The Wedding

Aunt Irma was sniffing so hard that I handed her a Kleenex. She hooked arms with me and said, “You know, you’re very cute.”

A few years ago, I went to a friend’s wedding. I arrived at the chapel early. I sat in the front pew while the piano played.

It was the best seat in the house. I wanted to see my buddy’s expression when he stumbled over the words “I do.”

The chapel was adorned with white flowers and greenery. The woman seated beside me was the elderly aunt of the bride.

“My name’s Irma,” she said, presenting her white-gloved hand. “How do you know the groom?”

“We grew up fishing together,” I said.

She looked at me like I had cockroaches crawling out of my eye sockets. “Really? I thought he hated fishing.”

That’s when I had a feeling something was wrong.

And I was correct. When the young groom took the altar, I realized I’d never seen him before in my life.

I started having chest pains. I was at the right church on the wrong weekend.

Soon, the pianist played the familiar chords of matrimony and the congregation stood. I was going to sneak out the back, but I was too late. The rear doors swung open.

The bride walked the aisle, wearing a gown that was elegant enough to break your heart.

Beside me, Aunt Irma was becoming emotional. “Doesn’t she look just radiant?”

“Does she ever,” I said. “I hardly even recognized her.”

We took our seats. The minister asked who gave the bride away. A white-haired man said, “Her mama and I!”

But when the old man sat alone in his pew, I began to wonder where the mama of the bride was. I almost asked Aunt Irma about it, but I didn’t want to pry.

Anyway, it was a beautiful ceremony. The bride and groom recited vows they’d written themselves.

The groom read a sonnet so eloquent it made most women in the audience disgusted with their own husbands.

When the girl read her vows, they were so sweet and heart-wrenching, half the congregation was dehydrated afterward.

Aunt Irma was sniffing so hard that I handed her a Kleenex. She hooked arms with me and said, “You know, you’re very cute.”

I started looking for fire exits.

When the preacher announced the young couple, the people applauded. The newlyweds left the chapel accompanied by the song, “Lean on Me.”

I’ve never heard this song at a wedding before or since, but it works.

The people in the pews actually started singing softly. Aunt Irma began humming. And even I started swaying a little.

I was so moved to hear a crowd gently murmuring these lyrics, that I started to get leaky eyes.

Aunt Irma seemed genuinely concerned about me.

“I’ll be fine,” I told her. “It’s just allergies.”

“There now,” she said, squeezing my hand. “What you need is a real woman to hold you tight.”


The reception was in the fellowship hall. I almost left without attending, but I suddenly felt very bad for intruding on a personal ceremony then bolting. It seemed rude, somehow.

So, I made a brief appearance. Aunt Irma got me a glass of tea that was sweet enough to melt paint off a fire hydrant.

I was just in time for the father-daughter dance. The white-haired man slow-danced with his best girl. And if there’s anything more beautiful than a father-daughter dance, I don’t care to know what it is.

When the dance floor opened, Aunt Irma asked if I wanted to cut a rug. I declined, and told her that I had a titanium hip I was still making payments on.

But she wouldn’t accept my answer.

So, old Irma and I danced the “Cha Cha Slide” together. And when the DJ played “I Can’t Help Falling in Love,” I had to warn Irma to watch where she placed her hands.

Before I left the reception, I clipped a twenty-dollar bill to the money tree beside the bridal cake. I was almost to the door when I was stopped by the bride and groom.

“You look familiar,” the bride said. “Who’d you come with?”

I choked.

“He’s all mine,” said Aunt Irma, grabbing my arm. “I’m divorcing your uncle Edward, deal with it.”

Before the couple could say anything else, I hugged the bride, then shook the groom’s hand.

And in the young man’s eyes, I saw the same boyish face I used to see in the mirror. He looked like I did on the day of my wedding. Naive, hopeful, innocent.

It’s the beautiful ignorance of a young man who has no idea how magnificent his own life will turn out to be. I wish I could’ve explained it to him, but I couldn’t. As it happens, I’m still learning about it myself.

“If you ever wanna go fishing,” I said. “Call me.”

Then, for no reason at all, Aunt Irma slapped my behind.


  1. Steve Winfield - February 10, 2019 8:00 am

    I absolutely can not believe this is the only comment. Stellar story brother. I’ve showed up on the wrong day a time or two, just not for a wedding, so far. Keep up the great work. I love you.

  2. ccgoesdutch - February 10, 2019 8:54 am

    that was super cute!

  3. Cheryl Clem - February 10, 2019 10:21 am

    At our wedding reception we were in what they used to call, the receiving line, when this young pretty lady greeted us and said…” You don’t know me, I just love weddings.”. She shook our hands and gave us a 20 dollar bill.

  4. Keloth Anne - February 10, 2019 11:47 am

    ??. It sounds like something that would happen to me???
    As they say “bless your heart” and Aunt Irma saved the day ??

  5. Elizabeth Edens - February 10, 2019 1:06 pm


  6. Connie Havard Ryland - February 10, 2019 1:17 pm

    How appropriate to read this today. One week from today, my baby, my granddaughter, will be getting married in a sweet, simple wddding, to her best friend and soul mate. I pray for a beautiful life for them, even with all that life has to throw at them. It’s going to be a lovely day.

