I was exhausted, overweight, and late for marriage, according to my mother, who had taken it as a personal failure that her eldest daughter had not found a mate despite her valiant efforts. And, bless her heart, she had tried everything. When I was eighteen with good hips to have children, she was looking for a doctor. When I was twenty-five and dancing in bars with my friends, she was looking for someone who had a job. When I was thirty and sporting double chins, the only thing that mattered to him was that he had a pulse. But despite my mother’s tears and predictions that I was destined for a lifetime of yelling at my soaps in a cardigan and slippers surrounded by cats, I found my prince charming, and before I even opened the ring box, my Mother had ordered invitations, tasted three cakes, and hired the band.
We wanted a small backyard wedding with a couple of friends. My mother translated it as “great band, open bar, forty-six showers, and an ice sculpture of kissing dolphins.” There was a wedding to plan, by God, and I was lucky they consulted me.
Six weeks and twenty-four arguments later, the wedding was called off. Surprisingly, it’s not my mother’s fault. My prince charming’s mom had a serious health problem and she went from snappy to we’re-not-sure-how-long-she-has-she, in a matter of days. It’s hard to plan a wedding when your husband is losing his mother and his father is losing his best friend. We wanted to get married, we didn’t want to wait, and we wanted his parents there. It seemed there was only one option: take the wedding to her. Period. End of discussion.
I won’t bore you with the details: the lost refunds, the wedding invitations turned to scratch paper, the comments I received from sixteen bridesmaids who were horrified that we lived in a world where a bride would have to make such a sacrifice. in the biggest event of her life. Her special day. I won’t tell you what kind of stress goes into trying to plan a last-minute wedding three states away. I will not tell you how difficult it is to find a church, a preacher and a restaurant with tables within walking distance of the hospital. I won’t tell you what it was like to find out three days before the event that her mother was worse and couldn’t leave the hospital and now she couldn’t come to the wedding that had been moved just for her. . I won’t tell you about the panic that seized us as we hastily arranged a wedding ceremony to be held in the hospital lobby.
I can’t tell you how many nurses it took to do her hair and makeup. I’ll tell you how many rules were broken when we turned her hospital room into the bride’s dressing room. You can laugh at the image of me running through the hospital corridors in my long white wedding dress and veil to look for the shoes I left in the car, while the photographer takes pictures and tries not to trip over the gurneys.
I don’t remember what it felt like to have no bridesmaids, or what it felt like to have soft music replaced by intercoms calling the doctors. I don’t remember it feeling like a conference room. I remember looking outside and seeing her mother holding her father’s hand. I remember seeing nurses she had never met crying in the back row. It was the happiest moment of my life. My smile could be seen from a mile away. It was still my day. My family was there, his family was there, some families I didn’t recognize were there, and I am convinced that even though there was no stained glass, God was there too. My prince charming’s mother is gone and her father left this earth shortly after. I will never regret our decision.
I tell you this story, not to encourage you to cancel your dreams, but to give you some advice as you launch yourself into one of the best days of your life, or any dream. Know that there will be things that will go wrong that are out of your control. Accept it and go in from the beginning knowing what is really important. Lower expectations. I’m not saying that you change your plans, just your reaction when things don’t go as planned. Remember who you are trying to please so you don’t look back regretting planning this dream for someone else. And keep your sense of humor. You will be stressed no matter what. Your sense of humor will keep you sane. And remember that life doesn’t always promise happily ever after. Or maybe yes, and you just have to know where to look.