REFLECTIONS: Still making sense after 20 years of marriage

It’s been 20 years, give or take, since my husband and I had a very practical and unromantic conversation about getting married. We were both in our 30s, obviously in love and so it made sense. Fortunately, this was not my husband’s first rodeo and he knew that romance is an important part of a happy marriage.

By Tammy DeMel

So a few weeks later, flying over the Grand Canyon on a flight from Atlanta to Las Vegas my groom-to-be nervously delivered a touching and romantic proposal — from what I can remember — and I, of course, said yes.

We weren’t on our way for a quickie Vegas-style wedding officiated by an Elvis impersonator. We were visiting my parents for Thanksgiving, so the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

The minute we deplaned, I shared my special mile-high moment with my mom and we were off to the races planning the big day. We set the date — a crazy six months out (surely we could get it all done by then), came up with a budget and shopped for the dress.

It was a short visit but we got a lot accomplished.

Unfortunately, with mom in Vegas, my maid-of-honor and future sister-in-law in New York and my mother-in-law-to-be in Florida, the rest of the details were left to me. But being the control enthusiast that I am, I was in my element — making decisions and getting things done. Sure there were some mishaps and meltdowns along the way but by the time our wedding day had arrived, I was pretty confident that I — okay, we — had thought of everything.

We had planned an outdoor ceremony in May. It didn’t rain but after we said I do it was still a scorching 85 plus degrees and my warm-blooded groom — he’s a sweater — was half melted. Fortunately, we had the foresight to buy an extra shirt and before we joined our guests he ducked into the men’s room and changed into a freshly pressed shirt.

Catastrophe No. 1 avoided.

In order to stick to the budget, I had planned to order the cake from Publix. But with just a few weeks to go and all of the other details spinning in my head, I had forgotten to place the order. Fortunately, the event planner at our venue had a connection and for $300 was able to come up with a beautiful cake. While the cake wasn’t quite large enough for human-sized pieces, we had the foresight to add the chocolate-dipped strawberries to the catering package, which were a hit with our guests. Okay so aside from the ceremonial cutting of the cake, neither the bride nor the groom had a piece of the chocolate pudding filled confection, but who really eats at their own wedding anyway.

Catastrophe No. 2 avoided.

Then it was time for the bride and groom to whisk away to begin their life as husband and wife. We made our way through the tossed rose petals and pats on the back and that’s when I realized that I hadn’t quite thought of everything.

Since the venue was just 15 minutes from our apartment, we had each driven separately never thinking about the after part. I’m sure it was quite a site that night on I285. There I was, the blushing bride, pressed against the steering wheel engulfed up to my shoulders in a sea of off-white satin and crinoline keeping pace with my dapper husband driving in the lane next to me.

And while some might have seen this as catastrophe No. 3, we didn’t think anything of it until we told our friends and family about the drive home.

“You drove home? Separately?” everyone yelled.
“Why would you do that?”
We just looked at each other and ever the practical couple said, “It just seemed to make sense.”

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