The Story of
Rick and Marla's
Wedding Day 2004
“Some Women Have Perfect Weddings.
I Had An Oops Wedding.”
- Marla Archer
written by Rick Archer
Wedding Day Sunday
- 6 am
I awoke with a start
at 6 am on Sunday morning.
This was September 26, 2004 - my Wedding Day! I leapt out of bed and
began packing some more for the cruise. I separated my luggage into two categories:
Carry-on and Check-in. Marla had carefully explained that whatever I needed
to wear for the wedding should go into the Carry-On luggage.
I stared at the luggage for a while. What have I
forgotten? My tuxedo is in the carry-on. My tuxedo shirt is in the
carry-on. I knew I was missing something. The tie and cummerbund!! I ran
to another suitcase, pulled out the box and put it with carry-on.
That was done. I am all set!
Now it was time to turn my attention to the other details like turning
off air-conditioners, locking doors, food and water for the dogs, suspending
my newspaper delivery, setting the email auto-responder, etc. There
was so much to keep track of I have actually
developed a checklist from my previous trips.
Today was very different in one
regard - I had a dozen people to worry about. In addition to my daughter Sam,
there was Marla’s daughter Marissa, Marla’s brother Larry,
in law Roz, their daughter Shira, Marla’s brother Neil and
sister in law Ellen, plus my Aunt Lynn and my mother Mary.
Some of them were in my house, some of them were at
It was my duty to wake up seven different people and make sure they had
everything they needed! The others I was supposed to phone.
Marla had her own things to worry about.
One person was already awake. It was Aunt Lynn. Lynn had
flown in from McLean, Virginia, the day before. I was so happy to see
her! I love Aunt Lynn. When I went to
college in Baltimore, Aunt Lynn was the dear woman who singlehandedly kept
me sane through all my ups and downs. Back in those days, Aunt Lynn
was half mother to me and half sister too. These days Aunt Lynn was
one of my best friends in the world.
I was about to give Aunt
Lynn a big hug, but something in her face gave me concern.
Lynn was clearly worried about something.
Lynn pulled me aside. “Rick, I am so worried! I
can’t find my passport or any of my cruise documents!
I have looked everywhere three times!”
We had just observed the third anniversary of
9-11 two weeks ago. War was waging hot and heavy in Iraq at
this time. Homeland security was as tight as it could possibly
be. The cruise lines said in no uncertain terms you had to
have your documents or stay home.
If they took a hard line, we
were out of luck. More than likely, Lynn's documents
were a thousand miles away back in
Virginia. It was very early Sunday morning and we were
LEAVING in one hour. There was
literally NOTHING I could do about this problem but plead Lynn's case to the
authorities and pray. It was parachute time -
Jump and hope the chute opens.
In the meantime, the one thing I could NOT do was tell Marla.
Both Lynn and I completely agreed on that. Marla
was a nervous wreck. This knowledge could put her over the edge.
I actually only had to wake one
person up - my daughter Sam. Everyone else just sort of spontaneously
woke up. They immediately began asking a million
questions. Soon my mind was whizzing every
which way trying to solve minor problems. Meanwhile I was deeply
worried about Lynn and her missing documents.
It was time to check on
Marla. As I feared, Marla was a nut case. Marla is a
worrier by nature, but now she was so worried about so many
things she could not see straight. She was out of her mind with anxiety.
Something told her that there were too many
things that could go wrong. Marla said she had premonitions
that something was bound to happen.
I didn't dare tell her
what I knew, but I muttered to myself, 'The woman really is a witch.
How does she know?'
Ding Dong. The doorbell rang. Sam ran to get it. It was
Gary Richardson, his lovely wife Betty, and George Grega,
a mutual friend of Gary's and mine. George
was nice enough to loan us his truck to carry
our D-Day quantity of luggage down to the ship.
Ding Dong. This time it was Mara, Marla’s best friend
with the exasperating near-identical name.
Mara was to be a key player in the day’s drama. She
would singlehandedly stay at Marla’s side all
day long trying to calm the frantic
woman down. Without Mara’s strength and patience, I believe the wedding
ceremony may have required
a padded room.
Ding Dong. Now It was Marla’s brother Neil and his wife Ellen.
