It was a sunny September day in 2003. Our friends and family gathered at Leu Gardens in Orlando, a classic Southern estate garden full of roses and camellias with the added Florida lushness of tropical foliage of all kinds. My husband’s cousin Shelley officiated and delivered a beautiful wedding service. The sweltering heat beat down on all of us. Our son had just turned one, and he sat on our babysitter Jessica’s lap.
Prior to the wedding, we had discussed the potential for rain. Florida’s rainy season (a.k.a. “Hurricane season”) lasts from June to November, so in September it’s totally reasonable to expect it. Should we buy 50 white umbrellas, each to be shared by two guests? Ten days prior to the wedding date, I began checking the weather forecast details obsessively. It wasn’t too late to order. But it looked like it was going to be clear, so I opted to forego the umbrellas. Huge mistake.
While I eagerly checked and re-checked the forecast, I had looked only for rain, and not heat. As the temperature climbed to the high 90’s on my wedding day, the usefulness of those umbrellas became apparent. My guests would have loved shade from the glaring sun that day. One friend told me a year later that she had sweated through her sheer dress, and another guest had lent her his blazer to cover her now-obvious thong panties.
That merciless sun must have bothered our toddler boy, who got cranky halfway through the ceremony. I had spoken with our sitter in advance and told her that if Xander got fussy, she could take him inside to the estate house where he could roam around and have her undivided attention. When I gave Jessica the wink, she whisked him away like we had agreed. Another mistake of mine. Xander wanted to run to the front and be with his parents for the whole ceremony, and we should have planned it that way.
Yes, if I were to do it over today, I would give out umbrellas and I’d keep my son close the whole day long. Some brides pore over the details of their wedding more than they should. I encourage them to loosen up and enjoy it all. But when I marry again (I’m divorced), I’ll be one of them, garnering advice from all quarters, meticulously reviewing my bridal planner. I don’t want to make the same mistakes twice.