Here Comes the Body, the first book in the Catering Hall Mystery series, by Maria DiRico – who also happens to be Ellen Byron – launched on Tuesday. Since the subplot revolves around a wedding, today the Chicks are sharing some wedding memories of their own- or someone else’s.
My daughter had dreamed of a wedding on the beautiful island of Martha’s Vineyard, a two-hour ferry trip from Cape Cod, since she was a kid. She chose the perfect groom, the perfect dress from Priscilla of Boston, and the perfect spot for the ceremony: a remote inn overlooking the water, with climbing roses everywhere. All the wedding plans came together swimmingly, and the photographer arrived an hour before the limo was due to take those oh-so-candid getting-dressed photos.
That’s when we discovered that one of the bridesmaids (a teen relative) had left her full-length, blue satin dress–and custom-dyed pumps–back in Boston. All she had with her were the tee-shirt and gym shorts she’d just worn to the beach. The only thing that fit her (sort of) was the casual outfit my daughter had worn the night before to the rehearsal dinner barbecue. Oh, and her own sandy flip-flops. The bride’s paternal grandmother had to be sedated, but all else went well. We did get some unique bridal party photos for the wedding album. Without the feet.
Jer and I got married on April 9th, 1994 at a beautiful historic location called the Orcutt Ranch in the west San Fernando Valley. It was an outdoor wedding, with the ceremony in a wooded glade, the hor d’oeuvres in a grassy field, and the meal in the rose garden. “In the whole time I’ve been doing this, it’s never rained in April,” the site’s wedding planner told us. What do we wake up to? Rain. I’d spent the night at the hotel where our guests were staying in West Hollywood. Now, normally rain is my favorite thing in the world. I’m what’s known as a pluviophile. I’ll take a rainy day over a sunny day any day. But that morning, West Hollywood woke up to me screaming, sobbing, and shaking a fist at the sky, screaming, “STOP RAINING, STOP RAINING!’
Thank God it did finally stop about two hours before the wedding. Which didn’t allow for the ground to dry, so a lot of women’s heels were lost to the grass they sunk into. But aside from that, everything went smoothly. We’re still married, so there’s that. And even more importantly – yup, these are my priorities – our second reception in New York inspired my new Catering Hall Mystery series (under the pen name Maria DiRico).
I’m pretty sure I’ve shared here before how I forgot to bring the groom’s wedding band to the church and had to borrow my brother-in-law’s ring for the ceremony, so we’ll gloss over that.
My husband and I had a photography business and shot many weddings in the early years of our marriage. Believe me when I say we saw pretty much everything, however, two nuptials spring to mind. First, there was the bride who decided to paint her nails after she had put on her wedding dress. Her mom had to carefully pin a little pleat in the front of the dress to hide the bright pink splotch before she walked down the aisle. Secondly, most people wait until the wedding reception to get snockered. But, we had one father of the bride who showed up just in time for the ceremony who could not have walked a line or touched his fingertip to his nose. The bride, who didn’t seem terribly surprised, simply grabbed him by the arm and explained, “Daddy, we’re going to walk down to where the preacher’s standing. Then you go sit down by Mama.” The ceremony went off without a hitch!
Let’s say someone was a bridesmaid in someone else’s wedding. Perhaps the bridesmaids were all transported to the church via limousine. When the bridesmaids all climbed into said limo, it may have happened that one of the bridesmaids ended up sitting on a cushion that was saturated with champagne from the previous occupants. Presumably when she got out of the limo, everyone gasped and pointed at the big champagne spot on the back of the poor bridesmaid’s dress. It is likely that people tried to clean it using various methods that required her to stand still while they patted her with this or that cleaning solution, which only made the stain more pronounced. And maybe she had to walk down the aisle that way in front of hundreds of people. Theoretically speaking, that would be extremely embarrassing. However, she probably drowned her shame in champagne and ended up not giving a hoot about it, like everyone else in the room.
The law and culture being what they were for same-sex couples when Robin and I decided to tie the knot back in 1995, the local newspaper refused to let us use the words “wedding” or “marriage” for our announcement. (They did, however, agree to say we “celebrated our nuptials,” which I found amusing.)
Nevertheless, our “nuptials” were great fun. We had a swing band (Robin and I took dance lessons beforehand), delicious Mexican food, and a string quartet which played beforehand while guests sipped Champagne waiting for the ceremony to begin. (No, I swear no one spilled theirs on your limousine seat, Cynthia.)
But the highlight of the event was surely the ring-bearers. When our officiant announced that they would be coming down the aisle, all eyes looked back, expecting to see a pair of darling toddlers bearing our rings upon a satin pillow. But, no. Down the aisle came racing, as fast as they could run, our two dogs, Tosh and Rosie, with the rings tied to satin ribbons about their necks. They came to a screeching stop when they reached the two of us and jumped up on their hind legs, panting and drooling with anticipation.
We had primed them, you see, with practice runs involving delectable dog treats. As the audience roared its approval, Robin and I removed the dog biscuits from the pockets of our silk jackets and rewarded our two ring-bearers. Good dogs.
Wedding highlights/lowlights? Don’t mind if I do.
On New Year’s Day 1993, we rolled up in front of the church in a 1979 Winnebago. The fancy town car that was supposed to come with our economy wedding package had been accidentally(???) sold a few days before and, because a replacement couldn’t be found over the holiday weekend AND because my Toyota Celica couldn’t accommodate my enormously puffy dress and its huuuuuge mutton sleeves, my future in-laws’ motorhome became my Cinderella’s coach.
Our priest had fallen sick the night before, which we discovered when we showed up for the rehearsal. The priest who took his place was a charming, funny Irishman with a brogue so strong that few could understand him. He had a great fear of candles setting a bride’s veil afire, so insisted that he blow out my taper after lighting the eternity candle. It made for a sweet moment between him and my husband.
The wedding reception was at a budget motel (yes, with an “m”) that had changed ownership on January 1st. There was some confusion about staffing, which meant that we ended up serving the guests’ drinks. Except for the groom’s. The manager carded him as the champagne toast began.
There was much merrymaking until we rushed off for our honeymoon. It wasn’t until after we’d made it to the airport—in a different city—that my husband realized that he had the keys to his parents’ Winnebago, their only transportation home.
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was definitely the funniest of times, and a day I’ll never forget.
My husband and I went to a wedding when I was enormously pregnant in the Bakersfield heat of summer. The wedding itself was a full Catholic mass that was so long and complicated we all should have gotten college credit for sitting through it. Then the reception was choreographed. Every. Single. Minute. It made the SuperBowl half-time show seem like an afterthought.
My own wedding and reception was much less complicated. Except my dress, that is. My mom picked it up for $50 at a garage sale—never been worn, and yes, she heard all the salacious details. But it fit and was right there in my apartment, so it seemed perfect. It was satin and lace and had a fancy detachable train that ploofed out pleasingly. Only problem was that it weighed so much, I needed a contingent of at least eighteen Guatamalan children just to wrangle it for me. Who were nowhere to be found when Dad and I were trying to maneuver me and him and it into the doors of the church. This photo captures the moment when we were coming to grips with the idea I’d have to rappel from the roof rather than enter through this door. “Hey! Smile you two!” The grimace on Dad’s face and the good-natured defeat on mine makes me laugh every single time I see it. Spoiler alert: we exploded through those doors like so many Keystone Kops and the rest, as they say, is history.
Readers: Feel free to share your own funny and/or memorable wedding stories!
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