Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Courthouse

I love weddings don't get me wrong.  I love being able to go to the wedding celebrations of others.  I love all the dressing up, flowers, different types of religious services, music, pew markers and all the beautiful details that families put into planning weddings.  But growing up I never really imagined myself as a bride nor did I want to put myself through the stress of all the planning and I especially didn't want to have all eyes on me walking down the aisle.  A beautiful wedding dress, yes.  A big ceremony, no.

So when my husband asked me to marry him we were really happy about the idea of just eloping.  All of his family was in Lebanon so they wouldn't be present for the ceremony.  When my husband first moved to the U.S. he'd lived in Las Vegas and I really liked the idea of one of those Las Vegas wedding chapels (of course I'd never actually been there but I'd seen them on tv).  Well I don't have to tell you that I mentioned the idea to my mother and first of all she wasn't too excited about me getting married.  But when I mentioned eloping, well that sent her over the edge.  She didn't speak to me for about two weeks but then she called with a great idea - she would put together a very small wedding at her house, my dad agreed to build a small gazebo and would also officiate the ceremony (he was an ordained Baptist minister) so I would be able to have the small wedding at home that I'd been hoping for.

We'd set a wedding date but moved it by a few weeks to accommodate the plan.   My dad (and mom) were both still working full-time but my dad would get busy at night designing the structure, laying the concrete working in the dark to build the gazebo.  I had been shopping for a dress but there was nothing in my size on the racks so I scrambled to find a pattern and fabric.  Meanwhile invitations had to go out (we didn't have time to get them back from the printer) so I wrote out each invitation by hand.  Did I mention that I was a school teacher making less than $7000 at the time so I was on a shoestring budget? My mother had a connection to the floral wholesaler so I was able to get an amazing amount of flowers for just $200.  And I was thrilled when my sister-in-law and her girlfriend offered to help with all the flower arrangements, boutonniere and bouquets.  A family friend agreed to make our wedding cake as a gift and it was beautiful. A local funeral home loaned chairs, tables and table clothes for the reception.  Family friends offered to help with music, photography and more.

The week of the wedding, no one slept.  We were all working by day and by night trying to finish various wedding details but my poor dad was still getting the roof completed, the gazebo painted and roses planted by the day of the wedding.  The night before the wedding my dad, mom and sister were up working on a lot of unfinished details and then to make matters worse, it stormed.  The rain cleared mid-morning so we scrambled to get everything set up in time for the wedding. We were exhausted.

Fast forward to just a few weeks ago.  My mom was cleaning out a bookcase and called me to say she'd found something very surprising.  It appears that after my wedding my dad was supposed to have completed and signed our marriage license and then sent it back to the county courthouse.  It seems that in his exhausted state, he put the paperwork in a safe place and forgot to send the paperwork meaning my wedding was never officially filed with the county.

My kids have had a lot fun giving me a very hard time and at this point I'm not sure that a certificate really matters.  My dad loved a good laugh and this one would have had him laughing for sure. 


  1. Official BEST WISHES . . . I guess . . . what a fun extra chapter to add to the mix!

  2. Oh my!
    how lovely to have a wedding that was simple and family focussed.

  3. What a fun story! Your wedding sounds like the best kind. I'm all for small family weddings. Is the gazebo still there?
    Congratulations and best wishes! '-)