I knew I could plan and organize my wedding. I just needed the right tools: reference materials and vodka.

What lessons does Lorna learn on her way to the altar?

Lesson 1: “Happy” news is in the ear of the listener. My sisters were mortified disappointed when I told them I was getting married to Chuck. They were sure he was just another misguided choice in my twisted selection of boyfriends. Because they loved me, they tried to talk me out of it. But once I committed to something, I was all in. Resigned, they accepted the news with the enthusiasm of deck hands on the Titanic.

Okay, maybe I shouldn't have told Tina when she was taking a shower.

Lisa, who thought no man was good enough for me, stared me down and told me, "No way. You're marrying him over my dead but gorgeous body."

Lesson 2: Planning a wedding keeps your mind off what you’re getting yourself into. I was so busy with the details of the ceremony, including sewing my own satin and lace wedding dress, that I didn’t have time to contemplate life after the wedding. That was both good and bad. If young people gave a great deal of thought to such a major life change, there may be fewer weddings. Then again, if they gave marriage the proper amount of thought, there may be fewer divorces…

I get dizzy when I think too hard about things. Best to stop thinking and start sewing. That dress isn't going to make itself.

Since Chuck had left town to find work in Washington, D.C.–our new home after the wedding–I was in charge of most of the decisions. Between working, planning the wedding, and drinking, I was a busy bride-to-be.

Lesson 3: Don’t plan a wedding while drunk. This may seem obvious to most people, but it wasn’t to me at the time. I believed my drinking was more medicinal–necessary to get me through the stresses of daily living. Chuck called every night to check on the plans. His mother took over a lot of the decisions because she was more “socially adept” than I was. She lived in a house and I used to live in a trailer. But Chuck said to ignore his mother. I drank and ignored the whole thing when I could. I was an adult and still felt like a Middle Child.

Little known fact: alcohol mends frayed rope and nerve fibers.

Lesson 4: No matter how much you plan or don’t plan, things are going to go the way they’re going to go. Almost everything went well (as planned) in our wedding. Invitations were sent out on time, gift registries were done, I made my dress, the wedding party was properly attired, reception plans were finalized after some changes, and all the other minutia that comprise a wedding got done. Some things went wrong: I forgot to tell the photographer we moved the reception, so he had to hunt us down after the wedding; some people were miffed at their reception seating (blame Chuck’s mother), and the “cool” October wedding day was in the low 80s and humid (think profuse sweating and bad hair).

Yep, that's me and my mom almost 30 years ago. She's not wearing black. She supported my mate selection. Her outfit was a deep wine color--how appropriate.

Lesson 5: Showing up to your wedding sober is a sign of love. I vowed to myself not to drink the day before and the day of my wedding. Besides the pocket watch that belonged to my father (who died when I was four) that I had specially engraved, that was my wedding gift to Chuck. I thought I was being very generous.

What would my future mother-in-law think if I'd shown up drunk and forgotten to put on my wedding dress? I'd be a legend in the Methodist church. Well, "legend" may not be the right word...

Standing at the back of the church at high noon in my beautiful dress, I thought, “What am I doing?” Before real panic set in, the organ began playing the Wedding March. It sounded like a dirge. “Too late.” I took a deep breath and glided toward my future, envisioning the cold champagne at the reception.

Atta Girl! Get rid of the Middle Man...no glasses necessary. Party on now that there's no turning back!

What began with a conversation about dogs ends with Lorna at the altar. He wants to change a woman he doesn’t really know; she doesn’t really know who she is. What happens to these married strangers?