Happy Anniversary to us!
31 years ago today, Sara & I got married. I’ve written a bit about the story of how we met and married quickly, and recently, I shared another version of some surrounding events written by Joanie Whitebird, my deceased former sister-in-law and one of Sara’s two Maids of Honor.
Here is another story of that time, written by Sara’s mom, Ginny Perreault. Obviously, her point-of-view was quite a bit different and this little tale covers the wedding, whereas Joanie wrote of witnessing firsthand the start of our love, now 31 years old and still growing.
Let me tell you about this funny little wedding I attended last week, and I’ll start with a few activities before the BIG DAY.
The bride arrives home during the week before with a major task to perform. She has to file application for the license and she’s carrying blood test results as required by the State of Connecticut but were done in Texas so as to ensure that there would be no delay in the 3 day waiting period before the marriage takes place. Off she goes to Town Hall, and when the clerk reviews the papers and asks her if all facts and statements are absolutely true, the future bride says, “I do, I do, I do!”
Next day, bride and mother go to market and on the way, bride mother shows where the groom will be staying and then the Curtis House, which is where the rehearsal dinner will be and where bride and groom will spend wedding night and another day and night. So they pass groom’s place and bride mother says “and coming up on your left just past Agway, the Curtis House…” pronouncing it with a very definitive Brooklynese accent without realizing another meaning. None of this is lost on the bride and they are screeching laughing the rest of the way into Woodbury and home again with the bride telling mother how groom will love that and all will have some sort of comment about interruptions and she’s dead right. He does exactly that on telephone later, and the joke enjoys a huge circulation ever afterward.
Now I will take you to the rehearsal dinner…except that there was no rehearsal. The ceremonial place was locked because there is audio and television equipment in place for another Village function on Wedding morning. However, bridal party goes to dinner anyway and arrives to find a most peculiar table arrangement. Sort of like a T-bar, with the bride parents at the ends of the T and seeing nothing but the backsides of the rest of the group all the way down the sides of the rest of this table. That just won’t do, and so the tables are re-arranged with the 2 Best Men and the waitresses moving everything and the rest of the diners are watching this performance with awe. Now the tables are in a perfectly enormous square and we can all see one another, but not always able to hear…so?
And now wedding day is here and everyone in bride mother house is going cuckoo. Bride is off to the hairdresser and bride mother and 1st Maid of Honor go to decorate wedding room and to meet the man from maintenance who is to arrange the chairs. Whilst he doeth that, bride arrives on scene and maintenance proceeds to entertain with the story that this place is haunted, where ghostie lives, what happens at night and sometimes during the day as well, and that ghostie’s name is Oakie. Swell, but no one knows why he has such a name. Also, there’s a little window up over the transom and that’s where he is ever on the lookout for strange doings.
Now we’re back home and thinking about getting dressed. The flowers arrive and Lo! Behold! We are missing 1 nosegay and the corsage for the groom mother. All nerves are really shot by now because the clock is running at 12:10…ceremony scheduled for 2:00 and appointment with photographer over there at 1:15. Bride displays remarkable composure and goes off to the flower shop to wait for the missing pieces to be made. While that’s going down, bride mother is losing it because caterer has arrived and wants her attention, natch…and the Maid is on the verge of losing control of the dressing of the bride. So now the dear step-father of bride goes over there to alert the photographer and tell her to keep early arrivals out. BUT, he forgets to come back and one of the waitresses has to go fetch him. Bride mother can’t do it. She’s tearing around with her dress un-zipped trying to stop sweating and looking for her lipstick and shoes. Finally the waitress and step-father return. Well after all, he IS supposed to drive bride, bride mother and Maid of Honor.
On to Meeting House and we are seeing that car. Incredible…more about that late. The guests are arriving while bride is being photographed and everybody has to take turns keeping the groom out, and the dear Justice of the Peace wants the license. This is finally produced…bride goes upstairs to prepare her entrance and J.P. groom and 2 Best Men are in their holding cell, and we are ready to begin.
So here we are…and the son of bride mother escorts her to her chair, but there’s no chair for him. Found…1 chair. The J.P. enters with his captives at the same time the bride mother gets the signal that the music is ready to start. She stands to face the entry and then notices that groom and company are on the wrong side of altar table, and it’s too late. Both Maids have gone to the other wrong side and here comes the bride looking for her groom and then she yanks him over to the right place…but the Best Men stay put in front of bride mother. Music has stopped and bride mother is so taken with this foul up that she forgets to sit down and all remain standing for 45 minutes!
