Savor the Missteps by Angela Rieck

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Wedding season is approaching. That event where brides, bridegrooms and their parents sample a wide array of foods, listen to countless bands and DJs, study color palettes, learn about flowers, select the best venue, choose the ideal officiant, and of course, find the perfect wedding gown. All in their quest for perfection to memorialize a day that will mark the beginning of a new life, a new course and a special bond.

The quest for perfection is ironic, because the most memorable moments are the ones that aren’t planned.

I am a member of a large family, so we have had our share of weddings and despite endless preparation, substantial funds, our most memorable moments are the ones that we didn’t expect.

My brother married on the coldest Memorial Day. His beautiful bride in her sleeveless dress braved the weather, but the rest of us abandoned our summer attire quickly after the ceremony, opting for sweatshirts, sweaters or even jackets in our suitcases for warmth. Within an hour, most of us had changed to winter wear. It poured and poured and poured at my sister’s outdoor wedding and reception. The bridal party took advantage of a brief parting of the clouds to have the ceremony and run back. Rain was so relentless that an eccentric aunt tied garbage bags to her feet in an effort to stay dry.

My nieces and nephews (all outdoor weddings) have found a way to marry on days that were 90+ degrees with 90% humidity. It didn’t matter if they were in June, July, August or September. The guests congregated around the fans. At one wedding, the bridesmaids finally jumped in the pool in their dresses.

My closest friend watched the country club at her reception wheel out the wrong wedding cake. They had served her very expensive cake at another wedding, she was left with a cheap “store-bought” wedding cake.

My wedding had some mishaps, but it is most known as the wedding with the world’s worst wedding toast. My nervous brother-in-law to be repeatedly used the name of my husband’s first wife in toasting us. You could hear the gasping sounds from the guests. He was and remains mortified, but I thought it was amusing.

I am happy to report that all of us who participated in these weddings have been happily married (or widowed). When we talk about our weddings, we don’t talk about the perfect flowers, spectacular food or stunning wedding gowns, we laugh at the missteps.

So my advice to all of you wedding planners out there is to strive for perfection…but hope for a mishap.

Angela Rieck, a Caroline County native, received her PhD in Mathematical Psychology from the University of Maryland and worked as a scientist at Bell Labs, and other high-tech companies in New Jersey before retiring as a corporate executive. Angela and her dogs divide their time between St Michaels and Key West Florida. Her daughter lives and works in New York City.

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