Before I get started telling you the rest of our fairy tale path to wedded bliss, let me give you my opinion of weddings. I like weddings. I like to see beautiful brides in their beautiful dresses. I love the flowers and the music. And it goes without saying how much I love wedding cake. I think that any girl who has dreamed of a big beautiful wedding should have one. Large or small, formal or informal, it doesn’t much matter. I truly believe that everyone should approach marriage however they see fit.
With that being said, as for me, MY ideal wedding would be for me to blink my eyes and suddenly be married. Even as a little girl, I knew I’d never have a big affair. I honestly didn’t want one. I knew they were expensive and the pragmatic side of me knew that I wouldn’t ever expect my parents to shell out lots of money for a big white wedding. But, my lack of desire for a big wedding had much less to do with money and more to do with the fact that I do not like wearing fancy dresses and I HATE being the center of attention. The thought of having lots of people watching me repeat marriage vows doesn’t sit well with me. It’s funny, as much as I hate having eyes on me, here I am blogging to the internet at large. Sometimes I think that blogging is the ultimate in narcissism. Read MY words. Look at MY pictures. Comment on MY thoughts. But, it is also different in the sense that the blogger/narcissist is shielded by a computer screen and not in front of an entire church congregation professing her undying love to her husband to be.
I’ve always been a little atypical in the girl department. I wear make up every day and love pink, but I never wanted to play wedding with my friends. I didn’t have a wedding scrapbook. I didn’t daydream about walking down the aisle to meet a grinning groom. I didn’t scour brides magazines for tips and ideas. The idea of a wedding never made it on to my radar screen.
So, when Craig very casually suggested that getting married would significantly increase his earning potential, therefore helping reduce his debt more quickly, I made the ONLY rash decision I’ve ever made in my life. I said “uh, ok.”
And then we watched the movie.
My memory, like my vision, is a little bit blurry, but I think this conversation took place somewhere around the 6th of September; 12 days before Craig was due to re join the Army.
Clearly, time was of the essence.
I don’t remember telling my parents the news. I’m sure it was awkward; I’ve probably blocked it out of my memory. The plan was going to remain the same: We’d marry, Craig would go to Korea, I’d live with my parents and continue to work and go to school. The only difference was that we’d be official and Craig’s addition of a “dependant” (Army speak for spouse and/or child) would help him get out of debt more quickly. Hey, like I said, I’m a pragmatist, I like a good reliable plan, and more importantly I liked the idea of a $0 balance. Besides, we were going to get married anyway.
Nothing was going to change. Those are what they call “famous last words.” Hmm, a bit of foreshadowing, perhaps?
I think we originally planned to get married on September 16th, which was a Monday. Somehow, someway, with reasons I can’t remember, the date was changed to Friday, September 13th. Because, yes, we’re clearly not superstitious.
A few days after the “proposal” and with wedding plans in full swing (ha!), Craig and I secured our marriage license and purchased genuine gold wedding bands at the jewelry counter at Wal Mart. Classy.
What’s even classier is that *I* paid for everything! Remember that debt? Poor Craig was a wee bit strapped for cash the weeks leading up to his re enlistment. Don’t worry, I knew I’d get my paybacks later. And boy has Craig ever paid me back.
So here’s a run down of how the wedding day went:
Craig was done with work, so I’m not sure what he did. He probably came up to McDonald’s to get a free cheeseburger, but that’s purely speculation.
I didn’t have class on Fridays, so I worked all day. I think I got off around 4pm and I needed to be at Craig’s parent’s house for the 6pm “wedding.” I went home, showered and tried futilely to remove the onion smell from my fingertips. I put some make up on, tried to tame my wild locks, hoping for my annual good hair day (it wasn’t) and put on a hideous navy blue and white print dress that I had hanging in my closet.
I didn’t even buy a new dress! Sheesh!
And then I drove to my future in-laws house. To get married. Two months before my 20th birthday.
Our list of “wedding” guests was quite cozy: my mom, dad and sister and Craig’s mom, dad and sister. Oh and the justice of the peace.
And we got married.
And ate cake, which was pretty, but unfortunately had whipped cream frosting. I’m sure Craig was in on that deal. There’s something about those Smiths and their whipped frosting; we Kennedys are buttercreamers through and through.
After the cake and a few pictures, the “wedding” guests left. Craig and I went to Winn Dixie and bought tater tots and went back to his house and ate them while we watched tv with his sister.
Holy Crap, I cannot believe I just typed that!
I must have legitimately repressed that memory, because I forgot all about the tater tots until just now. If you could see me now, I’m madly waving my arms in the air trying to shoo that memory back into the recesses of my mind.
OK, now I’m sufficiently mortified and feeling pretty pathetic.
I think I’m done with the “wedding” reminiscing.
In conclusion, I would probably do every thing differently, with the exception of the groom. This happens to be one of the 360 days of the year where I’m glad I married Craig.
But to be honest, I don’t know how I would change it. My ideal situation would be to blink and have it done, but I’m not a magician.
I don’t know.
I’m glad it happened, but I’m glad it’s a distant memory. Part of me wishes I had a better story to tell Caroline when she’s older. But, in the end, perhaps she’ll get a kick out of it.
My only hope is that when she gets married, she’ll have exactly what suits her. I only have two requirements: she has to be older than 19 and she most certainly will not, under any circumstances, go to Winn Dixie on her wedding night and buy tater tots with her new husband.
That’s the type of history that does not bear repeating.