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.
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?
*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?”