I’m not sure what caused such madness. Maybe it was the full moon, or perhaps it was the rendezvous between Jupiter and Venus in the heavens…
Whatever the case, Michael and I suddenly decided to get married during the hectic Holiday Season.
We’d keep it simple, though. A small ceremony in Eureka, California. A reception in the ancient Redwoods beside the river. Towering trees. Sunlight filtering through the branches. A stone plaza and blazing fireplace.
There was just a problem or two. The first was minor, but irksome. I kept referring to our wedding as a funeral…A common Freudian slip to be sure, but it was small comfort to my groom.
The other problem was far greater. We had bad weather heading across the Pacific and it would be here by the weekend. We were forced to move the wedding up to Thursday—just a couple of days away.
We didn’t panic. In fact, my groom–to–be completed his list of preparations in record time.
Well… Being a writer, I succombed to foolishness and the lunacy of love. I began typing gibberish. I wrote pages of it…how weddings are really funerals in disguise. How we must die to ourselves, and be reborn into a union of One.
I emailed this stuff to friends, family and foes, alike. It took hours. Even days. Before I knew it, our wedding day had arrived. I awakened to the dim reality that I was woefully unprepared.
I had no time for a bridal–bubble–bath. Worse yet, I had no cake. No flowers. No decorations. Nothing but dozens of emails, and many pages of foolishness.
I crawled out of bed. Time to go into high gear. Turbo–charge. Overdrive.
My bridesmaid came to help. Together, we began throwing stuff into the car—dresses, cameras, and shoes. We jumped inside and roared down the highway.
“Leah,” I said. “You go and buy the decorations…I’ll get the cake and flowers. In an hour, we’ll meet everyone at the Oriental Buffet, as planned. Then we’ll go on to the courthouse. Oh, but first…” I said. “Can you pull these curlers from my hair?”
She obliged, pulling out curler after curler as I weaved through traffic.
I dropped her off at the Discount Dollar—shouting final instructions at her from the curbside. I hurried to the grocery store and picked out the most promising–looking cake from the bakery, then grabbed a bouquet from the nearby flower cooler. Minutes later, I was heading out the door with both cake and flowers—my confidence fully restored.
This wasn’t so hard, after all. And to think that most brides spend months agonizing over these decisions. I could give them a few lessons…Maybe even start my own wedding–planning business….
“Vic’s Time-Saver Weddings. Everything done in an hour—why take longer?”
I hurried back to Discount Dollar where I’d left my bridesmaid. Leah was just finishing up her shopping. Six helium balloons floated above her head. A shopping basket sagged on her arm, weighted down by glittery candles…plastic swans, and Bridal–bubble–blowers. Lord. What a mess.
We had no time to quibble. We paid for it all and crammed the stuff into my car, gingerly shutting the door.
There were only a couple things left to do…but they were rather crucial.
“You’ve gotta do your dress and hair!” Leah said. “We’re running out of time.”
We were stumped momentarily, but soon rallied.
“Look, Vic!” Leah said. “We’re right here by my friend’s beauty salon. Let’s go inside.”
We did. The hair–stylist took one look at my fly–away–curls, and said she didn’t do up–do’s. Not even for weddings.
I retreated to the restroom and stared into the mirror. My dress looked fine, but my hair was a disaster. I didn’t have enough poof for the front of my hair. Did I forget my hair-rat?
I dug frantically through my purse. Eventually, a pair of Knee–high pantyhose rose to the surface. But no hair–rat.
Pantyhose would just have to do.
Balancing the Knee–highs on top of my head, I pinned them in place, arranging my curls to hide the hose. I looked in the mirror. Not bad. Not bad at all. I hair–sprayed the ‘do, then took myself to the front of the beauty salon.
“How lovely your hair looks,” said the beautician. “And your dress, too.”
Her assistant agreed. “You’ll make a pretty bride…A bride extraordinaire.”
Extraordinaire, indeed. Knee–highs and everything.
Leah and I departed, hurrying to the Oriental Buffet where everyone was waiting. We were only ten minutes late, but those ten minutes were our un–doing. We never did catch up. We were late for the photos. Late for the licensing. Late for the ceremony and the reception.
But it was okay.
The day was sunny and warm. My groom was patient…And I—in spite of my poof–less hair—felt lovely. Quite lovely.
After a rough start, everything was turning out fine. The glittering candles and plastic swans looked splendid. The balloons and Bridal–bubble–blowers were a hit, as well.
Somehow, the knee–high pantyhose never fell out of my hair…Not once. But best of all, there were no tears shed at our funeral… Um, I mean our wedding. Nothing but smiles and joy and happiness.
At the Redwood reception, I read from my Pages of Foolishness that I’d worked on so hard…Heart–felt words about our love. A love as patient and enduring as these ancient trees.
Flames in the stone fireplace crackled. The river murmured to itself. A breeze wandered through the twilight, stirring the branches of the redwoods.
Then….just as the day came to an end, a song came on the nearby car radio and drifted across the darkening forest…A song so appropriate for the moment, it couldn’t have been coincidence. It was one of those unplanned incidents that the Lord arranges, somehow.
“It was no accident…Me finding you…
Someone had a hand in it…Long before we ever knew.”
Beneath the emerging stars, Michael and I slow–danced together…dancing to the words of the song. The moon rose higher. Venus and Jupiter winked at us from the heavens. The wind sighed through the trees, and I sighed, too.
It had turned out to be a wonderful funeral/wedding. Wonderful, indeed.
Now, I thought to myself…If only the Honeymoon can turn out even half as nice—never knowing, of course, what was in store for a scatterbrained bride….
And her unfortunate groom.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~To be continued~~~~~~~~~~~~~~