They had been staying at a nearby hotel. They had arrived to
join the caravan.
Ding Dong. This time it was George Sargent, aka Mr. Handsome from
the 2004 Mardi Gras Cruise Trip. Somehow after all the terrible things I said
about him in that story he had managed to forgive me.
George was here to lend
support and give a ride to Lynn and Mary.
Okay, the gang is here.
Passport or no passport, it was time to get the show on the road.
The Drive Down
We were 30 minutes behind schedule. However, Marla had
deliberately set an earlier time than necessary so we were okay. We
could still arrive exactly at 10:30 am as planned.
We had an impressive caravan of five cars heading down to Galveston. Marla and I were in the lead. Marissa
used her car to take Sam and Shira with her. Neil and Ellen took Larry
and Roz with them in a rental car. George Sargent took Mara, Mary, and Lynn with him. George Grega
took Betty and Gary with him.
Marla was a nervous wreck during the drive down. She was worried sick that something
would go wrong. Over and over she wailed, "What did I forget?
What am I missing? We're going to be late!" As I sat there nursing the secret about Lynn's missing
passport, I wasn't feeling too hot myself.
It took us 45 minutes to get to Galveston. As I predicted we arrived
at the pier right on time at 10:30 am with only one small problem.
Although the Rhapsody was in plain view within walking distance, it took us
another 30 minutes to drive the last
Royal Caribbean shares the pier with Carnival. You have to go through the
Carnival section to get to the Rhapsody. Something was terribly wrong with the Carnival ship's arrival system
because the traffic was horrendous. With the Rhapsody in perfect view, we
just sat there behind an endless line of unmoving cars trying to get to Carnival.
The Galveston police were making it even harder for us by giving all cars
coming from the parking lot priority. Dozens of cars kept cutting in
front of us as we waited behind an uncaring security guard. We were
trapped. Marla was screaming with frustration! She kept
hollering that if we had left on time, we could have avoided this
You don't argue with Marla when the volcano blows. I sat there
quietly. Truth be told, I was worried too. We didn't
have a lot of time to spare. My stomach was tied in knots.
Madness in the Terminal
We finally we made it to Rhapsody terminal but now we really were 30 minutes behind
schedule. I parked the car in the lot. I saved time by skipping waiting for the shuttle.
Instead I ran back to the ship just
to save time. The scene in the terminal was a madhouse.
I was pleased to see
all our friends who had driven down to be part of our wedding: Sharon
Bill Shaw, Joe Lachner and Patty Harrison, Mike and Trisha Fagan, Tom and Margaret
Easley, Marty and Adele Raber, MG
and Gay Anseman, Marlies Whitmoyer and Shane Young, Carl and Margaux Mann, plus my friend Paul Foltyn.
They were all beaming with big smiles and hugs. Bathed in their
encouragement, for a brief moment I entertained the thought that maybe this
would work out okay after all.
I was immediately snapped back to reality. The lady in charge of the wedding
aboard the ship announced my daughter Samantha would not be
allowed to enter the ship.
It seems I had forgotten to bring her
birth certificate. Marla and I immediately pointed fingers at each other.
'You forgot the document!' 'You never told me I needed it!' 'Did too.'
Apparently, due to 9/11 regulations, the ship is forced to do an identity check
people simply boarding for the two-hour wedding ceremony. Apparently
wedding receptions are closely scrutinized to prevent an Al Quaeda operative
from sneaking aboard.
dangerous guests like my Best Men Mike Fagan and Tom Easely would be heavily scrutinized.
Just one look at either of those guys and anyone would be suspicious!! (Don't tell
anyone, but I was secretly happy to know that Homeland Security was investigating
But it hadn't dawned on me that Samantha needed an ID too. Up till now she
has been relatively harmless. This was
They asked me if I had a picture of her in my wallet. No, but I told them they could go see us on
the Internet together. This didn't work. After all, the picture on the
Internet might be a fake!
"Well, so could the picture in my wallet!" I replied. They didn't like that
Did she have a student ID? No. Did I have any proof that she
existed? I had several choice things to say, but decided to hold my
tongue for a change.
Sam searched through her purse. Magically, Sam produced her SSQQ ID card.
