72: It Won’t Rain

72: It Won’t Rain

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride

It Won’t Rain

The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The six-acre park next to the city hall couldn’t have been a more picturesque spot for a wedding. Impeccably manicured lawns rolled gently down to a shimmering lake. Paths wound through azalea bushes, and a pavilion overlooked the entire scene.

“What do you think?” My future daughter-in-law, Lindsey, could barely contain her excitement. “Won’t this be perfect for an outdoor wedding?”

“It’s beautiful,” I agreed.

“We’ll set up the guests’ chairs here.” She pointed to an area under a stand of oak trees. “Reverend Spencer will stand with his back to the lake, and Jeremy and I will be married under the archway my dad is building for us.”

I smiled as I pictured the charming wedding Lindsey described. Then my practical side stepped in. “Where will you dress? And what if someone has to use the bathroom?”

“The mayor’s office said they would give us a key to City Hall so we could use their facilities.”

“Sounds like everything is falling into place.” I glanced up as a cloud passed over the sun. “What will we do if it rains? After all, it is springtime.”

“It won’t rain,” Lindsey said with certainty.

“Okay, but...”

“It won’t rain.”

We worked out the rest of the details. Then Lindsey left to run errands while I stayed behind to find out about getting a key for the building. The receptionist directed me to the mayor’s office where I told his secretary, Connie, what I needed. After signing the necessary papers, I turned to go and then hesitated. While I loved Lindsey’s indomitable spirit, I somehow doubted she could control the weather by sheer force of will.

“Is there a room here we could use just in case it rains the day of the wedding?” I asked. “I’d hate to try to notify guests of a change in location at the last minute.”

“Sure,” Connie said. “You can use the boardroom. I’ll show it to you.”

Connie unlocked the door to a large room with high ceilings. Over a hundred chairs faced a dais ringed by a semi-circular desk that held microphones for the city council members. The rich walnut paneling and rails were beautiful but not very romantic. As Connie and I talked, I pondered how to convert the stiff, courtroom-like surroundings into a backdrop suitable for a wedding.

Then I turned around.

Twenty-foot glass walls framed two sides of the “back” of the room. “Can we open those blinds?” I asked.

“Certainly.”

As we drew back the long, vertical blinds, sunlight streamed in. One window faced the parking lot, but azaleas lined the front and hid most of the asphalt from view. Water spurted merrily from a fountain in the center of the oval drive. Oaks and birches lined the parking area and side of the building.

Perfect.

Later, I told Lindsey about the boardroom. “At least now we have a contingency plan in case it rains.”

“It won’t rain,” she said.

“But...”

“It won’t rain.”

The weekend before the wedding, it began to rain. And I don’t mean gentle April showers. By Tuesday, it had rained nonstop. We weathered tornado warnings and heard reports of cars being swept away by floodwaters in a nearby city.

On Thursday, Lindsey called. “It’s still raining!” she wailed. “Even if it stops now, everything will be too soaked to have the wedding outside.”

I tried to reassure her. “I know. We can use the boardroom. It’ll be all right.”

On Saturday, my sister and niece helped me decorate the boardroom while Lindsey’s mom prepared for the reception dinner to be held at her house. As thunder crashed outside, we ironed tablecloths and hung paper bells. My husband and some of Jeremy’s friends set up a truckload of white folding chairs and dried the seats. The caterer hurried the wedding cake inside before rain could destroy the icing. Almost everything was in place.

Then the archway arrived. Lindsey’s dad had carved it of 150-year-old cedar from a barn on her grandfather’s farm. Double wedding rings crowned the top. We wound ivy through the latticework sides, hung white silk bouquets on the corners, and placed potted plants on either side. It looked like an archway fit for royalty.

When we pulled back the blinds, the room was transformed. Branches brushed the tall windows, giving the illusion of trees swaying overhead. Flowers bloomed throughout the grounds. We looked upon a world that was fresh and green and inviting — and dripping rain, of course. It was as close to being outdoors as we could get.

Later that day, as Lindsey and Jeremy exchanged vows before a background of gray clouds, love filled the room. Even torrential rains could do nothing to dampen the beautiful event we had come to celebrate.

I now have a daughter-in-law who still looks upon the world with a can-do spirit, and Lindsey is blessed — or cursed — with a pragmatic mother-in-law who is not a last-minute person. When Lindsey’s “can-do” turns into “Oh, no! What now?” I hope I’ll always be there to help her see that contingency plans can be a beautiful thing.

~Tracy Crump

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