We’ve all heard of storybook engagements (And why can’t a fairy tale be about you and me?).
But how about storybook marriages?
This weekend, I met two couples in a Rhode Island wedding where the fun and absurdity began with adorable, reasonable questions:
Were you a meteorologist? No one seemed to know, but every couple said they loved my job, so it was an endearing diversion from a more serious request: Were you born a New Yorker? “The Bronx is the home of the Bronx Zoo and it’s the home of Yankee Stadium, he answered with clear confidence. Then I yelled in horror.” Only after a second glance and a last-minute approval (and my huge sigh of relief) did the bride request a referral to the Bronx herself.
There was no one more creative in formulating a wedding theme than the wedding planner involved.
Imagine the storybook theme was instead a type of energy transmission, where four brides each represent energy (electricity, natural gas, renewable energy and geothermal) and are obviously connected to each other. Guests may observe a spider web, which supports a rope that would have been out of place in a basic wedding.
It was the 20-something “math girl” who proposed as her “guest bartender” and came up with the original “Star Wars”-themed guest list (which includes the “Attack of the Clones” appearance by Jake Skywalker), and it was the 35-year-old “geology guy” who posted pictures on Instagram of a cloud of saffron in an attempt to relate to the “Cosmos” episode “Made in Heaven” and then uploaded the shot in a town hall meeting, where he explained how his “cloud of saffron” had brought them together.
And the youngest bridesmaid has a fun thing in her summer wardrobe–and it isn’t beach towel-waist.
When I first heard of this fanciful example of American political married life, I couldn’t help thinking it was either bad luck or good luck. Alas, it’s the storybook part that made it so much more special.
Not every married couple can parade their love and commitment before a national television audience or tell us everything about their “third base” bonafides on Facebook, but when many, including some of the most privileged people in the world, have to make a perfect marriage out of a makeshift quilt of conversations, which suggests a lot about our unfathomable capacity for kindness and generosity, then yes, a storybook marriage can look more like this than fairytales to me.
Sylvia Earle is a senior fellow at the School of Public Policy at George Mason University. Her latest book is a memoir titled “A Wonder in My Life: A Book About Nature.”