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OP/ED: Groom-ing your honey for a summertime surprise

'Tis the season for weddings, and I have two friends getting ready to walk down the aisle this summer. It is so much fun….the preparing, the planning, and the decorating. But it is also so much work.

The decision-making; the color-scheming; the guest list ...

On top of all that, you need to make all of these decisions with another person - that's a whole lot of compromising. Of course, my two friends are terribly excited, but they are also stressed out of their trees.

So, in my usual helpful fashion, I offered suggestions to help them ...and when I suggested they do their weddings similar to the way I did mine, they just stared at me.

*crickets chirping*

Well, alright, my wedding was a little ... ahem ...different. But I still say it was a perfect choice for the on-the-go couple or control-freak fiancé.

First, some background so that you can understand my crazy choice…

Three weeks after we met, Rick's father died from cancer. Seven months later, I was pregnant (whoops!). Fast forward nine months, when our son was just 10 days old, and my father, my grandmother, Rick’s mother and his aunt all died with 10 weeks. As you can imagine, it was a tough couple of months. On top of all that, Rick was called away to work out of town.

Somewhere between all the funerals, Rick and I discussed that one day we wanted to get married, but we couldn’t afford a big ring and he was just too tired to plan a wedding.

So, life went on.

Rick was working out of town and was only able to come home on weekends. One day, both kids were sleeping and I actually had time to think, and that's when the wheels started turning.......Rick was turning 40 in 7 weeks and I thought it would be fun to throw him a surprise wedding at his 40th birthday party!

Crazy, I know.

I knew he wanted to get married; but he just didn’t have any energy to plan dinner, let alone a wedding.  I was trying to help. So I phoned his two best friends and harassed them until they finally agreed to help me pull it off. They thought I was nuts, but loved the idea of pulling one over on their buddy. Now the problem was, how the heck was I going to pull this off AND keep it a secret in less than seven weeks?!?!?

During the week while Rick was gone, I would scramble around,  trying to get things ready and, every weekend when he got home, I would act all cool, like I was bored with life and had nothing to do.

One of Rick’s friends said I could throw the shindig at his place; we got a family friend to do catering; sized Rick up for a suit using his old 'funeral outfit'; got a friend to burn our favorite songs onto CDs; my mom bought my wedding dress from a sex shop (a Marilyn Monroe costume dress); a kind relative did the cake as a gift, bought the rings; spent hours hand- making decorations and much, much more.

All with a four-year-old in tow and a nine-month-old attached to my breast.

What - the - heck - was - I - thinking?!?

I also had to invite everyone. Some (whom I felt could keep it under their hats), I told about the surprise wedding; others just knew it was a birthday party until the last second.

The day came and, of course, I was sick with a cold.

But I hadn't come this far to let a sore throat and sniffles take me down, so I just drugged myself and away we went. The big day began for my poor hubs when I sent him out to brunch with a few of his friends and a sealed card from me. The poor sucker thought it was vacation tickets or something like that.


Instead, it said something like "We've been through a lot, blah blah blah, Surprise! Tonight we are getting married! Be there or be square! Oh yeah, and Happy Birthday!"

Apparently, he was actually quite delighted with my romantic gesture ... surprised but delighted.


(Finally, I could breathe.)

I gave him about five hours’ notice, enough time to wrap his head around the idea, but not enough time to run very far.

Meanwhile, I was madly checking things off my list: get hair done, soothe cranky toddler, get nails done, try not to throw up, get baby to stop crying, greet guests, pop more Benadryl ...

And then ... it's time! What?!?!? Already?!?!

But I feel dizzy...

The wedding music starts to play, and myy son walks me down the aisle like a perfect gentleman. The ceremony begins, and I somehow manage to remain conscious. Midway through our vows, my Groomie hands me a big wrapped box.

"Open it."

So, I rip into the paper with my freshly-fake nails and find a ring box.

"The only thing I regret," he says, "is that you didn't get this ring a little earlier. Will you marry me?"

"Well, I might need a little bit of time to think about it," I say

(He had secretly put the ring on lay-away months earlier, when he found out at brunch that we were to be married that evening, he sent a friend to go pick it up. Sneaky devil!)

We finish up the ceremony, sign the papers and there are a few beautiful speeches. The baby manages to scream through the entire thing, and the four-year old finally succumbs to the excitement and vomits everywhere but, other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing.

So that’s it, that’s my wedding story.

I just can’t understand why my two friends wouldn’t want to use some of my ideas. I mean come on; you get to make all of the decisions! You also get to cover two parties in one night! There is no compromise, no pesky in-laws putting in their two cents, AND hubby will never forget the anniversary.

So, as wedding season approaches, feel free to snag my idea, or pass it on to a bride-to-be. After all, brilliance is meant to be shared.