In our case, we went to the kitchen. I kid you not; my marriage of twenty-four years began one sunny Saturday morning in the small funky kitchen of a rundown beach cottage.
This was my husband’s second marriage, and he really didn’t want to make any sort of fuss. His thinking–that the actual marriage was the important part–was something I agreed with. And I was never the kind of girl who grew up imagining what her wedding would be like–in fact after my parents marital disaster I had a hard time believing I would ever want to get married.
I knew this was a huge step we were taking together, and I wasn’t too interested in taking it before a whole lot of people anyway. To me, getting married has always been a private thing. The celebration after might involve families and whole communities, but the vows, the emotion, the dedication and commitment are very, very personal.
This worked out very well, because even though the bride’s family is supposed to pay and micromanage a wedding way out of proportion, and bride’s mothers are legendary in their insistence of rite, protocol, and angst over the attendance list, my mother was a bohemian artist who wanted no part of that. Her one contribution was the photographs, and they were almost all crooked and slightly out of focus. So, we were grateful she didn’t want to plan a thing.
Through a friend we found a Universal Life Church Minister. You remember them, right? The mail-us-five-dollars-and-you’re-a-minister guys who mostly did that to try to get out of the draft back in the Vietnam days. This was many years later, and since our minister was a real estate attorney by day, I still have no idea why he was a ULCM. But, all that mattered to us was that he had a legal signature and was going to let us read our vows.
It turned out he did a splendid little speech before that, and in the pictures in the photo album, people mention how much he looks like my DH and ask if they are brothers. This has always made me feel he was meant to be there.
Besides my mother, we had three other guests. My stepson-to-be, and a mutual friend and her son. The friend and my mother made the two witnesses. Turns out we didn’t need them, but we didn’t now that when we invited them. And that gave us a few more mouths to help us with the food, because even with just our tiny group, we had way too much to eat, including the most amazing delicacies from a French pastry artist in Beverly Hills. I did the flower arrangements–yes, they were all around the restaurant booth we had at the end of the kitchen–and we celebrated.
I wore a lovely Elizabethan-style blouse and blue jeans. And that was the only wedding where my DH hasn’t felt he had to wear a tie.
My favorite part of the whole ceremony (besides the whole ceremony) was at the very end. Right after the minister proclaimed us married, our refrigerator–which had a bad ball bearing in the freezer fan that would squeak interminably at times–took that moment to “sing” the recessional.
It was perfect.
And, I think that by marrying in such a functional room, a room that symbolizes creation, nurture and sustenance, hard work and clean up, we committed ourselves to what it really takes for a long and fulfilling marriage.
Since then, we’ve been busy living happily ever after.