Aha! Finally they discovered the needed document - Did it have her picture? No. But it had her name!
Okay. Proof enough.
The absurdity of the moment crossed my mind.
30 American citizens as witnesses was not enough proof for these bozos, but an SSQQ ID card with
the girl's name on it was perfect. Unbelievable. Gee, I
hope Al Quaeda never learns about this trick. We could have an
entire SSQQ sleeper cell before we know it.
Truth be told,
I always knew Samantha would eventually be allowed on. Don't ask me how I knew; I
I never once took these people seriously. They were just doing their
job. It helped, of course, that Sam was starting to tear up.
Truly dangerous people should learn this secret. It works
every time. If a bad guy could learn to cry at the right time,
he could sneak into any country.
Still, I was glad they relented without too big of a fuss. In
a way, this incident with Sam might help soften them for the main
event. My drifted back to Lynn and her missing documents.
Yes, I was really worried about Aunt Lynn. Compounding my fear was the fact that
Lynn had not even appeared yet! Lynn and my mother had driven down
with George Sargent. George did not have a cell phone. We had been in the terminal
for 25 minutes and there was still no sign of them. Now we were being asked to
board the ship. So where were they? How was I supposed to get on the ship knowing that
Aunt Lynn didn't have her passport?? I absolutely would not board the
ship until I took care of Lynn.
I told Marla to go
ahead. Better to spare her this added worry. Besides,
she needed every spare moment to get her hair done and let Mara help
her get her wedding dress on.
Finally George, Mary, and Lynn showed up. I had bypassed the shuttle by
walking, but George didn't have that option. His shuttle bus had gotten stuck behind the
Carnival traffic in a way that slowed him up much worse than the rest of us.
Lynn went to check in. The customs and immigration agent immediately told
her there was NO WAY she could get on that ship without her passport. Her
Virginia driver's license was a nice start, but not good enough. Her social
security number was nice, but where was a document to prove she hadn't just
made this number up? Maybe I should have given her an SSQQ ID Card
back at home. Wish I had thought of that!
It was one thing to bend the rules so a thirteen year old girl could
on the ship for three hours (Sam was in school which prevented her
from going on the cruise). However apparently it was a
completely different matter letting a 75 year old woman on for a
week. Again, we were not dealing with someone who fit the
danger profile, now were we?
Despite my frustration,
I said nothing. I whispered to Tom Easley at what
point should I turn off the nice guy act and revert to my true self. He said
'not quite yet'. So I behaved.
Now the poor woman was in tears. Prone to an over-active guilty conscience
by nature, Lynn was deeply upset. The tears really began to flow. Lynn was so
frustrated at losing that passport!
I was exasperated. I had been patient long enough. Lynn was a
grandmother several times over and she did not have a particularly threatening
demeanor. Lynn is pretty, smiles a lot, is very warm and outgoing, and
not likely to be a terrorist. Besides, she had a valid
Virginia driver's license with her picture on it, she had a social
security number, and she had already completed the ship's online
However, I had to hand it to them. They were sticking to their
I honestly did not know what the outcome would be.
I also knew these people could be
tough. For example, a very lovely Chinese woman named Beryl Hu had been denied
entry on our Jubilee Cruise trip one year earlier due to some expired paperwork.
Beryl's new paperwork was somewhere in the mail, but had not arrived
in time. All she had was her old paperwork, but this wasn't good enough.
The poor woman
was literally left standing in the terminal. She insisted that her
boyfriend go anyway, so they waved to each other with tears in their
eyes as our ship sailed away.
Knowing how they had treated this woman, I knew
it was quite possible this could be Lynn's fate as well. Sad to say, a
happy outcome was by no means guaranteed.
In fact, at this moment
it wasn't looking good.
The customs man refused to bend. Lynn could not board. He stuck to his
guns firmly. A rule is a rule. My friend Margaux Mann began to try her
impressive persuasive powers on the gentleman. If anyone could change his
mind, she could. Meanwhile I considered bringing the entire
wedding party over. I figured each person could take turns arguing until we
wore the guy down.
Suddenly without warning they announced that Lynn was free to join us.
No explanation was given. Magically Lynn was released to go. She could
come aboard the ship and take her cruise. This abrupt change in their
attitude really took me off guard.
