twenty seven years ago today c and i were married. we had a small wedding in a tiny chapel at st. thomas the apostle in what used to be the country (now it’s an upscale suburb of gated communities). the tiny stone chapel with a tall white steeple was built in 1729 and has since been closed up in favor of a giant modern church.
we were not members of st. thomas parish when we asked father dubrowski’s permission to get married there. (it was a picturesque stone chapel on a country road and a lot of people wanted to get married there). c told him that his great grandparents were married there, his parents were married there and he was baptized there. father slid open the closet door in his office and revealed stacks of huge leather bound books that contained the records of the parish. he pulled one off the shelf and began leafing through it. the yellowed pages were handwritten, mostly in fountain pen, all in latin.
he started by looking for c’s great grandparents. he told us how people were usually married on a thursday, since that was often their only day off from work. he found c’s great grandparents wedding date in the records and read it to us, translating from latin. it was a thursday. he found c’s parents’ wedding date in another book and showed that to us. he found c’s baptism record in another book and showed it to us. cool.
we were married on a friday. there was a raging summer rain storm outside during our vows, the church was mostly candlelit. our reception was at a nearby restaurant (long gone now). we paid for the wedding ourselves (the live band was courtesy of c’s great uncle). i hired a seamstress to make my dress (i didn’t like or couldn’t afford anything i saw in the stores). the lace cost more than the fabric of the dress. (i saved the lace. i sewed in on the bottom of the veil our daughter wore for her wedding.) the whole thing cost $100. i made my headpiece and veil. we borrowed a car. the florist surprised us with extra flowers at the church, he felt sorry for our puny budget. he refused to make the kind of bouquet i wanted, the kind that you see in all the pages of wedding magazines now. (back in the day a bouquet of non-white flowers was unacceptable)
confession: i watch those wedding shows on tv. i’m astonished at the amount of money people spend. i’m astonished at the attitudes of entitlement people have. i’m astonished at how much time people spend talking and thinking about weddings instead of talking and thinking about marriages. i’m astonished at women who justify spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on wedding dresses because they’ve dreamed about their wedding day since they were a little girl. i never dreamed about wedding dresses. i never dreamed about my wedding day. i never even thought getting married until i met c and we decided to get married.
we made a decision together to get married. we didn’t go ring shopping. (we were just too practical to spend money we didn’t have on the luxury of an engagement ring.) after we announced that we were getting married, c’s family offered me a choice of two rings or one of two diamonds to be made into a ring. i still wear the engagement ring. it’s from 1930s. there’ve been a series of new wedding rings to celebrate our years together. he’s had 3 and i’ve had three, each one with bigger diamonds. hey, we’ve earned them along the way.
we didn’t have a big fancy wedding. we’ve had a big, fancy marriage. there’s still a lot more to come.