Friday, May 9, 2014

Weddings and Mayhem

Nearly 39-years ago and just a few days before my wedding my dad pulled me to the side and promised to pick up my in-laws-to-be and my mom and meet future hubby and me wherever we found someone to marry us. Yes, he was proposing that we elope even after almost all of the money had been laid out for the wedding. He wanted us to begin our life together without all the strife, arguments and tears that had plagued our household. Daddy wanted Mark and me to be happy.

For almost a year and a half, the length of our engagement, everyone ELSE had made demands and sometimes even ultimatums regarding our wedding plans. Both sets of parents were splitting the cost of the affair with us. Since we were partly paying for the festivities and it was OUR wedding, I, obviously erroneously, thought we had the right to plan the wedding we wanted with some concessions to our parents. Not all of the “recommendations” were demands, some were authentic suggestions made out of love and caring; I did listen to all and even incorporated some ideas. We were otherwise bombarded with guest list demands, seating charts, insistence on choice of bridal attendants, and more – and no, no one else was offering to pay the bill (as if that would have made things right).

My wonderful mom, G-d rest her soul, tried very hard to do the impossible – keep EVERYONE happy. Unfortunately there were some who thought they could use my mom’s proclivity without any consideration of our dreams. By the way, what I wanted was a simple Rabbi’s study with both sides of the immediate family plus grandmothers; it would be okay if there was a party afterwards including all the extended family. What I got was a wedding ceremony and reception with 80-plus and complaints that lasted at least until my 30th anniversary. I did marry the man I love (and still do) and all the people we loved (plus) were there - especially since all of our parents passed away within a few years, that was important.

As a writer I’ve had fun planning and executing a few weddings in my stories. Caitlyn and Brandon, and Keisha and Malcolm were married in His Lucky Charm. Tom and Alli married in Within the Law. Lon and Paige tied the knot in Bartlett’s Rule. Jake and Julie, and, off-scene, Matt and Sudah married in Final Sin. More couples got hitched like Adam and Davy in Courage of the Heart, Ryan and Deanna in Hostage Heart,  and Justin and Layne in Common Bond, Tangled Hearts. There have been several Happy-Ever-After endings in my books.

One of my favorite wedding-related scenes comes from His Lucky Charm. After their whirlwind Las Vegas marriage ends with an annulment, Brandon fought to win Caitlyn back. He’s just meeting Caitlyn’s family and is hoping to earn their approval:

Brandon nodded and went to the kitchen. As soon as he came through the kitchen door, he heard Sylvia complaining about the ceremony not taking place in a church.
“Aunt Syl, you know that I haven’t felt too religious since my folks died.”
 “That’s not an excuse. It would have been proper.” Sylvia dramatically put her hand to her chest. “Now Tommy and Joyce, they were going to have such a beautiful ceremony. Oh, that poor child. I just want to cry every time I think about what happened to her.”
Tom’s car pulled into the driveway. Caitlyn saw Brandon in the doorway and motioned for him to say something.
“Uh, excuse me, I just came to get a couple of beers from the fridge.” He walked to the refrigerator.
“Aunt Syl, don’t get Tommy all upset by crying. Please?” Caitlyn was watching the back door in the kitchen where she knew Tom would enter.
Sylvia turned and saw Tommy’s car. She nodded to Caitlyn. And then she changed the subject. “So, what about you Brandon? Are you religious? Don’t you want to be married in a church?”
Brandon stood with the two bottles of beer in his hand. He tried to be as tactful as he could manage. “I was never really raised to observe. Unfortunately it wasn’t that important to me.”
“Oh, but Elvis Presley was?”
Tom walked in just as Sylvia fired her question to Brandon. He tried to hide a smirk. “Hi, Ma.” He hugged his mother by picking her up off of the floor in a bear hug. Putting her feet back on the floor again, he turned to Brandon. “Hey guy, why don’t you pull one of those out for me, too? I take it my dad’s in the other room.”
“Yeah.” Brandon took another bottle from the fridge.
“I’ll be back, Ma. By the way, dinner smells good.” He kissed her on the cheek. “Hi Cat. Bye Cat.” He practically pushed Brandon back through the kitchen door.
He handed him one of the bottles of beer. “Thank you for your timing.”
Tom threw a look back at him. “Well, when I need a favor returned, I’ll let you know.” He continued to the living room and greeted his father.

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