67: Buckaroos and Buckarettes

67: Buckaroos and Buckarettes

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride

Buckaroos and Buckarettes

Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.

~A.A. Latimer

My only daughter, Alyssa, was getting married in July, and planned a garden ceremony at a lovely ranch just outside town. Like a lot of modern brides, she was counting every penny while stewing over every detail, including the fact that I couldn’t seem to find a suitable mother-of-the-bride outfit. But she was most upset by one of the more odious expenses she faced: providing sanitation facilities for the guests.

We found several companies in our town that specialize in portable restrooms. With company names ranging from the obvious Port-a-Potty, to the ridiculous — Honey Bucket or Royal Flush — we decided to hire Buck’s, known around our area as the “go-to” place.

Until then, I thought only construction crews or outdoor concerts utilized these modern-day outhouses, but no. Lots of brides-to-be rented them for the big day. The clerk at Buck’s kept a straight face as she ran through the different rental packages. For the 100 guests Alyssa planned to invite, we’d need at least two units. “We have rentals,” she said, “in white instead of brown.” She paused. “You know, to look more formal.” A formal outhouse?

“Maybe we can hang signs on them, too?” I said.

The clerk didn’t miss a beat. “Oh, yes, you have your choice of Madames or Hommes, Guys and Gals, or our favorite, Buckaroos and Buckarettes. With color-coordinated ribbons to tie on the door handle.”

“How about air fresheners shaped like wedding bells?” I grinned. Alyssa and the clerk glared.

I saw nothing wrong with a bit of bathroom humor, but by the time we left, Alyssa was upset.

Getting upset is what brides-to-be do, right? As July neared, Alyssa’s nerves grew more frayed.

“Mom,” she said one day, “I just heard from Uncle Fred in California. He’s bringing his new wife and all ten of their kids.” If the guest list grew any longer, we’d need three Bucks instead of two.

More of her plans unraveled faster than a roll of Charmin on a downhill slope. One family member refused to attend if alcohol was served, and another refused to come if alcohol wasn’t served. The lilies we were growing ourselves were threatened by a late-season hailstorm. My daughter worried about everything from where on the ranch Aunt Millie might grab a quick smoke to whether the bridesmaids would fit into their dresses. One minute my normally sweet daughter hated everything and everyone, the next she dissolved into tears. I began to understand why the term “Bridezilla” was coined.

I finally found a simple frock that complemented her colors of dusky pink, aqua and black, but by then Alyssa had transformed from a reasonable twenty-five-year-old to a creature who could give the Bride of Frankenstein a run for the money. And money was part of the reason why she was freaking out. There wasn’t enough.

Finally, the couple sat down with calculators and agreed. Their budget was clogged with way too many guests. They might never stop arguing about whether the toilet seat should be left up or down, but they concurred about the wedding. To avoid going into debt, the guest list had to be cut in half.

To their great relief, some invitees, including Uncle Fred and company, decided they couldn’t make the trip after all. By the time the number of guests had been reduced to about sixty, Alyssa and Ryan realized that another substantial savings stared them in the face. A smaller crowd, even one plied with beer and wine, could get by with only one portable toilet.

One day before the big event, Buck’s delivered one of its special white wedding “units” to the ranch. The couple nixed my “wedding bell air freshener” idea, but they hung several pine tree car fresheners inside and positioned the white facility around the corner from the main reception. To add some color, they tied aqua and pink ribbons on the door handle. Since the bride and groom were country/western fans, they hung a sign that read “Guys” across the top and “Gals” underneath.

On her wedding day, my beautiful daughter made a gorgeous bride. Since the drinkers had won out over the nondrinkers, beer and wine flowed at the reception. Everyone agreed that my daughter and new son-in-law had done a great job on a shoestring budget, and nobody complained about having to wait to use the facilities. Lucky for them, the Buck stopped here.

~Linda S. Clare

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