Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Happy anniversary!

Today is my husband's and my 26th wedding anniversary so today the Naughty Nine are sharing wedding and anniversary stories - leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Meg Benjamin's trѐs á propos Wedding Bell Blues! We'll draw the winner tonight.
Here's a photo of my husband and me on our wedding day, looking so young and happy. It was 1984 - the girls all had big hair and big shoulder pads, and the guys all had moustaches (and, in the case of my husband, considerably more hair!)

For your entertainment here's a clip of a wedding first dance. It's not our first dance, but I SO wish it was!

And some wedding/anniversary stories from the Naughty Nine:


It was my sister-in-law's second wedding; I hadn't set my target on the Hub yet.

I met my sister in law years before I met The Hub - we waited tables at restaurants next door to each other, and we ran in the same circles and went on several double dates together. I knew of her brother, but he lived in California at the time. We lost touch briefly when I quit waiting tables and she moved away with her first husband - a disaster.

Then we reconnected through friends. One night I ran into her, her soon-to-be-second husband (whom I also knew very well, because I dated his best friend for a while...) and her brother was there, and we were finally introduced (the Hub says we met before then. He's wrong.)

And it turned out that the Hub and I had friends in common, and we all started hanging out, and when the SIL got married I was invited to the wedding. The reception was in a bar/saloon where we all hung out and where several friends bartended. Halfway through the reception I took off my shoes and danced barefoot - I was wearing a very nice dress, but come on - we were in the Firehouse Saloon. It has a concrete floor.

And when the pictures came back from the photographer, my future mother in law said "Who is that dancing in her bare feet???" She was already appalled/annoyed at the whole reception-in-a-bar thing.

So when Hub and I started dating a few months after that, the SIL said "He's dating an old friend of mine. Remember the girl who was barefoot at the reception?"

I also recall that wedding particularly clearly because the groom's cousins had to kick the groom's mother out - she's a crazy, crazy bitch and she showed up with a couple girlfriends and started talking mean crap about the bride. She's still a crazy, crazy bitch but a little pathetic now so I'm less inclined to get pissed off when I have to talk to her at Mother's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc. She's borderline senile at this point. Her funeral is going to be a hoot (I know how awful that sounds).

And my brother in law's best friend, whom I dated for a while, is now married to my best friend. And that doesn't even begin to describe how tangled and socially (not biologically) incestuous my whole social circle is.


My favorite wedding was one where I did almost nothing but show up and watch—which was quite enough, as it turned out. My husband was doing research in a lab at the U. of Massachusetts and one of the graduate assistants invited us to his wedding. His fiancée was another graduate student. We arrived at the church and were seated on his side of the aisle where most of the other guests were dressed in considerable finery (I was a new mom at the time and getting dressed at all was an accomplishment). The other side of the church looked a little more rough and ready. Later at the reception we began to see why. The groom, as it turned out, was a descendant of Old Money (not that you could tell from looking at him when he was working in the lab). The bride was local. The reception was held at her father’s motorcycle shop. All the bikes had been cleared out so that people could dance inside. The food was set up under the trees. Did I mention bride and groom were both vegan? The Old Money representatives looked as if they’d been transported to their worst nightmare. The locals toasted bride and groom with beer from her dad’s keg and had a great time. So did we.


Ah, it was hard picking just one wedding story to tell. I’ve witnessed a lot of weddings and I’ve seen a lot of crazy things go on at them. There was the wedding where the entire bridal party stopped at a diner for hamburgers in between the ceremony and reception—yes, limos, tuxes, bridesmaids gowns and all. The wedding where guests were placing bets at the reception about who was actually going to end up together in the honeymoon suite (hey, it was the seventies. ‘nuff said.) The wedding that took place on the center alter of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the heart of Manhattan and was beset with tourists who snapped photos throughout the ceremony, and had to be shooed out of the horse drawn carriage that had been hired to carry the bride and groom to the reception (at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, if you must know). Oh, and let's not forget the wedding where the minister could not remember the bride’s name and the bride had to keep prompting him to the point where, by the end of the ceremony, all the guests were chanting it right along with her.

The story I’m going to tell is none of those. It is, however, one of the funniest things I’ve ever experienced. I just hope I can do it justice.

The wedding took place on a perfect Autumn day in a small, moderately affluent community located somewhere along the coast of Southern California. If you’ve never been, picture the most idyllic Spring day you can imagine and add palm trees. It was a beautiful wedding, elegant, refined, formal…possibly a little on the staid side.

The bride and groom had been high-school sweethearts. They’d grown up in the same neighborhood and known each other most of their lives. Their friends and families (big, close-knit families on both side) were all on hand to witness their union. There was no dissension, no discord; everyone got along with one another. And everyone was in complete agreement: It was a joyous occasion. A very solemn, sacred, religious event.

We were seated on the groom’s side, several rows back and, at first, everything appeared to be proceeding as planned. Then the ceremony reached the point where the bride and groom had to kneel.

