Just an Ordinary Day

By Kim Seeley

My wedding day was not “such stuff as dreams are made of,” if Shakespeare will forgive me that comparison. My recollection of that morning is one of such frenzy that every member of my family ran off to undertake last minute errands, and I was left to tie my own bags of rice. I hate such tasks now, and I hated them then. It requires some manual dexterity, which is not one of my strong points. It also requires cute little bows, which are also not my strong points. Needless to say, I did not start off my wedding day in good humor.

 “What sense does this make?” I pondered the absurdity of my task. I was pouring rice into little pieces of net and tying peach bows around each one, knowing that the rice was going to be used to attack my husband and me at the end of the day. Had I known that we would be finding rice in our car for the next ten years, I would certainly have thrown the entire assortment of rice, net, and ribbon in the nearest trashcan.

I have a rather fuzzy recollection of the middle of the day. I finished the hateful rice bags and went to the nail salon for a manicure. I opted out of a special hairdresser, as my husband and I both agreed we wanted a natural look for our wedding. I had washed my hair the night before and set it on large rollers in a pony tail atop my head. This was my normal routine when I wanted a slight curl at the bottom of my long, straight hair. As a rule, my hair was one of my strong points. However, my wedding pictures indicate that my hair was not on its best behavior that day. It simply existed.

My family and I arrived at the church for the afternoon ceremony at our scheduled time. Shortly after we arrived, my mother came into my dressing room and told me my vocalist had canceled. He had a case of nerves and backed out at the last minute. I was in full panic mode. How could this man have a case of nerves? He sang solos at my church on a regular basis; this was hardly his first major event. I loved music, and I could not imagine getting married without some special song.

Fortunately, one of my good friends had an amazing voice. My mother approached her with my dilemma as she entered the church. She graciously agreed to step in, and she and the accompanist went to the choir room to practice. The song I had chosen was totally unfamiliar to her, so a quick substitution was made.

By this time, my bridesmaids had all arrived, and I was dismayed to see that one of my cousins had gone to the beach and burnt her skin to a crisp the day before. She was peachier than the peach bridesmaid dress. In fact, she was positively orange, burnt orange. No matter, at least all my bridesmaids were present and accounted for.

I remember very little about the ceremony. I do remember meeting my handsome groom at the altar and feeling a little shy about being in front of the congregation. I also recall a few tears, mainly from my mother-in-law, who had wept copiously for most of our month-long engagement. Mainly I remember feeling joy that my soul-mate and I were about to start our lives together.

Before the wedding, it had begun to rain. By the time the wedding ended, it was letting up a bit. We had a small reception, and I remember feeding each other cake, laughing and making a small mess. We chatted and hugged our guests and changed our clothes.

When we rushed outside through a virtual storm of peach-bow-tied rice, we found that our car’s tires were all sitting on watermelon rinds. When my husband started the engine and put it in gear, the tires spun around and around.

While we were greeting our guests, his friends had been having the time of their lives. Our mirrors and windows were covered with shaving cream and slightly suggestive comments. I didn’t know it at the time, but anchovies and smelly cheese were hidden under our hood. Several of his friends followed us out of town, flagging us down to reveal they had stolen a part of the car which would leave us stranded after a few more miles.

When we arrived at our hotel, we found that all the rooms were filled. My husband had called and been assured that reservations would not be necessary; nevertheless, there was no room. We drove to another hotel in the same city, finding a room, but nothing to eat. Their restaurant was closed for the night. We asked for champagne. They sent a bottle to the room, hot. My husband got some ice in our plastic ice cooler and chilled the champagne.

We fetched the goody box from our reception and had some ham biscuits. Then we bit into our wedding cake, which we had tasted quickly for the picture. It tasted like cornbread. It was dry and mealy. I was dismayed. The baker had come highly recommended to me, but my wedding cake was a disaster.

I have read tales of more horrendous weddings. Some brides have had outdoor tents toppled by wind and rain, some have had their best man pass out during the service, some have had drunken guests that made a spectacle. My wedding day was pretty much an ordinary day, filled with some disappointments, but it marked the beginning of an extraordinary life with my extraordinary husband, to whom I am still happily married after 35 years. We have experienced unbelievable joy and unimaginable pain, but we have survived and endured in our own, quiet, ordinary way.

About this writer

  • Kim Seeley Kim Seeley, a former librarian and English teacher, lives with her husband, Wayne, in Wakefield, Virginia. She is a frequent contributor to Sasee and Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her most recent story, “Amanda’s Jonquils,” can be found in Chicken Soup: Messages from Heaven. She loves to read, play the piano, travel and spend time with her grandson, Evan.

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One Response to “Just an Ordinary Day”

  1. I’ve been reading the paper issue and this is such a touching story… congrats on your long, happy marriage.

    I haven’t read them all yet, but wanted to comment on those I have so far….

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