Eight Things I Loved About Our Wedding
(And The One Thing I Didn't
Love About It)
By SecraTerri ~
#1: The hours immediately preceding the ceremony.
dressed for my wedding in my sister's guest bedroom.
had recently redecorated the guest room, located in the furthest
downstairs regions of her beautiful home, furnishing it with our
grandmother's lovingly-refinished bedroom set. So not only was it a
lovely place to prepare for the ceremony, it was like having a
little bit of Grandma St. John there on my wedding day.
the bedroom window, I could hear last-minute wedding preparations taking
place: footsteps, hammering, laughter, dishes clattering, people
shouting back and forth. It all sounded terrifyingly frantic and
chaotic ... but sitting there that afternoon, alone in the guest
bedroom, I was able to enjoy an island of tranquility within a sea of
daughters popped in from time to time: to bring me occasional progress
reports ... to help me repair a chipped nail ... to *borrow* my jewelry
and my makeup and my Tylenol. David walked in once, as I stood there in
my wedding gown and my electric rollers. ("You are a vision of
loveliness," he said, kissing me soundly.) And later in the afternoon,
the photographer burst into the bedroom to complain about my lipstick
and touch me inappropriately for a few minutes. But mostly I spent
those pre-wedding hours alone, sitting in front of my grandmother's
dressing table ... fussing with my hair, deciding between the long
pearl necklace or the longer pearl necklace, applying layer after
nervous layer of Maybelline Snow Plum Blush ... and reflecting on The
Enormous Thing that was about to take place.
thought about my first wedding day, twenty years ago, and the emotions
I felt on that long-ago morning. I thought about Grandma and
Grandpa Vert, and about their happy, fifty-three year marriage. I
about how much my life has changed in the six years since I first
wandered into the Baby Boomer Chat Room (and how utterly flabbergasted
Secra* would be to learn that *2001 Secra* ends up marrying Ð®åƒ±êrvØ¡,
of all people.
-- most of all -- I thought about David, and about how profoundly I
love him, and about the thrilling new chapter of our lives that was
about to be written.
the time I was being paged to report for Bride Duty, I was not only
sufficiently Maybellined and perfectly coiffed, I was also feeling
incredibly calm and centered. Which lasted for about fourteen seconds,
of course, until my dad and I began that trembling walk down the
aisle. But at least it was a nice way to begin the wedding.
* * * * * *
#2: The setting.
I was a little girl, my favorite aunt got married under a cherry tree
in our backyard, on a summer afternoon, surrounded by a tiny group of
family and friends.
was Aunt Bonnie's bazillionth marriage, and both she and the groom were
eight-year-old eyes) impossibly ancient: probably in their mid-to-late
thirties, at least. Plus the bride wore a lime-green miniskirt, and the
groom was in shirt sleeves. So it was not exactly the traditional
Barbie Wedding of my little girl imagination. But it was *my* first
wedding, and for that reason alone it seemed wondrously exotic and
romantic and exciting, and it made a huge and indelible impression on
Coming full circle ~
when it was time to plan for our wedding -- especially when it began to
as though a backyard ceremony, on a summer afternoon surrounded by a
tiny group of family and friends, was a distinct possibility -- it
simply felt like I was coming full circle.
* * * * * *
#3: My dress.
loved my wedding dress.
all of the fuss and furor and frantic searching of the past six or
seven months, it's nice to be able to say that. And it's true: I loved
my wedding dress. I loved the way I looked in it: soft and feminine and
sophisticated. I loved how light and silky the fabric felt against my
skin. I loved the color: a warm, rich vanilla. I loved how perfectly it
fit me, thanks to months of discipline and deprivation.
loved the way I felt in that dress: distinctly bridelike.
Reading the guest book ~
I loved the fact that I found the dress, all by myself, and that it didn't
cost me eight hundred dollars.
I hope that Ludmilla is gnashing her teeth in an unemployment line
somewhere, right this very minute.
* * * * * *
#4: The music.
daughters and I marched down the aisle -- or, in this case, across the
immaculately-manicured lawn -- to the strains of my sister singing
"Grow Old Along With Me."
The World's Cutest Nephew on 'Binky' ~
exactly a traditional musical choice for a wedding procession, maybe,
but a sentimental and well-reasoned choice. Including a Mr. Lennon
song in our wedding ceremony allowed us to pay homage to our Baby
Boomer roots. And not having to screw around with recorded music
made things easier for everybody.
stood in front of the microphone, with her two-year-old son in her
arms, tugging at his mother's hair the whole time, and tenderly
crooned the words in her silky alto voice:
old along with me
The best is yet to be
When our time has come
We will be as one
God bless our love
God bless our love
was the most beautiful and poignant moment of my entire life.
* * * * * *
#5: The ceremony.
wasn't a lot of time to rehearse for our wedding. In fact there was
almost no time at all.
Most of the principal members of the wedding party gathered at my
sister's house, the night before, and we hastily choreographed the
procession. (First Daughter #2 walks down the aisle ... then Daughter
#1 ... then the blushing and ever-so-slightly-hormonal bride.) The
actual ceremony itself -- the written text -- was cobbled together over
breakfast with Tim, our brother-in-law/officiant, the day before the
theme of the ceremony, as we saw it, was partnership: in life, in love
and in sobriety. We wanted to express both our thankfulness for the
years we've been together, and our hope and optimism for the years
that lay ahead.
reading his vows
vows (which he composed on the airplane as we flew to TicTac, two days
before the wedding) had the ring of spontaneity to them but were
definitely heartfelt. Midway through the ceremony, he pulled a folded
sheet of paper out of his suit pocket and read these words to me in a
strong, true voice:
we had a discussion about love, and I told you that I would work at our
relationship. You objected. You said that love should just come
naturally, in the same way that rain falls from the clouds.
standing here to publicly pledge that you shall have both from me: that
my love for you comes from my caring and appreciation of you, as the
most fascinating and intriguing woman I have ever met," --
here I smiled broadly through tears -- "and that I also
promise to nurture and guard our love, so that a score of years from
now, we will look into each other's eyes and feel that we are even more
in love than we are now.
pledge to treat you with the dignity and respect you deserve, to
remember to say 'I'm sorry' when I'm wrong, and to always give thanks
that I have you in my life."
never once lifted my eyes from his face as he read his vows. Here was
the man I love more than life itself, saying the words I'd waited a
lifetime to hear. It was an exquisitely emotional moment, and I was a
puddle -- internally and externally -- by the time he finished.