I was suspicious. Had this entire ordeal just been a charade? Why all the tough
talk?? A rule is a rule! Why no explanation as to what changed their mind? They
had been adamant for over 15 minutes that there was NO WAY THEY WOULD BEND
THE RULES, but now by some miracle she was free to board. My brow
furrowed. It was as if someone had a 15 minute stop watch. They would harass
the woman and make her absolutely miserable for 15 minutes as punishment, but when the
time was up, she was free to go. I smelled a rat.
However, we were in a hurry so I decided not to press for an
explanation. I simply accepted the good news and kept my mouth shut. But this
entire affair had left me deeply suspicious.
I breathed a deep sigh of relief.
At this point, I figured the coast was clear.
Little did I know as I boarded the ship that the worst was still to come. You don't believe me? Well, read on and decide for yourself.
Uh Oh. Did
Rick Forget Something?
Marla had gone ahead of me to get her
hair fixed on board the ship. I stayed behind to carry on about 8 different
pieces of luggage. Now the wedding party boarded as a group.
The first clue I had that all was not right came when I got to my room and
realized my tuxedo was missing. I had to go all the way back to the
terminal. Imagine the sigh of relief I experienced when I saw my suit bag
hanging there all by itself right where I had left it. Another ten
minutes went down the drain, but it could have been worse.
The morning had
left me so drained. Get married obviously required more stamina than I
realized. I needed a nap in the worst way, but that was out of the
As I was getting dressed, Mara knocked on the door. I let her in so she could wait
to help Marla get dressed. Actually I was glad to have her there. She helped
me put on my tuxedo tie, something I have never quite figured out how to do
I took one look in the mirror. Perfect! Except for one thing - which
bag had I put my dress shoes in?? I frantically searched every bag.
Oh no. I had forgotten to pack my shoes! Actually I had
packed my shoes, but had forgotten to put them in the Carry-On bag. I
knew immediately there was no way I could get to my luggage. It was in a
giant storage area with a thousand other suitcases awaiting sorting. I
could search the entire area for my luggage, but I would never find it in
time. Now what do I do? All I had were the
basketball shoes I was wearing!
Mara suggested we call the desk. No luck. The largest shoe they had was two
and a half sizes too small. What was my next option? I had an
inspiration. Paul. That was the answer I needed. Paul Foltyn!! At 6' 3", he is even taller
than I am.
So I went upstairs to the Disco in search of
Paul. Bless his heart, he did not hesitate to share his shoes with me.
Unfortunately his shoes were too big for me. This wasn't a problem for me,
but it meant Paul could not put on my basketball shoes! The poor man
had to spend the rest of the wedding walking around in my socks.
And why didn't Paul walk around in his own socks? Because I had to
borrow Paul's socks too. Paul saved the day. He was my hero!!
The entire situation afforded everyone some much-needed comic relief. After
all the tension with the Carnival traffic and the boarding problems, we were all
pretty wound up.
Did I mention everybody laughed at me? These people clearly enjoyed my discomfort greatly.
Nor did the teasing stop there. For the rest of the week, I
heard a new variation on the socks and shoes story every day on the ship. If
you believed everything you heard, I ended
wearing Paul's shoes, socks, belt, shirt, coat, tie and pants to the wedding.
In fact, someone suggested Marla simply marry Paul and save some time. Ha ha ha.
hero Paul, the guy who gave up his shoes so I could get married.
If you look at his feet, you will see him wearing my socks.
Did Gary Forget
After I finished putting on Paul's shoes back
in my cabin, I rejoined the wedding party upstairs. I was in a good
mood. I teased Paul about how I could criticize him all I wanted to because
I had walked a mile back and forth from my cabin to the wedding area in his shoes. Ha ha
ha. Now I was making the jokes. I felt much better. Sadly, it didn't last
I was waving and smiling at everyone until Gary Richardson walked up with a frown.
He had that look on his face. Now what? Gary pulled me aside. He didn't have the music for
the wedding reception. My eyes bulged!! What? No music?
Where is the computer with all the songs on it?
Gary said he had the computer, but he didn't have the speaker/amplifier that
would play the music. Why not?
