The beach balls bounced unattended on the cement ground. All of her friends had rushed indoors for the ‘suggestion-box-contents’ readings. Two or three of them sat cross-legged around the coffee table on the plush carpet. Four or five of them sat down on one of the comfortable chairs and finally Alexandra sat in the middle of everything with her three-ring binder and pens in hand. The big momentous wedding occasion was to take place in three months time and all of Alexandra’s girlfriends had put in their last-minute suggestions into a big plain pink box.
Coming from different backgrounds, their common bond was that they all volunteered at the local orphanage. Kessa and Keosha were sisters who were from a mixed Hispanic and Black culture. Their parents were originally from South America. Keosha was a women’s literature author and her friendship with Alexandra went beyond the boundaries of the halls of the orphanage because they both enjoyed writing and would critique each other’s work well into most nights. Her other close friend from the group was Lizette, who was born of French parents and was brought up in their native language. She had actually known Alexandra since they were very little. The five other girls were friends of the more guarded inner circle of members composed of course of Kessa, Keosha, Lizette and Alexandra……
One of the suggestions was to have the words, Thank you for attending…..right next to each name on the place cards. The last few months the girls had glued fabric and lace onto ‘mini-scrapbook-souvenirs’ for each of the 300 guests. Their insides were all identical. They contained pictures of the happy couple as children, then as teenagers and finally as a happily engaged couple. Towards the back of each of the mini-scrapbooks were the business cards of the stores where the bridesmaid dresses were from, the flower shop and the caterer’s as well.
Alexandra’s wedding dress, which only she and her mom had seen so far, afforded a lavish profile of her exquisite figure. It had a lace bottom and the beadwork was more focused on the bodice, with the highest amount of concentration along the dipping waistline.
The table cloths were going to be a very pale yellow, marked with light pink and bright pink wedding bells. The napkins were going to alternate between the colors of light pink and fuchsia. The different segments to the bridal reception were going to be highlighted by the ringing of digital wedding bells. They were going to introduce each segment of the wedding reception.
Alexandra, with her translucent skin and brunette hair was a prominent member of the Women’s Fiction Writing Group. She often reminded people of one of the characters she wrote about. Her green eyes focused intently on the details of the suggestions given by her girlfriends. Finally she made a mental list of the ones that she would probably use.
They snacked on wedding cake samples from the bakery while Alexandra told them which suggestions she agreed with. A copy of her new book of short stories for each guest, she felt would be okay, but she also wanted a couple of her girlfriends to read one or two of the stories during a slide show presentation of pictures of her and George. She and George had known each other since Freshman college and she had begun planning their wedding that day when they first met.
Planned for the reception lunch, she really wanted to have a lot of pictures of George and her shown on the projector screen while the hip sounds of 80’s music played in the background. The different segments to their relationship would fillow a timeline highlighted by their weekends spent watching movies at the cinema and generally just walking around, holding hands and taking in the town in.
The bridesmaids dresses were going to be pastel green because green was Alexandra’s mother’s favorite color and Alexandra knew that she couldn’t have come this far, without her mother’s financial support. The skirt bottom to these dresses were going to be cut along the bias so that their white high heeled pumps were going to peek through as they walked, and also so that the hem would slightly touch the ground as it trailed off in the back.
Alexandra liked the idea of having the centerpiece vases of each of the 30 tables to be interspersed with small and medium-sized pink balloons tied to them. Written on the balloons were going to be the couple’s names Alexandra and George.
She also liked the idea of having a wedding picture of her and George adorning the front of their thank you cards. The framing trim of the thank you envelopes will mimic the look of intricately embroidered stamped pink butterflies. These were but a few of the suggestions she wholeheartedly agreed with!
All the other suggestions she explained to her girlfriends, she would try to incorporate into the wedding plans as best as she could…
The only formal gathering after this luncheon of hers, was the rehearsal night for the entire bridal party at the church and the rehearsal dinner following it. After that, the big day would arrive…
* * * * * * *
“…Time to go sweetie,” Alexandra’s mother said as she rapped on her daughter’s door.
“I’ll be right there mom…” Alexandra said nervously.
The church was only two block away, but Alexandra was almost in danger of being late for her own wedding.
The guests as they arrived at the church had that elated-yet-confused look because they didn’t know where to be seated. The ushers eventually helped everybody to their seats.
The bridal party was ready to make their entrance through the double doors leading into the main church and to ready the way for the blushing bride, Alexandra….
The processional music started on cue and everyone in the pews were in appreciation of the beginning procession of the bridal party as bridesmaid after bridesmaid, paired with a groomsman paved the way for the bride, who was on her father’s arm.
Before that, Alexandra fidgeted with her long white gloves that tapered off with lace trim to her elbows and she slowed her breathing and inhaled deeply two or three times.
“Alexandra, you’re not about to run a marathon….just let yourself breathe normally. Don’t worry so much, you and George will make it through the ceremony just fine,” her father told her with a knowing wink.
“…I couldn’t sleep all of last night dad, and I’m trying to keep myself looking like a poised and polished young lady despite the sleep deprivation…” Alexandra vented.
“…You have the right to be nervous, just remember that we all love and support you on your big day…” her father said with a grin.
Then the double doors closed again…..and the wedding march was played….
Alexandra’s bouquet of long-stemmed cascading white roses was the perfect touch to the vision that she was, as she started her march down the aisle on the arm of her loving father.
Everything’s cheery and happy she wanted to say. However those were currently the specific moments where being proper and demure were the two characteristics people noticed right away as one made your way to the altar. Will everyone stand up and give me a cheery hooray - for making it through the wedding ceremony in tac, thus far....most likely not. She was glad for her self-regulating reality check thoughts…
She then walked past her mother, who seemed to say to Alexandra …this is a moment of extreme solemnity….sweetie….with her eyes….please focus!
Thus….went the ceremony and the reception followed and everyone was in good spirits, especially the bride’s father, who only that morning, spent a half an hour looking for his trusty shoehorn.
For every momentous occasion in his daughter’s life, Cesar had spent half an hour looking for his shoehorn, but after it was found, the rest of the day would play itself out beautifully.
The weather was ominous and the reception hall was partly Oceanside, overlooking miles of gorgeous beaches. Everyone was safe inside after making their way from the church three miles away. There had been tremors across the globe, and the high winds and backlash of the waves were nothing new to that time of the year. However Alexandra’s dad Cesar kept wishing that everyone could be safely seeing themselves home soon.
Then, came the fair warning from the local authorities about possible tidal waves hitting the local shores and as each guest made their way out of the hall, Alexandra and George bid each of them farewell. Alexandra’s only regret was that she didn’t give her speech to properly thank her mother and father for everything that day….
Somehow though, everyone knew as she shone brightly that day, that Alexandra was grateful and thankful for the both of them…