Jessica Westhead’s Wedding Date

Feb 11, 2016 by

Jessica Westhead’s Wedding Date

Wet Valentine:


Cathy had always dreamed of nautical-themed nuptials.

Because Stan loved Cathy, his original notion was to fill the reception hall with water and to serve the hors d’oeuvres from an inflatable raft.

It was difficult, though, to work out a seating plan. Where would people sit? Would they swim in formation?

They scrapped the raft, the water, and the clam centrepieces, and opted for a seafoam motif for the bridesmaids’ gowns and lifejackets for the groomsmen. Stan and Cathy would wear water wings and snorkelling gear during their vows. They rented a dunk tank and distributed fishing lures as sharp and dangerous favours.


On their wedding day, Stan and Cathy stood up in front of their assembled family and friends and regretted the water wings decision a little bit, because their arms stuck out awkwardly.


The officiant talked and Cathy thought about Stan. When she first met him, he felt familiar and exciting all at once, like riding her tricycle down the somewhat sloped part of the street she grew up on. Her snorkel mask fogged up with the memory.

They had to remove their mouthpieces to say, “I do.” Then were left with deep rims circling their mouths.

“That’s that, then,” said the officiant. They kissed. Everyone cheered.

Photographs. Dinner. Party. The night got darker, and the guests went home.


Stan and Cathy went to a hotel. Their suite had two bathrooms, and even crazier, there was a telephone in both of them.

They each went into a bathroom and sat on a toilet. Stan called up Cathy, and then Cathy called up Stan.

What is there to say in this type of situation? Basically just observational comments about what was around them—a sink, some small soaps, a bathtub with showering capabilities, some small shampoo bottles. Towels of varying sizes.

They hung up. They did whatever it was they went into the bathrooms to do in the first place.

They explored the rest of the suite. There was a kitchenette! With cupboards!

They were empty.

Stan yawned

Cathy said, “I’m pretty tired too.”

They got into bed. The bed was extremely soft. And yet supportive. Yielding, and yet firm where it needed to be. Can a bed undulate? The evidence pointed to yes. They took turns admiring the mattress topper, which according to the pamphlet “simulated a marshmallow-like effect.” They both agreed that was no exaggeration.

They fell asleep.


The next morning, Stan was hungry, but there was no food. He wondered about ordering room service, but then he remembered there was a family brunch to attend. Stan did not want to attend the family brunch, but at least maybe there would be peameal bacon there.

Cathy hoped there would be balloons at the brunch, but when they arrived, there were not so many balloons. Actually, none. There were balloons at the reception, she remembered. If they had brought some to the hotel, they could have filled them with water.

Cathy had always dreamed of nautical-themed nuptials.


Jessica Westhead’s critically acclaimed short story collection And Also Sharks (Cormorant Books, 2011) was a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book, one of Kobo’s Best Ebooks of 2011, and a finalist for the Danuta Gleed Short Fiction Prize.

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