I've been married three times -- not too proud of that -- but I've never had one of those big weddings with poofy dresses, veils, a gaggle of attendants and the big hall. It's a good thing considering how pissed I would have been when each of the marriages went South and all that money was spent for nothing.
My first marriage was kind of special. It was on Parliament Hill and I got to wear a nice dress and some flowers. It didn't cost much. In fact, we got the hall and the preacher, the Hon. Stanley Knowles, MP, for free. (I know, the picture's not very good but I tried to find one which didn't include my ex-husband.)
The second and third affairs were homemade weddings and on the cheap.
The second one was in a judge's chambers, the Hon. Hugh Poulin presiding, and we ate at home. My second ex was so cheap he wouldn't let me buy a new dress. Should have seen the end of that one coming.
The third -- and hopefully final one -- was at city hall with a nice justice of the peace. That one cost the most because we had to pay the judge. We also ate at home, not because Scott is cheap but because we were broke. He had given his ex-wife all his money and my second ex left me with the kids.
Despite my broken track record, I do love weddings. Big, small, crazy, fight-laden, drunken, ethnic -- I cry at everyone.
I'm still a romantic, you see. I wouldn't have done it a third time if I didn't believe in love and having a life partner. But I'm still cynical about weddings.
Early on, I said this to my kids: "You're in love. Great. Now imagine yourself divorced."
They were all good about. They understood because they got a ring-side seat to the mother of all divorces, and watched me go through all the signs of grief -- twice. I even lost my religion a couple of times.
The boys took my advice to heart.
Nick met a girl, got her pregnant four hours after they met and produced the lovely Skylar. The relationship ended recently and he's taken, no embraced, the notion of co-parenting. But from the beginning, a wedding was never in the cards.
The jury is still out on Stef, but I don't imagine him getting married anytime soon. He's been burned a couple of times and he is cynical.
But Marissa is different. Marissa has always been a girl with family values. Unlike her mother, she didn't tear through the town, taking up with bad boys and old men. She's only had one man her whole life, the lovely Jeff, rapper, budding emprasario, tech wizard and true star.
They've been together for five years now and are still happy and in love. Jeff is a stable man, a church goer, raised by a single mom and a bunch of sisters, whose mom would beat the shit out of him if he ever left her. I like Jeff and I approve of this relationship, and therefore I've bought into the dream wedding with all the trimmings.
And so I attended my first wedding show yesterday at the Chateau Laurier where I saw all the possibilities that I never once considered: the couture dress dripping with crystals, the extension laden hair styles and mineral makeup, the lavish place settings, the bridal throne, even a candy station designed to drive kids mental.
This was no ordinary wedding show. It was a wedding show for the sophisticated and well-heeled. Even the party favors cost more than my coat.
For some reason there was also a stilt walker, pictured below, dressed like a Christmas tree. She was pretty cute, but I'm not sure I'd want her scaring people at Marissa's wedding.
I met all these nice ladies, fairy godmothers who were patting the girls on their little heads and stoking their dreams like hopeful embers in a fire. And I thought: "Wow, this is really great. Why didn't I think of this?"
Marissa's skedded to get married next winter. It seems like a million years from now, but I'm already getting that dreaded disease. Mother of the Bride.