A series of vignettes – a continuation of The Runaway Bride.
The Wedding Planner
The BRIDE was gone. She’d spent a YEAR planning this tacky monstrosity with the mother of the bride. Taking phone calls from that horrid woman at all hours. Once she called her back to back every hour from midnight to 5 am to discuss centerpiece options. CENTERPIECES!! It was the MOB’s affair. The bride herself was virtually mute. She’d felt sorry for the poor girl. Until today.
The BRIDE was gone. There were 1,000 butterflies waiting to be released at the moment of I do. There were fireworks waiting to be set off as the bride and groom departed the reception. There was a once-famous singer that had flown in to serenade the bride and groom for their first dance. She’d spent the last two days running all over town to fulfill her ridiculous demands, including a tropical fruit plate, a pink microphone, and a hotel room stocked with a special brand of tea sold at only one store in the city. All to sing ONE song.
The BRIDE was gone. She stumbled to the fully stocked open bar, where the bartender was polishing glasses.
He poured her a shot. She downed it, then she immediately ordered another. And another. He called her a cab, where she laid down in the backseat, anticipating slipping between her cool sheets and falling into a deep sleep.
The BRIDE was gone. And now so was she.
The BRIDE was gone. Clare, the mother of the bride, who just also happened to be the CEO of the company for which Nancy worked, had just stood up in front of all 500+ guests and announced that there would be no wedding. The bride and her groom had decided to elope. Guests were invited to stay and enjoy the live music, the open bar and the five-star menu. After a brief cocktail party, the guests re-entered an Alice in Wonderland themed fantasy world in a magical garden, complete with six-foot tall bushes with white and red roses, waiters dressed as playing cards, and guest tables labeled with signs with sayings like, “Curioser and Curiouser” and other quotes from the book. And of course, the Queen of Hearts, aka Clare, dressed all in red and holding court with guests as she circulated.
The BRIDE was gone, and Nancy wasn’t sure what to do. She’d come to the wedding alone. There was no friend she disliked enough to introduce to Clare. But weddings meant romance. And now there was no bride and groom to steal the show. The sun was setting. The atmosphere was relaxed. The band started to play as a singer she vaguely recognized from the 90’s began to sing “The Way You Look Tonight.” A guy approached her. The one from finance who was so gorgeous she could hardly stand to look up at him when she passed him in the hall. His eyes twinkled.
“Want to dance?”
She nodded. He held her close, and she inhaled his cinnamony cologne.
The BRIDE was gone, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t start her own love story.
The BRIDE was gone. Her ungrateful daughter had fled the wedding she had lovingly planned for a year. She’d sent a text. A TEXT! Sorry, mom. Chad and I really just wanted to do this our way. We’re eloping. Please don’t be angry.
The BRIDE was gone, and for the first time in her life, Clare was at a loss. She looked futilely for the wedding planner. The bartender told her she’d left 15 minutes ago. The nerve! She called her, but her phone was off. The nerve! Clare ducked into the powder room and took in her reflection. She was wearing a figure-hugging full-length apple red designer gown with a V-neckline. A necklace sparkling with diamonds laid against her chest.
The BRIDE was gone, and Clare was beginning to have an epiphany. She’d never had her special day. She had Kim at 20, after a shotgun courthouse wedding the month before. The marriage ended in a divorce a year later. She’d spent the next 25 years building her empire. She was the most powerful female CEO in the country. Her relationship with Kim had suffered because of the late nights, the long business trips. This wedding was her gift to her, she’d done it all for her, only realizing now she’d just never bothered to ask her what she wanted.
The BRIDE was gone, but it was okay. She responded to her daughter’s text. I love you, baby girl. All I’ve ever wanted was for you to be happy. I hope you have a lovely wedding. She could almost see the shock and relief on Kim’s face from miles away. She felt peace for the first time in years. Her phone beeped. I love you too, mom. She smiled, put her phone in her clutch and left the powder room to face her guests.