Bridal Bliss In Boca

***Let it be a standing preface that all Boca Friday posts will have been inspired by an overheard bagel-place conversation***

Today, three girls were cooing over a friend’s engagement ring. I swear they couldn’t have been over sixteen, but my sciatica’s acting up and my gray hair is back, so I’m a testy judge.

I used to live in St. Petersburg. That’s the city I’m referencing when I mention the West Coast. In my book, my main character witnesses a wedding planner vying for a young bride’s business. The excerpt:

A glass of juice and a pointless shower later, I trudged through a bucket of humidity to the pavilion. A small family was picnicking on a bench at the far right, and a wedding planner and bride were talking on the front steps. The planner, in a business suit that made your eyes itch to look at it, was waving a manicured hand at the rafters, compensating for the bride’s scowl with over-enthusiasm.

I didn’t recognize her, so she must have been new. We had an arsenal of inland-dwelling planners at the ready, staking out bridal shops and hotel venues to bait the freshly engaged with pictures of sunsets and jumping dolphins. I’d heard the routine so many times I could perform it myself.

I’m in the marriage-talk leg of my relationship. Listen, it’s no secret that I’m f*cked up in many ways, not leastly because of a past relationship. So please understand how significant it is that I can type that sentence without gouging my eyes out with my own dismembered limbs. I never EVER thought I’d let that happen, let alone be happy about it.

Anyway, South Florida has a whole heck of a lot of wedding venues. I swear I’m not trying to beef up the irony for my post, but I also used to work at a bridal salon. I’ll tell you–it’s HARD to be unique. You can only see so many ivory dresses with a contrasting sash, balloon-skirted bridesmaids and tiger lily bouquets.

I’m jumping the gun here, because an engagement for me is nowhere in my near future. Poor Rich is going to run for the hills when he reads this. But I was a cheerleader and I have two girls and I drooled over the Britney Spears VMA performance from the family room at my sorority house. I like pink. So f*ck it, I already have a song list.

How can I be original in Boca? Rich is super traditional and has made me promise to wear a white dress. He wants flowers and tuxes and groomsmen. If it were up to me I’d have a wacky theme like Heathers, or Jawbreakers or Freaked, or something. I’d drown the room in poppy fabrics, pay top dollar for an outrageous cake, and hire zombies and stilt-walkers to roam around scaring people. There’d be fiery uplighting, a big disco ball and very loud music.

But I don’t have the money or the right. I want Rich to be happy, and since he’s accepted me and all of my crazy, I’ve got to let some things go. So again, how to be unique in a place where every three sand-miles is a breakaway alter and chiavari prints?

Boca–South Florida in general–is a big wedding-planning revolving door. These hotels do a hundred plus weddings a year.

I once created a wedding planner site ( it doesn’t exist anymore). I wanted to specialize in themed, through-the-looking-glass weddings for poor people like me. Kind of impossible, but whatever. I have enough dream fuel to navigate the impractical matrix. So let’s play a what-if game…

Let’s say I have a friend…Roxy (thank you Dave and Vanessa). She meets a really cool cat…Elvis. So, Elvis dips an unsuspecting toe in the sharky waters of ‘what kind of ring would you want?’

And let’s say they live in Boca Raton. How do they break the mold and funk up this desensitized land of fourth-marriages?