Tonight I went to the wedding of Alli’s high school friend and Shane’s army buddy, who got together the night Alli lost her wedding ring. Unless I want to write all night, I can’t begin to address all the issues I have about weddings–which involve my mother and my two weddings and Alli’s wedding and wedding dresses– disappointments upon disappointments. Tonight, Alli was the maid of honor and not the bride, so I could simply go as a guest and enjoy it.
The current trend in weddings is way over the top–but this wedding was small and hands-on–mostly involving the hands of the bride and those people who helped her. That included Alli and Shane, who worked constantly from the moment they arrived– after driving 16 hours overnight all the way from Texas. Typical wedding stuff — from buying drinks to arranging centerpieces—which Alli and the bride were still doing 3 hours before the wedding.
The groom and Shane plan to get dressed at my house. This is not a simple deal like putting on a tux. They are wearing dress blues, an elaborate army uniform, complete with lots of moving parts including hats and gloves. Two hours before the wedding, I am about to drive Alli to the bride’s house just as the groom pulls up. Only he’s not alone. His parents and sister are with him. I have never met them, and know nothing about them except that they’re from Oklahoma. I also didn’t know they were coming to my house to wait before the wedding. I am wearing what I wore to sleep last night, but I tell them to go inside while I drive off to take Alli to the bride’s house to get dressed.
When I get home, the guys are doing the uniforms upstairs on the other side of the house, Nick’s family is roaming around on their own. I introduce myself, but I don’t even have time to be polite. I have barely enough time to get dressed and make it to the wedding on time. Of course, I could have gotten dressed earlier, or at least picked out my clothes. But I never do that—I always leave everything to the last minute, so invariably I’m rushing, and usually late. This behavior drives V crazy, since he’s consistently punctual–but luckily, he’s out of town and not here to witness this.
After I’ve showered and done everything else, I take out a suit I think is appropriate and put on the skirt. Too many Dove bars later, it won’t zip up. I leave it halfway zipped up while I look for something else. The phone rings.
“Mom. Where are the guys? They’re late.”
Of course I have no idea since I’m getting dressed but she is insistent that I go up and check. I walk out of my bedroom heading for the guys and as I reach the kitchen, I remember. Nick’s parents. They’re all dressed for the wedding of course, as I enter with my wet hair and half-zipped skirt. I don’t remember their names but I do smile as I rush past them. Welcome to California.
I find the guys way behind schedule. Alli and Cora, the bride, are already at the church, waiting so the bridal party can take pictures. I let the guys know the bride is impatient, and I go back to finish getting dressed.
Another outfit is too tight. Alli calls again, sounding more urgent. I go upstairs again in the second outfit that doesn’t fit. By now the parents are used to me, and the way we do things in California. The guys are pinning badges and ribbons on the uniforms. If you think our soldiers have a tough job just being in the army, try putting together a full dress uniform.
The guys need to really hurry up at this point, so I’m going to speed up too–and try to shorthand the story a little. So here’s fast motion minus details.
I go back and find something that fits. The guys leave. The parents leave. I leave. Shane calls. He left his cummerbund at home. I turn around and go home again. I get the cummerbund and head back for the wedding. Shane calls again. I turn around and head for home again to look for his gloves. I’m worried these details will hold up the wedding. Shane says they won’t. Because he isn’t at the church yet anyway. He is following the groom, who is lost and can’t find the church. So are the parents who are with the groom. I am on my way home for the gloves and beginning to think about staying there.
Alli calls. Pictures are no longer an option. The wedding was due to start 20 minutes ago and they’re missing the groom and his parents and Shane, the best man. And of course, the cummerbund.
As hectic as this sounds, compared to Alli’s wedding which was arranged in 4 days, today’s wedding is smooth. It’s a half hour late but everyone finally gets to the church and Nick and Cora are married and no one notices that Shane’s cummerbund is not on Shane but on my lap.
Afterwards we leave the church. I’m a little edgy. Thinking of how I wish Alli had a real wedding. We have to drive to the reception and I already have my keys in my hand—when the groom’s parents approach me. I’m of course wearing a completely different outfit than what they saw me wearing at home. Nick’s dad says to me, “We saw the picture of you and Alli with Clinton and Gore.”
The one I used in my blog yesterday. It was sitting on the counter while I was running through the kitchen. I edge towards my car, trying to be polite but avoid getting engaged in conversation since I have a call to make once I get in the car.
“So Nick tells us you have a blog.”
Now I remember they live in Oklahoma. A state as red as they come.
“You know,” I say, “I’m not sure you’d want to read my blog. I have some pretty strong feelings about this election.”
“‘We do, too.” Nick’s dad says.
His name is Marty and his wife’s name is Ann and they have an Obama sign on their front lawn in Norman, Oklahoma. They say a lot of their neighbors do, too. They are political junkies and very well informed and what they want to talk about most of the night is….Sarah Palin.
It was a beautiful wedding.