(c) Copyright 2011 Marcia McCord
The bride and her sister aren’t quite like Night and Day opposites. They are more like Twilight and Dawn. They both have a little Show Biz in their blood although the bride is said to be “a little shy.” Shy is an interesting term. She certainly has her own opinions and her own likes and dislikes. She dances flamenco. She’s no doormat. She just isn’t loud. She’s like Twilight when the heat of the day cools a bit and the night birds call.
I’m something of a shirt-tail relative. The bride’s family, especially the bride’s grandmother just adores my husband for all the right reasons. They have been sweet to me since I met him and I really enjoy their company. So we get to be half-family of the bride. It’s really an honor.
Naturally when the Aunt of the Bride asked us if we would help make the wedding decorations, we said yes. If there’s something I can do to make the simple wedding happen, I’m thrilled to. I had a simple wedding. At least, I think so. That day happened so fast and I was so grateful for my friends and family. But I also know what it’s like to have your wedding start out simple. Then stuff happens.
My husband and I decided to get married one evening about 2 am one June 2. Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? I was on midnight production problem call. My team was working to fix it and preferred to suffer through it with them rather than leave them feeling alone. Computer problems can be like that. Since we were up anyway and since John was hearing only my half of the conversation, our own mumbles drifted and we agreed we would marry.
The next morning, I made sure I hadn’t been dreaming and excitedly starting The Planning Phase. Simple. Simple was what we wanted.
“Wouldn’t it be cool,” I suggested, “if we had the ceremony on the ferry in October?” We had met on the ferry and it sounded like such fun.
“Seriously,” he squinted, “how long to you want to be nervous? I was thinking something like the end of this month.” So that’s what we did. We put a wedding together in 24 days. I made lists. Date, determined by the first opening at the Court House. Rings, special order Celtic knots from Jewelry by Da’oud whose work I had seen at the Renaissance Faire a while back. Dress. Rats. Gotta get a dress.
“C’mon, sweetie, we’re going to buy a dress!” John really likes to participate in the whole process and I wasn’t about to leave him out of the dress thing. We went to Nordstrom because, well, because John wanted to. They had sale racks.
“Our goal here today,” I announced, “is to find a dress that will do. Not the Barbie’s Dream Wedding dress. Not the perfect dress. Not even a dress that could be worn to something else. Just a dress that will do.” John grumbled in agreement, not convinced of my speed-shopping concept. There it was, on the sale rack, $67, the will-do dress.
“This means,” I giggled, “that the bride’s colors are salmon and, Honey, what color purple would that be? Well, anyway, salmon and cream for the background.” One pair of cream color pumps from the Nordy’s sale rack completed the ensemble. Dress, check!
Cake. Well, our friend Barbara wanted to be in charge of the cake. Fine, I thought, as long as she doesn’t put pornography on it. She had a vision of Irish shamrocks cascading down a couple of tiers and had a heck of a time with her limited knowledge of Spanish explaining that to the Mexican bakery nearby. Flores verdes? They thought she had lost her mind.
Flowers. OK, I went small on the flowers too, a wrist corsage for me. Our friend Rosie wanted to do the flowers for the reception. She used to be a florist until she got an extreme allergy to being a florist. I knew she’d do a nice job for the tables.
Reception! Eeek! John wanted to do the reception. We liked our friend’s little restaurant in a less traveled section of town and so we went with an afternoon dinner and some cases of wine.
The guest list grew. And grew. As it turns out, we had scheduled our wedding the day before John’s cousin’s lovely daughter was to be married. So most of his relatives were in town. It was too short notice for my best friend in Missouri to fly out or most of my relatives, but my father and step-mom were coming. Daddy wanted to know what I wanted for a wedding present.
“Just wear your Colonel’s uniform for me,” I said. I had had a long, long history with my family never showing up for any of my rites of passage. Just having him there and showing off his Air Force colors was going to be the biggest treat for me. I could hear him blush all the way from Missouri.
The rings didn’t show up until just after 10 AM the day of the wedding; Plan B had been the gumball machine at the 7-11. I was a wreck but they fit perfectly. We drove to Fairfield. My friends came. The wind blew. People took pictures. We drove to the restaurant. We ate. The wedding guests helped because the extra wait staff never showed up. Cousin Margaret kept hitting her glass with a spoon. We ran out of wine. I think. The cake had pigs on it, a bride and groom pig and a little flying cupid pig overhead because Barbara thought John would get married, “When pigs fly.”
“I never said that,” John muttered. We got a lot of flying pig presents.
Everyone went back to our backyard for the party after the party. We took my Dad and step-mom to their hotel. It was 7 PM and I was completely exhausted. I announced my retreat. This pig had flown.
John followed immediately thereafter. We slept like logs, like tourists, like the dead. We lost the gift certificate to Chez Panisse. We realized we had not invited some key people to the event and forever regret that. We got up at 5 AM to take my father and step-mom back to the airport. We went to David’s daughter’s wedding the next day, then flew to Montana for John’s family reunion for our honeymoon, something we had planned to attend anyway.
As I was folding, tying and fluffing paper flowers for the wedding this weekend, I thought about the 4 of Wands. No wedding is simple, no matter what we where-do-I-sign brides wish for. At some point, though, it becomes a point of stability and it all comes together somehow.
“I think I’ll wear purple,” I mused, tying yet another paper flower to the white ribbon, laughing at my own “simple” wedding years ago and happy being the zany half-aunt of the bride.
Best wishes, Erin. I hope you dance.