I read a post on Facebook this week and it got me to thinking. I have loved watching the popular TLC bridal shows...especially Say Yes To The Dress Atlanta, and I have spent time with my friends who are mother's of the bride and their breathtaking wedding boards on Pinterest, it got me asking questions about my first wedding, when I married your dad. So, I sat down and thought I would tell you both about it. I hope by the time you finish reading this you will be laughing yourselves silly. First of all...looking back on it, it was pretty ugly. No, really, it was. It was a January1976, and that didn’t help. It snowed that day and was cold as rip. Thank goodness I did not make my bridesmaids wear rainbow colors, or hats, or any kind of head piece for that matter. But...my colors were a strange shade of peach and pea green. Yeah. They were interesting colors against the green walls of the church and the red colored pews of the church. Flowers and decorations were limited....ok...sparse. The bridesmaids wore homemade dresses of whipped cream fabric that could accommodate a wide array of sizes and tallness. As most brides do I thought the style was perfect and could be cut off to make a church dress later.....yeah right! Those brides who think that are only fooling themselves. I’m pretty sure they were burned while I was on my overnight honeymoon. I had always planned on wearing a long-sleeved white lace Victorian gown. And my mom was thrilled when we found said dress...perfect fit....at Jordan Marsh and walked out with it that day....no alterations needed. I was delighted. I also got a dutch cap veil. They were from a truck show and we paid a whopping 80.00. I think my whole wedding cost around 250.00. I carried a white bible given to me by Susan Johnson Price and her mom, Francis. I had a white orchid (grown by Susan's mom) and greenery, strings of pearls, and white ribbons. I thought it was breathtaking. The guys wore an array of dark suits. None of them matched. No snazzy tuxedo's with black shiny shoes. My dress was packed up at Jack Sheehans and stored in a box. It moved with me seven plus times. I kept hoping one of you would want to wear it when you go married. I gave it away last year for a costume in the Mock Wedding at RCHS. The girl who wore it was just my former size and it looked beautiful on her. The dutch cap veil was amazing....even after so many years. I can remember when you both were little wanting me to take it out of the treasure box and let you play with it. I never did. Sometimes I wish that I had.
Now for the reception...it took place in the small, dimly-lit fellowship hall or Kellyton United Methodist Church. We didn't have dinner or dancing or any satin to cover the pale cream drabness of the room. There was green sherbet punch, a delicious wedding cake, and some mixed nuts(mostly peanuts) and store bought hard pillow mints. The punch was made by the ladies of the church who also provided the punch. My parents bought the white cake. I thought it was delicious. There weren’t party favors or sparklers for the guests. No little bags of Jordan almonds even. There was no monogrammed remember this day gift for the guests to pick up on their way out. The guests threw birdseed as we ran to the light green, 1969 Chevelle SS, awash with ridiculous writing and a condom on the engine of the car (this was probably one of your Uncle’s contributions). We stopped in Alex City to try and wash the shoe polish off the car, but to no avail, it was frozen to the paint...or lack there of. When we sold the Chevelle in our fifth year of married...you could still see "Just Married" on the breather of the engine and lightly on the hood of the car.
My pictures were not shared on social media and so many people never saw them at all. Stephens studio took the pictures but they cost to much to buy a large album....so mom and I had small ones made. There wasn’t a dance floor, cute painted Ball jars, fresh orchids, or Pinterest chandeliers hanging from trees in a gorgeous garden. Weddings weren't done that way back then. Even though it was not Pinterest worthy....I wouldn’t change a moment of it. Somehow, even with our less than glamorous wedding photo album and honeymoon on an extreme budget to Franklin, Georgia (which is about 10 miles from where I live now and not your honeymoon mecca), your dad and I were just as married as these multiple thousands of dollar weddings you see on television today. I am shocked when a bride pays over a thousand dollars for a dress. Shocked I say.
Your dad and I understood that a marriage wasn’t about a wedding. We started our married life with the understanding that a lifetime of love and commitment trumps an event any day. We learned that starting our new life together debt- and doubt-free was a gift to each other. Somewhere along the way we lost track of that and could not find our way back. We gave it 20+ years of effort. "I read that 70 percent of girls creating wedding boards on Pinterest aren’t even engaged yet. With every other marriage ending, do we have time for all this planning and pinning for one perfect day? It makes me sad that the world you’re growing up in concentrates more on the wedding than the marriage. It’s over in a sunset and it’s easy compared to the long marathon of becoming and staying one with your one and only. I want you to know marriage is more than a venue or a menu. It’s far more than The Perfect Day or Saying Yes to the dress. I want you to understand your commitment to the man of your dreams is more than a certificate—it’s a covenant to God." I also want you to know that sometimes....no matter how hard we try....people grow apart....it is sad...but it happens. I hated being a statistic....but I am. I don't want that for you. With all that said...."Most of all, I want you to know love" and to know how much you are loved....by me....and your dad.. "The kind of love your dad and I had that lasts through heartache and headaches. I want you to know that you are loved. You don’t have to earn or achieve it. It’s not dependent on a good hair day or bad. It’s not something you can lose. Whether you’re swept off your feet or remain a confidant single woman, you are enough." So, on this regular summer Friday, I want you to know that my wedding wasn’t much. But too me my marriage was so much more.
Love you to the moon and back,