It was a glorious winter day! The sun beamed down arrogantly as if to say, “July, you have nothing on me!” The deep azure blue sky housed a few wispy clouds, but there was a crispness in the air that hinted of a coming snow. February 14, Valentine’s Day, this was the perfect day for a wedding, my wedding, our wedding. OK, so this will be a second wedding for both of us, it was still a perfect day.
Second weddings may not have all the glamour of the first, but the excitement and anxiety are still there. The same familiar feelings and questions crop up. “I want this to be perfect.” “I am so happily in love!” “What did I forget?” “Did I make the right decision?” “Is this really forever?” “What will it be like growing old with him?” and “What if something happens to us or to him?” New questions are added to the old ones, when it is the second time around. “How do I know it’s the real thing, this time?” “Do I love him enough?” “Is this best for the children?” “Can we blend these two families successfully?” “Will his ex-wife or former in-laws cause trouble?” “Will mine?” “Do we need to sign a prenuptial agreement?” “How will we manage holidays with our former families, our new families and the children’s step families?” “WHAT AM I DOING?!?” “I must be crazy!” My mind danced across thousands of possibilities, most of them had already appeared before. After considering the worst and best case scenarios and all those in between, I made the decision to go ahead and try this one more time. Hopefully, this time my fairy tale would have a better ending. I was sure the same process was going on in Charlie’s head as well. I hoped he would come to the same conclusion that I did and the wedding would go on as planned. It did go as planned for the most part. Every wedding has its glitches that you look back on and laugh about. This one was no exception. A snow storm began and caused us to rush the wedding a tad. About half way through the ceremony, I noticed with amusement the minister’s was still wearing his snow boots. It was only then that I realized that I had forgotten to put on my shoes. I was literally the barefoot, blushing Southern bride. We still laugh about that.
Being a second wedding and not having my parents foot the bill caused me to plan a smaller wedding than the first one. The first one was small by some standards, but repeating those wedding vows in front of 100 people was monumental to this small town girl. This wedding would be considerably smaller, with only our immediate families in attendance. My husband-to-be and I were combining two complete households, so we really didn’t need anything for housekeeping. Because the guest list was short and consisted of the kind of folks that we turn to for advice anyway, we decided to ask the guests to write us letters of advice in lieu of more traditional wedding gifts. It was like soliciting “Dear Abby” gems, only our guests knew us better than Abby knew her correspondents. We asked for the advice in writing so we could peruse them at our convenience, and we could toss the ones that we really didn’t care for. Besides, we really believed that all the letters would be positive with well-wishes for us, prayers for long and happy lives together and maybe a few pointers on blending our lives and families. If we found something really great, we could read it over and over again to brighten our day, like sunshine, only on paper. Having been through one marriage already, we both knew that there would be times when we would need something to massage our bruised egos, emotions and troubled spirits. Salve for the Soul. Maybe we wouldn’t even need it.
As the appointed hour drew near, I couldn’t help but think about my first wedding day. It, too, was a glorious day, a hot summer day, fifteen years earlier. I never thought there would be a second one. That day was the beginning of a journey that made me wiser and more resilient. After all, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”