Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fairy Tale Weddings

by Suzie Johnson

Readers and writers of romance are always searching for that next great love story. But what about real life?

Today I'd like to talk about love stories. Specifically my own, as well as one seemingly magical love story that captured my heart and imagination thirty years ago.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a Royal Watcher, you probably know Prince William is about to marry Kate. If you don’t, consider this your official notice. It's this Friday. I don’t consider myself a Royal Watcher, but at one time I did.

I was just a couple of years out of high school, and working at an electronics plant that played a Canadian radio station all day long. It was there that I first heard the rumors that Prince Charles may finally be getting married. My girlish and romantic heart soared at the very thought of some lucky girl walking down the aisle to say I Do to her prince.

Later, I watched as the prince introduced his shy fiancé to the world on television. As Diana showed her beautiful sapphire ring to the cameras, it felt like I witnessed the beginnings of a fairy tale.

Like millions of others, I became caught up in the anticipation of the Royal Wedding. It also seemed in some ways, that my life was paralleling that of the fairy tale princess.

Obviously, I wasn’t part of the British aristocracy, and the man I was planning to marry wasn’t a prince; at least not by blood. In my eyes, though, he was indeed a prince. And while the cameras were busy capturing shots of Diana wearing her sapphire and diamond engagement ring, I was picking out my ruby and diamond engagement ring. While Diana was seeking a designer for her wedding gown, I was day-dreaming about what mine would look like.

Even my dentist got into the act. Looking back, it sounds so silly, but as I sat in the dentist chair with the silly blue drool bib fastened around my neck and his shiny, sharp instruments poking my mouth, Dr. Higgins would study my face intently, and say in a low dramatic voice, “Shades of Di.” Now I, in no way thought then, nor do I think now, that I looked anything like the beautiful princess-to-be. The only similarities I could even point to were my hair color, age, and nose. And though I may not have resembled Diana, on some level I took delight in the comparison.

Diana’s big day came about four months before mine. And just like 750 million other people, I tuned in to watch what appeared to be the fairy tale princess’s dreams come true. It should come as no surprise that when I walked down the aisle a few months later, I reveled in the fact that the train on my ivory wedding dress flowed behind me in waves.

Just over a year later, four months after Prince William was born, my precious son was also born. And that was where the parallels stopped.

While Diana was featured on the cover of magazines every week, and appeared to be living the fairy tale life, my marriage was going through the typical ups and downs. One of my dearest friends, who shall remain nameless (DL, you know who you are!), bemoaned the fact that Diana was on the cover of every subscription that came to her mailbox, and on every magazine in the grocery store. I, on the other hand, never confessed to my friend that I enjoyed seeing Diana’s pictures and secretly read every article on her that I could.

Late one night, my husband, son and I were on our way home from seeing the second Jurassic Park movie at the local drive-in when the terrible news of Diana’s car crash came over the radio. I was devastated, heartsick, and prayerfully hopeful that she would survive. Of course, you all know the rest of the story. The beautiful princess, whose fairy tale wedding ended in divorce, would never get her happy ending. Not in the earthly sense of the word, anyway.

I’m no longer a Royal Watcher. I haven’t been since the day I watched Diana’s heartbroken sons accompany her casket to the church. Though she didn’t have her fairy tale ending, I sincerely hope her son finds his Happily Ever After with his bride-to-be.

Life is not perfect. No marriage or romance is ever perfect. It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of prayer, and a lot of trust in God. This year, my husband and I are fortunate enough to celebrate our 30th anniversary.

Do you plan to watch the royal wedding? Do you have your own love story you’d like to share with us today?


  1. The world is awaiting for Royal wedding after so many years a marriage is in the royal family i hope both of them will live happily life along together with some one or two children so let us wish they will be the best couple of the world for the year of 2011 after this wedding she will also prove herself a kind hearted woman as like as Princes Diana and also participate in so many social activities.

  2. I was around 10 years old during the last royal wedding, and I did watch it. I remember I was at a cabin in the woods with my mom, her best friend, and all of us kids. So with no men around, it was a real royal wedding weekend. I also remember we attempted to fish off the docks without the dads around. It was fun.

  3. Good morning, Prasad. I bet they'll have beautiful children. I have no doubt that Kate will be a kindhearted princess. She appears to be a gentle soul. I hope the media is respectful and doesn't follow her every move.

