I was saving this story to post on our anniversary in January, but since Beloved went and let the lemon cat out of the bag, and I don’t want to leave Tricia, Janie and Thistle hanging that long 😉 I’ll go ahead and tell it now.
<<< This is a wedding lemon. It is appropriate. This is the wedding lemon’s story.
Okay, if you want to start at the very beginning, which is a very good place to start according to Julie Andrews, you have to go back to October 2007, when, while we were sitting at a really nice restaurant on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Beloved looked at me and said, “So, why don’t we see what it takes to get married in Hawaii this Christmas?”
After my hysterical laughter died down, I saw he was dead serious. So, we went about finding out what we needed to do to get married while in Hawaii over the Christmas holidays. We’d both done this before – marriage, I mean – and didn’t want anything elaborate. We just wanted to sign the papers, say “I do” and get on with the rest of the honeymoon.
Easier said than done.
Weddings are a HUGE racket in Hawaii. While I can’t speak for the residents, people who come to Hawaii from the mainland to get married can NOT just go the Department of Health for a license, nor can they just make an appointment with a Justice of the Peace at City Hall. You have to make an appointment with an independent “marriage license agent” located at various places around the island you intend to get married on for the license itself. We got ours at the espresso bar of a small fish market/delicatessen for $65 (cash only). They threw in a complimentary bumper sticker that said “I Got My Marriage License at the Pono Market.”
Just like this one. In fact, that’s the bumper sticker.
And since you can’t just make an appointment with the Justice of the Peace at City Hall, you MUST go though one of the approximately 2,867,291 wedding planning services that do business on the island of Kauai alone.
“Wedding planning services” is apparently an ancient Hawaiian term for “ridiculous and unnecessary things that are outrageously expensive” and none of which include the serving of alcohol. Something I simply don’t understand, because you’d have to get me pretty damn drunk to agree to pay $3,000 for an officiant, a couple of leis, a “decorative and commemorative” copy of the marriage license, 24 digital – not even printed! – photographs, a pair of traumatized doves they’ll release just in time to poop all over your wedding party, and some guy in a flowered skirt blowing a conch shell.
Call me old and cynical, because – gee – I am, and that all sounded suspiciously like a scam to me. Oh, they’ll make the appointment for you to get the marriage license (although the $3,000 does not include the $65 – in cash – to get it), and they’ll help you plan the time and location of the ceremony and make those arrangements for you, but if you’ve got the appointment for the license and have already made the arrangements in regards to the time and place, it will still cost you $3,000. And if you tell them in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that you DO NOT WANT the damn leis, photographs, doves and conch blower they will so aggressively attempt to upsell you that you’ll end up yelling and calling them thieves while you accuse them of extortion.
Not that I’ve ever done anything like that, you understand.
After talking to well over two dozen blood sucking tourist traps wedding planning services – long distance, mind you – I was ready to cry in frustration when I came across one woman who, along with her husband, was licensed to perform marriages and ran a small service that focused on lower budget ceremonies. She was completely amenable to allowing us to come to their home where we could sign the papers and she would pronounce us married in a mercifully brief civil service. And she would file the paperwork with the state. All for $200, which yes, is still stupidly expensive for what we were getting, but by then I was so thrilled to be quoted a figure that wasn’t in the thousands and didn’t include torch bearers, hula dancers and live monarch butterflies that I was practically sobbing in gratitude as I gave her my credit card number.
So, on January 2, 2008 we drove to her home, which was located fairly far inland on Kauai and was absolutely beautiful. We sat on her lovely covered deck to sign the paper work and then went to stand under a huge, gorgeous Meyer lemon tree loaded with ripe fruit that smelled heavenly while she pronounced us married.
She even gave us a souvenir absolutely free of charge, which is why Beloved is holding a lemon behind his back in the picture of us kissing on our wedding day.