It began as a small whisper of sound —like a breath of wind ruffling the surface of a peaceful pond—and it came from the very front row, where the groom’s family was seated. At that point, we really didn’t take much notice. Then the second row became similarly affected. Heads turned. Shoulders shook. The sub-audible commotion grew in strength.

By the time the disturbance had progressed to the third row, guests on the bride’s side of the church began shooting angry looks across the aisle. My husband and I glanced at each other in confusion. Clearly, something was going on, but the source of the problem was nowhere in evidence.

Row by row, it continued; rippling inexorably backward. By this point, everyone in the first few rows on the groom’s side of the church appeared to be afflicted by some mysterious ailment that left them coughing, crying, wiping their eyes and covering their faces.

My husband is taller than I and was seated on the aisle. I was alarmed when he gasped suddenly. The odd, gurgling sound he made had me wondering if he wasn't choking. I looked at his face. It was suffused with mirth. His lips were clamped together and he was obviously trying very, very hard not to laugh.

“What is wrong with you?” I hissed. This was no way to behave at a wedding!

My husband struggled for composure. He took several shaky breaths and at last, in a strangled whisper, managed to speak two words. “His shoes.”

His shoes. Huh.

I turned the words over in my head, but they meant nothing to me. Still mystified, I leaned across my husband and looked down the aisle toward the front of the church where bride and groom still knelt, heads bowed, praying.

I looked at the groom’s shoes. I looked closer. There, in the instep, clearly visible, someone had chalked four letters.

H. E. L. P.

As I collapsed against my husband, vainly trying to stifle my laughter, I heard the first startled gasps hit the row behind me. I don’t remember anything of the ceremony after that…except for one thing. I couldn’t stop laughing. No one could stop laughing. We couldn’t even look at each other without losing it all over again and God forbid we looked across the aisle where the bride’s side was Definitely. Not. Amused.

I don’t know if this is the kind of thing you just had to be there to appreciate, but I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard at anything in my life.


I have not been to a wedding since I was three, and I have only had one anniversary I want to remember (so far!). However, I have very clear ideas of what I want my wedding to be. I could care less about having a big, expensive wedding. I could care less about having The Dress. I want something down-to-earth, an event where I'm not pulling my hair out over little details, one where getting a stain on my dress while partying won't be the end of the world. And since I'm living la vida SoCal, I'd love to get married on the beach. Something simple, immediate family and friends only, followed by a great party with delicious food and dancing.

And as for anniversaries? I don't need a big celebration, either. I want a boyfriend/husband who celebrates our love all the time, not just on one obligatory day. Like my father does for my mother... I want someone to bring me flowers just because he wants to, not because the calendar says so. This is not to say anniversaries are a waste of time--on the contrary, I think they're amazing--but it seems there's so much pressure to do something elaborate and to make the day overly significant. So party and celebrate, yes. Use one day to make up for lost time? No, way. Lucky for me, Phin believes the same thing.

somers_dingMy crazy wedding story is actually from my own wedding, or the night before technically. We were just finishing up the rehearsal at the church and planning to meet at my mother-in-laws for dinner afterward. My husband, his brother and the rest of "the guys" figured they should stop and grab a beer on the way. Just one, they promised. Say it with me now, "Yeah, right."

Anyway, the rest of us all head back to my in-law's place chatting, having a drink, getting really hungry and wondering where the guys are.Then the phone rings and someone claiming to be a cop says that my brother (17 at the time) is in police custody. Now both my husband and my brother-in-law are know for making stuff up and disguising their voices. So my mom starts laughing, refusing to be suckered, and in the background she can hear the guy say, "Maybe you should talk to her. She doesn't believe me."

My brother gets on the phone (also a well known storyteller) insisting he's at the police station. My mother assumes my husband is behind it all and is still laughing. My dad takes the phone and after a minute gets that look on his face. The kind I not-so-fondly recalled from childhood and one that was clearing broadcasting he was going to kill my brother.

Or maybe my brother-in-law. Because as it turns out, it was his brilliant idea to order a beer for my brother--when there was an off-duty detective sitting at the table right beside them. *sigh* So the cop takes in my brother in and my husband goes along with them, feeling a little guilty at least. My parents then had to head back into town to deal with my brother. Two and a half hours later we finally get to eat. Karma kicked my brother-in-law's ass though. He decided to party a little too hard that night and all through the ceremony the next day he was sweating and looking ready to fall over. LOL

But the best part of the whole thing is still my mother laughing at a real cop, insisting he was making shit up.

PhotobucketMy mom and her brother decided to throw a huge party for my grandparents' 50th anniversary - nothing extravagant, but lots of guests, lots of food, lots of fun. One of the guests, though, was someone they didn't expect.

See, a year or so earlier, I'd spent a few months backpacking through Europe on my own, and in the process connected with a side of the family we'd lost contact with well over a decade earlier. All we knew was that all those years ago, my grandmother's cousin's son was working for Scotland Yard.

