Friday, August 17, 2012

Do Over

I started this waaaay back on my 15th (!) wedding anniversary on July 19. Consider this a late love letter to my dearly beloved, that tall, lanky, handsome man who puts up with all my crap.

I've told several friends over the years that I would like a wedding do-over.

Not that my wedding was a disaster. I just don't remember much of it. And what I do remember seems stressful and bland all at the same time. I was 23 years old on my wedding day, and though I felt so very grown up, I was still just a kid. A kid who took herself way too seriously and didn't even know how to enjoy her own wedding.

 I remember that things went badly at the rehearsal. And because things went badly at the rehearsal, I decided I had no choice but to micro-manage the ceremony itself. If the deacon officiating our vows couldn't get the order right, by God, I would just cue the lector and the pianist and the bridesmaids myself. Because I did not let myself embrace being the bride, my wedding had all the romance of a rotary club meeting.

My second wedding to my husband, my do-over wedding, would look a lot different. It would just be about us. We would, with only our child and maybe one or two closest friends in tow, say our vows into each other's eyes on a Caribbean beach at sunrise, or in a tacky-but-lovely chapel in Vegas, or with a justice of the peace at Devou Park overlooking the smoggy Cincinnati skyline. If I had to walk down an aisle, I would do so to "You and Me" by Dave Matthews Band. Unless my friends can play the "Bridal Chorus" on Rock Band instruments, which would be awesome.

I'd like to do our first reception over, too. It was fun, I've heard, but there were a lot of people to meet and greet, and my groove thing did not get shaken nearly enough on the dance floor. Our second reception would be smaller. And have better alcohol. The first dance would be to "You're The One That I Want" in the style of Danny and Sandy from Grease, complete with costume changes into black hot pants and a T-Birds jacket. I know first dances performed in imitation of iconic movie musical scenes are overdone and cliche, but they're not overdone and cliche for me, because I haven't done one yet. Darnit.

My do-over wedding would fit our relationship and our personality in a way that we would actually enjoy. It would beat the heck out of that first affair in 1997 when we were two kids with no clue and little money, still holding on to an overwhelming desire to fulfill our parents' wedding expectations rather than our own wishes.


A new wedding wouldn't have its own built-in choir the way our first wedding did. When our pianist invited everyone to join in singing our opening song, a wave of beautiful and well-trained singing voices unexpectedly filled the church. My mother asked me later where I hid the choir. Among our wedding crowd was: our college voice teacher, who had a side job as an opera performer; the conductor of Centre Singers; various former members of Centre Singers and of the Lloyd High School Chamber Choir; and our high-school chorus teacher and his lyrical-soprano wife. All four vocal parts were well-represented. The only time that day I fought back tears was when that wall of sound arose and went straight to my stressed-out heart strings.

A second wedding also wouldn't have centerpieces painstakingly created from wrapping Little Hugs drinks with irridescent cellophane and topping them with votive candles. It was cheap, it was a little tacky, and in the dim light of the American Legion hall, it was beautiful.

And I doubt very seriously I could recreate a moment from the reception that is one of the most dear memories of my entire life. As the opening chord of Garth Brooks's "Friends in Low Places" sounded throughout the hall, all Centre College alumni were called to the dance floor. In a completely unscripted moment, we stood in a circle and wrapped our arms around each other's shoulders. A dozen voices rose above the din.

 "I'm not big on social graces/
Think I'll slip on down to the OH!-asis..."

 This was magic, and magic is hard to duplicate.

Someday Jason and I will feel compelled to renew our vows. Maybe next year, maybe five years down the road, maybe on our golden anniversary when we're toothless and forgetful, it will occur to us that we've fulfilled the promises we made on July 19, 1997 well enough that we can make new promises. I may get my wish of having the romantic and irreverent wedding that befits both my hard and crunchy exterior and my big, gooey, sentimental heart. Regardless of whether or not I have a wedding do-over, the fact remains--I still get to leave with the tall guy in the tux.

No comments: