My second wedding, to Tom, in 2002, was everything I had dreamed of and more – much more. My wedding night was spent visiting not one, but TWO relatives in the local hospital. Both were in town for the wedding.

We had many guests from out-of-town at the wedding. We put them up at our house and at my Mom’s house down the street. Some of the out-of-towners came the day before the wedding, like my former father-in-law and surrogate Dad, Bert, and his second wife of twenty-three years, Joy. Joy fell in my Mom’s driveway shortly after arriving and injured herself quite badly. She ended up in the hospital with broken bones in her leg, her arm and her face.

As we were saying our vows the next day, Joy was undergoing surgery. Her husband Bert, was with me, not her!

Me, Tom and Bert

After the ceremony, we started the formal family photos. While we were shooting pictures of Tom’s family, Tom’s father keeled over and passed out, cold! Tom couldn’t find a pulse. We called 911. Tom thought “Oh, my God! My father is going to die at my wedding!” But Tom’s Dad, also Tom, woke up, a bit confused and disoriented. The EMS team insisted he be taken to the hospital and checked out.

My kids and Tom’s parents, right before his dad passed out

So within an hour of getting married, I got to watch my new father-in-law being wheeled out on a stretcher, into an ambulance. He was whisked off to the hospital and most of Tom’s family joined him there. They spent the rest of the day in the emergency room!

Tom and I stayed at our wedding reception, slightly shaken. But it was beautiful and everyone had a wonderful time. After the local guests left, we excused ourselves from our remaining out-of-town visitors and headed off to the hospital. I stayed in my dress because I wanted my mother-in-law to see me in it. I also brought her my wedding bouquet to cheer her up.

First we visited Joy, post-op, in her hospital room. She was a mess. She looked like she’d been in a big fight and had lost badly. But she got to see me in my wedding dress! So did everyone else at the hospital. We were a sensation in the elevators and hallways! Someone told us that there was an accordion player in the building if we wanted to be serenaded.

Next we went to the Emergency Room on the first floor, where Tom’s family was still waiting for a room for his Dad. They hadn’t figured out what was wrong but wanted to keep him there for a few days for observation. The next month it was discovered that Tom Senior needed a pacemaker. (NOTE: Coincidence. At my first wedding, my father wasn’t feeling well and left the reception early. It turned out, the next month, that he too had needed a pace maker!)

When we returned home from our hospital visits, we checked in with our overnight guests. Our three dogs had pooped in my mother’s house where they were cooped up during the ceremony and part of the reception. So I changed into jeans and ended my romantic evening cleaning up dog poop.

As all this was happening, we kept telling ourselves that we would someday be grateful to have an unusual and eventful wedding story to tell. It has proved to be a hit for the past 14 years.


  1. Well that was a rather earth shaking experience, Ellin. I’m glad you can laugh about it now.
    I love your bouquet, I think those are Asian Lilies? (that’s what I call them)


  2. Ellin, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner would steal this story in a heartbeat. It’s funny and full of love. Didja ever hook up with the accordion player??


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