So on my second day in London I marched into what I thought was Scotland Yard (actually, it was a recruiting center for Scotland Yard) and asked the guy behind the counter if he knew my relative. Understand, I had no idea exactly HOW MANY people worked for Scotland Yard at the time. Amazingly enough, the man knew him, and went in the back room to call. (Probably to say, "some crazy American girl is claiming to be related to you.") Long story short, I stayed with his family in London, and came home with that connection reestablished.

And when my grandparents' 50th anniversary was held, he flew to the states to celebrate with them. I'll never forget the look on their faces when they realized who was there.

(Extra bonus? Last November I did the same thing to my parents, when he and his wife flew over to surprise them for Thanksgiving at our house.)


My favorite wedding story is not a mushy-gushy story for sure! One of
my best friends in college (let's call her Lisa) was getting married and
my new hubby and I went to the church early to help out with a few things.

Since we were busy right up until the ceremony we slid into the back pew
as they were lining up for the processional. The grandparents were seated, then it was time for the groom (we'll call him Mark) to escort his parents to their seats before the bride's mother was to be seated.

Suddenly we hear loud, angry whispering behind us. I discreetly turn to find the groom engaged in an argument with his mother. They both had hands on hips, were red-faced and their voices were rising as they argued.

Much to my shock, the next thing that happened was Mark's mother yelled, "Absolutely not!" and Mark slapped her! Seriously. Thank God the musiccovered the whole thing for most of the congregation, but we definitely heard it! Next thing we know, Mark's dad is hurrying his mother away, Mark's best man took him out to another room and the bridesmaids and groomsmen quickly lined up and proceeded in as if nothing was wrong!

Mark's mom and dad watched the ceremony from the back of the church in the pew across the aisle from us. Lisa didn't know anything about it until the reception--thank goodness (she never has liked her mother in law

I never found out what they were arguing about and we NEVER bring it up with Mark and Lisa. But hubby and I still tell that story whenever someone wants a "great" wedding story! :)


Maria said...

Congratulations on your 26TH. Anniversary Kelly- it's a huge accomplishment. Very sweet wedding photo.

The first dance video is a hoot! I really liked their style- they clearly wanted to have fun at their own wedding.

The wedding stories from the other novelists are a hoot! My sister's best friends cousin's wedding is still the wedding that will go down in infammy for me though because the grooms sister, a bridesmaid, made the groom late to the wedding and in retaliation the bride smashed cake in the grooms face at the wedding and he then did the same to her and the bride's brother then threw the first punch and it turned into a huge brawl and the cops had to come and break it up. Fortunately the bride and groom are still married! :)

starryann said...

Happy 26th you guys look like you were having fun. It is always fun to go back and look at old photo's just to see what changes have happened over the years.hope you have many more happy days together. Have a good summer and may your writing always make you happy. Thanks for the contest.

Andrea Becraft said...

Happy 26th Annviersary Kelly!!!!

I have inly been married a little over 5 years but we've been together for 8. Both us being 25 that is quite well in this day and age. I do however remember our wedding really sucked for me because I had to watch my wedding guest live it up drink and be merry whild I stayed sober cause I was pregnant with our second daughter at the time. Imagine that bachlorette party not so fun lol.

Congradulations again.

Debra St. John said...

Happy Anniversary! Congratulations on 26 years. My wonderful hubby and I celebrated 12 delightful years together this year.

I don't have any unique wedding stories from my own wedding (just the usual dancing, speeches, and one really, really drunk girl!). But my hubby and I met at a country bar and the place held such wonderful memories that I used it as the setting for my first book!

Enjoy your day!

flchen1 said...

Happy anniversary, Kelly! Wishing you and your husband at least another 26th years of wedded bliss! :)

Loved reading all your wedding tales--no stories in particular to share, but I sure am glad to already be married! We went through a year and a half when it seemed like everyone was getting married, and we were either part of the planning or attending weddings all the time. Much as I love them, it's nice not to be stressing about them--it's fun to enjoy them now!

Rebecca Savage said...



N.J.Walters said...

Happy Anniversary to you and your hubby, Kelly!

Kelly Jamieson said...

Thanks for the anniversary wishes everyone!

booklover0226 said...

Happy Anniversary!

I just loved the stories and must share them with my friends and family.

Tracey D

PG Forte said...

Happy Anniversary, Kelly!

Kinsey Holley said...

That's awesome Kelly. Hub and I hit 10 years this year and I feel so proud. And old...I didn't get married till I was 36.

I can't imagine a guy slapping his mom. I mean, my BIL wishes all the time that he could slap his, but he'd never actually do it.

Kelly Jamieson said...

The winner of Wedding Bell Blues is Debra St. John! I've emailed you Debra, thanks!

Debra St. John said...

Thanks, ladies...I can't wait to read "Wedding Bell Blues"!