I had the perfect ring (even though I was scolded by a jeweler for buying tanzanite during a time of war) and I was ready to propose. I was home and I was planning on asking her in the morning. It was late on a warm summer evening. I was on the porch with my father and grandfather – the two men I looked up to the most, my heroes; the two guys I’m glad I was with on the eve of the most important day of my life. My father speaks out calmly through the darkness, “Are you ready?”
“Yeah, I think so,” I reply.
“Did you ever think she’d say ‘no’?”
“…………….well, not until right now.” I figured that was as good of a time as any to go to bed and lie awake for the rest of the night.
The next morning we were getting ready to take a short trip, but I didn’t want to wait; we had been together a long time and I didn’t want to wait a second longer than I had to. So I went over to where she was living at the time and proposed. It was the perfect moment: just the two of us…and her landlady who joined us just as I got down on my knee. The three of us shared a hug. It was magical. Hey, did your proposal get crashed by your landlady? No. You’re jealous.
We had a year to plan– we wanted the wedding to be the same day as the anniversary of our first date, which was also the same day I proposed. Awwww, how sweet, right? (plus we only have to remember one day – good planning, huh?!)
We started planning immediately after I proposed. Our wedding party was going to be massive! If you counted us and the flower girl and ring bearer, it was seventeen people. On top of that, we were going to try and pay for most of it ourselves. And on top of THAT, I’m a control freak who really isn’t too good at organization and time management.
Luckily, my wife and I have large families and lots of friends with eclectic hobbies – including florists, photographers, videographers, DJs, cake designers, and musicians. CHA-CHING! We got a ton of good deals with all of that! Then we took care of invitations, decorations, and favors ourselves. That left the tuxes and gowns (which we had a friend’s mom cut us a good deal), the reception hall, the food, and my wife’s gown.
The gown was easy! My wife is brilliantly thrifty. She found a white prom gown that she fell in love with and found a seamstress to make a train for it. It was gorgeous! And her seamstress was a little person. No, that’s not a criticism and no, I’m not going to make any distasteful remarks about little people. But this a fact that will be important later.
As for the food, we wanted it to be simple. Pasta, veggies, cold cuts, and cookies. However, my mother wanted ham. No, that’s not entirely true. We needed ham. Apparently, it’s a wedding staple, and my mother looked at me like I had an arm growing out of my forehead when I told her we weren’t getting any. She looked to my father for backup, but all he cared about was having fresh shelled peanuts on the tables (which we had brought in from a professional peanut roaster just for him, but the caterers lost the bags, and he hasn’t let us live that down yet). I was unaware that all weddings have ham. And even though my wife is a vegetarian and I’m not a big fan of ham (now bacon…that’s another story), we saw the err of our ways and added ham to the menu.
Finally, the big day arrived. The guests were arriving and I was hanging out in a little prep room in the front of the church. One of my groomsmen came in with this weird look on his face, “You have a wedding crasher and…um…she’s…” he held his palm down by his knee.
“What? Short?” Both my wife and I have a lot of Italian blood; short people at our wedding would be the norm!
“Yeah, but like not just regular short. I asked her if she was here for the bride or groom and she said she’s just here to see the dress.” Then it all clicked. Apparently, the seamstress makes it a point to crash all the weddings of the brides whose gowns she works on. Hey, did your wedding get crashed by a little person? No. You’re jealous.
The ceremony was about to begin and it was a thousand degrees outside (no air conditioning, by the way). My aunt (our mistress of ceremony) went out to get things prepped for the candle lighting and face-planted at the altar. Our mothers had a difficult time with the child-proof lighters, which might have been a good thing considering my wife almost tipped the candles over and burned the church down…probably wouldn’t have been the best omen for our marriage.
After the ceremony we decided to drive to a very scenic spot by a lake to take our photographs. My cousin was our photographer, so I was already familiar with his work – plus he lives far away so it was cool just to have him there. Because the wedding party was so big, we just teamed up and drove cars instead of renting a limousine. Upon arriving at the spot we realize we had lost two groomsmen AND the photographer. The two groomsmen were also cousins and were the transportation for the photographer. Their car was there, but they were nowhere to be found. The bridal party fanned out and began a search party. We looked everywhere and couldn’t find them. Keep in mind, this was back before cell phones were so popular so we just stood around trying to figure out where they could have disappeared when all of a sudden we see them walking up the hill from a local bar each carrying an order of buffalo wings. Now, to this day, I’m not upset that they ditched us to go get wings. However, coming back without wings for the groom on his wedding day? Inexcusable.
We finished our pictures and drove to the reception, and my wife and I entered to the dulcet tones of Ozzy Osbourne. We ate, we danced, we sweat (no air conditioning there either, by the way), we had our cake taken away from us before we could eat it…it looked so good too, and I needed something to get the taste of ham out of my mouth. We had a full contact garter toss and the lucky catcher (who technically was never invited to the wedding…) tackled other guests to grab victory! And, of course, like I wrote about in yesterday’s post, I blew out my knee on the dance floor.
As the evening was winding down and coming to an end, we retreated to my parents’ house to open the gifts and cards with just our parents and sisters…and an Abraham Lincoln impersonator. Nope, there’s no other story to go along with that. He’s a family friend and when I came downstairs from taking a shower I was surprised to see him there. Hey, did your intimate family gathering get crashed by the 16th President of the United States? No. You’re jealous.
“My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.” ~ Winston Churchill