Today would have been my 16th wedding anniversary.
There needs to be a name for that day, anniversaries of marriages past.
Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments below.
They say that your wedding day goes by in a blur, but what they don’t tell you is that the next sixteen years go by in a blur as well. Sixteen years. Shit that makes me feel old. If I had accidentally knocked her up on our wedding night, that accident would now be able to drive.
Despite the fact that the marriage didn’t last, the wedding was one for the ages.
The wedding/reception was at my in-laws house. I suggested having it there. We both thought it would be sweet, and we could use the money we saved to buy more booze. Something that became crucial as the evening wore on.
The whole thing was lovely. They have a beautiful yard with a creek running through the back. There’s this really neat tree with a crooked trunk that I absolutely loved. We decided to have the ceremony right there, with that tree as the back drop.
I can’t remember why we chose the caterer we did. I think it’s because he said he could make shrimp and grits, and it’s a rule that you can’t have a wedding in the south without shrimp and grits.
Because the wedding and the reception was at my in-laws house, that meant the caterer was going to have to prepare all the food in my in-law’s kitchen. They had a lovely kitchen. Warm and homey. Always stocked with tons of premium cold cuts and lots of Sprite Zeros. He swung by to check out the space a couple of weeks before the date and said, “Everything looks great!”
Famous last words.
So the ceremony happened late in the afternoon. We both cried. The priest was old and forgot our names. Afterwards we did the photographs and guests meandered their way to the tent in the front yard for drinks and noshes. Apparently three of the caterers decided not to show up. They didn’t call. They didn’t text. They just never arrived. One of the caterers who did not show up was the bartender, and the person who wound up doing the job had no idea what she was doing.
“I asked for a gin and tonic, she said ‘What’s in that!”’ Was a story I heard from about seven different people.
We started to sense there was an issue about an hour after the photographs were finished. I noticed that my family was drunker than usual. While weddings do tend to bring out the alcoholic side of Nelsons, they were extra juiced for this one. I was honored actually. How kind of them to save their drunkest level for me.
Then it dawned upon me that perhaps they were so tipsy because there was no food being served. Just another few minutes, I thought to myself. Everything is fine.
Two hours after the photographs were over, when everyone was wearing their sunglasses on the dance floor and asking if there was anything edible in the centerpieces, I figured there might be a problem.
I made my way inside to check on the situation. As I reached the front door, I was greeted by various wedding guests carrying out trays of She-Crab soup. It was quite a sight. Women in dresses and high heels balancing a tray with seven bowls of hot creamy liquid. Sensing this was an issue above my pay grade, I returned to my seat, attempted to catch the inebriation level of the rest of my extended family, and told my new wife we were screwed.
Apparently the extra large trays the caterer brought to cook the chicken did not fit into the normal sized oven in my in laws normal sized home. So the guests got wasted. People were bypassing the bartender and making drinks for themselves. My cousin’s husband was going straight to the refrigerator, bringing bottles of champagne back to the table. Our friends were getting black out. All the sport jackets had been abandoned. A few people almost called Papa John's. I knew things were out of control when even my grandmother asked for a third glass of wine.
The food finally made it out, FOUR HOURS after the photographs. The good news was that since everyone was so starving and wasted they thought everything tasted delicious. Proving right the quote from Ben Franklin that, “Hunger is the best pickle.”
All in all, it was an incredible night and everyone had a great time Obviously, six or seven drinks tends to make every thing more enjoyable. I remember the whole evening fondly. As I do my marriage even though it didn’t last. We loved each other deeply, but it’s obvious that our lives were meant to go in different directions. She’s now married to a man named Jamie, and I’m about to marry a girl named Jaimie. Proving that the universe is nothing if not symmetrical.
So here’s to my Faux-versary, Freedom Day, or whatever we want to call it. May it remind me that just because something wasn't forever, doesn’t mean it wasn't worthwhile. Unless it’s Jaimie reading this. Our relationship better last forever. If you leave I’ll let the whole world know that you still like Pop Tarts. You could never recover from that.