This coming week is my 36th wedding anniversary. Wish you could have been there. This is the true story of that day…
No one said a thing. I asked over and over, “What time is it now?” The answer was always, “Just a few minutes since you last asked.”
It’s my wedding day. I am getting dressed with my five bridesmaids in the Brides Room of a small Presbyterian Church. I am 30 years old, almost, and have dreamed of this day for a long time. The groom is 30 also. It is our first marriage.
The reception was to be held in my family’s front yard in May. The flowering bushes and potted plants were identical in color to the bridemaids’ dresses: rubrum lily magenta. Their dresses were American Beauty taffeta with a fitting bodice and portrait neckline that had cap sleeves and a longer back hemline. They carried rubrum lily bouquets in the same color to match their dresses.
I wore a candlelight white dress of ivory satin and French re-embroidered lace. The bodice of the gown of pearled Alencon lace featured a deep scooped neckline and tiny puffed sleeves. The skirt fell from a natural waistline, sweeping back into a chapel length train. A deep border of Alencon lace edged the gown and train. My headpiece had a wreath of satin roses and forget-me-nots to which the chapel length veil of illusion tulle was attached. Streamers of satin ribbons trailed from the back of the wreath. I carried an all white bouquet of gardenias (my favorite flower), tube roses, and stephanotis with cascading ribbons. Both were purchased at Regenstein’s in Atlanta and are securely packed for safekeeping in a box that hasn’t see the light of day in 36 years.
The groom and his ushers wore grey tuxes with tails. And here it was, this beautiful day and the ceremony hadn’t started. What time WAS it? The action was happening upstairs, outside, on the expressway, anywhere but in the Bride’s room, except for a few hush whispers and my bridesmaids leaving the room a lot. Rumor had it that the groom had vanished and my mother was on his tail. Was he going to be a runaway groom? The congregation was getting antsy because that’s all they knew, too. The groom, driving my mother’s car, and she in the front seat with him, were like bats out of hell heading out of town.
WHY did this happen?
The minister had asked the groom for the marriage license. He did not have it. It was in the glove compartment of his car, which was parked and hidden at the bride’s home where the reception was to take place. It was hidden so that nothing terrible could be done to the car. When my cousin got married, someone wrote on her new husband’s car in shoe polish, “Her day. His night.” So, this groom was trying to avoid anything happening to his foreign-made car. Luckily for us, one of our guests was the Chief of Police for my town. He got on his dispatch and notified all the city police officers and the county deputies to let my mother’s car to pass through without being stopped for speeding. I think there might even have been a small police escort with blaring lights from the church to my parents’ home where the marriage license was. The congregation and bridesmaids did not know the whole truth and just thought something was amiss, so that when the groom finally did make it into the sanctuary about 30 minutes late, the crowd laughed and clapped.
The prince hadn’t abandoned his princess. And here it is, 36 years later…a happily ever after.