The Murphy's Law wedding

The Murphy
George and Irene after their wedding.
She’s holding the infamous throwing
bouquet instead of the one she had
planned to carry.

Going to a wedding, as we did Saturday, brings back memories of weddings past, our own and others.

All weddings are memorable occasions, but some are more memorable than others. In May 1989, I was the maid of honor in the most nightmare wedding of all I’ve had anything to do with. Murphy and his law disrupted the festivities repeatedly. I wondered if the mess would ever end.

It all started with the dresses. Irene’s roommate Julie was supposed to make them. She procrastinated and procrastinated. Finally, Irene and I agreed to confiscate the material and send it to my mother, who had agreed to make them for her. But Julie had taken the material somewhere else, foiling our plan.

She was still making them on the night of the rehearsal. The fit was atrocious. While Julie was fitting the gowns, Irene and I were in another room tossing her throwing bouquet back and forth between us.

Irene intended to sing to George, but the church had no way to play an accompaniment tape. So my stereo system was pressed into service. During rehearsal, all went well with my stereo.

Irene had asked the florist to put all the flowers into the refrigerator in the church’s basement. When we arrived that morning, we found the boutonnieres in the fridge, but nothing else. No corsages, no bride’s bouquet. (Bridesmaids’s bouquets were silk.) I asked the best man and groomsmen to search for the missing flowers while I started getting dressed. I helped Irene dress as well.

God bless the best man! He was a career Army sergeant in George’s ROTC cadre and was unflappable. He finally found the corsages in a Sunday school room at the back of the church. That was a relief, but Irene still did not have her bouquet. She was getting very stressed by all this. So was I, but I told her, “We will get through this and all will be well!”

What did I know?

With all these distractions, I had not finished dressing when the photographer started pounding on our door. He was demanding that we pose for pictures. He said that we were behind schedule. “She can’t be late for her own wedding!”

She was near tears at this. “I’ll deal with him,” I said.

I told him that the wedding could not start without the bride. When we were ready, we’d come out for whatever we could get done before the ceremony.

He was still persistent. I told him to leave us alone so we could finish dressing. He was mad, but I did not care.

Irene had to walk up the aisle with her throwing bouquet. Then disaster struck again. When we hit the stereo’s start button, nothing happened. I fiddled with the machine, but could not make anything work. The silence was deafening and I was mortally embarrassed. I tried everything I could think of to make it work, but nothing helped. Finally, it was apparent that the stereo was not going to work. We scratched the song and George went ahead with the poem he had written for his bride.

The rest of the ceremony continued without incident.

Once the wedding was over and the bride and groom had left for the reception, I threw everything we had left at the church into the back of my Escort. It had a hatchback and I had put down the back seats for maximum room. While we were gathering up our stuff, someone saw Irene’s bouquet. It had been placed on top of a cupboard in the same Sunday school room where the corsages had been. What was that florist thinking?

At least she got to carry it during the reception.

As planned, I caught the throwing bouquet. Julie was disappointed and angry. “You planned this! You wanted her to catch it and not me!” Well, she was right, but I did not see what was such a big deal. After all, I didn’t marry my Mr. Right until five years (and at least one more bouquet catch) later.

After George and Irene left for their wedding night, more stuff went into the back of my Escort. I went to their house, fell on the couch and could not move. Irene’s mom showed up, looking for her purse. I dragged myself off that couch and we looked in the back of my car. We had a hard time seeing anything in the dark. The porch light and car dome light weren’t bright enough to illuminate every detail.

She said she’d attend that church the next morning and look for her purse after the service.

I fell back onto the couch. I could not muster up enough energy even to remove my bridesmaid’s gown. I slept fully dressed for several hours.

George and Irene came home about 11 the next morning. They unwrapped their gifts, then left. I crashed again. About 45 minutes later, they called. Their car had broken down. Could I come get them so they could catch their train to their final honeymoon destination?

Of course I could. I picked them up at the repair place, then I drove them the hour to the train station.

When I arrived home again, I figured the wedding had finally ended.

Not so.

A few minutes later, Irene’s mom showed up again. She still could not find her purse! We looked in my car again, but saw no purse. I promised I’d mail it to her when/if I found it.

I went back in the house, thinking that surely I had to be finished with this wedding!

A few minutes later, she showed up again! “I just had to look one more time before I leave,” she said.

Finally we saw that blasted purse. It had fallen down between the seats and was just barely visible. She drove away satisfied. I breathed a deep sigh of relief and took a long nap.

Even with all those difficulties, I count this as a successful wedding. They are still married 20 years later. Happy 20th anniversary, George and Irene! I cannot believe that it has been that long.

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