Emily Ford column: Sisters’ weddings won’t follow tradition

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 3, 2007

By Emily Ford
For The Salisbury Post
After dating their boyfriends for many years, both my sisters accepted
marriage proposals in December.
Within 24 hours of each other.
Unbeknownst to each other.
The whirlwind of phone calls, emails and general hoopla that followed
these announcements would rival today’s globally televised football
In her excitement, my mom dashed off an email to her friends with news
of one proposal.
“Laura and Gabriel are engaged!”
Oops. My sister Laura is engaged to Josh. My sister Merilee is marrying
Dad leaked the erroneous email, and the poor mother of the bride(s)
hasn’t heard the end of it. But really, who can blame her? The news
made us all giddier than kids on Christmas morning.
After the initial thrill, the planning began in earnest. I advocated a
double wedding, which went over as well as the vow to “obey.” Laura,
the quiet one, stated that Mer, the loud one, would end up making all
the decisions if they walked down the aisle together.
Laura’s also the insightful one.
They want very different weddings, and you can bet that neither will be
described as “traditional.”
Mer and Gabriel will wed July 14 on the South Dakota prairie, not in
California where he grew up and she’s lived for 10 years. Mer is
considering decorative cornstalks at her ceremony and homemade cupcakes
at her reception.
Laura and Josh will marry a month later in Portland, where they’ve
lived for five years. Their reception will feature vegan fare — no
meat, no cheese, no animal products of any kind. Laura is searching for
the perfect wedding dress. In blue.
No altars, no attendants, no preachers. Laura and Mer will greet their
guests as they arrive and might be encircled by family and friends,
rather than standing in front of them.
Nontraditional, yes. Boring, no.
Gabriel Barrera towers over Mer. Extremely protective, Gabriel
supported her through cancer, surgery and recovery. He introduced his
Latino heritage to our family this Christmas by bringing homemade
tamales to the table. They went surprisingly well with our Norwegian
A scenic artist, serene Gabriel has an eye for color and design and can
paint just about anything. I’ve never heard a couple laugh as often as
Gabriel and Mer.
Josh Devine teaches school. To me, there are few careers as honorable
for a man. Josh teaches social studies at the toughest high school for
the toughest kids, the ones who have been kicked out everywhere else.
He gets sworn at, spit at and threatened regularly.
Funny and smart, he handles this so well that the principal has come to
rely on him when other teachers need help.
Laura and Josh dated in high school, although that relationship ended
just before their senior prom, a transgression for which Josh has since
apologized. They now thrive on a minimalist lifestyle, riding their
bikes to work and building a 530-square foot house.
I’ve always assumed that pensive Laura would have an intimate wedding,
while gregarious Mer would host a huge gala. But with a fiancČ who has
60 first cousins (and that’s just on his dad’s side), Laura’s guest
list now numbers 315.
Mer, on the other hand, has capped hers at 100.
My sisters are full of surprises. Whatever they plan, I know it will be
creative, meaningful and beautiful.
And while they have eschewed bridesmaids, I do hope they consider
flower girls. I might be able to find a couple adorable ones.
Emily Ford is a freelance writer living in Salisbury.