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  • Writer's pictureLaura

Chris + Ellen (Pretend to Get Married) - August 6, 2016 - James Island

I spent the first week of August planning a mock wedding. I was calculating things you see; wholesale costs, hours spent arranging, the sheer number of times you have to polish a wine glass for it to actually be clear. I felt I needed a good grasp on these figures. I felt, as a new business owner, that I should be able to blurt out facts about costs, times, rental fees, statistics, and avoiding floral catastrophes. How else do you prove to people that you know what you’re doing?

In addition to my numbers game, I’d gather some good photos of bouquets, centerpieces, and boutonnieres, all for the sake of Instagram; that daunting vortex of trendy goodness. I enlisted my sassy sister and her extremely patient husband to stand in my parent’s backyard in heavy formalwear on a hot summer’s afternoon in Charleston. They were good sports about it.

Their own wedding was almost three years ago on a beach in South Florida with just eight family members as witnesses. Occasionally my sassy sister complains that she didn’t have a large “wedding of the century” style bash here in our hometown. That said, she complains about a lot of things. The day of The Big Mock Wedding she called me every half-hour with a blend of annoyance at how long I was taking to make her bouquet and an enthusiasm for getting started that began to test even my own optimistic disposition.

“Seriously, stop calling me.” I barked once when asked for the seventh time if 4:30 was still what time I wanted her to come over. My sister is known for being particularly unhelpful and is often seen slinking out of a room when it comes time to take care of any chores. I prepared myself for an afternoon of her resisting my direction. I figured she would be hot and irritable and unconcerned as to whether or not I got what I needed out of the day. Instead she arrived at my parent’s door (one hour early) with a wild lightness about her. She had brought props and outfit changes and had let her thick brown hair out of the bun she keeps tightly piled on the very top of her head. I was immediately skeptical and I eyeballed her curiously for the first hour of the setup.

In an unexpected turn, my sassy sister was a delightful gigglebox, tickled by her small bouquet and the way her old wedding dress looked even brighter against our Dad’s beloved green lawn than it did next to the turquoise water on that small Florida beach. I was charmed by my sister’s delight and we giggled back and forth at each other for the duration of her photo shoot. When it came time for her husband to suit up and step out into the heat, she became wonderfully bossy and moved his arms and torso around as she saw fit for the pose she had in her mind. I realized she was creating the wedding portraits they’ve never had and I lost sight of shooting my florals and instead snapped a ton of pictures of the two of them feeling silly all dressed up in our parent’s backyard.

And just so you don’t go thinking my sister is a sweetie and I’m actually the mean one, here’s a picture of her snarling at her husband.

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