  4. Dina, I'm smiling. Attempted? Does that mean you didn't catch anything? ;-) it sounds like a perfect weekend. A cabin in the woods near a lake, solitude, and the romance of a royal wedding.

  5. We did catch a few fish. The moms were inside. I was the oldest and obviously a girl. It seems to me we did okay, but couldn't figure out how to get the hooks out of the fish once we caught them.

  6. LOL. Oh, Dina, I wouldn't be able to get the hooks out, either. I can't imagine who was more traumatized. The fish or the little girls trying to get the hooks out.

  7. I didn't get to watch the royal wedding, but I remember being shocked when I heard of her car accident. I was in college, and remember thinking how some people are always just there, and how shocking it is to discover that they are mortal. If I remember correctly Pope John Paul died around the same time as did Mother Theresa.

    The world has been a poorer place for their absence.

  8. Lisa, I'm so glad you mentioned Diana in the same sentence as Pope John Paul and Mother Teresa, because Diana was a true humanitarian. She didn't have to be, but it was just who she was. Her heart was definitely in the right place.

  9. Suzie, I wasn't planning on watching Willate's/Katiam's big event, but after Anita's post yesterday, I'm now thinking I will.

    I remember watching Diana's funeral and thinking how her death would in the long run make William a better king. Don't know if it is possible for Queen E to bypass her son for her grandson, but I think she oughta.

  10. Gina, I have a very strong feeling that William has the very best qualities of his mother, and I totally agree. I think the tragedy has probably shifted his life in a way that will have positive effects on his future.

  11. I've been waiting a long time for this post, Suzie! What a tribute to your husband.

    You know me, ladies. I even watched Andrew and Fergie's wedding. Yipee, I had a VCR by then so I didn't need to get up at 2AM to do so. When Diana died, I sobbed--now, I was pregnant and I had already cried that day over a trifling, funny comment my husband made about the salsa and sour cream mixture I'd concocted and which I was eating almost by the spoonful. So there were hormones involved. But I did love Diana and I still wonder what things would've been like had she lived.

    When Mother Teresa died, I remember feeling deflated at the loss, too, but also grateful for her witness.

    Gina, I agree: Diana's death changed a lot of things for the royal family and William will be a better king for her example. He's already protecting Kate, involved in charities, and works to stay in touch with his subjects.

  12. Thanks, Susie. You're so sweet. I'll be sure to tell my husband what you said. :-)

    Somehow I think you would have cried even if you hadn't of been pregnant. I know I did.

  13. Susie--

    Nice post, and I love the way you put it all in perspective.

    I was in junior high when Charles and Diana got married. I remember dragging myself out of bed to watch it, and everyone I knew was gaga over the royal couple--and that dress with the poufy sleeves. (of courses, everything was poufy then). All the pomp and splendor makes for a successful wedding, but the marriage is just beginning.

    Congrats on the 30 years. Hubby and I will be celebrating 25 years this June.

  14. Thank you, Barb. And congratulations to you and your hubby,too.

    Poufy sleeves - I didn't have them. I had narrow form-fitting sleeves that I probably would not be able to get my arms into today. And if I could get my arms in them, I doubt very much that I'd be able to zip the dress up. Sigh...

  15. I was about 10-11, and my mom woke me up (my parents worked nights delivering newspapers) so I could watch the wedding on our grainy, no-cable channel. I loved her dress, but my all-time favorite fairy-tale wedding has to be Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music (sigh).
    BTW, I had the puffy sleeves. When my daughter opted to wear my wedding dress for her own wedding two years ago the first thing (the only thing, actually) she changed was those obnoxious sleeves. The dress looked much better.

  16. Niki, I think it is so very awesome that your daughter wore your wedding dress. I've been saving mine, hoping that when my son gets married, maybe his bride-to-be will want to wear my dress. (No pressure, Kirk, if you're reading this ;-))

    Niki, I love the Sound of Music wedding, too.

  17. Thank you ladies for making me feel like an old lady! I was a mom with three children and watched the wedding with little distraction. (What year was that?) I remember so much of it because it was so truly romantic!

    I enjoyed everyone's remarks. Loved the Sound of Music wedding-oh my!

    I am planning on getting up and watching as much as I can on friday before I have to go to work. Then, I'll catch up with things on Friday night.


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