We just celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary. As I ponder the upcoming 25th, I hear distant bells. I remember the wedding. The thrill of ultimate victory, the agony of getting there. How, by the time I got to the altar, I was a nervous wreck, but Garry was cool as the proverbial cucumber and looked dashing in his tuxedo.
Photo by Bette Stevens
After it was clearly established that we were definitely, unquestionably, without any doubt, getting married, it came down to details. Dates. Rings. Caterers. Bakers. Flowers. Music. Photography. Videography. And (trumpets) a ceremony.
I had been married twice before — okay, three times, because I’d been married in a registry office in London, then the whole Jewish medieval ceremony in Jerusalem. Having been there and done that. I wanted to elope or maximum, go to city hall, have the mayor marry us. He would have. We knew the guy. We could have been married at City Hall, I’d toss a bouquet, someone would throw some confetti, and voilà. Married. After that, us and our actual friends could all go out for Chinese.
Garry wanted a Real Wedding.
He was 48 years old. Never married. This would be his one and only wedding and by golly, he was going to Do It Right.
“I want a real wedding. In the church in which I grew up. In New York,” says Garry. “And I want my old pastor to officiate.”
“Pastor G. is retired … like fifteen years ago.”
“I’m sure we can work it out.” When he said we, I thought he meant he and I would do this thing together. Because where I come from, that’s what we means. I was deluded.
“Why can’t we just have something here in Boston? New York is 250 miles away. You haven’t lived there in nearly 30 years. Everyone you know except your parents are up here or in another part of the country entirely.”
Garry’s face is set. Stony. He wants a hometown wedding in the church he attended as a child. With the minister he had when he was a kid. Did I mention my husband is stubborn? He is very stubborn.
“This is going to be a lot of work. It’s hard to plan a wedding long distance,” I point out. “And I have a job too, in case you’ve forgotten.” Garry is unfazed.
“We can,” he repeats, “Work it out.” There was that we again.
“Fine,” I eventually agree. “We’ll have a wedding. In New York. At your church.”
There were caterers to hire. Music to be arranged. A bagpiper (don’t ask). Battles over the guest list. A cake to be designed. The cake was my favorite part. It went like this. Having settled on a vanilla cake with lemon filling, we needed to decide on decorations.
“Do you want the bride and groom in white or black?”
“Can we have one of each?” No, we could not. In 1990, they do not have a mixed couple cake topper. I offer to take a marker and paint the groom black, but inexplicably, Garry finds this objectionable. I suggest they take two sets and cut them in half, but it is deemed too complicated. In the end, I opt for wedding bells, the DMZ of wedding cake toppers.
So, Garry got his wedding. It was (for him) as simple as simple could be. Marilyn arranged the wedding. Garry showed up in a tux.
You see? We worked it out.