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Wedding Bell Blues—and Bliss


Now that it’s summer–the traditional wedding season–I find myself wondering each weekend about all the brave souls who’ll be tying the proverbial knot, for better or worse. I always hope the sun will shine, literally and figuratively, on these happy couples whom I don’t even know.

Of course if I do know them I’m even more invested in the weather, especially if I’m going to their wedding. Sure, I hope their special day is superlative, but a small part of me longs for just a touch of drama to add to the happily-ever-after ambiance. The sole exception to this sentiment is if either the bride or groom shares some of my DNA.

I went to a lovely wedding recently in Nantucket. The setting on the deck of the Dreamland Theater overlooking the sailboat-studded harbor was picture perfect. The whole affair, soup to nuts, seemed to go off without a hitch (pardon the pun). The truth was, prior to the big day the bride’s divorced parents bickered non-stop, and she herself insisted on changing the venue three weeks out. The only obvious glitch occurred when the minister proclaimed, “I now pronounce you Mr. and M…” whereupon he stopped short, having caught the bride’s unmistakable glare. She was, evidently, keeping her surname.  “Oops, I guess I should have checked on this earlier,” he admitted as the guests chuckled in sympathy.

I had a full 15 months to fret over the forecast for my daughter’s outdoor ceremony on the Maine coast. tortured me daily for two weeks with a different meteorological prediction for September 12. Not content to leave such a crucial factor to chance, I took a page from my former colleague’s wedding playbook. Her son and daughter had each exchanged vows under clear, 70-degree skies—in March and November. So two nights before my child’s nuptials, I dutifully hung the borrowed string of rosary beads on my patio and said a quick prayer.  Another equally superstitious librarian here recently did the same. The success rate so far is 100 percent.

All weddings are wonderful in their own way. I’ve probably been to a dozen in the last couple of years, with four more on the calendar. They’re so full of joy, of promise, of fabulous food and drink. My weakness is the passed hors d’oeuvres. You know, the mini seafood rolls, the tenderloin on toast, the bacon-wrapped anything. I count on the others being so busy munching and mingling that they fail to notice the frequency with which I tackle the servers as they emerge from the kitchen.

I enjoy weddings vicariously as well. Another coworker told me she was glad she remembered to put her Swiss Army Knife in her purse as she dressed for her best friend’s wedding. It came in decidedly handy for detaching the bride’s blusher veil, which remained stubbornly attached to her headpiece after the ceremony. I can just picture my colleague whipping out her trusty knife prior to the photo shoot to save the day. This woman takes her bridesmaid role seriously. You might want to think twice, however, before including her in your wedding party. The couples in nearly every wedding she’s been in have parted company, and all but one of her bridesmaids’ marriages has gone belly up.

While I might welcome a little comic relief on occasion, I wouldn’t wish this next scenario on anyone. My sister’s neighbor saw on TV that a fire had broken out at a popular wedding locale on the Connecticut River. Anticipating her own daughter’s happy day in two months’ time, she tried to imagine the horror of discovering that your dream wedding had, well, gone up in smoke.  She didn’t have to imagine for long; the smoldering castle was slated to be her child’s wedding venue as well.

You don’t have to be taking the plunge yourself to get in the spirit of the season. The library has a multitude of DVDs on the subject of matrimony: “The Wedding Singer,” “The Wedding Planner, “Margot at the Wedding,” “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” (1 & 2), and my personal favorite, “Wedding Crashers” (“Maaaaa!” “What is she doing back there? I never know what she’s doing!”). No list, of course, would be complete without including “Bridesmaids” or “The Hangover.”

But if you’re seeking more than mere entertainment, browse the 392 section of the stacks for practical advice on wedding planning. There’s something for everyone, from “Groomology—What Every (Smart) Groom Needs to Know Before the Wedding” and “Green Weddings—Planning Your Eco-Friendly Celebration” to the lavishly illustrated “The Knot: Outdoor Weddings,” chock full of “fresh ideas for events in gardens, vineyards, beaches, mountains, and more.”

Three books on the shelf particularly caught my eye. Even if you’re not a southern dame from the Mississippi Delta, as are authors Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays, how can you resist at least skimming through the hilarious “Somebody is Going to Die if Lilly Beth Doesn’t Catch that Bouquet”? For another humorous—and poignant—pick, check out Jenn Doll’s “Save the Date.” The subtitle, “the occasional mortifications of a serial wedding guest,” says it all. The one that really spoke to me, however, was “It’s Her Wedding but I’ll Cry if I Want To” by Leslie Milk. I wish I’d seen this one two years ago.

My own marriage, sadly, did not endure, but hope springs eternal. The man in my life and I have known each other for 30 years and have been together going on 13.  Meanwhile, both our exes, I’m pleased to report, are happily remarried—though not to each other.

Clearly, we’re hesitant to rush headlong into anything. But if and when I do say “I do” for the second time, two things are certain: I know who I won’t be asking to be a bridesmaid, and as soon as the date is set, I’m putting another reserve on those rosary beads.

April Cushing is the Adult and Information Services Supervisor at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Mass. Read April’s column in the July 27th edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.

Liz Reed

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