Gary said as he got to the pier he had to unload dozens of pieces of luggage
from George Grega's truck. Meanwhile the man helping him had been so
aggressive in his demeanor that Gary got flustered. The man kept
yelling in bullet-fire fashion, "Carry-On or Check-In?" with each piece.
When he got to the speaker/amplifier, Gary could only think of using it for
the dance classes. He completely forgot he was going to use it for the
There was no way we could retrieve it in time for
the wedding. This meant the entire hour and a half of music we had
planned for our Reception was down the drain.
Don't tell anyone, but I was secretly happy I wasn't the only person to go brain-dead on
the carry-on issue. It wasn't fun being the only moron (I say that
affectionately, of course). Now I had a
companion. You know how misery loves company? So do morons.
But as I thought about it more, I realized this
also meant the wedding dance with Marla was doomed. We had been
practicing for months! She would be so disappointed. Darn it.
But wait! I had an idea. I had some backups CDs with me that by
some miracle were with my carry-on luggage. I had been making a last-minute
copy of a Big Band music CD that morning and stuffed it in my carry-on bag.
I knew our wedding waltz song was somewhere in the collection of CDs. The
Rhapsody wedding coordinator said she had a boom box if I had the CD.
So I trekked back to the room to get our wedding music. At least this
problem was solved.
From a distance I saw Marla was making her way from our cabin to the wedding
area in the Viking Crown Lounge. I patiently waited for Marla and Mara
to pass. I cleverly averted my gaze to avoid witnessing the
magnificence of "The Dress". A wedding traditionalist, Marla had been
lecturing me on this important piece of wedding etiquette. She noticed that
I averted my eyes and was impressed
that I remembered.
After M and M passed by, I made it to the cabin to get the music. Then I
returned to the wedding party for the THIRD TIME that morning.
I smiled. Now it was time
to get it started, yes? Well, no. Somebody was missing.
The Wedding Waltz
As I arrived at the Wedding
Area for the third time, I need it was time to get the show on the
road. We were twenty minutes late already.
Just as the ceremony was about to begin, the Rhapsody wedding representative asked me if I wanted to
escort my mother into the ceremony.
"Well, of course I would! Thank
you so much for reminding me." Since I was behind a wall, I peeked
around the corner to look at my guests. "By
the way, where are you hiding her?"
The poor man had a blank expression. He wasn't hiding my mother anywhere.
said, "What about my Aunt Lynn? I don't see her either" Another confused look.
and Mike were there beside me preparing for us to enter as a threesome. I asked both
men if they had seen my mother or Aunt Lynn. Their looks
were equally confused. They didn't have any idea where they were NOR HAD
THEY EVEN SEEN THEM!
Now I lost it. I had patiently overcome every obstacle that life had put in
my way over the past three months. I had patiently handled every problem
that had surfaced today, but this was ridiculous!! It was 1:20
pm. The ceremony was already twenty minutes late. Where in the you-know-what
were those two women!?!?! Thank goodness I didn't say it out loud.
I guess I had better go find them. I grabbed Mike and Tom, my best men, and asked them to
come with me and help search the missing women. What I did not
realize at the time was this scenario was taking place out of sight behind a wall.
This meant none our guests realized that I
had even been in the wedding area.
I knew my mother's cabin was on the eighth floor,
but didn't know what the number was. Since the regular cruise guests had not
boarded yet, this floor was completely deserted. So now I
proceeded to make an idiot of myself. I walked a complete rectangle around
the eighth floor hollering at the top of my voice "Mom! Lynn! Where are you?"
I can't imagine what Tom and Mike were thinking as I
bellowed my head off. Actually, I don't want to know.
No luck. As I
passed the neverending series of closed doors, there was no answer.
Ten full minutes had been wasted running the
entire circuit on Deck 8 without results. All that yelling for naught. Now Mike and Tom suggested I go to the
desk on Deck 5 and have the women paged. Good idea!
So we raced down three floors to ask for help. This had such an unreal feel
about it, I secretly wondered if I was being set up. I
actually looked around in
case there was a camera filming "The Joke's On You" for some Reality TV
show. Nope. This was not an episode of Punk'd. This fiasco was on the level.
