It was 20 years ago today...

...Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play, they’ve been going in and out of style but they're guaranteed to raise a smile.

Ok, so maybe that wasn't what happened 20 years ago today.  Twenty years is a LONG time.  Almost, but not quite half a life ago for me.  It was the day I got married and I wish I'd kept a diary or a blog. (Why was there no Facebook?)  I've tried to recollect as much as I can for the day.

  • It was overcast in the morning.  It rained for part of the day down at the shore, which is where the wedding was held...  Mostly drizzle, but I understand in North Jersey there was a real downpour in the late afternoon.  Which led to pile ups on the Garden State Parkway.  Several wedding guests decided to turn around and call it a day.  My DJ got stuck in traffic and claimed that it was so bad that when he saw the news copter overhead he got out of his car and started waving, in the hopes that we'd see him and know that he was doing his best to make it on time.  The on/off drizzle worried me, but my Great Uncle Harold (and I mean that in both sense of the word) promised me that the sun would shine and all would be fine.  I trusted Uncle Harold; he was right. The sun was out in time for pre-wedding photos.  (I'm squinting into the sun in many of them.)  The sun was setting when we took our vows outside on the covered deck with Barnegat Bay to the west (on the left side).  (Photos again confirm this.)  The rest of the night...I've been told it rained.  I've been told it poured.  But by that time everyone was inside having fun.  And by the time we left (the festivities went on an hour "over time") I don't recall any rain.  (I do recall my white sneakers, but more on that later.)
  • I had to pick up my maid of honor at the Bay Head train station mid-morning.  She had a new car and didn't want to drive it down to the shore (for reasons I can't exactly recall or explain).  I don't know what her plans for getting home after Friday night were, as I had other matters on my mind.  My soon to be husband and best man came down early in the afternoon and checked into the hotel where we would spend the night.  Upon alighting from the hired car, they were greeted by my cousin Lee, who inquired if one of them might be the groom.  (Maybe the suits gave it away?)  It was quite an introduction.  And now that I think of it, I don't know how the groom and his best man got from the hotel to the wedding venue.
  • I blew up balloons.  My father made signs that said "Beth & Steve's Wedding" that he hung on several street signs.  I still have one of the signs tucked away in my "wedding box" (aka a plastic storage container).
  • I did my own hair and make-up that afternoon. I used Hot Sticks curlers on my very blonde (pretty sure I "blonded" myself at home) and Love My Lips Champagne lipstick. Although I wore my hair down, I did have a handmade bow in my hair.  (Yes, this was 1996, but there were still some 1980s hold overs.) I wore a new white dress that I bought off the rack.  It was on sale for $99 (just over $100 when you added in tax) and you had to pay cash.  My mother and I had to scrounge in our wallets to find the money (which included totaling up change.)  Underneath I had a horrid corset like contraption. How I made it through the entire night wearing the darned thing is a miracle.  Forget the romance on the wedding night, after all was said and done, I begged my new husband to unbutton the tiny buttons and the back of the dress and get me the hell out of the torture device!
  • I wore white heels that I had worn before, but for some reason they killed my feet that day.  My feet hurt throughout the entire ceremony.  (Which seemed long because of my feet and the darned corset.)  The first thing I did after we walked down the aisle as husband and wife was to take off my shoes.  I spent the entire evening dancing in my (white) stocking feet.  Afterwards, we drove back to my parents’ house to get my car and I grabbed my sneakers (also white).  When the bride and groom walked into the Grenville Hotel at nearly midnight, the bride was wearing sneakers.
  • I didn't want to be the "late" bride (as nearly all brides are), but I was due to the traffic conditions.  I had to be talked into driving over to the Normandy Beach Yacht Club (which sounds much more glamorous than it really is) by the minister.  I didn't want to go until the DJ showed (who would play the appropriate music).  Thankfully, as a member of my church choir, I'd invited the choir director who had brought her portable keyboard.  We did have music and I did walk down the aisle to it thanks to her.  (And just as we were pulling into the lot and getting ready to go, the DJ did pull up.  He assured us that by the time the ceremony was over, he'd have the music up and running...and to the best of my recollection he did.)
  • We had two ministers at the wedding.  The pastor at my church and the woman who I call "Aunt Julie" who was to be ordained 2 days later.  Many people assumed she was the rabbi.  (Perhaps because she read from the Old Testament?)  We were her first wedding; and she wasn't even "official" yet.  
  • I danced A LOT that night. Both my husband and I are music lovers and have eclectic tastes.  We had an awesome playlist.  I danced with my husband (our wedding song was the Eagles "Love Will Keep Us Alive"), with my father, my brother, my uncle...I danced with the girls and did the YMCA.  And Sweet Caroline.  Even did the Macarena. Is it any wonder that my feet were killing me when it was all over?
  • As far as I can recall (and again it has been 20 years now), I never sat down.  There were plenty of tables.  I know as the proper bride and groom we visited every table and thanked our guests, but I as far as I remember we never actually sat down and ate.  (We did chow down on the leftovers the next year which is why I can say that the food was quite good.  I wish there had been more leftovers!)  Despite what some people might tell you, there was not wedding cake.  Vegan bakeries were unknown to me at the time and if I couldn't eat wedding cake, nobody could.
  • It was the last time I saw my Uncle Jimmy.  Living in Colorado we didn't see him (or his family) that often.  He did fly out solo for the wedding.  And he danced with his high school sweetheart (who was also happily married to someone else.)  It's a nice memory to have.
  • When all was said and done, it was a wonderful wedding (Thanks Mom and Dad...) I understand people (particularly friends of my parents) say it was a great party.  I know I had a good time, but when it was over (and we ran an hour "over time") I was exhausted.  So was the groom.  From wearing that silly corset and dancing everything ached.  Just 9 months earlier the groom had shattered his ankle and to this day has a plate and several pins in his foot.  Do I need to say that he was in pain after all the standing and dancing?  By 12:30 AM on the 14th, all we wanted were hot showers and some ibuprophen.  (Of which I don't think we had any and where are you going to go in the middle of the night for pain killers?)  Having a blast for 5+ does have its cost.

There is more to the story, of course...But these are the memories of that one day 20 years ago.  Memories that I have treasured and will continue to for many more to come.


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