The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 19, 2013

The wedding is just the first act of a long play

By Jeff Mullin, columnist
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — I love weddings.

Everybody dresses up, there is music, there is food and, best of all, there is cake.

What’s not to like?

I attended a wedding Friday night for a young woman whom we have known since she was a wee girl.

There once was a photo of the two of us wearing large, silly-looking sombreros while we shared a birthday dinner at a local Mexican restaurant.

Mercifully, I think all the copies were destroyed.

But she wore no sombrero Friday night, but instead was radiant in a beautiful wedding gown.

Keep in mind, this was written prior to the ceremony.

But all brides are radiant, all brides are beautiful. In fact, I think it’s the law.

Not all weddings are flawless, however.

The mother of a Connecticut bride dipped into the wedding reception punch just a little too much recently.

The 55-year-old was drunk and caused a scene at the reception, held at the Arabian Horse Farm Inn in Sudbury, Conn.

When the bride attempted to escort her drunken mom out of the reception and help her into a car, mom allegedly slapped her.

Police were called. When they arrived they found mom sprawled out in the bushes, swearing and screaming.

Mom was arrested and charged with assault, then freed on $200 bail.

The mother’s attorney told the MetroWest Daily News “It (the wedding) was beautiful. It was after the wedding was over.”

Someday the young couple will laugh about this. Maybe.

At least mom waited to spoil the fun until after the couple had tied the knot.

That wasn’t the case in Fargo, N.D., where 26-year-old Michelle Marxen and her fiancé were scheduled to be married Saturday.

Or they were, that is, until one day a couple of months ago, when Michelle got a phone call. It was her intended.

“He said he couldn’t pretend to love me anymore and didn’t want to go through with the wedding,” Marxen told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Marxen was devastated, as you might expect, and left holding the bag financially as some $15,000 that already had been paid to vendors couldn’t be refunded.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity, however, Marxen decided to turn the whole sorry situation into something positive.

So Saturday night, instead of hosting Michelle Marxen’s wedding reception for 200 guests, the Ramada Plaza in Fargo entertained more than 200 clients of an organization called Creative Care for Reaching Independence, an organization that serves people with disabilities.

The clients were treated to a “Monster Mash” party, complete with spooky punch, jack-o-lanterns, a parade and a giant candy station.

Marxen, by the way, has moved on after having her heart broken. She has a new job and is getting a new apartment.

“What I’ve come to terms with is that you can’t make anyone love you,” she told the Star-Tribune.

Don’t worry Michelle. With a heart as big as yours, somebody will.

Love, of course, is at the heart of every wedding, or should be, at least.

Weddings can range from huge, splashy affairs to simple, humble ceremonies.

In Las Vegas, where you can be married at a drive-through or at a ceremony officiated by an Elvis impersonator, you can even have a zombie wedding, where not only the bride and groom but the entire wedding party are in full zombie makeup.

But no matter the setting, the core of each wedding is the same, with the couple vowing to spend the rest of their lives together, come what may, until death do they part.

That’s exactly what Floyd and Margaret Nordhagen did.

The couple, who were married 68 years, were driving along a highway in Washington state recently when they pulled out in front of an oncoming pickup truck, perhaps having misjudged the truck’s speed.

Officers responding in the wake of the violent crash found Floyd, 92, dead, and Margaret, 88, nearly so.

They weren’t surprised by that, given the horrific nature of the accident.

But they were surprised that Margaret was holding her husband’s hand.

She died shortly thereafter.

That’s the kind of love ministers talk about when they perform marriage ceremonies — love that is patient, kind, unselfish and everlasting.

I wish the same kind of love for every married couple, whether they have been wed for days or decades.

Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at