The J.P. is starting with lovely little messages and then citing the fact that he and his dear wife have just celebrated 60 years of happy marriage and bride comes out with a very audible “My god I’ll be 95!” Then bride mother notices that the candles have not been lighted, but fortunately, she has a cigarette lighter in her pocket and lights candle on her side and then passes the lighter across front of the bride and the groom takes the lighter and lights the candle. Now that has to be a sight never seen before and most probably never to be seen again. Later the groom tells bride mother that he very nearly burned the J.P.’s nose. The J.P. was bending to pick up the special license copy that he had arranged just as groom’s hand with lighter was reaching for the candle and it’s collision course time. However, no burning because the groom was somewhat alert. Now it’s time for the rings and bride mother realizes she has to take bouquet…tries to send eye message to 1st Maid asking can’t you get over here? No way. Nice part that is that mother greets to greet bride with her new name while handing over bouquet. Nice touch and all ends well.
On to outdoors with photographer taking more pictures with bride trying to keep her dress up out of the snow while family and guests get a good look at that car. It’s an old Chevy Impala monster that belongs to bride brother ad trails boat to Hewlitt’s Landing in Lake George…camping, you know.
To see is to believe. Bird nests made of Texas hay are plastered all over front seat and dash and streamers taped to the inside ad designed to blow everywhere when the car moves. The piece de resistance? HUGE white lettering on rear window reading LUST BUS!
In between the “Oh, my Gods,” MOB notices photographer finishing and suggests to 1st Best Man, brother of groom, that it is time to get ready to drive bridal pair and is told a nice, quiet little “no”. When asked if that wasn’t traditional in Texas, another nice little, “Alan is going to drive.” Comes the dawn. The car is rigged, Of course! Steering wheel and shift are wired together and tied to the seat belts with weird knots. That’s the way it looked from here anyway—Bride Mother definitely saw the wiring. Takes at least 10 minutes to get moving and they are dragging tin cans a good ten feet behind and one thinks sonic boom. Later, MUCH later, they will pass hairdresser and she doesn’t even have to look. She KNOWS! (they will drive that car all over Woodbury for 2½ days in that same glorious state).
On Monday groom parents are to go to limo to get to New York and there’s trouble. Bride and groom come to rescue and take them to Danbury to catch up with limo, but that means MOB has to drive the monster back to 367B because she tells bride and groom to take her wheels because all the luggage is in it and we’re in a hurry. With all that past experience with a Jag, 2 MGs in rallies, races, gymkhanas and foxhunts that you all know about…this piggyak was a little much…medals or no. Bride mother has all she can do to get this thing back to house and has a hell of a time on the one way bridge. She can’t see the railing on the right side that turns into her street.
Forward to the reception. Excellent food…well-stocked bar and a few soft risqué jokes…best being a remark by bride father about how great bride mother has a wonderful ball bearing dishwasher and points a finger at her husband. MOB doesn’t see finger and doesn’t understand the roars, and son #1 has to enlighten her next day. Also, she sees groom and 2 other guests sitting on piano bench with their dinner on top of keyboard hood. Fascinated, she is. For all of you with pianos, necessity can be mother of invention. Really.
Now all are waiting for bride and groom to depart…but they’re not going and announce they’re having a hell of a good time and what’s the hurry? Okay. After a long time later we’re down to 2 Best Men and their ladies, bride and groom and bride mother and all are re-visiting the bar. Great! At last they are leaving and being followed to parking lot and car is rigged again. Some kind of jelly on light switches, wheel, shift and door handles and the 2nd Best Man pops a flash picture at groom’s struggles and groom retaliates with a phony front end threat and then they’re gone…and bride mother is back inside looking at a landfill of confetti and potpourri everywhere. Floor, wedding presents, sculpture, toaster, and never, never ask her about the refrigerator. She don’t know and she don’t CARE! Only thing to do is to have another drink and maybe another and off to bed very, very happy and confident that she’s had the most wonderfully wacky wedding of her life. And UN-traditional…as bride wanted.
Now all of you know this little deal took place in the Gun Room, and you all heard the J.P. say this is no shotgun wedding…but did you see that flower sticking out of the nozzle of the gun up over the fireplace? Put there by the very imaginative little bride. Oakie told her to do it, really. And you may not know that the non-rehearsal dinner was in the Pewter Room and bride wanted a flintlock, but couldn’t locate one. And bride mother wanted a Texas bluebonnet to honor groom parents but couldn’t find one of those either. BUT, bride tells her not to bother because no one wants those. Nice little fake out by groom, who presents his future other-in-law with a beautiful, hand-cut glass bluebonnet on non-rehearsal night. Did you ever hear of grooms doing that? And many have called or written to say you had a wonderful time and all the other things that bride mothers like to hear and she thanks you all and reminds you of her gift to the bride…which you all saw: Bride’s going home from hospital baby dress and her first bathrobe…so maybe there’ll be a good reason for another bash same time, same place next year, when MOB will part with her last treasure. That little angel up on the mirror over the fireplace, Bride’s first Christmas.
Well? So I got a little sentimental?
Yours truly and happily,
Written by Virginia (Ginny) Perrault, July 14, 1990