As spring fills the air, young lovers’ thoughts invariably turn to demonstrating their unending love and devotion to each other by dressing in uncomfortable costumes and kissing 32 cousins they haven’t seen in the nine years since Uncle Albert died. And, of course, every young lover dreams of staging the perfect wedding, even though there hasn’t been a perfect wedding since the wedding at Cana, when Jesus turned water and wine into loaves and fishes.
Most weddings, in fact, are downright disasters. Take my husband’s brother’s wedding, for example. He and his best man, who is also my brother-in-law, both fainted at the start of the ceremony and didn’t regain consciousness until it was over. My 5-foot-tall sister-in-law was relegated to showing her love and devotion by holding up her 6-foot-2 groom through the entire service. Unfortunately, she couldn’t manage to do the same for the best man, so he spent the wedding sprawled across the altar. The marriage later ended in divorce, although both parties swear it had nothing to do with the wedding.
My wedding, on the other hand, came as close as possible to perfection, with just a few minor glitches that made my big day more memorable.
Like the shoes. I had decided that for one day in my life, I was going to be able to stand next to my husband and look into his eyes, not his third shirt button. So I bought 3-inch spikes, which were roughly three inches higher than anything I had ever worn before. I figured they could double as weapons in case my husband rubbed wedding cake in my face. To save room in my suitcase, I sent the shoes home to Mom before the wedding. (I live in Florida, but got married in Rhode Island.) Mom decided that in 3-inch heels, I would never make it down the aisle. So without telling me beforehand, she had a half inch cut off the heels.
But I kept my cool. At least I would get the music I wanted.
Mom had sent me an article from a Rhode Island magazine about the state’s wedding-band king. In the article, the king said Latin music was his favorite. Great, I thought, I could have salsa. And cumbia. I called the king and asked if he could provide a band that played Latin music. Of course, he said, no problem. When we arrived at the reception, the band was playing, “New York, New York.” OK, I figured, they’re trying to assimilate American culture. But just to make sure, I went up to the leader and asked if his band was the one that played Latin music. Yes, he assured me, and proved it by playing “The Girl from Ipanema” and “Spanish Eyes.”
One thing Mom did get right was the wedding time. She set it for 3:30. That would give me all day to get ready. No way was I going to be late. Everything went off without a hitch until 3:15, when I tried on the custom-made veil for the first time. I struggled with the combs for a few minutes before realizing that the only way to keep the veil on my head was to embed the combs in my skull. At the same time, my mother discovered the combs on her floral headpiece also were backward. Thank God Mom’s a hairdresser. She managed to attach both headpieces with minimal bloodshed and get me to the church only 10 minutes late.
The genius who designed my veil also created the hook-and-eye arrangement that was to keep me from tripping on the gown’s train. The gown, incidentally, was a hand-me-down from guess who. Anyway, the bustle worked fine until the first dance, when the thread on every eye broke. I spent the rest of the evening dancing with my arm tenderly wrapped around my train.
Looking back on the wedding 16 years later, I realize that such problems were trivial and truly made the wedding more memorable.
So listen all you brides-to-be: Don’t worry about having the perfect wedding, because you won’t. Just relax. Be happy. And remember that your wedding is the most important day of your mother’s life. Just don’t let her get a hold of your shoes.