It is hard to believe that I am old enough to be married for twenty years, but there you go. It doesn’t seem so long ago that I spent the night at my parent’s house after what can only be called the perfect groom’s dinner.
Jeff’s parents hosted a lovely dinner at what was then The Calhoun Beach Club. I don’t think it has its own restaurant anymore, just apartments, although there have always been other restaurants that have space there. Both of our families attended as well as the wedding party. I remember the pink suit I wore–oh, how I loved it. But it was the spirit in the room that night that was magical. Being in the same place as all of the people who loved us. It was for US. I can’t really remember the specifics, just the feelings. We gave gifts to our wedding party. I think I probably gave my girls jewelry to wear to the wedding, I remember Jeff giving one of his groomsmen a tiny pair of hockey skates, for his first son who was getting ready to be born…soon! After the official dinner we went to the bar that was on the first level. We stayed there with some of our close friends for a while before hitting the road to get some sleep.
I hadn’t slept at my parents house for a while, so I remember feeling like a guest, feeling out of place. It was hard to sleep. But I slept, and awakened to a full day of “getting ready.” I had to get my hair done and have my pain-in-the-ass veil put in. We had to get stuff, but I can’t for the life of me remember what all the running around was about. Weren’t the flowers delivered? And the cake? What else is there? I am sure I will figure it out in a decade or two when my own kids tie the knot. Anyway, I remember riding around with my veil in my hair and seeing my soon-to-be husband out for his run. We waved to each other, and I had a fleeting panic about him seeing me before the wedding. ACK! He was bound to see me, we had pictures before the wedding.
The pictures were taken by a wonderful photographer, who was kind of crazy. He was predictable, about being unpredictable. He was a character. He slapped one of the groomsmen across the face for some weird reason—to make him laugh? And smile? Who knows. He was crazy.
After pictures and right before the ceremony all of the bride’s maids and I had to go into the little room where there was no air. At least I didn’t think there was enough of it. This is where I freaked out. I was getting married, for goodness sake! I had been dating Jeff for seven years. Since I was sixteen. Now the big moment had arrived. Oh. I was excited. And nervous. Would I trip? Would I cry? Would I generally look stupid? Probably. That is the way I roll. But, I loved him. I knew that this is what I wanted. So all that embarrassment be damned! I would be the center of attention!
Suddenly, Jeff’s cousin’s girlfriend, who I had met a couple of times but never really had even talked to, showed up in our little room with no air. She gave me a feather for luck. It was the weirdest thing EVER, but it gave us something to laugh about which was better than trying not to throw up.
My dad showed up. It was time. I think I told him he couldn’t look at me or talk to me or anything like that. Just walk me down and push me toward Jeff. Don’t try anything sweet. Jeez. Just get me through this. He behaved, and I didn’t cry. Or throw up. Bonus!
Our wedding was short and sweet. I think it lasted 20 minutes. I think everyone in the audience loved that. I didn’t ugly cry. I didn’t mess up my vows. I was up there doing this thing with my husband that was hard for me, and it was lovely. Even the part where the minister accused us of “college flings” that never happened….to my knowledge. We ended our wedding with an American Indian prayer, just to try and expand the hearts of all of the conservative people in attendance, and then we were ordered to “kiss each other” which was irritating. I am all for women’s equality and feminism and all that, but really? Can’t you say, “you may now kiss the bride” like they do in all the movies. Gosh.
We walked back down the long isle quickly, signed the marriage license, and I believe I said something like, “Get this veil off of me!” It was cathedral-length and I could hardly turn my head. And we were off to the limo. People threw birdseed at us as we passed them out the doors and down the steps. We got married downtown, and that was perfect.
We went to the Decathlon Club, which is gone now, for our reception. We had hor’dourves during the receiving line. My sister went to our house and got our beloved dog Ralph, so we could have our picture taken with him. It is still framed in my bedroom. We had a wonderful dinner and there was a coke waiting for me at my spot at the head table when I got there. A little taste of being a movie star. I took off my high-heeled shoes immediately when I got to the table and they stayed off for the rest of the night.
Finally it was time for the first dance. The band was playing and they were looking for me. I was ignoring them because I had requested that the first dance be “You look wonderful tonight” by Eric Clapton. They were playing a random song that I didn’t know. They had to call us out onto the dance floor. We danced to said strange song and then I marched right up there to set them straight. We had two first dances. That was really the only glitch. The rest of the night was perfect. Jeff hung out with all the hockey fellas that were there. I flitted around greeting everyone and pulling everyone out onto the dance floor. People ate, drank, and were merry. And drunk to be honest. I, of course am not a big drinker, so I was happy with my coke. It was the best party I had ever been to.
And here we are today. Still married. But we have traveled far from that point. It kind of freaks me out, to be honest. TWENTY YEARS? That is just crazy.
I don’t really know if we have time to celebrate today, or soon because of all the soccer and the work and stuff. I hope we figure out a way though. I think our marriage is worth celebrating. Cheers!