I suppose all that’s left for me to do now is whip out the credit card. Because according to my lovely daughter, the plans have all been made.
She’s picked out the dresses. The reception details have been put to bed. The honeymoon is locked. There’s a question about the church – whether to darken the door of one, that is – but let’s not quibble right now. Her mother and I have been presented with a ballpark estimate, and now it’s time for me to sign on the first of many dotted lines. Remember, I am the father of the bride.
Yes, $40,000 for the whole shebang sounds perfectly reasonable when you consider the hundreds of people she intends to invite. And think about all the time she’s spent contemplating the ceremony and locations and colors and music. After all, she started planning the wedding over a year ago.
When she was twelve.
Look, I get it. It’s a girl thing. And judging by the deer-in-the-headlights look on my face – not to mention the unfortunate hairstyle and aviator glasses – in my wedding photos, it’s fair to say I didn’t have a clue about the finer points of getting married up to and including the moment I took my vows.
But aided and abetted by a multitude of Internet wedding sites she pores over when she should be doing homework and TV shows that turn innocent nuptials into blood sport, Lucy has managed to find the perfect wedding planner.
She’s even drawn up a list on her computer that confirms the matrimonial must-haves. In order of importance:
1. Bride: Me.
2. Maid of Honor: Best Friend. Or Cousin Francie.
3. Bridesmaids: School friends (if we are still in touch). Other friends (college) and if I meet anyone else.
4. Best Man: Brother.
5. Groom: To be announced.
From there, her plans take on the trappings of a Vegas champagne blowout or even some kind of cult initiation. Which worries Mom, who says she’d rather see her focus on the person she’ll choose to spend her life with, the person she’ll build a family with, that special someone she’ll turn herself over to completely.
Mother: “I really think you should have your first kiss before you plan your wedding.”
Daughter: “Mom! I’m just thinking about the party!”
It will be a “destination wedding,” we are told, preferably on a beach. Or on a hotel terrace. Or in a secluded rock garden at the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean. It can’t be in Hawaii because she wants it to take place in America. Wait, Hawaii is in America. Hawaii is back on the list. Or maybe South Carolina.
Wherever it happens, the ceremony will most certainly take place outside, and at sunset. “I can’t do anything with a church, and I can’t make it look like I want to make it look,” she says. “It’s still a church. And I can’t have a cool arbor.”
But what about God’s divine presence? For Catholics like us, a wedding Mass holds a time-honored, traditional place as a holy sacrament, and holy sacraments are received in bricks-and-mortar churches, and churches provide a sacred venue for the all-important blessings and consecrations given by a priest.
“My teacher says God is everywhere, so the priest and God can both give it up and get outside.”
There will be a theme. Mom and I gaze into one another’s eyes and think back fondly on the theme we decided upon so many years ago when we were getting married.
It was called we are getting married.
But hopped up as she is on such cable offerings as I Found The Gown and My Fair Wedding, Lucy has zeroed in on “pink lace” as the overarching motif.
“Not lace that is pink, but pink. And then lace. It’s lace, and there’s also pink. They’re not combined. They’re separate.”
Her wedding gown – a strapless mini dress with flowers at the waist augmented by pearl earrings and high-heels – and the bridesmaids’ dresses will be purchased from Bridals By Lori, the Atlanta boutique featured in the countless episodes of Say Yes To The Dress that stream unimpeded into our home at all hours. I suppose it could be weirder. For her own wedding, her friend Caroline has her heart set on a dress created by Alfred Angelo, a design company known for its collection of fairy-tale wedding dresses inspired by your favorite Disney princesses.
At the reception, Lucy insists on having chandeliers in the party tents – which should not, under any circumstances, resemble the pedestrian canvas variety her school uses to shield animals from the sun in the petting zoo at the annual spring festival. Table centerpieces should consist of glass bowls filled with live fish. A full, 16-piece, tuxedoed swing band will provide music for dancing. She’s still not sure about the cake, but her younger brother, the putative best man, suggests one that has chocolate sauce on it and stands at least five feet tall.
The happy couple will depart for their honeymoon (three weeks in an isolated beachfront villa in the Maldives) in a white limousine. Or in a horse-drawn carriage. Or on a motorcycle.
All we have to do now is drop the invitations in the mail. And maybe we ought to notify the groom, too.
For he is out there, somewhere, waiting to be announced. He might be puzzling over his geometry or the periodic table or one of Shakespeare’s rhyming couplets. He may have had his first kiss, or maybe not. He does not know it, but he has already begun his journey toward his bride, who right now has tears in her eyes because her entire bottle of exotic cherry blossom foaming body wash has spilled all over the bathroom floor.
Don’t worry, kid, you’ll learn soon enough. To love and to cherish, for better or for worse, from this day forward, just repeat after me:
It’s a girl thing.