Making it up as we go
Ten years ago today I married Aaron in my little Canadian hometown. This week I read Tamra's post about weddings which I loved, and it reminded me of my own wedding. Particularly it reminded me of my mom, who over the years had managed to equate everything that went wrong with her wedding day as the harbinger foreshadowing all that would go wrong in her marriage. She spent a lot of our wedding planning time telling me she "just didn't want me to be disappointed the way she was."
That lasted until the day I turned around and said, "Mom, I want a marriage, not a wedding. As far as I'm concerned, if he shows up, and his dad shoes up to marry us, and I'd like him to think I look fabulous as well, it's a good day."
Credit to my mom, she listened.
So, I've told the story of how we met and got engaged, but I've never written about our wedding day, which was far from "perfect".
First of all, we were married in a soup kitchen. Well, it was a church on weekends, but all week that main sanctuary held tables and chairs and served meals. There were educational posters on the walls with graphic images of frostbite damage to limbs and stuff. This was my home church so we were using the space for free, but we had to fix it up ourselves. We were going to go in the day before and take those down in order to transform the room into something pretty. Only one of the homeless people who was a regular at the soup kitchen died that week. After the funeral the soup kitchen, of course, held a funeral reception. We didn't get to go in and do anything until dinner time the day before our wedding. It got done though. I didn't sleep until 4am that morning, I don't think my mom slept at all, but it got done. Everything was ready for our big day... almost.
See, we planned to take communion together after our vows. We bought pretty dishes to serve it in. They were laying together on the table my little brother built out of willow trees. It looked so pretty. Only, it wasn't until we got to the table, in the middle of our ceremony that we realized no one had thought to put anything in them. There is a picture of me laughing as we first realize that it's missing. We have lovely photos of serving each other communion from an empty cup. We had to fake the whole thing.
Then our plan to wash each others feet, as a symbol of the kind of servant hood we believed we were entering into for each other in this act of marriage, was derailed by the fact that there was no water in the basin. We again improvised, sending our friend Journey Mama, who was also our photographer, to get some massage oil Aaron had packed in his bag in the side room just off the platform. So we oiled each others feet instead. Yes, the photos looked lovely.
It was the hottest day of the year, the mosquitoes were at their height. We had to beat them out of my veil in between photos they were so thick. My uncle spiked his 1 gallon big gulp and got thoroughly wasted by 2pm. The reception started late and my grandpa complained, so parts of it were rushed because "old people need to eat". Since he eats dinner every day at 6pm and it was only 5 I'm not so sure he was actually hungry...
Then a certain few brothers in law, who were supposed to be MC and DJ for the dance went a bit AWOL. So the dance was kind of lame too. When we saw our car later, we found out why. Let's just say we couldn't drive very far without stopping to remove most of the stuff tied to it. As for the "illustrations" in soap on the exterior, thanks to the input of so many... well, I started to get self-conscious about the number of people honking as they passed us. Though the funniest part was that most people honking were driving minivans with kids in tow.
And I actually forgot about the top layer of the cake doing a slow slide during one of the speeches before it hit the table upside down. Did I mention it was hot? without AC? it melted the icing.
But by the end of it I got the marriage that I wanted. Things still have rarely gone according to plan for us. There have been starts and stops, and massive unexpected detours along the way and we're still improvising most of the time, and making things up as we go. I've even occasionally been disappointed. Yet, just as on our wedding day, we've been able to look back and laugh at most of the disasters, and keep going together.
It's not a perfect life, but I wouldn't trade it for any other. It's been a good 10 years. I'm looking forward to the next 10.