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Despite setbacks wedding day perfect

Thu., Sept. 4, 2008, midnight

The wedding was perfect. The bride was beautiful, the weather cooperated, the cake was gorgeous, and the imported flowers from Hawaii added an exotic touch. There was plenty of great food, the guests were well-behaved, nobody tripped over the extension cords, and the septic tank didn’t back up.

When a friend asked us to host a wedding for her son about 2 1/2 months ago, we said yes with little realization of what to expect. Aug. 30 seemed a long time off and we thought all we had to do was clean the house, fix up the gazebo and hope for great weather.

Little did we know that my husband would spend weeks on crutches, that moles would invade our yard, that the number of wedding guests would more than double, or that weather worries would bedevil us until the last minute.

As the weeks flew by, first heat, then rain, then injuries, curtailed work on the gazebo. It turned out that replacing the cedar-shake roof and painting the 24-foot-wide structure took the entire summer. We were also working in the yard and cleaning the house – readying our home for about 40 guests.

Make that 90. About three weeks before the big day, the bride- and groom-to-be, and my friend came over to discuss details. We were surprised to hear that 90 people had RSVP’d. Guests would be arriving from California, Colorado and Tennessee. Others were flying in from Hawaii, Alaska and Peru. What wasn’t ready raced through our minds.

There was overspray on the gazebo floor, a huge stack of garage sale stuff on the back patio, the heat had our grass looking like it had jaundice, and a moose had invaded my garden and munched my prize hostas down to the nubbins. We were unsure whether we had enough electrical capabilities for the reception and my husband wondered whether or not we should rent a portable toilet when we learned there were going to be two kegs of beer.

Those final weeks whizzed by and suddenly it was Friday, the day of the wedding rehearsal. The rental chairs and tables were delivered that morning and we realized we were about as ready as we were going to get. Folks began arriving that evening, many meeting for the first time, as the two families came together; a meld of Italian and Mexican heritage.

To everyone’s delight, things went smoothly and after only a couple of run-throughs, we all continued on to a rehearsal dinner. Members of the bride’s family promised to arrive early the next morning to help with decorations, and the groom’s family had plans to deliver and set up the food for the reception well before the late afternoon nuptials.

The big day dawned with news of deteriorating weather – a high of 73 and gusty winds expected. We hoped for the best. The decorators arrived and soon had the place looking festive. Big potted plants were used to mark the center aisle; a crew set the chairs up in careful rows, and then added pew bows. The gazebo was dressed for the occasion in bows, ribbons and more yards of netting; while across the yard, the food tent and bar area popped up.

Without our consent, it was suddenly 4:30 p.m. on Saturday – time for the wedding. As the guests began arriving, there were still unfinished jobs to be completed. We hesitated briefly, then set out to finish the last-minute details while the bride and her bridesmaids were locked in a room, still getting ready.

With patient guests milling around, we iced down the kegs, took the champagne and wine glasses out of their plastic containers and set up the bar area, found napkins and covered the extension cords with rubber mats.

Then, finally, the wedding began – and suddenly everything was perfect. It no longer mattered that the wrong address had been put on the invitation, that we had to plant five trees the day before the wedding to hide an eyesore, or that we had trouble keeping the tablecloths down in the wind. It didn’t matter that the beer went without ice for an hour, that we ran out of tables, or that we blew breakers twice during the reception. It didn’t even matter that the wedding began an hour late.

What did matter was that two young people professed their love in front of friends and family by getting married. What did matter is that they were happy with their special day. Would we do it again? You bet. Congratulations Patrick and Angelina.

Contact correspondent Mary Jane Honegger by e-mail at


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