The idea of a spring wedding has appeal for many people; coming out of the dreariness of winter, the warmth of spring brings with it the promise of new beginnings, the ushering in of a new season replete with new growth and the introduction of new life throughout nature seems a fitting backdrop to beginning a new life with a chosen partner, a soul mate – for some the future father or mother of their children, for others later in life, the person they hope to spend the rest of their days with.
There is, however, a flaw in this logic. Spring, it seems, doesn’t always want to cooperate.
The Perfect Day…
The date was April 5th…a fitting date for a wedding, particularly since it was also the same date as my soon-to-be wife’s birthday. Of course, if I forgot one of the dates I would automatically be on the hook for the other, but I figured the law of large numbers would come to my defense and protect me from the certain doom that would befall me were I to fail to deliver a birthday AND an anniversary gift (but I digress).
We thought we had considered everything. We weren’t rich (still aren’t) and this was not the first marriage for either of us. Instead of a big to-do, we decided on a small family affair for the ceremony, followed by a gathering at our home to celebrate the nuptials. The wedding would take place at a small local chapel next to a local church, the reception in our converted basement, with a tent and tables set up outside so everyone could enjoy the beautiful spring weather we had been having. We had ordered a cake from a local bakery, spent hours the week before the wedding making decorations with the kids, cooking and making hors d’oeuvres for the guests, planning everything down to the last detail, including how we would transport from the house to the chapel. I would drive ahead with the kids, my wife would come behind me with my parents and her mother after she finished getting dressed. Even the weather was cooperating with our plans for an outdoor reception: the forecast for the day was sunny with mid to upper seventies, perfect weather for a perfect day.
Of course, things are rarely as they appear, particularly where Nashville weather is concerned. The first sign that wedding day bliss was going to be a running battle came with the sunrise. Literally overnight, a cold front that had been projected to stay WELL to our northwest for three or four more days swooped down into Middle Tennessee just in time for sunrise on the big day. Instead of the sunny sky we were expecting, we awoke to clouds and a slight drizzle. The drizzle moved out quickly, but the cold remained. Instead of mid-seventies, the temperature was near 40 as the day broke.
Sticking with the plan, hoping for the best…
We refused to let the dreariness of the weather get us down, though. We held out hope for the weather to improve as the day went on, and began our preparations for the ceremony. I got dressed, gathered the kids, and headed to the chapel, leaving my wife in the more than capable hands of my mother and hers. Unbeknownst to either of us, the universe had some surprises still up its sleeve.
Hot Rollers get REALLY HOT sometimes…
Getting to the chapel was rather uneventful; however, all was not well back at the homestead. The first sign of trouble came when my wife plugged in and turned on her hot rollers to do her hair. 10 minutes after she walked away from them, she smelled something burning. When she got back to the bathroom, she found her hot rollers melted – yes, MELTED – on their posts. NOT the best way to start, to be sure.
And hair twists just aren’t the same.
Thankfully, our oldest daughter had a set of hot hair twists; you know the cute skinny pink and purple ones with the hole on one end that you twist your hair around and close up into a loop? Yeah, those. Disaster averted, or so we thought. Turns out, my wife’s hair just did not respond to them as well as they did to her other rollers. She couldn’t get her hair to curl the way she wanted it to. And, predictably, she began to have an anxiety attack.
Mom to the Rescue!
Fortunately both moms were there to help her calm down, and they addressed the situation like the two wiley veterans that they are. Once they looked at her hair, they knew exactly what to do; some fingers strategically run through the curls and a couple of head shakes later, and all was well with the hairdo. But that was not the end of the fun. Oh no, not by a long shot.
Trains are HEAVY…
Issue 2 (3? 4?) came when my wife went to step out in her wedding dress. She had bought a dress without a train, and her mother had sewn both her veil and a train for her dress (as a long-time seamstress who was no longer able to make the entire dress, making the veil and the train was our way of paying homage to her considerable talents). Only one problem: the material was too heavy for the thread. Every three steps the stitches would pop, sending my wife into yet another anxiety attack.
