April 26th was to be a grand day for my sister’s wedding. Mom had made her dress; it was hanging in her room. I was to be her maid of honor. I was released from the hospital the day of the wedding after having had surgery a few days earlier. The sky was bright. The weather perfect, yet we wondered what would go wrong.
You see getting to this day was quite a trial of patience. The groom had lost his job a few months ago, finding a new one that would not allow him off for the previously planned date of April 12th. Wedding arrangements were difficult to change and the invitations had been sent, so an entire family hunkered down to alert all the guests of the change. New date set, wedding plans continued.
The groom was to sport a 1970’s blue ruffle shirt, as ordered when the tuxedo order went in…to our surprise he ended up with a coral pin tucked bib shirt, looking hideous. He had his sister pick up his tux the evening before and he had not assessed the suit until the wedding day. Not knowing what to do, he wears it anyway, shocking his bride as she walked down the aisle. In addition, my sister who is not known for her humor noticed the words “HELP ME” inscribed on the bottom of his shoes in several wedding pictures; the words placed there by his groomsmen as a joke.
The ceremony was in a quaint chapel. Some one hundred or so family and friends gathered. My sister looked fabulous, but shocked at the coral shirt her soon to be husband was sporting. As the ceremony proceeded, the minister lectured the congregation on the sanctity of this union and of the sacred ceremony that was taking place. The guests were hushed. As the minister returned to the alter to complete the ceremony, he slipped and fell head first into the flowers that bordered the serene alter. Slightly dazed, he returned to the alter after several minutes to complete the ceremony. My sister was starting to panic.
The ceremony complete, we head to our wedding feast, to be held at a local restaurant. A brief gap in time between the wedding and the reception allowed time for wedding photos. The photographer had arranged for the wedding party to meet at a scenic park for photos. The wedding party arrived. The photographer did not. Since this was a no cell phone era, the wedding party had no method to contact the missing photographer. After waiting the planned time the party went onto the restaurant.
Down the road we travel in our limousine. It was a fifteen minute ride from the park to the restaurant. You can imagine the surprise and horror as we are greeted by a bevy of emergency vehicles and fire trucks at our destination. Our reception venue was on fire. On fire, as in there will be no reception here today.
Thank goodness our parents were calm playful people. My Dad was a club member at the local VFW and from a pay phone contacted the club and was able to manage an impromptu party. It was snacks and beverages, but at least the guests had somewhere to go and the band that had waited in the restaurant parking lot had a place to set-up.
My sister thought all of these challenges were suggestive of bad days to come. Others thought the problems just so far out that surely the marriage would be problem free. Flash forward ten years when the loving couple is divorced on the same day the chapel that they had been married in was condemned.