Promises were made…

May 19th, 1984. 

i was such a hippie-goob.  Bad perm, owl glasses.  Wearing this dorky long white satin-esque dress that had belonged to my maternal grandmother.  He was wearing his only best suit – the Brooks Brothers rig his parents bought for him when he graduated from college in 1976.   Brown.  Soft plaid.  We weren’t ‘retro’.  Just dorks, and really fucking cheap.

Holy. Shit.

The wedding pictures are just precious*.  i was 22, he was 29.  Nerds?  You bet!  We’d been living together since i was 19, bought our first house a year later in 1983, and fought like animal rights activists in a medical school laboratory to keep the wedding tiny.  Much to the annoyance of my Mom, who wanted a big wedding** for SOMEONE.  i was pretty much her last hope, and she fought to make it bigger… while i fought to simplify.

We refused to send invitations.  Only announcements to most people – after the fact.  We’d purchased a house, and wanted to discourage gifts.  Some of the announcements actually said “daisyfae and EJR announce the change in tax filing status from ‘single’ to ‘joint’, with an estimated annual tax savings of $1,475.”  We were paying for the wedding, which took away much of Mom’s ability to influence.  But she was resourceful and tenacious as a pit bull.

My favorite example of the passive-aggressive battle?  Mom thought it would be nice to have a “Unity Candle” ceremony in the church.  This is where the Mother of the Bride and the Mother of the Groom bring lit candles to the Bride and Groom, who then light their own candles from the symbolic maternal flame.  And together, the sappy couple attempt to avoid holy conflagration and light a single candle together. 

Awwww…. So symbolic.  So fucking stupid.  i drew a line in the worn church carpet and said “NO!”  arguing that we’d be too nervous, and burn down the historic chapel and that would suck loudly.  She sulked.  i won.

Our guest list was drawn up via the following criteria:  “Who will never speak to us again if they aren’t invited?”  Total guest list was about 30 – all family except for three of our friends.  For our reception, we wanted to just go out to eat at a decent restaurant.  Figuring that our families might never get together again unless we dropped dead…. and even then?  Maybe not.

Arriving at the restaurant, i was quite annoyed to find that Mom had brought a plastic-flower encrusted styrofoam block.  She’d spray painted the styrofoam forest green.  Mounted upon it were a bunch of fucking candles.  Yep.  She got me on a technicality – “You said you didn’t want to do it at church…”.  Sneaky, sneaky little snake-mother, wasn’t she?

And so it went…  But it was a good party.  i got really drunk with my new sister-in-law.  DQ, then 12 years old, caught the bouquet.  The marriage was generally ok – he was, and is, a good human.  We eventually sucked as a couple.   Our genetic products are delightful. 

And 25 years ago today?  i really meant it when i promised “til death do us part”.  Maybe what i meant was the figurative death of “us”, rather than the actual heart-stoppage of either body***. 

Taking a page from Mom’s playbook…. a technicality?

 Shit happens.  Or sometimes, it doesn't...

*yes. there are candidate photos for the “awkward family photos” site  – sadly.  no. i won’t scan them in.  i respect him too much…

** Mom eloped the first time.  And the second time.  And it was a little shotgun event with the justice of the peace when she married Dad.  Oldest sister, S?  Ran away at 18.  My brother, T?  Pretty much the same thing.  And my other sister, T?  Lesbitarian.  Although she did manage to marry a Palestinian taxi driver at the height of the Persian Gulf War…. that was later.  A story for another time…

*** Paraphrased from “The Big Chill”:  “Rationalization is more important than sex.  Have you ever gone a week without a rationalization?”

16 thoughts on “Promises were made…

  1. i have been married twice and went into both of them knowing i was not only not in love but had no intention of staying there… how or why i did that i will never know… but i do know i will never do it again,, partially because i cannot find groom number two to divorce him!!!!!

  2. Interesting. You may be the most reluctant bride on record. But sometimes people take your life and try to run with it…

    Did I shamlessly copy and send this pic to a half dozen similarly black humoured friends? O yes I did.


  3. I BEGGED my mother-in-law to cancel the harpist. I didn’t say a WORD about any of her other plans to turn my wedding into a glorified high school prom, but a harpist was just too much. She said she’d cancel the harpist. As soon as our vows started, a harpist started playing. She couldn’t even give me that! At least she paid for it. That’s the LEAST she could do.

  4. i love the stryofoam spray-painted green.

    i’d like to think that i’ve done enough to alienate my family at this point that they wouldn’t try to interfere should i ever get married. but weddings have a way of making people crazy beyond recognition…

  5. We had a potluck picnic in the park, partly with the object of having something too simple to fuck up as a reception, and I’d say it succeeded, despite the friend of the groom who hit on three of my friends and ended by being tossed over the shoulder of a 6’3″ blonde California State Women’s Fencing Champion, head down onto a picnic table. I think it gave him a terminal erection. At least nothing got lit on fire.

  6. uncle keith – breathing apparently makes you turgid….

    paisley – wow! isn’t there like a 7 years limit? can you have him declared legally dead or something? even “dead to me”?

    sonny – i really don’t feel quite that bad about the failed marriage, but i love that picture!

    unbearable banishment – harp? thank fuck she didn’t get that in her head…. i’d have set it on fire with the unity candle….

    tysdaddy – weird. we always forgot our anniversary when we were married. never celebrated it, and only realized we had an anniversary when our parents would send us anniversary cards… “oh, yeah…. it IS our anniversary, isn’t it?” and then ignored it…

    daisy mae – i was too young to have alienated them fully at that point. now? they wouldn’t dare…

    sledpress – LOVE that one! No one was pile-driven into a picnic table at my reception. Wish it HAD happened that way….

  7. Loved the pic, daisyfae. I’m glad I didn’t have any similar adventures at wedding time.

    @ Uncle Keith: You, sir, are wicked funny. Thanks for the laugh out loud.

  8. ” . . . fought like animal rights activists in a medical school laboratory to keep the wedding tiny.” That was a fabulous simile. This whole post was hysterical. I hope you subitted somewhere for publication. It’s really great. I enjoyed your wedding. 🙂

  9. It would have been 36 years last St. Patrick’s day. Shouldn’t have lasted a year, but lasted 20. I’ve decided that based on experience in my family, 20 years is about the limit for straight relationships. The gay relationship is at 32 years and counting, now.

    We had a small wedding, mostly because we only gave Mom a week to plan it. It still got bigger than I wanted after she invited all the family and friends, hers, not mine. I didn’t have any friends. I wish I could say he was a good human and I still respect him, but it didn’t happen that way. You are lucky that you still do. Happy Anniversary, or whatever.

  10. rob – it won’t happen again. i take comfort in that…

    amber – friend of mine celebrated her 20th anniversary by going to vegas for an ‘elvis’ re-marriage. THAT sounded like big fun…

    fragrant liar – glad you enjoyed the wedding! that’d make one of us…

    silverstar – my mom insisted on inviting one of her friends. she also wanted that friend to give me a gift – since mom had been on the hook for 4 weddings, numerous baby showers, etc. with her friends’ kids. i remember her friend had made me a lovely hand-crocheted toilet seat cover, toilet tank cover and kleenex box cover. they were really quite nice… i’m sure i still have them. somewhere… very sweet of her…. um…. yeah….

    nursemyra – i was a dork. in a bad dress. with bad hair. bad glasses. and no clue what i was signing up for….

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