Columnists > Voices

Providential wedding

Heidi and John got married, with some just-in-time help

Issue: "Katie can't bar the door," July 15, 2006

Heidi got married on Saturday, June ten, and that's a long story. But the only part I can get into here is the wedding. Which, by the way, was still up in the air on Monday, June 5, when she and I sat in the Abington Hospital outpatient clinic kicking around a few spiritual issues Satan was delighted to gunk the works with.

Meanwhile, unknown to yours truly, busy bees were erecting the scaffolding of a nuptial celebration piece by improbable piece. You would have to know Heidi to understand. If I had wed in this country it would have been the same, but that was Korea, 1980, and the day was taken out of my hands, including which wedding dress and an impressive multi-tiered cake they wheeled into the sanctuary, photographed, and I never saw or heard of again.

By the way, Heidi asked me to make her wedding cake, which I agreed to, but only because it was Heidi, and because (as I am trying to impress on you) my friend is as unpretentious as Moses. I was thereby off the hook for other assignments, except maid of honor, which neither Heidi nor I knew anything about.

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Janice, a neighbor and third-tier friend, was not even known to me, but someone thought to ask her help with phone calls. This was perhaps the first divinely inspired idea of the preparation. The calls were necessary because the invitations hadn't gotten out till late, which is because they were buried in the back yard temporarily. (Never mind.) Janice has gifts Heidi and I only dream of; to call them organizational and creative would be to demystify the Pyramids. She told me, "I like making something out of nothing." She came to the right place; there was no budget.

Georgina drew up rough guidelines for the potluck wedding reception: green salads, fruit salads, pasta dishes, chicken dishes, bread. No desserts please; there will be cake. Janice, who had prayed, "Okay, Lord, bring some good ideas here," had seen a Sam's Club circular and was struck by an ad featuring kids running on a lawn, and in the background all these white cakes on pedestals. A cheap way to create a big visual effect, thought Janice, and ten people were commissioned. She told me later, "The Lord has a storehouse of unasked for prayers just waiting to be claimed."

Our church building used to be a restaurant with ballroom so it was free and not hard to restore to old glory. Sheri donated lots of crinoline from recent family weddings. A little girl named Megan wanted to drape the entryway and was given carte blanche. Swagged material running the long table softened the look. Gini had 20 glass bowls from her own daughter's affair and Janice imagined centerpieces. She opened the fruit drawer of her fridge and brought out green apples and limes. Pale pink roses from a willing neighbor's yard completed the effect.

Paper plates would be understandable, but John (the groom) went to the New Life Thrift Store and they had just received 200 beautiful dinner plates the day before, which they loaned gratis. Thursday night they were short 120 forks but Gwyn, the yard sale queen, happened to be there setting up and calmly said she had that many in her house. Marie donated kitchen commando gifts. Kristen provided busboys and girls from her youth group.

Janice had been eyeing a Korean dogwood in the neighborhood, asking the Lord not to let the white snow-like blossoms fade till after the 10th. She knocked on a stranger's door and asked for cuttings. The young woman who answered, baby in arms, said she would be "honored."

Becca breezed in Friday night, picked up the icing bag, and did freestyle vines and tiny lavender blossoms on a formerly drab wedding cake. I have failed to tell you the tenth of it-the ceremony itself that surpassed any I have seen for simplicity and meaning.

For reasons beyond the scope of this essay, John and Heidi had to postpone the honeymoon a week. They had planned a meandering route to Florida. Turns out the delay was all for the best; it rained on the East Coast those following days. The new husband and wife are headed out this morning as I write, and the forecast calls for fair weather ahead.

Andrée Seu
Andrée Seu

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.


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