The Bride Wore Boots

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When my husband and I married, it was at an unusual time in both our lives. We were both out of work and on food stamps. We did not spend thousands of dollars on our wedding, as everyone on TV seems to do. Back then, weddings did not have themes, though they did have color palettes. Ours was off-white, rose, and rust. (The off-white was so that no one would snicker.) Back in the day, gentleman were able to wear tuxes of colors other than black, and such were available at tuxedo shops. As you can see from the photo, Dan wore a rust-colored tux with a ruffled shirt and a matching tie. He looked like a riverboat gambler, but he did fit in with the color scheme.

We married in August, so my dress was a leftover from prom season. (Not my prom, you understand. I didn’t go to that. It was just a prom dress that didn’t sell.) It had long sleeves, but they were made of lace, so I thought there was a chance I wouldn’t roast to death. Defying tradition, I brought Dan along to help pick it out. There was a dress I liked better, actually. It was low cut, but the minister was going to stand a step above us, and Dan didn’t think his view down my cleavage would set the proper tone for the ceremony.

I refused to wear a traditional veil, just a circlet of flowers in my hair with some lace trailing down the back a ways, since I didn’t like the traditional symbolism. I didn’t have my father give me away either. I was giving myself away, as it were, and I thought that I could find the way from the back of the church to the front all by myself.

I did have my hair, makeup, and nails “done.” I still remember that the color of the nail polish was called “pepperoni,” which was a dreadful name, but fit in with the rust in the palette. I also remember the frantic calls to the tux shop afterward, where I learned that Dan had not yet picked up his tux. He didn’t have a good track record of showing up on time for other people’s weddings, so it made me nervous. He did show up at the appropriate time, though with his tie askew.

And the boots? They were a pair of off-white cowboy boots that I just happened to have and that matched the dress. They showed up well in the garter pictures, though people were unlikely to notice. I was wearing the garter several inches above my knee. If I couldn’t have a low neckline, at least I could have fun with the garter tradition.

Our reception was a potluck held at a friend’s house, which they were kind enough to let us use. We had had many fabulous parties there over the years, so the vibe was just right.

Our wedding cake was a spice cake with off-white buttercream and rust-colored flowers on it. (That was what we bought with our food stamps.) The top tier rested on three upside-down borrowed champagne glasses (martini glasses, really, as flutes hadn’t been invented yet.) At some point during or after the festivities, one of the glasses was broken, but I was able to replace it exactly, in time to return to the owner, my matron of honor. (She never reads Facebook, so I’m safe. But I digress.)

The only other untoward moment occurred as Dan and I left the church. I heard his mother screaming. Fortunately, she was not screaming in horror at me, or the fact that her darling son was married. No, it was because the pastor from Dan’s church back in Pennsylvania had driven all the way to Ohio to attend. He had just shown up a little late. There’s a picture of me somewhere, exiting the church and looking confused.

Our honeymoon consisted of a night in a local no-tell motel, since we didn’t want to drive far after partying so hearty. They gave us a bottle of champagne, I assume because they had never had a married (to each other) couple stay there before. The next day, we were off for a whirlwind honeymoon of camping, sleeping in a treehouse, whitewater rafting, and a visit to the Philly Folk Festival, where we had met.

Our wedding may not have been technically traditional, but it worked its magic nonetheless. We have stayed married for over 35 years.

Author of Bipolar Me and Bipolar Us, Janet Coburn is a writer, editor, and blogger at butidigress.blog and bipolarme.blog.

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