Is it just me, or have you noticed it, too? Lately the click-bait headlines want to point out a specific number of ways I’m doing something wrong. They have titles like “Five Filthy Places in Your Home You Never Knew Existed But Your Mother-in-Law Will Discover on her Holiday Visit,” “Seven Holiday Foods That Will Give You Toenail Fungus” or “Six Ways You’re Ruining Your Skin, Your Children’s Futures, Your Hardwood Floors and Your Dog’s Self-esteem.”
It must be a 2020 thing—we’re all so shell-shocked and battle-weary that our negativity bias is in high gear. But hey, I always read those articles, so they must work, and who am I to buck a trend? My husband and I got married during the Christmas season, so I hereby give you the joy of schadenfreude with no worries of personal failure in this holiday listicle:
Five Things That Went Wrong (Or At Least Awry) At My Christmas Wedding
My wedding shoes were stolen.
A few weeks before the wedding, I came home from work to find the front door of my rental condo gaping open. I hesitantly stepped inside and discovered that the place had been tossed—mattress pulled off the bed, cabinets rummaged, stuff strewn everywhere. The police said there had been a rash of daytime burglaries in the area and that the thieves were after cash, firearms and electronics. My place must have been a huge disappointment. My TV was so old that the burglars had picked it up, looked at it, then set it back down. As the police officer dusted it for prints, I felt vaguely insulted, but knew I was lucky not to have had anything stolen.
Or so I thought. On the day of the wedding, I pulled my bridal gown from the closet, ready to go to the church to get dressed. Alas, I couldn’t find my wedding shoes! My exquisite satin shoes, the exact shade of ivory as my dress, onto which I’d glued baby’s breath and seed pearls (it was the 80s—don’t judge) were nowhere to be found. Turns out those thieves had a taste for fancy footwear.
I had no other shoes that could possibly work. Once I arrived at the church and explained the dilemma (this was in the dark ages before cell phones), my determined mother headed to the mall, intent on preventing her only daughter from walking down the aisle barefooted.
The Groom Looked Like a No-Show.
The groom had been given instructions to arrive forty-five minutes early, because groomsmen and guests would start arriving thirty minutes before the ceremony. At fifteen minutes before time for the wedding to commence, the minister knocked on the Bride’s Dressing Room door. “Umm, where’s your groom?” he asked. I had no idea. Neither did his family or groomsmen. They’d all stayed at the same hotel and they’d seen Ken at breakfast that morning. They noted that the hoarseness he’d had the night before had kept him quiet, but he was otherwise fine. The minister came back again ten minutes later to question me further. In retrospect, I think he was fishing for information about my groom’s drinking habits and/or inclination to bolt.
At first, I wasn’t worried; I was relieved Ken was buying time for my mother at the mall. After she returned with some very basic but workable pumps and the minister made that second visit, though, I became concerned. I knew Ken wouldn’t stand me up, but he could have been in a traffic accident. Displaying impressive split-second timing, he arrived safely just in time to forestall another worried visit from the minister, and the wedding started on time.
The Groom had no voice.
The ceremony began beautifully. His sister sang, my father walked me down the aisle, and Ken and I stood together, holding hands, our eyes brimming with love and joy. And then it was time for the Recitation of Intention.
“Kenneth Robert Wells, will you have this woman to be your wedded wife,
to live together in the holy estate of matrimony?
Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her,
in sickness and in health;
and forsaking all others keep only to her
so long as you both shall live?”
Ken’s voice, usually deep and suave (he worked as a TV news reporter, for heaven’s sake!) came out as a cracked squeak. “I will.”
The congregation roared with laughter.
When he had to speak again to recite his vows, he sounded like Minnie Mouse crossed with a whispering frog. As I listened to the man of my dreams—the father of my future children—croak-squeal his undying love for me, the snorts, snickers and muffled titters of friends and family trying to suppress their laughter provided a background chorus of mirth.
As it turns out, poor Ken had completely lost his voice. He’d been late to the wedding because he’d been standing under a hot shower, hoping the steam would clear his laryngitis.