The woman at the desk
patiently looked up their names to get the cabin number. Then she calmly
called their room and handed me the phone. To my shock, Lynn answered on the
first ring!! What was going on!?!
I was relieved and exasperated. Lynn answered. I breathlessly whispered, "Aunt Lynn,
are you ready? It's time for me
to get married!"
Lynn answered, "Yes, of course. The ceremony is at 1 pm, right?"
I blinked. Huh? "Yes, Lynn, it's at 1 pm."
"Don't worry. We are almost ready! We will be there at least 15 minutes early."
15 minutes early? She was so calm I thought I was in the Twilight
Zone. Do do do do. I looked at the clock on the wall. It read 1:40 pm. Was I going crazy?
"Lynn, it is almost 2 pm. I am already 40 minutes late for my wedding!"
There was a gasp on the line. Then silence. In a barely audible
whisper, she said, "Come get us. We will be ready."
I sent Tom and Mike ahead to explain I was on my way, then I went to the
cabin to fetch Lynn and Mary.
It wasn't until a couple days later that I
learned what had gone wrong.
Lynn was getting grilled by the Immigration clerk, she had glanced at her watch
and realized it was still set on Eastern time.... Virginia time.
Lynn decided to change her watch, but she was so flustered that
she reset her watch to Mountain Time instead of Central Time.
In the complete
silence of her room, Lynn thought it was an hour earlier than it really was.
Lynn and Mary had laid down and had fallen completely asleep
content in the knowledge that they had an extra hour to get
It took me ten more minutes
to fetch Lynn and Mary and get them on the elevator to the Viking
Crown Lounge. The wedding was now delayed by 50 minutes.
Meanwhile, there was an
unusual drama taking place that I was totally unaware of.
No one knew where I was. Rick was missing.
When I learned my aunt and
my mother were missing, I was frantic. It never even crossed
my mind that the three of us were out of sight when I got the bad
news. After all, the guests were a mere five feet away on the
other side of a wall.
However, from the point of view of the wedding party and the guests,
the three men - Rick, Mike, Tom - had never even shown up for the
Now the wedding
guests and a certain bride-to-be were beginning to get worried because THE
First the groom was 20 minutes. That's when Rick discovered
his mother was missing. Then the groom was 30 minutes late.
Then the groom was 40 minutes late. People had a right to begin to
wonder what was going on.
Of course, in retrospect, if I had
even the slightest presence of mind, I would have walked into the
Guest area, explained what was going on, and then taken off
on my wild goose chase. But that thought never crossed my mind.
As it stood, no one had a
clue where I was. In fact, the two Best Men were missing too.
For all the 30 or so Left Behinds knew, there was some serious Alien
Abduction going on. Or maybe there was another explanation...
even more ominous than alien abduction.
Maybe Rick had cold
feet. Maybe Tom and Mike were trying to change his mind.
Or maybe Rick had left the boat and Tom and Mike were trying to find
What utter nonsense. Everyone knew that Rick loved Marla.
However, as each minute ticked off the clock without explanation,
the unthinkable became more and more thinkable. People were
starting to get worried. Very worried.
Where was Rick?
Where were Tom and Mike? Why couldn't someone explain what was
going on? The whispers between the guests reflected the
Meanwhile, behind the
scenes, Marla was in tears. She was crying because she
was afraid she was getting stood up at the altar.
I imagine you are incredulous to think Marla could have been worried about
this. After seeing all these pictures of so much happiness, it might be difficult to
understand how she could feel this way.
So let's visualize the scene from Marla's point of view. After arriving at
the Viking Crown Lounge at 1:15 pm, Marla had been isolated from the wedding
party alone with Mara, Sam, and Marissa waiting for the show to begin.
Isolated out of view,
Marla did not know about my socks and shoes adventure. Marla didn't know about
Gary's wedding music problem. All she knew was that on her way
to this point, she had briefly caught a glance of me and that I had
suddenly disappeared. Marla had assumed I was trying to avoid
seeing her dress, but now maybe there was a more sinister
Marla definitely didn't know about the mystery of the
missing aunt and mother either. All Marla knew was we were running late!
And later. and later. The
wedding coordinator didn't make anything easier by asking her every five minutes
where the heck was her groom. As if Marla had some way of knowing!
beginning to wonder where I was herself.
