Here's the scoop!
I was driving to work when I heard my name announced on the radio as a winner of a complete wedding package. I shrieked like a maniac. The woman driving next to me must have thought I was in labor. A little old for that! I was a divorcee in my mid-forties, engaged to be married in April.
On a whim, I submitted a parody of the song, "He Ain't Got a Barrel of Money" to a local radio station’s Valentine’s Day contest, and it was selected. I called my husband at work and bellowed into the phone, “Meet me at the court house by 5:00 p.m. to pick up our marriage license.”
“Calm down. We have two months. What’s the rush?”
“The rush is, we’re getting married on Valentine’s Day. I won a contest.”
“Have you been drinking?”
“You know I don’t drink.”
I explained that the wedding would be performed at the ornate, elegant Grand Hall of the Hyatt Regency located in Union Station, St. Louis’s once-bustling train station. It would be broadcast live and covered by local television media as well. I told him all about the things we had won: wedding bands, tuxedo rental, flowers, photos, morning and evening reception, hotel package and more. What I didn’t tell him was that I was not the only winner.
We checked into the hotel the night before. As we sat in the balcony restaurant overlooking the vestibule, we observed other guests arriving. The couples came in droves. Women carried gauzy white wedding gowns, sleek satiny dresses and beaded, sequined veils.
My fiance looked bewildered. “What is this, a bridal convention? There must be twenty sales people down there hawking dresses.”
“I counted twenty-five. It’s not a bridal convention, it’s a mass wedding.” I mumbled.
“A what?” he asked incredulously.
“Uh yeah, they’re getting married too.” I looked away.
“With us? Are you kidding?”
“Uh no, but I’ve decided, I’m not going to go through with this anyway.” I looked him in straight in the eye.
“Those girls are all young brides with long wedding gowns and gorgeous veils. I’ll be the only one in a white suit with an embellished sequined collar. I’m just not going through with this.” My voice rose and his eyes widened.
“What now? We’ve registered. Does this mean you don’t want to marry me?” He was getting perturbed, and my tears began to flow.
“No, it means I’m not going to be the only one not wearing a wedding gown!”
“Is it too late to go buy one?” He was serious at seven o’clock at night.
That comment convinced me that he was definitely THE ONE, and I made every effort to be pleasant and proceed with the wedding, regardless of my attire.
In the morning we made our way down the corridors and onto the elevator with other couples in formal wear. I breathed a sigh of relief when I spied two women my age wearing similar suits and white silk hats.
“You feel better now?” my betrothed asked. “See, out of twenty-five brides, you are not the only one in a suit. You look glamorous.”
When we entered the Grand Hall with its ornate gilded ceiling and intricate carvings, Bill gasped audibly. It looked like prom night in the 1950s. There was so much chiffon and so many guys in monkey suits with adoring women clinging to their arms.
“How the hell many people are getting married with us?”
“Ninety-seven other couples.” I winced. (The call letters of the radio station sponsoring the event was Y 98, thus 98 couples.)
Simultaneously all couples repeated their vows and said, “I Do.”
Not many women can say their husbands married them twice in two months, but we did it again, as planned in April.
Twenty-five years later Bill is STILL THE ONE!
Such a fun story! What a great memory this is for you to have and share too. Happy Valentine's Day!
I love it!! I tried to get the twins to enter a contest to get married to their mates at McDonald's. Jeff was up for it, but Jill said a definite "NO". Sure you had a stupid ceremony in a fast food joint, but you won a honeymoon cruise. My girls told me I was just cheap. I told them I had no plans to pay for honeymoons, the weddings were all they were getting from me!
Linda--You and Bill--quite a love story.
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