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There’s certainly nothing silly about that

I was a very silly bride.

With three decades of hindsight in the rearview mirror, I can say that with a sense of detachment. The girl in the glossy 8x10s, the one wearing the cathedral-length train straight from Barbette’s Bridal in Memphis — well, she seems like a faraway friend, the kind you slowly outgrow after a long spell of neglected birthdays calls and Christmas cards. I cannot say I miss her much.

In the spring of 1987, I was a newly-engaged 21-year-old, armed with my daddy’s MasterCard and a headful of notions gained from sages on the second floor of Mary Nelson dormitory. Blue-inside wedding cake? Great idea. Ask your mother to make the bridesmaids dresses? She’d love to. Late evening ceremony? How romantic. My circle of counselors included a strange mix of well-read bride’s magazine subscribers and others who had yet to attend the nuptials of a friend. Their combined minds thought it wise to give a girl a lingerie shower and invite her mother-in-law. I do not recall who was more embarrassed at that event — the elder Mrs. Henderson or the upcoming one.

The closest thing my small hometown had to a wedding planner in those days was Bonnie Franklin, the local florist. Her primary job, it seemed, was to talk brides out of bouquet components she could not easily obtain and into ones she could. Complementary to that task was her boss role at the main event: shooing groomsmen down this aisle and grandmas down that one. I remember I cried that day when I saw the arrangements she had placed on pews reserved for family members. They were not as we had discussed — baby’s breath where there should have been none, or something like that. (I told you I was silly.)   

Truth is, my character might have been improved had I been required to spend more time pondering the inconvenience caused by a candlelight ceremony and a reception line winding from the Family Life Center foyer to the foosball table at the back of the gym. By the time rice finally rained down in the church parking lot on the night of our wedding, it was late. Really late. While my new husband and I were taking a joyride to the Peabody, some of our guests headed north and south to the tune of three-hour drives. I realize now that timetable doesn’t bode well for profitable Sunday morning worship. 

Perhaps if Pinterest had been on the scene, our wedding album would have been spared a few of the more embarrassing entries. At least the newspaper write-up may have been culled of a certain repetitive phrase. Back then, I had a thing for blue, but not just any blue. Some expert had called it “Ice Blue” so I did, too: The ribbon in the decorations was “Ice Blue.” My mother’s wedding dress that I wore going away was dyed “Ice Blue.” The reception mints were “Ice Blue.”

Some editor should have saved me from myself.

But time offers the gift of perspective. Now, I can look indifferently at the ’80s hair and Bold Bordeaux nail polish. (Cover Girl No. 952. Some things you never forget.) I can laugh at the cucumber/cream cheese finger sandwiches. I can shake my head at photographs where an empty flower pot somehow remained front and center. I can fast forward through a videotape long on prelude music and short on reception scenes.

What seems silly in retrospect was super-serious at the time, though. My parents, bless their hearts, had a most interesting summer that year. Let’s just say I didn’t need a drama coach. But at least I wised up for the most important decision a bride makes regarding wedding plans. I picked a plum of a groom —the covenant-keeper kind — and he’s lived through my fixation with “Ice Blue,” ’80s hair and a hundred other passing fancies. You’ve got to love a man like that.

Happy anniversary, Honey. Thirty years. There’s certainly nothing silly about that.   

Kim Henderson is a freelance writer. Contact her at kimhenderson319@gmail.com.