I’ve been married twice but I’m not really a big fan of weddings – at least the way they are usually done these days. So I wasn’t really looking forward to this one. Especially with temperatures predicted in the upper 90’s and oppressive humidity.
I was wrong! I was pleasantly surprised.
Not that this wedding didn’t have it’s “glitches” or things I would have done differently. But nothing that would make the day intolerable.
Gratefully, the wedding ceremony, set in a small Roman Catholic church, was at 10 AM – before the sun came out of the haze to really heat things up. They had a couple of large fans set up at the front of the church, which kept the air moving pretty well. (Glitch #1: someone had the bright idea to shut off the fans when people were walking by them to go receive Communion; it got much stuffier and more uncomfortable after that).
Although the groom, my husband’s nephew/godchild, said he thought he might pass out a couple of times, he looked pretty cool, calm and collected. We got there early and since we had had a bit of a drive, we decided to locate the rest rooms before everyone else started arriving. Found them! Down 2 flights of steep stairs, in the parish hall below! This didn’t look good to fibro girl, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do – so down we went. (The church may be handicapped accessible but clearly the rest rooms were not. My mother-in-law would never have been able to get there and back.)
When we got back upstairs, the small vestibule was filling with the groom’s family – his mother (my husband’s sister) and her significant other, his father and his fiancee, his grandparents, my husband and me, my husband’s brother and his 2 teen aged children, his great-uncle and his wife. No one seemed to want to go be seated. I finally got the ball rolling there. I was wearing shoes with 2″ heels that weren’t athletic shoes for the first time in at least a year. My back and feet weren’t going to allow me to have fun if I didn’t sit when I could! Once we started down the aisle with an usher, the rest of the family seemed to get the idea.
The bride was on time and the wedding started promptly. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad omen; but personally, I like punctuality. The wedding party (like the assembled crowd) was small – 2 bridesmaids/ushers, best man and maid of honor. The flower girl, a cute little thing, had backed out. It was a bit sad – there was supposed to be one other bridesmaid, a cousin of the bride, but she had died in a car accident a few months earlier. Her mother read one of the scripture readings, wearing a button with the photo of her daughter. I suspect her family understood, but it kind of gave me “the willies.” This was supposed to be the bride’s day and that was a reminder of something really bad. You’re probably right – the bride probably didn’t even think about it. She is a determined young woman. She wanted to lose weight for her wedding, so she bought her wedding dress 2 sizes too small – the size she wanted to be for the wedding. Everyone had tried to talk her out of it – you can take a dress in if it’s too big; it’s a lot harder to let it out if it’s too small. God bless her, she did it! And she looked beautiful in the dress she chose.
When we left the church, everyone was milling around looking confused. Apparently, like us, they expected the wedding party to be lined up for a receiving line. No one had informed us otherwise. (Glitch #2) But the bridal party was nowhere to be seen! After waiting for a reasonable length of time, during which everyone commented on how much hotter and steamier it was now than when we had gone into the church, people started drifting off to their cars. As we crossed the lawn to go to our car, we spotted the wayward wedding party off to the side of the church. Oh well, see you at the reception.
The reception was held at a place called the Spencer Country Inn in Spencer, MA. The place is filled with antiques and old photos. Lovely and interesting. The banquet hall is a relatively new addition, but was constructed with a clear connection to the past. Very well designed. And, best of all for me, air conditioned! In fact, at the table we were assigned to, it got pretty nippy off and on. No complaints from me. I handle the cold better than the heat. I can always grab my husband’s sport jacket if I get cold, but there’s only so much I can take off if I get too hot … okay, I could take off more, but I think the family would frown on it. The food was excellent! We had baked fish and were glad we did, since the stuffed chicken came covered in gravy. We really aren’t gravy people. A private party had made the cake, which was better than any bakery cake I’ve had. Chocolate – so you can’t lose. The best part was the frosting, which didn’t have that lardy, greasy feel that some seem to have. Even the coffee was good – and the service – the waiter actually remembered that I wanted decaf and came back with some for me.
The music was good – a digital deejay. The assortment of music played was well balanced. I got to dance with my husband to “our song” – “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers – which he quietly sings in my ear as we dance. For a moment or two, I was in a place where there were only the two of us. Everyone else disappeared.
We were seated with my husband’s parents and his uncle and wife. There was supposed to be another person (the priest?), but no one else showed up. No problem – lots of elbow room. At the table next to us was the rest of the family. There was lots of visiting back and forth. Lots of photo taking, too. I got to talk to our niece and nephew, whom we haven’t seen for at least a year since they live in Michigan now. We are really close to them and miss them a lot. They’re 14 & 15 now – they were 2 & 3 when I married my husband. It sure hits you harder when you don’t see them very often. Such changes. You know in your head they’re getting older, but when you see them, it just hits you in a different way.
I asked my husband’s brother, who didn’t have a date, if he’d dance with me. No! Why not? “I can’t dance.” Well, neither can I – we can just fake it. Nope. He really is a stick-in-the-mud. I mean, we already knew that, but come on, it’s a celebration. Have a little fun. He sat there between his kids and hardly even talked to people. I’m no party animal, but I think you have to make an effort to be sociable at times like that.
I did have some good conversations with his kids, though. They are really good kids. I miss them so much now that they in Michigan. But I’m glad they seem to be finally settled. 5 or 6 years ago, my brother-in-law lost his job after around 15 years – down sizing. He found this great job in Michigan and moved the family out there. Shortly thereafter, he and his wife divorced. She took the kids and moved back to Florida, where her family lives. They lived in, I think, three different places in the space of 2 years! Their mom wasn’t able to make ends meet with the jobs she could get. There were several lackluster school systems. Their mom finally admitted to herself that her family was no help and that the kids needed to be closer to their father. So they all moved back to Michigan. She found an apartment but couldn’t make ends meet. So they all moved back in with my brother-in-law (how many guys do you know that would take in their ex-wives because it was better for the kids?). That lasted way too long for him. She got another place and, that’s right, couldn’t make ends meet. She finally has a place that seems to work financially. The kids get to see both parents and they are in the same school system. They really need that after all the bouncing around.
When my husband’s parents decided to leave, we decided to make a break for it. Big mistake. We should have slept in overnight. When we walked out of the hall, it was like getting hit in the face with a 2×4! The heat and humidity were overwhelming! (Okay, I’ve never been hit in the face with a 2×4, but I do have an imagination.) My husband, the wonderful man that he is, ran ahead to start the car and get the A/C going. Good thing. I was ready to pass out by the time I got the short distance. After being in the A/C all afternoon, and with the head cold still in charge, the breathing got kind of tough. God bless the person who invented air conditioning!!! We had put a bottle of water from the fridge into the car in the morning when we left the house. I went to take a swig of water – whoa . . . it was like drinking from the hot water tap. Ick! But, being a practical woman, I drank it anyway, because hot water was better than no water.
I couldn’t wait to get home. The panty hose and shoes had to go! I rarely wear hose anyway, but on a day like this, they were brutal. I can’t remember the last time it felt so good to peel off clothing and toss on a pair of shorts and tank top. I know my husband was just as grateful to shed the dress shirt and tie. I still haven’t figured out why he left that tie on once we left the reception!
After we changed, my husband and I sat in the air conditioned bedroom talking. It’s funny the kind of emotions and thoughts that weddings and seeing folks you haven’t seen for too long can bring up. We agreed that if the bride and groom could be half as happy as we are together, they’ll have a great life.
Time now to go relax. Still have that family cookout to go to tomorrow. There will be plenty of bug repellent applied before we even leave the house. Those mosquitoes will just have to go hungry!