Blushing Bride

by gillis

March 5, 1993. Cold and gray, fitting for a day that would go down in infamy. It was a busy, busy day filled with finishing up floral arrangements, wrapping gifts, writing out cards, organizing gift baskets for out-of-town guests, and copying readings in preparation for our wedding to be held the following day. My nerves were frayed down to a nub after a week filled with fighting over seating arrangements, song lists, and tuxedo fittings until we could no longer agree whether gravity was a law, or just a good idea. We weren’t normally a bickering couple, but wedding preparations brought out some of our serious ugly. I lashed out in fear and anxiety, like an animal on its way to being neutered. Only when I checked into my own hotel room did I calm down.

My dear friend and bridesmaid gave me a big glass of wine to drink before we left the hotel for the meetinghouse. To take the edge off. By the time we made it to the meetinghouse for the rehearsal, I was starting to relax, although I was still anxious. Had I forgotten something? My checklist was complete, but my anxiety wasn’t satisfied.

The rehearsal went off without a hitch in spite of the fact that one of our readers and the bagpiper couldn’t make it due to work and weather issues. Still, things were humming along. I rode with my fiancee to the restaurant and we were getting along fairly well again, probably because there was no one else there to chime in with unwanted opinions or advice, it was just the two of us. At the restaurant I was handed a big glass of wine and the toasting began. When the server came to take our order and set the bread basket down, I inhaled half of it before realizing I had forgotten to eat. All day. I could not recall having a solid meal during the day.

The toasts continued from both sides of the family. I became more and more “relaxed,” so much so that my vocabulary rivaled that of a sailor/truck driver/seventh-grader just discovering the urban dictionary. Several attempts were made by my fiancee, my mother, and my maid of honor to rein me in, but it was too late. The train of rationality had left the station. I was inebriated and enjoying every minute of my freedom to tell people exactly what I was thinking. What I shared ran the gamut from sarcasm to vulgarity to near-cruelty. All while wearing a fetching lace cocktail dress, pearls, and killer heels.

If only the night had ended there and I had gone sheepishly into my hotel room to sleep it off. Unfortunately, when I got to the hotel, I saw friends I hadn’t seen in years and was determined to “hang out” with them. When my husband-to-be (and yes, he did actually marry me after this) tried to persuade me to get some sleep, I argued profusely with him. I used a variety of insulting terms in our conversation. When he put his hand on my arm, I hauled off and belted him, squarely across the face. The last words I said to him that night were, “I wouldn’t f-ing marry you if you were the last man on the face of the planet.”

The next morning I woke up, thank goodness, and proceeded to try to make myself look human. It was no use trying to feel human, that would take days. With the help of coffee and several spa appointments, I looked presentable in time for the ceremony. My cold feet and humiliation over my behavior the previous night didn’t abate despite my lacquered hair and painted face. I made the limo driver go around the block several times before I would get out of the car and walk into the meetinghouse. My father prodded me a little by saying things like, “Don’t make me tell your friend from St. John that she came all this way for nothing,” and “Just get through the day and if you want to get divorced later you can do that.” Not exactly fairy tale stuff, but it worked, and the wedding took place. Thank goodness at least I had the sense to marry the man who would put up with such nonsense.

I had more than one reason to blush that day.