Wedding Nostalgia.

Joe and I went to a wedding this weekend. It was a military wedding. A friend of mine from work and her marine fiance were tying the knot. I absolutely love the idea of a military wedding. So formal and the groomsmen and ushers all look so snazzy in their uniforms. All in all, we had a good time. My pantyhose had a slight malfunction (runner all the way from ankle to crotch), and my husband primped in his dress blue uniform more than a debutante at a London ball (he couldn’t decide whether to wear medals or ribbons…a life changing decision to be sure).

Of course whenever people go to a wedding, you can’t help but reminisce when you hear the couple take their vows. I would love to be able to tell you that my wedding was as lovely and romantic as this one. All acoustic guitar and champagne toasts, but then I would be lying. And who lies in a blog…

When Joe and I got married, we decided on a courthouse wedding. He couldn’t get any leave and we really couldn’t afford to do a whole shebang due to money. No big deal, a nice private, family only wedding was fine with me. The week before the wedding, I went to St. Thomas with my family. This was planned WAY before Joe and I decided to get married. I like to joke that my honeymoon came before the wedding and without the groom. We spent a lovely week in St. Thomas with my sisters, parents and grandparents. We were due to fly home on a Friday and I was to get married at 9 am the next day.

We get to the airport at St. Thomas and go through customs. If anyone has ever flown to St. Thomas then they know that the airport is not air-conditioned and extremely small. Not to mention I had my son with me who was 2 at the time. Not a good combination. Of course we find out that the flight to Philly was delayed. No biggie, we had a 2 hour layover there to get to Chicago. The plane in St. Thomas took off an hour late and it was a 4 hour flight to Philadelphia. Around the time that we were supposed to land, the pilot comes on the intercom and says that there is traffic and we have to circle until we had clearance to land the plane. Now I am starting to panic since there was only about 45 minutes until our connecting flight was supposed to leave for Chicago.

After a half an hour of circling, a screaming toddler with pain in his ears,and a panicked bride to be who hated to fly, we landed in Philly. Of course we would be in a completely different concourse and the airline had left my son’s stroller in St. Thomas. Fantastic. My dad took one look at my miserable, sunburnt face and took off like a light to the next flight to Chicago, as ours had already boarded and got in line for takeoff. My parents, my sister, and my son and I hauled ass through that airport. Jogging with a two-year old is no mean feat, let me tell you. We got to the gate just as they had boarded everyone and were trying to figure out who was going to fly standby. Panting, I went to ask the people at the check in desk if there were any seats leftover. She gave me a look and pointed, smirking, at the 30 or so people milling around the gate. Obviously this was going to be a problem.

She tells me that I am last on the list and I won’t be able to make it out until the morning. I literally burst into tears. I had been waiting to marry Joe for 7 years and this was definitely a bad omen. I will never forget the reaction of those people at the gate. When the attendants began calling out names for standby, each one of them declined their seat. They kept saying, “Let the bride go, let the bride go.” The flight attendants were not to be deterred. They said I wasn’t on the flight roster, it was illegal to let me go on the flight. I was miserable, sobbing in a plastic airport seat. I suppose the attendants took pity on me. She said, “Get your bag, get on the plane. There is one seat left.”

I looked at my mom and dad who told me to go. I couldn’t take my son, he couldn’t ride on my lap, he was too old. I handed him to my mom with his diaper bag (which had 2 diapers left), I gave my parents, my sister, and my son a hug and a kiss and boarded that flight all by myself. My family had to stay in Philadelphia overnight to catch the first flight to Chicago in the morning.

I made it to Chicago at midnight, had to hire a cab to get home, and passed out for 4 hours. I got up, managed to make myself somewhat presentable, and drove off to get married in Waukegan, IL, where Great Lakes (naval base) was. I suppose it doesn’t matter that while we were waiting for the JOP, I went to the bathroom. While I was in there, Joe was asked if he didn’t mind having a group wedding because of time constraints in the courthouse. I was just lucky to be there and to be getting married. Although, getting married with 10 other couples was possibly the weirdest thing I have ever done. But our vows were said, we were married, everything was done.

My family made it home that morning, but they missed my wedding. I will always regret that. According to my mom, they had dinner at the hotel in Philadelphia that night where everyone was talking about the girl who managed to barely make the last flight out to Chicago to get married. My mom proudly told them that girl was her daughter.

So I suppose every wedding is beautiful, and in its own way, mine was too.


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