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A Mormon Wedding

Christian J - September 15, 2008

Monday September 15, 2003

8:39am - Man receives a phone call from a worker at the Washington D.C. Temple. The worker claims that the wedding ceremony planned for Saturday the 20th must be moved to one of three days (the 15th!, the 16th or the 17th) because of the fast approaching hurricane Isabel. The worker explains that they don’t know for sure if the hurricane will have passed by then – and don’t want to take any chances. Man agrees to call back with an answer…

8:50am – Man calls Woman with the news. Woman doesn’t think the joke is funny.

9:33am – Plans are made to have the ceremony on Wednesday the 17th in the early afternoon.

Tuesday September 16, 2003

10:11pm – Woman and her family arrive at the Northern Virginia home of Man’s parents (a 6 hour drive from West Virginia). Woman proceeds to work through the night on her hand-made dress.

Wednesday September 17, 2003

9:45am – Man and Woman arrive at the Temple so that Woman can receive her endowment. Woman remains in shock (not because she’s a bride-zilla but because above all, she hates to be rushed)

1:06am – Man receives word that the scheduled sealer (a close friend of the family) will not be able to make it in time. The temple president offers to help.

2:00pm – Amid the rush and confusion, Man and Woman kneel at the alter of the temple with their closest friends and family. The ceremony is deeply peaceful and extraordinarily insightful and spiritual. Woman cracks her first smile in a few days.

3:03pm - Man and Woman proceed to the front of the temple to be photographed. Not in a tux and wedding gown but in their Sunday best.

4:14pm – Man and Woman face the possibility of spending their wedding night in Man’s parent’s house. (ouch!) In addition, the reception and honeymoon flight are still scheduled for Saturday the 20th. What to do for three nights and 2 days? Man’s friends come through with three nights at a bed and breakfast in old-town Fairfax. (cheers!)

9:46pm – Hurricane Isabel pounces on the D.C. area – pulling down trees and cutting power and water supply.

Thursday September 18, 2003

9:00am - While Man and Woman wake to a delicious breakfast, their families wake to 16 people, 1 child, no running water and no power in a 3 bedroom townhouse. Tensions run a little high.

Friday September 19, 2003

1:00pm – The mood is lightened by a pre-planned trip to Baltimore to see the Orioles battle the Yankees. Because of the continued storm potential, thousands skip the game (which compels the powers-that-be to allow the fans to sit wherever they want in the ballpark.) Man teaches his impressionable niece how to boo Jeter on 1st base. The party ends in the 6th inning when rain ends the game.

Saturday September 20, 2003 (original wedding date)

8:50am – Man and Woman travel to the temple with Woman’s father (a photographer) for the formal wedding shots. The sky is as clear as they’ve ever seen it.

6:00pm – The reception, held at a local community center, is a great success. Homemade cheesecake is served instead of crusty old wedding cake.

10:12pm – Man and Woman leave the event in a limo. They both exhale.

Man and Woman ponder the implications of such a rocky start to their life together. But mostly, they’re just grateful for those few moments – on that one day – in September – and for most everyday after. Honest.


  1. Awesome post. Thank you. :)

    Comment by Kim Siever — September 16, 2008 @ 5:01 am

  2. CJ,
    Tomorrow your anniversary? Cheers, mate!

    Comment by Rusty — September 16, 2008 @ 5:43 am

  3. Congratulations, CJ!

    Comment by cheryl — September 16, 2008 @ 6:44 am

  4. CJ–hearty congratulations on your anniversary!

    Another September 17 wedding story.

    Man serves in US army for three years, arriving home in July 1946. In September begins freshman year at Caltech.

    Summer 1947. Interviews for mission. Withdraws from Caltech, which will grant only one-year leave.

    Travels to SLC for general authority interview, required then for all missionaries. Meets with Elder Benson. He knew the man’s father, a stake president. “Where would you like to serve your mission?” “England. Ancestral home, etc.” “There’s a group at the Mission Home right now, if you want to join them it could be arranged.” “Well, I’d like to have a chance to see my parents before I leave.” “How about Canada, then? You could visit your folks and come back in time.” “Ok.”

    A few weeks later, letter from 47 East South Temple, calling to Canadian Mission.

    Sometime after arriving in Canada. Meets Sister Hughes, from Los Angeles.

    Sometime in 1948. Sister Hughes completes mission and returns home.

    Early 1949. Sister Hughes makes the trip to the man’s Arizona hometown, meets his parents.

    March 1949. The man’s mother passes away.

    September 10, 1949. The man returns from his mission.

    September 17, 1949. Friday. The Arizona Temple is closed, but the temple president, friends of the groom’s family, opens it for that one day for one wedding.

    Later that month, readmitted to Caltech.

    1956. Leaves Caltech with BS, PhD, and three children.

    Happy 59th, Mom and Dad!

    (You’re in great company, CJ! Good things happen on September 17.)

    Comment by Mark B. — September 16, 2008 @ 8:34 am

  5. Congrats CJ and Mark B.!

    Comment by Steve Evans — September 16, 2008 @ 8:49 am

  6. CJ – You captured the events of the week very well. I’m impressed that amid all the hysteria you remembered so many details.

    I wanted to add one additional detail however – just two days before Isabel hit, Man’s family filled their two 25 gallons water tanks with fresh water. For a family with a weak preparedness record this proved to be monumental. When power was knocked out at the two county pumping stations, we woke-up to no water in a house with 16 people! Eek! But the water in the tanks was used primarily for flushing toilets (very important) until the country water return later that afternoon. The neighbors were impressed.

    Happy Anniversary!

    Comment by lamonte — September 16, 2008 @ 9:19 am

  7. Congrats Mark! Thanks for the story.

    Lamonte, I did not know about that part of the story but it further illustrates what a remarkable week it was.

    Comment by CJ Douglass — September 16, 2008 @ 10:17 am

  8. “Man and Woman face the possibility of spending their wedding night in Man’s parent’s house. (ouch!) ”

    Yeah that could make for some uncomfortable breakfast moments. So how did you sleep? Uh fine???

    Comment by bbell — September 16, 2008 @ 2:41 pm

  9. Great post aside from the Jeter booing part. That’s a pretty great story to be able to tell grandkids etc. The sealer messed up during our ceremony and had to do it twice, but that’s nothing to this.

    Comment by vbg — September 17, 2008 @ 2:17 pm

  10. Mark B–

    You left out a lot of good stuff, like woman finishes her mission and leaves for home with engagement ring, and a clear statement that the wedding not only happened 7 days after man returned from his mission but without them ever having gone on an actual date (maybe they exaggerate, and those P-day activities really were different then, as Grandma claims)

    Comment by Maryanne N — September 17, 2008 @ 5:32 pm

  11. On September 17, 2003, this woman was giving birth to a bouncing baby boy. Happy anniversary!

    Comment by tracy m — September 21, 2008 @ 9:45 am

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