By Mona K. Wood

I am helping my friend Sherrie out with her wedding this month. We’re both in our early 40’s and have never been married - probably, in part, due to focusing so much on our careers. We also never gave in to societal pressures to get married earlier from family and well-meaning friends - although we both got close to that altar at some point in our lives.

Each of us is also with our soul mates now, and I’ll be planning my own wedding soon.

This got me to thinking about the changes over the years of what my ideal wedding would be.

Every little girl dreams of the perfect white wedding with the “poof-y” dress and long white veil, something along the lines of Princess Di’s splendor or Julie Andrew’s long train and veil as she wed Capt. Von Trapp in “The Sound of Music.” I was no different. The groom was a detail I would “fill-in” later, but, yes, everything else would be set for the perfect big white wedding!

And then Elvis changed all that. I saw “Blue Hawaii” and wanted to be Joan Black, standing beside Elvis on that canoe platform, wearing a holoku as we sang the “Hawaiian Wedding Song” to each other. Friends and family would gather on either side of the river echoing in perfect harmony. It would be so romantic and colorful.

Yes, that would be how I was to marry!

By the time college rolled around, I had a lot of family and friends’ weddings on my calendar. I was even a bridesmaid a couple of times and asked to wear some pretty hideous dresses that would never see the light of day again.

I was dating quite a bit, but marriage was the furthest thing from my mind. And yet, I still thought about my wedding day. I decided to ignore tradition and do things my own way, not follow any wedding etiquette from a book. Who says you have to wear white? And forget that white-tiered monstrosity of a cake - bring on the chocolate fudge! And the reception would be one big dance party. Yes, my wedding would be unique and fun!

Years and wedding ideas came and went, and now, here I am in my 40’s actually ready for the real thing. And where am I now? Well, if we had a wedding here and invited family, friends, and business associates, we’d be looking at a minimum of 800 people - 500 if we really pared that list down. That wedding would cost a small fortune, not to mention be a source of headaches and stress.

I love my man. Our marriage is way more important than the wed-ding itself.

We’re going to Vegas and finding Elvis to do the deed. At least Elvis is back in the plans.

Mona K. Wood is a publicist and writer. Reach her at