How to Host a Wedding
Day 1 – Wednesday
Raining. Bride’s father was taking photos when the ferry hit a large wave; the impact knocked him down and we figured we were off to an interesting start. When we arrived at the destination, we found all of our shipped packages had not yet arrived; the ones that did were pretty beat up. Had no energy to open and check them. Too busy wondering how we can possibly put people here. Narrow, steep steps. Uneven ground. Unmade beds and messy cottages. Calling B&B’s to see if anything at all is available. Beach is a longer walk than anticipated. How will we get grandparents to the beach? It all seems drearier in the rain. Can you spell disaster?
Day 2 – Thursday
After seeing the sunset on the beach last night, seeing the progress the facilities crew made in one day, and working through the logistics of two few bathrooms and too many stairs, we woke to a bright clear morning and a clearer head. Then, we hit the ground running.
Manicure and chocolate pedicure with the bride. After all, foodies had to go for the chocolate—a decadent froth of scented lotions and pampering. Found fun Vineyard soaps to add to the gift bags. Looked in lots of shops for chocolates; found none . . . had not taken into account how many places would already be closed for the season. Visited a grocery store just for fun, to see what islanders considered staples. Met with florist – the colors are gorgeous. The bride has a wonderful sense of her own style. Dinner at Black Dog. Stuffed lobster. Need I say more? Came back and still needed to put the guest gift bags together; thank heavens for bridesmaids. What a job! But what fun. Done. To bed.
Day 3 – Friday
We figured the big wedding hitch had already happened, with the cottage concerns. And then, this morning, the bride’s brother called. Flight cancelled. No chance of any rebooking that would get him into Providence before 11:30 pm. No ferries after that. “Are you in line to rebook?,” we ask. “Oh, maybe that’s what that long line is over there,” we hear.
“Go get in line,” we say, “while we call the travel agent.” Thank heavens for travel agents who are available odd hours with branches at the airports. Our heroine re-routed him from United to Delta, from Providence to Boston, and personally walked over to Delta to confirm it. By the time he got to the head of the line, they had him confirmed and told him, “Take it—we can’t do anything better for you than this.” Add a Cape Air flight instead of a ferry, and he’d be here before the clambake.
Final box arrived. Friends arrived. Things were definitely looking up. Until . . .
Walking through downtown Oak Bluffs my phone rings–just as I’m finishing up my lobster ice cream. It’s the bride’s aunt, telling us that they landed in Providence but will be turning around and going back home to Texas. New grandbaby is on the way seven weeks early and their daughter is in grave danger. Suddenly, the wedding seems, well, not trivial, but small in the scheme of things. Same with the lobster ice cream.
Amidst concern for the family, suddenly realize that the bride’s uncle, aka our minister, was also on that plane. We start calling local churches to see if we can find a minister. Any minister.
We walk through the rest of our errands, and squeeze in a tour of the island. We even laugh. And all the time, we’re praying and trying not to convey our worries to the bridal party.
We hold the clambake, and eat wonderful clam chowder, and lobster . . . again. It’s amazing how lobster makes things better.
Meanwhile, it hits us that not only have we lost a minister, but that minister had the sound system with him.
Day 4 – Saturday
A night spent checking the phone for messages. The Texas crew made it back; expectant mother not doing well at all. We contact every prayer group we can think of. We don’t mention a thing to the bride.
We stop at Radio Shack to buy an ipod docking station. It’s the best we can do on a Saturday for a sound system; it will have to do. We take another driving tour with guests, and pick up more guests at the ferry.
Rehearsal dinner at Atria. The waiters circulating with appetizers all of a sudden make this seem real. Friends and family are gathered around us, both comforting and celebratory. We share that our flower girl was part of the Texas group that had to turn around, and jokingly designate one of our friends (a 50-something male) to take her place.
Lovely dinner. Checking phone every 5 minutes for any baby news.
Day 5 – Sunday
Father of the bride comes downstairs with his best Godfather imitation, playing movie theme on the new docking station to test it out. “Not enough respect for my daughter,” he says.
8:18; healthy baby born in Texas, 4 lbs. 11 oz. Mother recovering well.
With a lighter heart, we eat breakfast, and then head off to the hairdresser. We leave friends in charge of decorating for the reception, fully meaning to be back within a couple of hours. It turns into four hours—there’s a lot of hair to do. When we return, they are still decorating. And, it’s beautiful.
Quickly dress for the wedding, and then over to help the bride put on her dress. She’s got a penny taped to her foot, a blue garter made by her soon-to-be mother-in-law, new earrings, a borrowed necklace, and an “old” veil that was made by my mother for my wedding—now passed on to my own daughter. We are totally aware that we are creating memories that will stay with us forever. There is a last minute scurry over some lost flowers, but it’s all in perspective. The trivial cannot get in the way on this day.
Get to the beach to realize that the groomsmen figured out the transport down that long walk to the water—they got a Beach buggy and made it a game to roll anyone who needed a ride down to the beach.
And, wonder of wonders, we pulled in the bride’s grandfather (ordained as a minister) to do the ceremony; complete with a locally licensed minister to ensure it was legal. One dropped ring later (yes, in the sand), one happy kiss, one happy couple, and the ceremony was over. A few missed cues mattered not at all. The sunset did its thing. And, in a blaze of glory, we headed back to the reception.
Food, toasts, dancing, sparklers, and clean up, in that order.
They are, for better or worse, married. We think it’s for the better.
Photos by Paul K. Logsdon