Ask the Wedding Lady

The day of your wedding should be the happiest day of your life, or at least the day of your first wedding. But the customs, folkways and by-laws of matrimony are so darned confusing, it is easy to “slip up,” with disastrous consequences. Ms. Wedding Lady is here to help sort it all out.

Dear Wedding Lady:

Six years ago my sister Nae Ann got “married” to “Chick” Johnson, whose dad owns the Jiffy Lube franchise out on south 65. I use “quotes” (around “married,” not “Chick”–that is his nickname) to indicate my problem.

We went along with Nae Ann and Chick’s little “charade” for many years, then they announced last summer they were getting divorced. He moved out of the trailer, and along about November I asked mom “How come there was never no divorce notice in the paper?”

Turns out Nae Ann and Chick were never married, just cohabitating until they got past the 7-year common law marriage limit, all to save $40 on the justice of the peace! That is Chick for you–he is a former “carney” who will order a cup of hot water for a nickel at a restaurant, then put little packs of ketchup in it to make tomato soup.

My question is this. Sue Ellen–that’s my wife–and I went all out and bought the newlyweds the 6 and a half quart ceramic Crock Pot with the “dancing vegetables” trim. Since Nae Ann and Chick never legally “tied the knot,” don’t we have a right to get it back?

Duane D. Bohammer, Smithton MO


Dear Duane:

First, let’s work on your anger. Sure you are upset, but in the great scheme of things, won’t that Crock Pot bring happiness to Nae Ann as she tries to cope with her loss–or gain?  Rather than focus on Chick’s perfidy, why not join Nae Ann for a Quik ‘n Easy Chicken Pot Stew–the recipe is in the instruction manual, if she didn’t throw it out. You’ll find that with the larger six and a half quart size, the stew won’t stick to the sides and burn.

“Lowell, we have enough official NHL Penguins gear!”

Dear Wedding Lady:

My fiance Lowell is a die-hard Pittsburgh Penguins fan. He lives, breathes and eats Penguins. He doesn’t really eat them, you know what I mean. He actually prefers steak.

Anyway, we have been talking about a number of “themes” for our upcoming wedding, including “Hawaiian Luau” and “Evening in Paris,” but Lowell is insistent we make it a black-and-white Penguin theme. He thinks he can get somebody from the team to come if he tells the community relations department we’re a charity.

Sidney Crosby: Forget it, you’ll never get him to come.

I know there is a certain similarity between the Penguins colors and men’s tuxedos and a white wedding gown and the ice and snow of the South Pole and all that, but do you really think that is enough to change a whole ceremony that goes back many centuries?

Trudy Birks, Wilkes-Barre, PA


Dear Trudy:

I agree, Lowell has gone way “over the top” on this one. Many contemporary couples express their individuality by a “theme” wedding, but don’t drag a losing team that has only won five Stanley Cups into your bridesmaids’ dress planning! Why don’t you suggest, over a candlelight dinner, that Lowell switch his allegiance to the Montreal Canadians, the most successful NHL franchise ever, with their bleu-blanc-rouge color scheme to work with!

Dear Wedding Lady:

I am engaged to my betrothed, Frasier Collins Hemmings III, and the banns have been published. Mummy, Popsy and I had long ago decided that we wanted to have Henry Purcell’s “Trumpet Voluntary in D Major” for the processional, and of course Mendelsshon’s “Wedding March” from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as the recessional for my ceremony. Then along comes my fiance, who “sowed a few wild oats” I’m afraid, who insists that we walk out of the church to Al Green’s “Let’s Get Married.”

Mummy is beside herself as is Popsy, although on the other side, because they can find no precedent for this in the Book of Common Prayer. Frasier says it is all right because Al Green is an ordained minister.  Mummy, Popsy and I have agreed to abide by your decision as long as you take our side.  We are, after all, Presbyterians.

Elinor Chadwick, Wellesley Falls, Mass.

Dear Elinor:

I think you are being just a tad narrow-minded. Al Green is in fact an ordained minister, and his “Let’s Get Married” is slowly but surely working its way into the canon of accepted wedding marches. It is nonetheless inappropriate for a recessional since by the time you are leaving the church you are already married. Why not compromise; Al Green going in, Mendelssohn coming out?

You can’t go wrong with candelsticks!

Hey Wedding Lady:

My buddy Rick got married last year to a woman who I swear has a poker up her you know what. All his brothers from the I Felta Thi fraternity tried to talk him out of it, but no luck. I uh, didn’t get around to buying a gift by the day of the wedding, but I asked somebody and they told me you can hand it in up to a year late.

Anyway, I timed it pretty close, got them a cocktail party tray thing, and was on my way to their apartment when I got busted for speeding. Long story short, it was exactly one year, one hour and fifteen minutes later when I got to their place, and his wife who’s already gained ten pounds says you missed the deadline, you have to get us another gift, we’re registered at Pottery Barn and we could still use a large salad bowl.

Ms. Wedding Lady, I don’t think I should be penalized since I am already facing a fine for breaking the speed limit. I was trying my best to get there on time–isn’t there like an emergency exception?

Blake Cauthen, Ridgewood, New Jersey

“Star Wars” wedding

Dear Blake:

Thankfully, late wedding gift sanctions can be appealed, just like traffic violations. File a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey, District Court, Traffic Division, and ask for an ex parte hearing so the other side won’t know about it. Give the bailiff a $10 bill, just as you tipped (I hope!) the altar boys at the wedding. And next time, rather than speeding around town, shop on-line at stores where the bride and groom are registered. The life you save may be mine.

Available in Kindle format on as part of the collection “Take My Advice–I Wasn’t Using it Anyway.”

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