My cousin got married on a Thursday afternoon at the courthouse, and my parents decided that they should help throw a party for the newlyweds the next weekend.
It was last-minute and bit thrown-together, and I wasn’t able to go.
“It wasn’t perfect,” my mom told me.
“It wasn’t exactly what we had in mind,” my dad said.
These are my parents. They’ve been planning my wedding for 27 years. I’m sure they thought idly about the party they’d get to have one day as their only daughter, dressed in floufy dresses and ruffle socks, scattered silk petals down aisles or passed around countless rice bags, but it’s reached a new intensity in the past five years or so. These days, at every wedding they attend, they compile a list of to-dos and not-to-dos.
“At Beatrix’s wedding, I want people to walk around with the food,” my dad will say, filling a plate with appetizers from a buffet.
“Yes, but I do like the bridesmaids’ bouquets,” my mom will answer, carefully examining a centerpiece.
I’m surprised they haven’t started taking notes. On the way home, they analyze the favors before launching into the age-old band-versus-deejay debate.
Sometimes it comes completely out of the blue.
“I was thinking that at Beatrix’s wedding, we’ll have fried quail,” my mom will say over dinner (of something that is not fried quail).
“I thought about that, but it makes your hands smell funny,” says dad.
“Oh, I guess it does. . . .”
“Maybe we could have some kind of towels. . . .”
At the beach, our next-door neighbors were having a wedding, a casual weeknight party on the sand. We watched from our deck.
“Yes, you have to wear a shirt,” my mom told my brother, as she dragged a living room chair outside.
“Yeah. Is nothing sacred?” I asked, craning a bit to see the guests arriving and taking a sip of a daiquiri from a red plastic cup.
“I want y’all to have real weddings, not at the beach,” my dad told us. “I don’t look good in these kind of clothes. I look best in a suit, don’t you think?”
At least they haven’t given up hope altogether.
And one day, maybe, I hope they get to throw the wedding of their dreams.