She hoped to give her daughter the wedding of her dreams, but could she pull it off?
“Candles and crystal and white tablecloths!” my daughter, Kate, said when I called to ask what kind of wedding she was hoping for. “You know, the perfect wedding!” I only wished my husband and I could give our daughter such a day to remember.
Unfortunately, Kate and her fiancé had picked a date just shortly after their college graduation, and our budget was limited. Luckily we were able to use the church hall for the reception. But perfect seemed like a long shot.
Her dad and I went into high gear. “I’ll print the invitations,” I said. Mike lined up the music. The perfect wedding was made up of a hundred parts that fit together smoothly like an elegant machine. If one thing went wrong it all fell apart.
“Now I know why they invented wedding planners,” I told my friend Sue at church one Sunday. Weeks had gone by and my to-do list got longer with each passing day. “Mike and I are overwhelmed,” I admitted.
“I can help!” Sue said. And with that, she took charge of the kitchen arrangements. “I know just who to ask to serve at the reception,” she said. On top of that, she recruited our friend Amy to bake the wedding cake.
“Not a problem!” Amy insisted. “It’s for Kate!” W ord got around that there was still lots to do. My friend Ellen came up with the idea that the reception be in the style of an elegant English tea. “We’ll cater it ourselves with homemade sandwiches and scones!”
Kate’s grandmothers got to work on lovely white tablecloths with napkins to match. Everybody who could lent teapots, cups and saucers when they heard about our “theme.”
The day before the wedding, a crowd of family and friends met me at the church hall to decorate. Kate’s friend Derek sat patiently assembling loose flowers into bouquets. My best friend Becky cheerfully spread the tablecloths while I arranged place settings.
Kate’s brother hung tiny string lights for ambiance. We worked late into the night. “Time for the mother-of-the-bride to get her beauty rest,” Mike said on the way home. When my head hit the pillow I could only pray that angels would step in where our planning had gone astray.
In church the next day, Kate seemed to float down the aisle on her father’s arm. She looked radiant, and I watched her hang on the minister’s every word during the ceremony. After the vows and first kiss, the newlyweds took their place at the head table, in front of a pair of mismatched cups and saucers.
Kate barely seemed aware of the food, the music, the lighting, the flowers. She only had eyes for her new husband. I squeezed Mike’s hand. Just maybe we’d pulled off something almost perfect.
The room went black. A gasp went up. Thunder crashed outside. “Power failure,” came a voice from the darkness. I waited tensely for the generators to kick in. But as soon as the lights flickered back on, I heard the sound of sirens. So much for almost perfect! I thought.
A dozen firemen in full gear burst into the hall. “I’m sorry, but we’ll have to do a safety check,” the chief said. “Lightning struck the building.”
In an instant the reception was overrun with firemen inspecting every inch of the church hall, while we went on with the cutting of the cake. This was nowhere near perfect.
“All clear,” the fire chief said. Someone handed him a piece of cake. Luckily, there was plenty to go around. The firemen all wanted a taste. Meanwhile, the wedding party wandered outside to pose for photos in front of the fire truck.
I sank into a chair beside Mike. “I hope Kate isn’t too disappointed.”
I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder. It was Kate. “Thank you so much for everything!” she said, throwing her arms around us. “It was perfect.”