  7. Sherry - February 10, 2019 1:43 pm

    Did you make the right wedding?

  8. Eiizabeth - February 10, 2019 1:44 pm

    Enjoyed this essay so much!

  9. Karen - February 10, 2019 1:52 pm

    So, you are a wedding crasher. This is one of the funniest stories you have written. Aunt Irma is a scream.

  10. Marilyn - February 10, 2019 3:17 pm

    Just what was needed this morning – a happy story to counter all the negatives in the news reports. Keep the “good stuff” coming, Sean. We really do need more of it!

  11. Lydia - February 10, 2019 4:22 pm

    Love this one!

  12. Edna B. - February 10, 2019 5:31 pm

    A super fun story, I loved it! You always manage to turn a possibly bad thing into a great time. Sean, you have a great day, hugs, Edna B.

  13. Jack Darnell - February 10, 2019 5:43 pm

    I know Irma!
    Good one my friend, Thanks for the smiles.

  14. HJ Patterson - February 10, 2019 6:37 pm

    This one needs be included in your next compilation of stories that you’ll publish. Funny from start to end.

  15. Barbara Pope - February 10, 2019 6:54 pm

    You’re such a good sport and Aunt Irma is a true Southerner!

  16. Edy - February 10, 2019 7:50 pm

    I like your style?

  17. Linda Allen - February 10, 2019 11:11 pm

    Usually I get all misty eyed when I read your marvelous stories. This time I laughed out loud! Thank you

  18. Sherri Stroud - February 11, 2019 3:56 am

    This made me laugh out loud! I love your writing!

  19. Shelton A. - February 11, 2019 3:36 pm

    You really made the best out of a bad situation (excepting Aunt Irma-whoa!).

  20. Toots Rogers - February 11, 2019 5:14 pm

    I always believe your stories, but I’m having a little trouble believing all of this one! However, I shouldn’t doubt you because I did go to the wrong party one time. My neighbor was the Presbyterian preacher and the family was moving to a new city. His wife was not only a precious neighbor, but my son’s teacher (4 year old kindergarten). I saw the church’s going-away party notice in the local newspaper. Through tears in my eyes, I made a note of the time and place. So on that Sunday afternoon, my son and I made the trek to the party. And sure enough, there were two couples from the Presbyterian Church greeting the guests. Bo and I went in to the guest book. I had him sign his own name because I knew that would be so special for “Miss” Anna. He painstakingly wrote Bo (placed his finger down to make the correct spacing) then wrote Tucker. I’m beginning to notice I didn’t see the honorees. Hmmmmmm. There are photo albums out and we start looking through them. This is when it hit me! We are at the wrong party! The historic home had been rented today for a 90th birthday party. We are a week early! The reception for the Brock family is NEXT Sunday. We scurry out and return on the correct date. We are still laughing about that faux pas! 🙂

  21. barbara ann locklear - February 12, 2019 1:02 am

    Sean I started reading your article a few months ago when a friend forwarded it to me. This is the first time I have ever responded to anything I have read, I just never comment. I must say I’m so happy my friend sent me your article, that turned out to be a special gift. I lost my husband not long ago and have been in a bad way. Reading your stories are good medicine for me, they make me laugh and cry at the same time. I also read the comments from your readers and I must agree with them you are the best and a great storyteller, wonderful writer, you know how to reach the heart and soul of your readers. You really have a great way with words. Love Irma and your story it made me laugh out loud. My spirit need your story each day, I must say your readers are good writers also. Thanks for allowing me to crash your party and tag along..

    • Marcie Smith - March 11, 2019 6:24 am

      Barbara, please PM me if ya ever need anyone to talk to!!! FB: Marcie Nichole

    • Mary F. - March 12, 2019 2:10 am

      Barbara Ann, sending prayers and HUGS. God bless you.

  22. Laura - February 12, 2019 9:52 pm

    Hilarious! You crashed a wedding and probably made Aunt Irma’s year! I belly laughed out loud!

  23. Kathy Woodliff - February 13, 2019 5:08 pm

    I love your posts and would like to contact you about a speaking event at our Church in Jackson, Ms on March 31, 2019. Could you please contact me as soon as possible. Thanks so much and keep up the good work.

  24. Vivian - March 11, 2019 2:26 pm

    I love this! In my lifetime I have attended two wrong funerals. Awkward, to say the least. This ‘wrong wedding’ story gives me something to look forward to. Thanks for this one, Loved it!

  25. unkle Kenny - March 11, 2019 5:06 pm

    The thangs we will do for poundcake !

  26. Charlton Duncan - January 4, 2021 1:04 pm

    Another beautiful, funny, that-could-be-me kind of story! I have read several of Sean’s books and want more!

  27. Teresa Brown - January 4, 2021 1:49 pm

    That’s the funniest wedding story I’ve read in many years. I love the fact that you didnt just get up and leave. And sounds like it’s a good thing you were there, especially for Aunt Irma. She will probably remember you as much as you remember her. Thank you for sharing.


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