  Because I could have cleaned up myself with the towel set my grandmother gave us:  one monogrammed blue towel (the initials match no one on either side’s family) and one brown washcloth (frayed on two sides).  But that is a story for another day…

14 thoughts on “For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls

  1. Beautiful, as always! 😀

    “Also, because I refused to have any words said at my wedding that even hinted at “obeying” or such nonsense, we wrote our own vows.”

    When my youngest sister got married, the officiating pastor’s sermon was focused on the importance of wifely obedience. I was a bridesmaid and stood up on stage with the whole bridal party, so that I had to work really, really hard to keep the steam from rolling out of my ears. (It helped to see my existing brother-in-law was struggling just as hard.)

    After the sermon, my godmother looked at me with overwhelming love and said, “I just couldn’t stop looking at you during that sermon. I agree with what he was trying to say, although he didn’t use the right words, but looking at you just kept me smiling.” Bless my godmom for that! 😉

  2. Loved your wedding story!

    I was also a young bride (newly 21) and my husband (also newly 21) was a very, very, happy newly 21 year old groom. In other words, I wish I would have heard your grandmother-in-law’s advice as I gazed upon my passed out husband that night. But, we are still very happily together 15 years later.

  3. Love the story. It had me grinning and laughing out loud. I especially liked the “whatever happens tonight” part. Too funny!

    And the two of you are adorable in that picture. So sweet!

  4. Before our marriage, my wife and I agreed that we were both non-believers. Her mother, who mostly believed, “I will have another drink” (though she was much less entertaining than W. C. Fields) wanted her to have a “church” wedding. I said, “The Unitarian Church is the least church-like church I know,” and her mother didn’t give a hoot as long as it looked like a church. The minister was a genial grandfatherly man who read from the Bible and Khalil Gibran’s The Propher and who knows what else?

    A few years later, my brother married his first wife–an attractive, intelligent, and crazy woman appropriately nicknamed “Creature,”; they chose to use the same church and preacher.

    We had a two-year old daughter by that time who was supposed to be a flower girl at my brother’s wedding. As she was just a toddler, she didn’t quite understand the program, so she ran around and giggled and dropped flowers. My wife (a very proper person) was quite mortified at our daughter’s behavior; but the Unitarian minister smiled benevolently and said, “Relax. I love to see children at weddings.”

    Years later, our daughter informed us that she was “engaged” to her [female] college roommate. A classmate of theirs, a Episcopal lesbian woman then in divinity school, performed a ceremony for the two “brides.” As my daughter and her partner (birth mother of our adopted grandchild) have never tried to be “legally married” I refer to her (to the point of being very tiresome) as my “daughter-out-of-law.”

    They have been a unmarried but very “married” (to our eyes) couple for about twenty years.

    Unlike the case of most lesbians who have children, our granddaughter did not come out of a sperm bank. The dad/sperm donor is another college classmate; he is in an eight-year relationship with another man.

    I refer to our granddaughter (again with wearisome repetition) as our science-fiction grandchild. Two sisters died before birth (allergic to birth mom’s body). The medical technology that allowed her to be safely born is the technology part of the science fiction. She is now seven years old and considers it perfectly “normal” to have two mommies (with whom she lives in Seattle) and two daddies (who live in Chicago but visit regularly and are rather like uncles). This is the changing family values/anthropology part of science fiction.

  5. Oh, I love this post. It’s sobering to remember what was such a big deal to us then and appreciate how trivial those things are now, after 20+ years of the ins & outs, ups & downs of a life together. Now my motto is “it’s the marriage that’s important, not the wedding.”

  6. Instead of, “Just remember that no matter what happens tonight, he loves you very, very much.” She should have said “Just remember that no matter what happens *any* night (or morning, or afternoon, or evening) he loves you very, very much.”

    For ever and for always.

    Mr Soandso

    • I’m going with “were as adorable then as you are now” based on the comments. 😀

      My S.O. and are celebrating our togetherness by ignoring each other, side-by-side, in favor of our computers.

      • LOL! Of course that’s what I meant.

        Hubs and I often celebrate our togetherness by computing side-by-side. It’s like that “parallel play” thing toddlers do. 😉

  7. I loved the post so much, but the best part by far? The exchange above Linda’s comment. *heart melts*

  8. Classic.
    Love it…
    …”But the hand’s down best memory from my wedding night, aside from being carded at the bar, is when Mister Soandso’s grandmother sat down next to me, patted my hand and whispered “Just remember that no matter what happens tonight, he loves you very, very much.”

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