Thank Goodness the Seamstress was Available.
Enter mom, the seamstress. She quickly whipped out her trusty travelling sewing kit (okay, maybe I’m embellishing a little bit), took the train and the dress, and quickly sewed a snap strip with a double whip stitch that would hold backa charging rhinoceros (okay, I dunno exactly what she did, but whatever it was, it worked. Double whip stitch sounded pretty cool though, didn’t it?). The train held, my wife’s heart rate returned to semi-normal, and disaster was averted…again.
Or so we thought.
The ceremony went off pretty much without a hitch; aside from my wife’s son who nearly passed out from nervousness when he walked his mother down the aisle, all went well. There was a momentary pause in the middle of the vows, however, when the Church of Christ minister used the word “obey”; As the Catholic half of our blended family, I looked across at my Baptist wife and held my breath while she smiled wryly, licked her lips, and repeated “obey” as she locked eyes with me (“yeah, we know who’s gonna be obeying, don’t we dear?”).
Cold and windy was NOT on the itinerary
After the ceremony came picture time. Outside. In the cold. With clenched teeth and curses for the weather forecasters barely kept from being uttered (pick a channel, they ALL missed it, even the Weather Channel folks), we put on our best smiles and braved the chilly temperatures and wind to preserve the memories for our children and grandchildren. As car after car drove by, the occupants looking out the window incredulously at the crazy people who would choose to get married and have pictures outside in the cold and wind, we did what we could to ignore the elements and made memories.
Cake delivery is for sissies
Once picture time was over, it was time to head back to the house. Except it wasn’t. FIRST we had to head to my grandparent’s house for pictures with them – my grandfather was too old and frail to make the trip to the chapel or my house afterwards – and then make a trip to the bakery to pick up the wedding cake…in our wedding attire. And then drive it back to the house in time for the reception. Ironically, with all the potential for disaster at this phase of the day, this went off almost without a hitch. The pictures with my grandparents came out blurry, but on the trip back in the car with the cake we didn’t lose a single flower or accidentally stick one finger into the side of the cake.
Maybe things were starting to look up.
Mother Nature is a fickle thing, though
Of course, we got back to the house and it was still cold…bitter cold with a nice breeze blowing to make it colder. This wouldn’t have been half as bad had we actually had some sunlight. Which we didn’t. Not even an occasional break in the clouds anywhere. Instead of sitting around the tables talking, eating, and drinking, our guests were huddled together under blankets, gathered in the basement near the heater that we had hastily set up, crowded into our too small living room, or leaving earlier than we would have liked. We had intended to have an all afternoon/all evening party with whoever wanted to stick around. Instead the party lasted a couple of hours, with only the most die-hard in the bunch staying outside the whole time.
It was so cold that my wife exited her wedding gown at the first chance she had, donning blue jeans and a jacket within 30 minutes of being back at the house. Can’t say that I blame her…it was, after all, a bit cold to be walking around in a strapless dress.
All in all it could have been a LOT worse
Of course, the day wasn’t all bad. In fact, in retrospect it really wasn’t bad at all. I realize this is supposed to be an article about wedding disasters. And things did not go as planned for the entire day. Truthfully though, focusing on wedding disasters isn’t fair because it ignores what the day is really about. Yes, it was colder than we expected…MUCH colder. Yes, my wife ruined a set of hot rollers. Yes, her hair almost caused her to have a conniption, and yes, her train could have caused a fiasco of Herculean proportions. “Obey” could have been a show-stopper, and our reception party wasn’t as lively as we had planned for. But, four years later, I still have a wonderful wife who I would not trade for the world. She is my soul mate and the woman I intend to spend the rest of my days with, God willing. The fact that it was too cold on my wedding day did nothing to deter me from making her my partner; in fact, NOTHING about that day makes marrying her any less a highlight of my life.
So focus on disaster if you must, but for me, the only thing that truly matters about that day is the fact that before God and family, we both pledged our love and our lives to each other. That was enough for us to overcome any potential disaster.
Trust me, we’ve been tested, and we are still standing. Together.