Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Do.....not know what I'm getting into....

This is a picture from our wedding in October of 1983. I really wanted to run away to Vegas, but Chuck's mother insisted he get married in a church. ahhh. So with little to no money, we threw a wedding together in less than 6 months. I can only recall a few things about the planning process. And even less about the ceremony. And really only one vivid memory of the reception.

My sister, Catha, had gotten married in April of the same year, so my parent's bank account was drained. And I certainly didn't have any money. I usually only had $30 to live on after my bills were paid every two weeks (I am not exagerrating). Chuck was making less than I was at the time and he was paying off college loans. I just remember doing the whole thing on the cheap. My mother and daddy paid for most and Chuck and I helped as much as we could.

The bride and her attendant are carrying silk flower bouquets. Yes. They. Are. And yes, this photograph is blurry. It was 1983. We did blurry back then.

I wore Chuck's mother's wedding gown and the lady who made my cakes lent me her antique tiara for my veil. The most expensive thing I had on that day was my shoes. I rolled my own hair and put on my own make-up. I had never heard of a pedicure....but it wouldn't have mattered, I wore panty hose. My only attendant was my sister and we had her skirt made...and I guess her blouse was store bought. The lady that made my cakes also did silk flower bouquets. That was all the rage. So I said yes to silk flowers. Because? Because. Chueeeezey. I even had silk flowers wrapped around my wedding cake. Uh, huh. I did. All. The. Rage.

The church my parents belonged to at the time was new and being held in a school building. For weddings and funerals, members were allowed to use an Episcopal church in the southwest area of Houston......so that's where we got married...the place had no sentimental value to us at all. The reception was also there and we were allowed to have alcohol in the form of a punch. Way to go Episcopalians! This was somewhat important to us....because we were at least trying to have a party! My sister had had the hotel reception with the beer and wine. So I had to try to compete with that.

The day of the wedding, the caterer arrived early to set up and went nuts when she saw that a mural of an Israeli town (painted on brown butcher paper) was hanging on all 4 walls of the fellowship hall. She tried her best to camouflage the ugliness with her lattice screen. Honestly, I couldn't have told you what the walls looked like before....and was not really aware of them that day. But oh, I've studied the ugliness in my wedding photos all these years.

Go ahead. Call it ugly.

The caterer let us use her silver goblets for the traditional toast in the picture above. What happened right after this picture is my most vivid memory of my reception. As Chuck and I walked away with our goblets of champagne punch, his mother looked him in the eye and said, "Put that down." And he did. Like a hot potato.

I guess she said that because it had alcohol in it...and they do not drink. But her 26 year old son did. And it was his wedding. And I was just a little agitated that the 26 year old man I had just married had dropped his goblet like that AT HIS WEDDING RECEPTION. And I had just married this man less than an hour before. MARRIED. And that is what I think of when I think of my wedding day.

And that was the beginning......

And now 26 years later, I am here to tell you.......it's not about the wedding.
It's about the marriage.

Jordan is getting married and the planning has begun. We are basically handing over an amount to her....our very own Event Planner....and staying out of it. It will be small but elegant and the guest list will consist of limited family members and Jordan and Chris' friends. It will be their wedding celebration held in their town of Scottsdale, Arizona. I hope it is all she dreams of (within her budget) and that she has wonderful memories of the planning and the actual day itself. But no matter what goes right....and lots of things will.....or what goes wrong...and something will.....it's not about the wedding. It's about the marriage.

To Jordan and Chris: When you say "I do"........you do not know what you are saying. You do not know what life is going to throw at you. You do not know how many kids you will have or how secure your jobs will be. You do not know your future addresses. You do not know your tolerance levels or your ability to share. You do not know what it will feel like to have to go to everyone else's house on the holidays, year after year, when all you want to do is stay at home and enjoy the comfort of your own home. You do not know.

But when you say "I do".....you are saying I can. I can do this....because I love this person.

I remember walking down the aisle of that strange church and thinking, "Gosh, I hope this works out." And then I made that promise.

And it wasn't so much the "I do" part....but it's been the "I can."

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  1. So, I think what you're saying is the theme for the wedding should be "Yes we can". Awesome. My first wedding was the big church and reception invite everybody you know wedding. My 2nd wedding was very small, just close family and best friends, reception at our new house and so wonderful and personal. My advice would be to throw out all the wedding magazines and plan a wedding that is true to them. Jen

    P.S. I hope one day you can forgive your sister for hogging all of the wedding money.

  2. I loved this..... do I say that every time I comment? I think I must. Sorry..... Jordan is very blessed.

  3. Love, love, love this! Especially your words of advice to Jordan and Chris. Enjoy this wonderful time with your daughter.

  4. Julia,
    This is a wonderful post! After 27 years of marriage and having about the worst last 5 years of our lives we have now tested all of those vows we Did Not(Really) Know we were promising.
    For better or worst~ been there
    For richer or poorer~ oh yeah going through that now and have been for 2 years.
    In sickness and in health ~ Well we just faced this big time and...you are so right it is about the marriage and we have found that through it all we are committed to each other and love each other more now than that "special day" 27 years ago.
    BTW your wedding was just as special as anyone elses coz it was yours.

  5. Ok, TODAY is my anniversary and I have had some celebratory wine when I read your post. You truly have a talent for putting what is most important as your parable. Your daughter is blessed to have such a wise mom. Happy Anniversay to you and Chuck from Debe and Denny. To many more 'can' years!

  6. Ok, you just made me cry. So well put. So proud to call you my friend.


  7. Hi, first time visiting. You're a great story teller and I love the advice you gave. Well put and so true.