My turn ~
then it was my turn. Daughter #1 handed me my folded slip of paper, and
in a trembling voice I read the words I'd begun composing the morning
after we got engaged:
told me, three years ago, that this 'isn't a romance.' I didn't believe
told me that I had the power to change my life, and the lives of those
I love, and that I could build a life of health and integrity and
promise, one day at a time. I didn't believe you then, either.
it turns out, you were wrong about the 'romance,' but you were right
about everything else.
owe so much of what is good and strong and joyous about my life today
to the support and caring you offered to me then, and in all the days
since then." (Here I nearly broke down.) "My heart
is filled with gratitude and love.
my darkest hour, you took my hand and became my friend.
in my brightest hour, you take my hand and become my husband.
look forward to spending the rest of my life with you, living together
in health, integrity and promise, and with the deepest and most
profound love my heart has to offer, forever."
heard the old saying "There wasn't a dry eye in the house"
... ? Trust me: after we finished exchanging those vows, there wasn't
a dry eye in the house.
in the backyard.
* * * * * *
#6: The *mix* of people.
was very important to David and I that all of the *big* areas of our
lives be represented at our wedding: all of the areas that truly
matter. For us, this meant parents, children, siblings ... steps
and halves and in-laws and cousins and small blond nephews ... groovy
uncles who used to give us Beatles albums for Christmas ...
Secra & MsBobo417 ~
and friends. Both the offline AND the online
* * * * * *
#7: The food.
that you have spent the past seven months of your life subsisting on
baby carrots and Slim Fast ... carrying a little bottle of Calistoga
around with you, everywhere you go ... punishing yourself on a Schwinn,
five nights a week ... dreaming of doughnuts and dresses and decreasing
numbers on the bathroom scale.
then, that one of your dearest friends from high school writes you an
e-mail, out of the blue, and offers to help with your wedding buffet. "Don't
forget," he says, "I've got twenty years experience
in the restaurant industry." And to further entice you, he
sends you mouth-watering and imaginative menu plans to drool over,
weeks in advance. (More importantly: he sends the menu plans to your
finally, that all of a sudden you're standing in front of the buffet
table with an empty plate in your hand, looking at the most glorious
wedding buffet in the history of wedding buffets:
Capacola Ham, Genoa Salami, Provolone Cheese
Fresh Mozzarrella with Roma Tomatoes & Fresh Basil
Roasted Peppers, Artichokes in Vinaigrette, Greek Olives
Balsamic Zucchini with Caramelized Onions
Spring Vegetables and Cheese Filled Pasta
Marinated in Italian Dressing and Fresh Basil Chiffonade
Hearts of Romaine Lettuce Tossed With Parmesan
Cheese, Crunchy Herb Croutons & Creamy Caesar Dressing
Strawberries, Pineapple & Summer Melon
With Maple Marscapone Dip
with an Assortment of Fresh Breads
Soft Parmesan Breadsticks, Ciabetta and Herb
then imagine that you're too jazzed and emotional, by the time you sit
down with your plate of wedding buffet goodies, to eat much more than a
couple of balsamic zucchini slices and a crunchy herb crouton or two.
But then again, there's always wedding cake.)
I've been dreaming about this cake for seven months ~
* * * * * *
#8: The fact that NONE of my Wedding Anxiety Dreams came true.
the wedding of my dreams. Thank god.
didn't get married in a cafeteria, or standing on an ocean beach during
a typhoon, or in a junior high school gym locker. My mother didn't
arrive twenty minutes late carrying an armload of bridal flowers and a
hot seagull pie. Oregano Tim wasn't standing in the back of the room,
dunking cigarettes into a styrofoam cup of coffee. I wasn't required to
sandbag a river, marry my first grade teacher or wear Ragu-stained
maternity clothes to the ceremony. David didn't read his vows from the
back of an Oreo coupon.
none of the unspoken anxieties -- the nightmares that never even made
it to *FootNotes* -- manifested themselves, either. No absentee groom.
No cataclysmic rips in my only pair of pantyhose. No zits on my neck or
stress laryngitis or flash floods as I walked down the aisle.)
things considered, I think we got off pretty darned lucky.
neither expected nor wanted a cookie-cutter wedding. You know the
kind I mean: a wedding so ridiculously over-planned and over-rehearsed
and over-everythinged that even the tiniest of glitches can turn into
an occasion-killer. I've been to more than a few of these weddings,
during my lifetime, and the bride never looks like
she's having any fun. I knew that there would be last-minute headaches
and hassles and bumps in the road. The taxi wouldn't show up to take us
to the airport, the morning we flew to TicTac. I would pack the wrong
wedding shoes. I would fluff a couple of my *lines* during the
ceremony. Mother Nature would crash the party midway through the "I
I also knew that these headaches and hassles and bumps in the road
would be what distinguished and characterized our wedding for what it
was: our wedding. The day we had planned for for
seven months. The biggest, brightest day of our lives. A memory we will
the first day of the rest of our lives together.
* * * * * *
the one thing I didn't love about my wedding?
quickly the whole thing was over.