Meanwhile I had left on my panicked search for Mary and Lynn without explaining to the
wedding guests what was going on. Everyone sensed something had gone wrong.
Now one person after another came backstage to calm an
increasingly jittery Marla.
Then finally there was some news. Someone told Marla there was a rumor I had gone to look for my
This sounded preposterous to Marla. Where was Rick's mother? It was quarter till 2! The wedding
was 45 minutes late. Where the heck was Rick? Was Rick's mother trying
to talk Rick out of marrying Marla? Was Rick's mother trying
to talk Rick into marrying Marla? Marla's brain raced overtime
trying to make sense of this one tiny shred of information.
Then someone said the best men Tom and Mike were missing too. They were
supposed to be looking for Rick! Now why would they be looking for Rick?
This did not sound good.
All Marla knew was she had been standing in place
for over 30 minutes
holding her bouquet of flowers without any clue what was really going on. The
first thing that crossed her mind when the rumor hit that Tom and Mike were
looking for her fiancé was that Rick had gotten cold feet at the last minute.
This did not look good. Her friend Mara cheered her up and said this was
all nonsense, but later on even Mara admitted the same
forbidden thought had crossed her mind.
Marla started to cry. Her makeup smeared. She had to find a tissue to dab
the tears. She tried hard not to cry, but it was too much for her. She was miserable.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, with tears flowing freely, Marla got the word that
had magically appeared with Mother and Aunt in tow. Marla was
incredulous. What on earth was going on?
Waiting for Rick, wondering what the heck is going on.
Marla just moments
before the tears of worry broke through.
After the Wedding when no one was looking, Marla kicked me in the
butt. Ouch! That hurt.
When I asked her what that was for, Marla replied I deserved it
because I made her cry and because I ruined her makeup.
The Royal Caribbean wedding
guy came in and announced it was time
time for Marla to get married.
A million thoughts raced through her mind, some more pleasant than
First she wanted an explanation. Did Mike and Tom have to talk
Rick into doing this against his will? Someone whispered to
Marla not to be upset with Rick; he had spent all this time
searching for his missing mother and aunt.
Finally it made sense to Marla. She knew just how
absent-minded I could be. Well, guess where I got that from?
So there was going to be a wedding after all, eh? Marla took
It was too late to redo the makeup. Marla would just have to be tough!
The music started, so half-crying, half-laughing with relief, a huge
jangle of nerves, Marla began the trip to the altar escorted by her
brothers Larry and
Neil and her bridesmaids Marissa and Sam.
The wedding ceremony was short and sweet, but our
shattered nerves still managed to
I was a little
impatient so I said "I do" before the minister could even get there.
Everyone had a little grin at that one. 'Who cares?' I thought. They had
been having chuckles at my expense all day long.
Then Marla had
trouble putting the ring on my finger so I grabbed it and shoved it on
myself. I was in no mood for social niceties. I wanted to get married!
The moment I got the ring on marked the end of the snafus. From here on out
it was pure happiness.
After some much-needed champagne and some much-needed lunch, it was time for
the wedding dance. Marla and I were ready to Waltz to a very pretty
instrumental version of "A Time for Us" from Romeo and Juliet.
Normally this is a moment for great anxiety among grooms. I read once in
a survey about wedding preparation, 500 different wedding couples agreed the
one thing they would do if they had to do it all over again was to start
preparing for their wedding dance much sooner.
I had a little edge. I had been preparing for my wedding dance for 25 years. Nevertheless in the
middle of the song I tried to get a little fancy and lost my step. Knowing
it was futile to try to fix it and risk a bigger problem, I stood still ready to catch the next beat
and start over.
It wasn't an obvious goof. I was hoping it would go unnoticed, but no such
luck. The Waltz Goddess herself Sharon Crawford let out a chuckle as she
watched from above. Don't you hate people who are perfect?
It crushes me to say
this, but we never got that wasted hour back. Use it or lose
it. Well, it was our own fault. Due to our late start,
now we were practically out of time. We had planned for lots
of dancing at our reception, but we only had enough time to play
three songs for our guests to dance to.
I very much wanted a group
picture, so I organized everyone and took them downstairs to the Centrum.
