SM and I married in SM's hometown in Ohio on July 5th, 1986.
His extended family was SO much bigger than my own that it just made sense to have the wedding there. Plus SM's family was more religious than mine and the parish priest agreed to marry us. (I didn't mind marrying in the Catholic faith. If we had had children I probably would have converted.) SM and I attended Pre-Cana classes in Columbus, but had to drive the 2 1/2 hours to the small town in the hills of eastern Ohio so Father K could counsel us also.
I remember attending the group courses in Columbus. I thought they were fun, life lessons that I enjoyed participating in. SM and I have always been pretty much on the same page so it came as a shock to witness other couples arguing and disagreeing as we went through the course work. I often wondered if they could "fail" the course and their priest could deny the marriage.
SM (27) and I (24) were living together before we got married. (The scandal!) None of us had a lot of money and it didn't occur to us to have a big, fancy, expensive wedding. This was all about family and friends. And trust me...It took a village to get us married.
SM's older sister Joanne and her husband (Kent/"Moose") have a big home with a few acres that has always been Party Central for the family. "Moose" (my brother-in-law) can BBQ like nobody's business, so we had our rehearsal dinner (party) there.
A hot summers night, firefly's, four wheelers, kegs of beer in ice, loud music (Kent was partial to Cajun music at the time), the whole town was invited.
Our wedding day arrived hot and humid, but sunny. An unusually hot one for that part of Ohio. Most people didn't bother with having AC's back then as the evening lows would drift back into the 50's and 60's at night and room fans were used to keep you cool whenever the temperatures would get too hot in the daytime.
My Mother is a petite woman, 5 foot nothing to my 5'8. She offered me her wedding dress which I was thrilled to wear. Mom found a lady who could alter it enough to fit me. The gloves were hers too. The veil we had to make. The dress was classic 1950's with the big hoop skirt, buttons up the back and (Yeah Me!) pointy boobs. I was very flat chested at the time and was so excited that I'd have the illusion of big boobs that the dress maker was told to leave it alone. My sister and SM's sister were my bridesmaids. We found their dresses for $10 at the JC Penny outlet store. The guys we suited up right in tuxes from a local shop.
My Dad had a business friend who owned a party store and as a gift to me (and Dad) he let Mom and I go shopping through his warehouse for all the supplies we needed for the reception...all at no charge. We used silk flowers and with the use of a hot glue we made all the bouquets by hand. My parents paid for all the alcohol and drinks. SM's family chipped in for the food. His sisters and the Women's Auxiliary cooked all the food at the Fire Hall...chicken, cabbage rolls, perioges, salads, breads, pies and cookies...tons of food. SM's sister Bern worked at a bakery and gave us the wedding cake.
SM's brother Yash took our wedding pictures and had one of those great big video recorders, the kind you held up on your shoulder. Taping your wedding was the new thing to do back then. It never occurred to SM or I to arrange it. Too expensive. I don't know what inspired Yash to do it but, as bad as the tape is, it was fun to see everybody on film.
At the rehearsal we discovered we'd forgotten to arrange for the organist but a quick phone call from Father K took care of that. (* Note the big 80's Hair)
In this town if you get married you had to have a Polka Band for the reception. SM and I paid for that. Boy, did they suck. It was kind of a rite of passage though. You haven't lived until you've danced to "I've got a Polish Girlfriend", the classic "Chicken Dance" and "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" as your last dance. SM and I did arrange for a boom box to play our opening song "Sea of Love" (the Robert Plant version.)
SM went golfing the morning of his wedding day and goofed around the rest of the time. I went into a nearby town and had a bacon cheeseburger with fries (Hey, I had a craving!) at the Big Boy for my breakfast. The waitress couldn't believe I was eating at the Big Boy on my wedding day. (Where was I supposed to eat?) Then we ran around decorating the Town Fire Hall and checked things at the church until it was time.
The only AC in town was at the church so the entire bridal party got ready there.
SM forgot his socks and had to borrow some from Father K.
I didn't want to be taller than SM and didn't want to spring for shoes I'd only wear once, so I kinda got married barefoot. (I wore little white socks.)
The wedding went off as planned.
By this time it was HOT. I don't really remember eating or drinking much of anything at the reception.
But I was dancing...a lot.
We all were.
Did I mention that I danced a lot?
SM and I didn't spend that much time together either, we were both so busy with our guests. The bridal dance was a big deal back then. If you wanted to dance with the bride (or the groom) you had to drink a shot first (your choice of booze.) I think our bride/groom dance lasted about 45 minutes. Or until the booze was gone. I'm not sure which. And then came the bouquet and the garter toss. (See my socks?)
I think we wrapped things up by 10. My dress was hanging on me by then...I'd lost so much weight. (The next morning at my SIL's house I discovered I'd lost 14 lbs.)
We honeymooned at a timeshare on Fort Myers beach that my FIL owned.
SM freaked out 2 days after the wedding. I remember him sitting there staring like a zombie. "What's wrong?" I asked. "I can't believe I'm married". He looked stunned. He snapped out of it quickly enough though.
Me? I freaked out about a month later..."I'll love you forever and I'll live with you, but I don't think I can be married to you." SM's eyes were pretty big during that speech I can tell you!
25 years later we're still hitched. Our secret?
Have a sense of humor.
Maintain a bit of mystery.
And always marry your best friend.