My Husband and the Officiant Were Both Late to Our Wedding
The universe gave me a second chance, and I blew it
My wedding venue was my future mother-in-law’s garden, right beside her in-ground swimming pool. Before my wedding day, she said if it was her wedding, she would say, “I do,” and then gracefully walk down the steps into the swimming pool until she was floating in the neck-deep water. I thought that was weird so I decided against it.
I arrived at her home early on the day of my wedding. My husband-to-be and his cousin/best man had spent the previous night out on the town, drinking who-knows-where. Neither of them was old enough to get into a bar.
My wedding guests began to arrive. They set up casserole dishes and bowls of potato chips in the enclosed porch for my pot luck wedding reception. My maid of honor arrived. She helped me get dressed and watched while I tried to drag a brush through my dirty hair. I hadn’t taken a shower, and a recent bad perm had my brassy hair tangled in unruly knots.
The appointed time of my nuptials grew closer, but two people were missing from the scene: my husband and the justice of the peace. I could see the guests growing restless. They picked at the congealing lasagna and room temperature tuna salad. The potato chips disappeared. People started to ask questions.
“Where is the groom? Why isn’t the justice of the peace here yet? When is the wedding starting? Do you have any more food?” Someone cut into the wedding cake and started serving up slices to the guests.
As I looked out the window for the hundredth time, I saw a blue pickup truck roll into the driveway. The groom had arrived, but there was still no justice of the peace. I paced around the house. Thankfully the guests were confined to the back yard and the sweltering enclosed porch.
My future husband sauntered through the front door with the smell of last night’s booze oozing from his pores. His cousin trailed behind him carrying a bag.
“You’re late,” I said.
“You’re lucky I came at all. My cousin wanted me to run away to New Hampshire,” he replied. He laughed. “I should have listened.” He retreated into a bedroom to change into a borrowed suit and black leather boots.
The justice of the peace still hadn’t arrived by the time the groom was finished getting ready. My maid of honor suggested calling him, but I didn’t want to.
“I’ll do it,” she said. By then, the wedding was three hours late.
When the octogenarian justice of the peace arrived, he insisted he was on time. He wasn’t. It didn’t matter. My wedding cake had been reduced to sad crumbs and melted frosting. Some guests had already gone home. My ill-fitting white party dress was soaked in sweat.
We rushed to the garden and repeated our vows in front of the guests who’d made it that far. Then we went into the enclosed porch, and I tried to find something to eat that hadn’t turned rancid while my new husband drank himself into a stupor in another room.
Here’s what I learned from the experience. When the universe gives you a gift, accept it. During the entire time I waited for my husband to arrive, I wasn’t afraid he wouldn't show up. I was afraid he would. I had hours and hours to bail on the wedding, but I didn’t.
That’s why I refused to call the tardy justice of the peace. I was secretly hoping he would never arrive, and I wasn’t pleased when my maid of honor insisted upon calling him on my behalf. I’m still bitter — mostly at myself for not taking the perfect opportunity to run and partly because I didn’t even get a piece of wedding cake for my troubles.