Our photographer lined up everyone on the stairs and took a wonderful group
That marked a very happy end for a very happy group of people.
Now the wedding officials pointed to their watches and indicated it
was time for the afternoon guests to depart.
Several of our guests said the entire wedding adventure aboard the ship was
so beautiful and romantic they now wished from the bottom of their hearts they could come with us on the
trip that was to follow. I thanked them for their kind words and said
I wished they could come along too.
One couple wasn't just
being polite. They really meant it! Joe and Patty said
leaving that ship was the hardest thing they ever did. Joe and
Patty had never been on a cruise ship before. They had no idea
the ship was so beautiful. Now that they had seen the ship
with their own eyes, this seemed like such a wonderful way to spend
a vacation. They couldn't bear the thought that we were headed
off to surf and sand while they were stuck driving back to the
concrete jungle called Houston.
Sure enough, Joe surprised Patty with a spot on the same cruise the
following year. It makes me happy to point out that Joe and
Patty became cruise regulars all because of our Wedding.
After the group picture, our guests hugged us, shook our hands, and said
their goodbyes. As much as they wanted to stay, it was time to go. I
have to say our guests were really nice to us. I mean, we
wasted an hour of every person's time, but they turned around and
said it was the most fun wedding they had ever been to. And so
exciting! Bless their hearts. Even if they were fibbing,
they still managed to assuage my feelings of guilt a little bit.
just botched my 'I Do'
Marla couldn't get the ring
on, so I shoved it on!
Some pictures don't require
several very kind toasts made by our guests. I really appreciated my new
brothers welcoming me to the family.
However the toast that took the
cake was from Marissa. Marissa is usually quiet and reserved.
She had been very aloof towards me in the beginning of my
relationship. I think she assumed I was eventually going to
hurt her mother, so why give me the time of day?
To my complete surprise, Marissa suddenly opened up to everyone.
Marissa told our group of friends how sad and lonely she had seen her
mother over the past ten years. Now Marissa was so happy that her mother had
finally met a man who made Marla smile instead of cry.
Well, turn on the faucets. That brought on
the tears from EVERYONE, me included. Get out the Kleenex. We all started crying.
That was a really sweet thing to say.
That is the
moment I realized today was not just the start of a new marriage,
but a new family as well.
Our new family
Some very kind words from
my new brothers
A quiet moment in the
Centrum. We should have been at the Life Vest drill
Paul Foltyn, the man who
saved my wedding.
The hardest part for Marla and for me was being forced to say
goodbye to our daughters.
Sam had Eighth Grade at Duchesne Academy and Marissa had her Senior
Year at Texas State. Our two girls were the last to leave - a
sad moment for all four of us. After lots of sad but happy
boo-hoos, the two new sisters in their red dresses were on their way
back to Houston.
Marla and I looked for the nearest seats and collapsed. We were
We had asked that our group picture be taken in the Centrum area on
No surprise, that's exactly where we collapsed. We slowly
began to melt into our chairs. I reminded Marla we still had
the Second Reception for our cruise guests that would be starting in
just a couple hours. Marla shook her head. There was no
way she had the strength for that. But maybe if we could just
rest a moment, maybe we could find a second wind.
and I sat in the Centrum along with Lynn and Mary, we heard the
announcement come on that the life vest drill was about to begin.
I looked at Marla and she looked at me. We both groaned.
Not that again. We were too tired to move. So we just
sat there waiting for some RCCL person to order us out of our seats
to attend the mandatory drill.
amazement, no one said a word. With me in my tuxedo and Marla
in her lovely wedding gown, I guess we were King and Queen for a
day. No one wanted to bother us. This was one privilege
I was deeply grateful for. I needed that rest!
We looked at each
other, held hands, and simultaneously let out a sigh of relief
that could be heard throughout the ship. This day had been quite an adventure.
That is when
Marla looked at me and said, "Rick, most brides hope for a perfect wedding.
Today I had
an 'Oops' Wedding!"
I smiled and nodded in agreement. It had been an ordeal just getting to this
point. The day had definitely been a lot wilder than I would have wished.
agreed on one thing - All's Well That Ends Well.
Now we were married. At that moment
in time, Marla and I could not have been happier.