AIMEE: “I want to thank all of you for being here to share this in person when you could’ve just waited and read about it on Aimee’s blog,” my dad opens his speech to a roomful of laughs.
The spotlight shines down on my father, who holds a mic in one hand and a champagne flute in the other: “My favorite quote about marriage is ‘Don’t just marry the person you can live with, marry the person you can’t live without.'”
I scan the room pleased to see everyone mingling, dancing, munching on their crabcakes. My friend Ryan brings me a Bay Breeze (a sweet, pink, citrusy concoction) handing it over with a mischievous expression that I later discover means: “I secretly made the bartender put extra vodka in here.”
A light, joyous spirit hangs in the air along with the haze from the band’s smoke machine, that’s right, smoke machine. And the whole evening has felt this way, starting with my saunter down the aisle on my dad’s arm. “No tears!” I’d warned everyone before the ceremony. When I cry it engulfs my whole face–happy or sad, and then I’m all red and puffy and it takes hours for my eyes to recover. Before stepping onto the white rose-petal-strewn aisle, each of my maids smiled at me waiting in the wings, blew a kiss or gave a silent cheer.
True, everything today hasn’t gone exactly as planned, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Check this out: Those ivory sparkle sheer linens I ordered? They never arrived. “I don’t want this to ruin your day, but…” my wedding planner spoke in gentle, soothing tones on the phone at 11 am when I was in the middle of hair and make-up. (After exhausting all other options, we ended up with an ivory satin stripe the hotel already had. Beautiful.) That outdoor ceremony we’d planned overlooking the Chesapeake Bay? It quickly became an indoor ceremony overlooking a mural of the Chesapeake Bay in the hotel ballroom thanks to some serious rain storms. The pink mini-callalillies in the bridesmaids’ bouquets were decidedly purple. And that dance that Brian and I had choreographed at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio to Barry White’s “My First, My Last, My Everything”? Well, it was a great bit of comedy.
More exciting news now: the gown is not only staying up, but getting raves! My secret project: the mini Us Weeklies (my stomping grounds) – all about Brian and me – that I had made up for the gift bags are a hit. And people are loving the band (Tony Berry and the New Money). When they fire up a rousing “Brown Eyed Girl,” our bridal party recreates the prom scene at the end of Footloose. That’s topped only by Tony Berry pulling me and my cohorts on stage to lead everyone in a boisterous rendition of YMCA.
After Donna Summer’s “Last Dance,” the band cues up the real final tune, one I’ve planned for us to dance out the door (yes campy, I know, but it’s an attempt to get people to leave the room quickly, before the staff starts breaking down the tables, thus shattering the whole wedding wonderland illusion we had going.) The chorus starts up: “Na-Na na na, na-na na na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye.” Hand in hand, Brian and I groove on over to the door singing along. When we turn around to wave back, we see everyone waving goodbye from the dance floor and singing along back at us. (Brian and I are a dead ringer for the Von Trapp children doing the “So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen” number in The Sound of Music.)
Out in the hallway, we have a few moments alone before migrating to the hotel bar for some afterpartying. “Now we get to go on vacation!” Ah, the honeymoon. Anguilla awaits. Sunny beaches and tasty drinks best sipped out of coconuts.
The only problem? At the end of the night, I will have to say “Na-na, hey, hey, goodbye” to my dress and I love it so much. I amble around our suite for a while in it. I (very carefully) eat some of the chocolate-covered strawberries on our coffee table. I watch a little TV.
And, finally, when I sense our time together, the dress’s and mine, is coming to an end, I make it a special promise: “Mark my words, Dress, I will NEVER leave you abandoned in a tomblike preservation box at the dry cleaner across the street.” Then it hits me: “You might look cute dyed black and shorter.”
I look over to Brian to ask him about the possibility of dying my dress. He has long since fallen asleep. Peeking out from the covers? His left hand wearing his wedding ring.
CONGRATULATIONS TO AIMEE AND BRIAN! SEE YOU IN ANGUILLA!