“There have to be flowers,” the mother of the bride insisted. “Lots of flowers. When Raam’s sister got married the church was dripping in flowers. If we don’t have as many flowers as they did, she,” implying the groom’s mother, “is going to tell everyone your father and I are either cheap or poor.”
“And Raam and his father had to leave halfway through the ceremony because of their allergies,” rejoined Valeda, the bride. “I want Raam to be able to stay to the end of our wedding. If his mother makes snippy remarks, tell her that you care more about people’s health than the look of things.”
“Then she’ll have hysterics and accuse me of attacking her, you know what she’s like. I hate to say this of anyone but I understand why Raam’s father divorced her.” The older woman sighed. “You still need to decorate the church and the reception, and what are you going to do about the bouquet?”
“Well the table centrepieces don’t have to be flowers. In fact,” Valeda pointed out practically, “avoiding any liquid in the centre pieces might be a Good Plan.”
“Great Uncle Cato at your cousin Farica’s wedding,” agreed her mother. “Are you thinking candy gift boxes or something like that?”
“I thought so,” Valeda nodded. She picked up a craft book from the collected reference materials on the table and began leafing through it. “There’s a rather nifty design in here if I remember. Hang on, what about this?” She turned the book around to show her mother.
“Yes,” the older woman agreed after some consideration, “that has definite potential.”
The weather for the wedding was perfect; sunny, not too warm, not windy and dry under foot. The groom’s mother complained that there was no awning to keep the sun off the path from the car park to the church.
Once inside the church she pooh-poohed the decorations, arrangements of wooden and paper flowers, some of them works of art in origami. “Cheap and tacky,” was the pronouncement that set the bride’s mother’s blood boiling but it was the groom’s sister who put a stop to it.
“At least Dad and Raam will be able to stay at this wedding,” she hissed loudly at her mother.
“Pandering to weakness, that’s what it is,” her mother snapped back.
“At least it’s a physical problem, unlike your self-serving, narcissistic whining,” her daughter came back. “Now for heaven’s sake, shut up. Today is not and was never going to be about you!” The mother of the groom sulked for the rest of the ceremony.
When the bride came down the aisle, there were murmurs of appreciation. The glorious bouquet was a mass of ribbon flowers, cascading down the front of her dress.
The groom didn’t sneeze even once.