Wedding Belles

Story Adele Elliott

Summer has arrived in our little corner of the world. Branches of the shaggy bushes surrounding my front porch have dropped their weight of a thousand azalea blossoms, once exquisite in white and watermelon pink. Across the street a trumpet vine curls lazily around the mail box post. That lush lawn is abundant with magnolia trees; huge flowers weigh heavily on sagging limbs.

The luxury of endless summer evenings means slowing down. Being surrounded by all this nature may make our minds drift to thoughts of the birds and the bees, and, in my case, the fireflies (my all-time favorite insect). Love is truly “in the air.” That is, if we can judge by the ads for everything bridal.

June is the time of year when all those girls who found their Prince Charming are flaunting a new left-handedness and shopping for the perfect strapless ball gown. A wedding is a soirée we hope to star in only once.

Although Prince Charming appears to be quite a catch, I can’t help but wonder … how many times has this guy been married? Was Cinderella wife number one? What about Snow White, or Sleeping Beauty? Does anyone really want to be the third “Mrs. Charming”? And just how “charming” is he? Evidently, he is so charismatic that beauties are blinded by his serial matrimony.

I, too, am thinking about the love and dating mores of my springs. Once upon a time, girls longed for a man who was taller and smarter, and oh-so handsome. We were oblivious to the desires of boys. Did they wish for some girl who was short, dumb, and not too pretty?

Contemporary mating appears slightly easier than it once was. These days you almost never hear of a dowry. Good thing, since farm animals are in short supply in my circle. The only pig owner I know has a pot-bellied pet.

Now women almost always come with a built-in career. Truly, the potential of a community-property cash reward for her education and talent is a dowry of sorts. And with pre-nups, there is almost no risk. A groom can whisk away his young bride until she gets tiresome, then trade her in for a newer model in five to seven years.

Yet, we keep doing it; marriage, that is. Humans are eternally hopeful, especially about love. And why not? When done right, a happy marriage is truly wonderful.

Perhaps we think more of “marriage,” and less of “wedding.’’ If you really believe that wearing a tiara and a princess dress is the object, then I suggest that you move to New Orleans, where that sort of attire is always acceptable — for both women and men.

However, if you plan on happily-ever-after, please consider life after the cake has gotten stale. One morning you could awaken to find out that the prince next to you has turned back into a frog. You may wonder why you kissed him in the first place.

Apparently, there are not enough princes to go around. Could it be because there is a scarcity of white horses (going back to that farm animal shortage)? We should probably focus on common men, ones who are not so frog-hearted. Perhaps they don’t come pre-loaded, and with a crown. But, really, do we want to wear corsets and glass slippers ever after? It’s time for a reality check.

In my little patch of Mississippi, the lawn is sprouting tiny white flowers and something exotic, wild and red. They just emerged, with perhaps a bit of help from the birds and the bees, and a spark of romantic lighting from fireflies. Does true love really need anything more?