Can You Say I Don’t?

Posted by admin on April 20, 2012 in Family |

Everyone has their fond wedding memories. Mine are more hilarious than fond, at least the first time I walked down, or should I say around, the aisle.

I was married at St. Madeleine Sophie in Bellevue. This was in the 1970s and having a church in the round was a very hip thing. I never liked it myself, because it felt too much like a sports stadium.

Well, my wedding certainly was a spectator event, so perhaps the church was indeed appropriate. It was to be a small wedding. We didn’t have a lot of money and I didn’t really know a lot of people who would be interested in attending.

I didn’t even have a best man, so my two brothers ended up being the best men. This alone should have been a sign of impending doom. My bride to be chose my two sisters-in-law to stand beside her. If this had been in West Virginia it would have made sense I think, but it was all pretty surreal to me.

I didn’t even bother getting into my suit until the last few minutes before the music was to play. I guess I was pretty nervous because I had to tie my tie four different times and each time I did, it ended up in reverse, the little dangly part being on the front. I finally just lifted the last effort over my head, spun it around and put it back on.

I don’t remember the actual wedding at all. I can’t even picture any of it. It was just a blur and I was just 20 years old. I was still in school, I had never held a real job and here I was getting married to a woman I had only known for two years who had tried to kill me with hoof and mouth disease. What was I drinking?

I do remember the reception, however. In exacting detail. We made it a point not to tell my future in-laws that we were getting married until about a month before the wedding. We didn’t want them to have any part in the plan.

We had selected all the flowers and the cake, a wonderful three tiered spice cake from a local bakery. We had the boutonnieres and corsages, the invitations that had a little silhouette of a couple with the words “Heather and Robb are in love so they are getting married” and had booked the church.

All her parents had to do was show up to the wedding and play the supporting roles of the uncertain father and mourning mother.

Well, it didn’t work out that way as you would expect.

Her parents immediately started butting in in ways we could have never imagined.

We had arrived early in the day to set up the reception hall with the decorations and flowers as well as the cake. Then her mother showed up, her own homemade cake in hand. I quickly ditched our lovely three tiered cake in the kitchen so she wouldn’t make a scene. She proudly plopped down the sheet cake she had made from scratch. This would have an important role later in our saga.

She had also brought flowers for the entire wedding party. I could barely contain myself with laughter. Not that the flowers were entirely bad, but they were from Safeway, the local grocery store, not a real florist. My future mother-in-law proudly located everyone in the wedding party and put their flowers on them. Four steps behind was my mother, taking those flowers off and putting ours back on. It was a sight to see.

The wedding itself was pretty straightforward. Then it was back down to the hall below the church for more fun and games. Now to the cake portion of the afternoon.

I was totally crushed that we weren’t going to have that wonderful spice cake with the butter cream frosting that I had picked out. Love spice cake, at least I did back then. But in the interest of keeping the new family peace, I just played along. We cut the cake and then her mom took over the cake cutting duties. My niece Carina was the first to glom onto a piece of cake. She was as much a cake fiend as I.

I was still standing by the cake table when she returned moments later. She set the cake down in front of mom-in-law and said, “This tastes icky” and walked away. I tried to stifle my laughter, saying something like, “Ah, kids, hope we don’t have any,” which of course was precisely the wrong thing to say to a potential grandma to be.

We moved onto the wedding gifts. I don’t really remember what we got. But I do remember what we didn’t get. We didn’t get a single toaster – the stereotypical wedding gift – and here we really needed one.

I’d like to say things got better, but they didn’t. Eventually, my new mom-in-law noticed that her Safeway flowers weren’t being worn by anyone except she and “dad.”

The final nail in the coffin came as we left the reception. Sure, most people have a limo with cans trailing it. Not us. We had the tank. Running through a shower of very un-PC today rice, we climbed into the turret of the tank my brother and I had built and drove off into the sunset. KING TV was filming it, so we had to leave a couple times in the midst of a typical Seattle drizzle. Ah, showbiz.

My ex’s parents didn’t speak to us for about six months after the wedding. That’s the best wedding present anyone gave us.

In the Emerald City, suddenly craving toast,

– Robb

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