My husband and I were married fifteen years ago, in April of 2011. It was a busy day, full of joy, laughter, about 457 hairpins, and love. I have lots of fond memories of that day, with one regret. I suppose that every bride does.
I don't regret having a church wedding, even though I would have rather gone to Vegas, because it made my parents happy. I don't regret not choosing the dresses for the mothers of the bride and groom, even though my mother-in-law took weeks, and many phone calls, longer to find her dress than I did. I don't regret not having 47 bridesmaids in various shades of chartreuse; five bridesmaids were plenty. I don't regret having a wedding planner, even though she almost came to blows with the chapel coordinator over the adjustment of my train.
But my recessional was not Ode to Joy.
Ever since I was a kid, I've loved that song. It truly is an exhuberant, uplifting song. Who could be unhappy listening to one of Beethoven's finest? Whenever I thought about getting married, that song was always the recessional. I pictured myself walking happily down the aisle, the inspiring music the perfect beginning to life as man and wife. It was my dream. All along, I emphasized to the organist at the church that I wanted Ode to Joy as my recessional. She assured me that it would be so. She never actually played it, however. Not even in rehearsal, which prompted me to ask her, yet again, and to emphasize the importance of that particular number. As the pastor pronounced Larry and I officially man and wife, we turned around to walk down the aisle. I waited to hear the beginning notes of Ode to Joy. Instead, we heard Mendelsohn. Bland, tiresome, Mendelsohn, who has been played ad nauseum.
I froze. I wanted to lift up my skirt, run over to the organ, and punch that old organist right in the face. I wanted to make her stop playing that annoying drivel and play the song I'd been waiting for my entire life. That I was willing to completely throttle a frail but passive aggressive old woman over the recessional was a sign of how unreasonable my anger was, but at the time I didn't care. I wanted her to play the "right" song, the song I'd specifically requested, and I wanted her to do that NOW.
But my new husband, who had no idea there was even a problem, was already stepping down, heading for the door. He had my hand in his, and I was forced to go with him, or risk causing a scene before we'd even made it out of the church. As we exited, I felt as though that one woman had completely ruined my wedding. I wanted to have the tantrum that would put every Bridezilla on the planet to shame, but it was too late. The damage had been done, and what was I going to do that would change anything? I managed to calm myself down, and tried to focus on the rest of what was supposed to be a wonderful day.
Obviously, I am not over it. I know that I should just let it go. Even fifteen years later, I still get upset whenever I think about it. That's probably not healthy, to hang on to such anger for so long. But it was MY wedding, and it was marred by a thoughtless organist who completely ignored me and did whatever she wanted. I still want to punch that woman in the face, fifteen years later. If Larry and I ever renew our vows and I finally get my wish to have Ode to Joy played as we walk down the aisle, I might let it go. But maybe not.