After my weekend, I advocate eloping

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By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

Ashley Matthews is now Ashley Drake. That was the easy part. The path that led to that to that occurrence was more involved, more chaotic, more expensive. I doubt Will and Kate had such raucous nuptials.
But I’m getting the cart before the horse. Allow me to gee-haw, turn around.
Almost two weeks ago if you will remember, I went to Beaufort, S.C. to  hold the mother-of-the bride’s hand and to ensure she showed up for the marriage vows of her oldest child.
Beaufort is a lovely, Southern city filled with antebellum charm and is the second oldest city  in South Carolina.
When Ashley was about 13 years old, her family vacationed in the Low Country and on the way home saw one of those historical markers beside the road.
They stopped and Ashley fell in love. That love endured for the next 15 years and on May 14, she married Dusty, her second love, with her first love looming in the background–the Old Sheldon Church.
Not much remains today–only the walls and an altar. No floor. No ceiling. No windows. Simply the burned out remains of what once was a magnificent piece of architecture. It is a beautiful setting, but it was calling for rain all week.
And of course my dear friend Denise, being Denise, had no contingency plan. There wasn’t one for the catered outdoor reception either. I took every umbrella I owned–just in case.
Thursday and Friday were splendid, however, and most everyone was off taking care of last minute details. It’s difficult–and expensive to plan a wedding that’s five hours from your home.
The bride’s father was making benches for wedding guests. Those benches had to be easy to assemble and disassemble immediately after the ceremony.
He and Denise left for Home Depot at 11 Friday morning. The rehearsal started at 4:30 and they had not returned to get ready when we left at 4.
They met us there–everyone in their finery for the rehearsal dinner except for the bride’s parents in shorts, T-shirts and hats.
All went well though, despite the heat (no rain) and as we left for dinner the parents went to bathe and change. They made an appearance 45 minutes into the rehearsal dinner, but they did arrive.
The day of the wedding all the female attendants, plus Denise and Ashley’s grandmother descended on the house we rented, along with two hair dressers/make up artists. From 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. it was madness as a house full of women (and my hubby, the  lone male) readied for The Event.
Tom was praying for quiet and had no escape since he was the photographer. The men were at the church finishing the benches. We were to be there at 3 for photos of the bride and her family. Only problem, none of the men had returned to bathe and dress. We left without them and found them still constructing benches and a dead battery in the van. They took my car keys and were off just as it started to sprinkle. When they returned I saw my umbrellas being secured in the corner. But by the time the strains of the Wedding March sounded, everyone was in his place, the wedding went on and the rain held off–all night.
We were all zombies by the time we got home at midnight, too tired to talk or reflect on the day, but all with the same advice to Ashley’s brother, marrying in December.