When Chris and I decided to get married, I was envisioning
a courthouse or a cheesy Vegas chapel for the ceremony, with little or no family
and friends in attendence. Something reminiscent of the quick marriages in World
War 2 movies, at the courthouse the day before the boys went off to war. I would
wear a dark blue suit with a hat, a boquet in one hand and my pocketbook in the other.
In fact, this is what I was hoping for.
But, after a few phone calls with "the folks," it became apparent that
I was not going to get my wish. Having so many people sigh pathetically at the thought
of missing The Big Day made Chris sad. It didn't really make me sad - "To hell
with 'em," I said. But I gave in.
So, we picked out the classiest chapel on the Las Vegas Strip (at least I got that
part of my wish), and reserved our date and time.
Thereafter followed four months of pure planning hell. I hate to shop, I hate planning
parties, and I usually hate attending them as well. So I tried to make it as easy
on me as possible by having the reception at a restaurant (no need to deal with a
caterer) and having the chapel take care of the flowers and the photography.
The only significant hassle, then, was the wedding dress, etc. Do you know that "bargain"
wedding dresses cost $800+? After one trip into the wedding dress world, I decided
I would not be suckered by the wedding dress industry. And I really have no respect
for people who are. There is nothing about those big, multilayered satin getups that
is worth $800. Nothing!
I bought a regular ivory and blue dress on sale for $60. After 6 more weekends of
seemingly endless shopping, I had secured the necessary shoes, veil, slip, miracle
bra, etc. It was a shopping nightmare to which I will never again submit.
THE BIG DAY
I could not believe how many people actually showed up in Las Vegas for this thing.
For instance, college friends, who I had barely spoken to since graduating, flew
in from Michigan and West Virginia. Family friends came from Oregon and Arizona.
Chris's entire family came from Michigan.
I hadn't wanted to make a big deal out of this. In my opinion, weddings are kind
of strange because they make the most private of emotions public. I couldn't believe
I was going to pledge my undying love, etc., in front of all these people. It just
didn't seem appropriate. But there was no way around it now.
The ceremony itself had become sort of a public spectacle, which had less to do with
me and Chris than with everyone else. I have never really understood why people want
to watch other people get married - personally, I have never gotten much of a kick
out of it. But people want to watch. There it is. Everyone was going to be watching
So, you can imagine how pleased I was that we had, at the last moment, hired an Elvis
impersonator to sing as I walked down the aisle. What pleased me was not so much
that Elvis distracted everyone from staring at me -- he didn't, unfortunately --
but that having him sing was undeniable evidence that this was OUR wedding.
Some people loved Elvis, some were indifferent, and others were offended. But we
loved Elvis, and, no matter how many people were there, we weren't afraid to admit
it. Elvis made the ceremony ours.
The pride I felt from having Elvis sing, and offend people, made it easier for me
to get up in front of the folks and say my vows loudly.
To top it off, Elvis gave us a ride to the reception in his big pink Cadillac. We
felt like a Prince and Princess riding in the backseat of the King's Cadillac while
the mere rabble walking along the Las Vegas Strip gawked and took pictures of us.
The real ceremony was very different from what I had originally envisioned, but,
in the end, I wouldn't have changed a thing.