The Captain and I were fortunate enough to attend a wedding this past weekend. And, while it wasn't the wedding I desperately hoped to attend this month (I'm missing one next weekend and am gutted about it), I'm glad we went.
With apologies to all the devout Roman Catholics out there, sitting on the groom's side of the church, we prepared ourselves for what we expected to be a mind-numbingly long mass. So, we were surprised to find ourselves in and out of there within about a half-hour, but this didn't mean the ceremony itself wasn't meaningful or thought-provoking. As usual, given a few minutes of quiet, I got to thinking. And what I thought about was my own wedding.
Nothing was particularly wrong with my wedding. It was, in fact, quite nice. The Captain and I, being up to our ears in the kind of debt reserved only for students and idiots, couldn't afford a five-figure affair. So we accepted my father in-law's gracious (and likely drunk) offer to host our nuptials in his large rural backyard. Father in-Law ended up doing huge amounts of legwork, finding us deals on everything from tents to food to a string quartet, so I didn't have to walk down the aisle to the sound of the Captain singing "here comes the bride, all fat and wide". My mother made all the dresses for the wedding party (including mine) and spent hours and hours helping to plan the pretty, crafty stuff, which sounds fun, but really, really isn't. For this, we still owe Father in-Law and my mom a debt of gratitude. And, in front of 50 or so of our family and friends, we embarked on the cosmic gag that is marriage.
This isn't to say our day was perfect, and I think if you asked any bride if she could look back on her big day with no regrets, you'd never get an honest answer in the affirmative. The Captain's stepmother (heretofore to be referred to as "Monster in-Law"), realizing this was her chance to host the wedding of her dreams, went crazy. And by crazy, I mean even crazier than usual.
Our wedding, though small, included some guests who were extremely important to us. My godmother crossed continents and oceans and went to unthinkable expense to be there, and a very good friend of mine, who later stepped in for the Captain when he was unable to be present for the birth of Firstborn was also there. Both (undoubtedly along with countless others we've never heard about) were, at one point or another, unceremoniously booted out of the house by Monster in-Law, who determined all by herself that the house was "the church", the only people allowed in it were bridesmaids, and that anyone seen inside with (horrors!) an alcoholic beverage was condemned to hell.
I, of course, did not catch wind of any of this until days after the event, but it has forever marred my memory of our wedding, and for this, deep down in my heart, Monster in-Law has never really been forgiven (nor has she ever, in the eleven years following, taken responsibility for doing it.). But the one good thing that has come out of this experience for me is that, should I ever have to remarry, I know EXACTLY what my next wedding will look like. And I'm going to go out on a limb and say I'm not alone in this. Second weddings tend to be happier, less stressful affairs than first ones, and it's because those who remarry tend to be older, know themselves better, and have enough experience with wedding (and marriage) nightmares the first time around to be bound and determined not to make the same mistake twice.
So, for the record, here is what I like to call my "Dream Wedding":
1. It will take place at 9AM at City Hall, with no guests, barring my own children and (presumably) those of husband #2, and one witness if absolutely necessary.
2. I will wear something kick-ass (but appropriate) from my own closet, as will everyone else in attendance.
3. The ceremony will be followed by pictures taken on the front steps using my own camera, a tripod and a self-timer.
4. Pictures will be followed by a late breakfast at a local diner or, barring that, McDonald's.
5. Breakfast will be followed by spending the rest of the day in front of the TV, craftily composing wedding announcements to be mailed the next day.
Inspired? Not particularly. But it's all mine.