The groom’s friends released their inner Marx Brothers.
At the end of the service, we were pronounced man and wife. We kissed, then turned and started down the aisle, taking the first steps on our journey together as man and wife. Something in my peripheral vision struck me as odd on the groom’s side of the church. I looked, then looked again. Pretty much everyone on his side of the aisle except for his parents and siblings was wearing a Groucho Marx nose, mustache and glasses—a tribute to Ken’s mustache (it was the ‘80s), his regrettable hobby of doing stand-up comedy, and the general goofiness of his friends.
I nearly lost my wedding ring in an unfortunate “Just Married” shaving cream incident.
The groom’s friends did a real number on his car. Shaving cream covered front and back windows, VHS tapes streamed from the back bumper, and a Groucho Marx glasses, nose and mustache were attached to the front grill. We drove away amid waves and cheers, and then Ken turned on the windshield wiper. The shaving cream smeared to a thick, inpenetrable sludge. The wiper spray only made the situation worse. Apparently they don’t teach groomsmen not to use moisturizing (aka greasy) shaving cream in Getting Married School. Ken had to open the window and hang his head out to see to drive. Our only recourse was to go to the nearest car wash.
That happened to be a do-it-yourself, hold-the-wand-and-spray-your-own-car type of carwash. There we were, newly married, him in his finest suit and me in heels and a leopard print going-away dress (again, don’t judge), washing the car on a cold Oklahoma December afternoon. As I tried to help scrub the windshield, my wedding ring—the brand new one with the shiny diamond that he’d just put on my finger—slid off, bounced on the ground and rolled toward a huge open drain. “Nooo!” I shouted, and God heard. The ring miraculously stopped about half an inch from disappearing forever into the dark sewers of Oklahoma City.
We picked up the ring and put it back on my finger. As we drove out of the carwash, it started to rain—hard. We drove to Dallas in a gully-washing downpour that followed us for four hours.
I won’t start in about the hotel room. That belongs in another article about things that went wrong on the honeymoon.
But you know what? None of it mattered. We were in love and we were starting our life together, and the things that went wrong were part of our story—the story of us, which is still going strong thirty-three years later. We actually feel sorry for people who have perfect weddings, because it’s the things that didn’t go as planned that we laugh about and cherish.
I hope we can all look back on this past year the same way. This Christmas is sure to be a strange one, unlike what anyone wanted or planned. Here’s hoping you find ways to make it sparkle with love and laughter, just like our perfectly imperfect holiday wedding.
Quinn never expected that her best friend’s courageous decision to be a single mother by choice would end up transforming her own life in this poignant novel from USA Today bestselling author Robin Wells.
When Quinn Langston’s best friend unexpectedly passes away, Quinn embraces Brooke’s three-year-old daughter Lily and elderly grandmother Margaret as the family she’s always wanted. She’ll do whatever it takes to help them heal, but she didn’t anticipate Lily’s biological father would be part of the plan. Margaret is old-fashioned, though, and she has no compunction about finding a way to reach Lily’s dad, a sperm donor. After all, he’s a blood relative, and she believes family should raise family.
Zack Bradley doesn’t know what to expect when he finds out he has a child. Sperm donors don’t usually get to meet their…well, he’s not sure what to call Lily yet, but he’s certain he wants to get to know her. There’s just one of problem: he’s about to move to Seattle with his wife, Jessica, who’s undergone multiple infertility treatments, desperately wants a family of her own and can’t stand the idea of Zack playing daddy to another woman’s child.
Together, they’ll all learn that the human heart is infinitely expandable and there are many different roads to family.
Robin Wells was an advertising and public relations executive before becoming a full‐time writer. She always dreamed of writing novels—a dream inspired by a grandmother who told “hot tales” and parents who were both librarians. Her books have won the RWA Golden Heart, two National Readers’ Choice Awards, the HOLT Medallion, and numerous other awards. She and her husband now live in Texas and are the parents of two amazing daughters.