Our Wedding Was A Disaster But 26 Years Later No One Cares

Our wedding day was a bit of a fiasco. If something could go wrong it did. Where to start?

There wasn’t any money. Christine’s family wasn’t in a position to contribute much, if anything, to the wedding and my family was more inclined to help with the honeymoon so we got married (everything included) for under $1000. Christine borrowed a dress (thanks Brenda) and Christine’s cousin took the pictures (that didn’t turn out so well, see below). No horse drawn carriages, no sit down dinner, no band, no bar, no fancy invitations, no photo booth, no party swag.

That’s where we started. It got bad from there.

The wreck. We got married in Jefferson City partly because our wedding was on Mizzou’s graduation day and every place in Columbia was booked. Getting married on the same day as one graduates from college is probably unusual but it was definitely intentional. I’m not big on ceremonies so I figured that if I picked my graduation day as the day we’d get married, I’d only have to go to one of the ceremonies.

Anyway, about an hour before the service was to start there was a wreck on the Highway 54 bridge leading into Jeff City which meant that the musicians couldn’t get to the church. The pastor explained to those who were already there what had happened and a friend started playing piano while we all waited and waited and waited.

The pictures were a disaster. We didn’t have any money to hire a photographer. Fine with me cause I hate having my picture taken. Turns out Christine wasn’t fine with no pics. Her mom told her of a distant cousin (you know where this is going) who wanted to break into wedding photography. Maybe he’d do it for cheap? Christine found out that he’d never shot a wedding but he’d be willing to give it a try for $100. Deal.

When we got the pictures Christine was looking at them and noticed one small problem. There wasn’t a picture of just she and I together. No pictures of the bride and groom alone. Not one. I guess it never occurred to any of us. We’d never been married before and he’d never photographed a wedding so chalk it up to a rookie mistake. The cousin felt bad and tried to take a picture of the whole family and cut everyone else out so there’d be one picture of just the two of us. Despite his best efforts it didn’t really work. But not to worry because we lived in a basement duplex and before our first anniversary our place flooded and all the wedding pics were damaged beyond repair.

A bad haircut. I’m not too disappointed that there aren’t any formal pictures of that day because I had one ugly haircut. For some unknown reason I decided the day before the wedding to get an extremely short haircut. I was pudgy back then and so a mullet didn’t look so hot. Mullets never looked good even when they were the style. But this was 1990. No one was wearing a mullet. Except me. On my wedding day.

The flowers were all wrong. I’m not sure why but we decided that the little money we had was going to be spent on some nice fresh flowers. The florist showed up with fake ones. Christine was about to be upset but then figured, “What’s the point of being upset now?” So we had fake flowers. They were ugly and not what she wanted but what do you do?

The cake.¬†Throughout college Christine and I waited tables in restaurants and heard of a cook at one restaurant that made wedding cakes on the side for cheap. Cheap. That’s what we needed so we ordered one. It was yellow. Not the biggest deal but a yellow wedding cake?

The “reception”. Given that we had no money a reception was out of the question. But then a college student we knew said that he would put on the reception for us. So in room at the First Baptist Church we had some finger food. It was one of the nicer parts of the whole day. But it turned out that this college guy had LOTS of personal problems unknown to us at the time. I’m not sure but it wouldn’t surprise me if the food we ate there had been stolen. How was a college student able to afford food for a reception? Maybe I never asked because I didn’t want to know the answer.

Here’s what went right on that day: Christine and I, surrounded by the family and friends that were closest to us, entered into marriage in the presence of God. Twenty six years later we have 4 fantastic kids and have been fortunate to say that the vast majority of our days together have been pretty good. Not perfect. Not necessarily exciting. But we wouldn’t trade our life together. We wouldn’t trade our family. We wouldn’t trade how being together has helped us grow and mature as Christians. No, we wouldn’t trade our marriage. It’s a gift from God.

If you are planning a wedding right now or considering getting married some day or maybe you’re a parent whose kid will be getting married before too long, please keep this in mind. 26 years later (or even 5 years later) no one will care what that wedding day was like. No one will remember the flowers or the band or the meal or the dresses or all the other things that we put so much time, money, and emotional energy into. But lots and lots of people will care about¬†the marriage. The marital relationship is going to have a huge impact on people’s lives. Not just the married couple’s lives but their kids’ lives and their parents’ and their friends’ and their small group and their church.

Put your effort into the marriage not the wedding day.


  1. Great article keith! Thanks, Scott Soumokil

  2. Lauren Zettler said:

    This is great! Although it really is disappointing you didn’t have any pictures to include with this post.

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