The other night as we were watching GWTW, my mother said, "I wish they would have showed Scarlett and Rhett's wedding." So, here it is my version of how the wedding went.
Aunt Pitty's magnolia tree was in full bloom, and the fragrant flowers wafted through Scarlett's room. Scarlett waited for Mammy and Melanie to help her dress, today she was marrying Rhett Butler. The wedding would have been three weeks ago, but Scarlett had insisted they wait until June, the date Rhett wanted was very close to her first wedding anniversary with Charles. Rhett had chuckled, "Well, after you marry me, you only have 9 months to choose from in the future." She had swatted at him, and scowled.
Now, it was the first Wednesday in June, and in about two hours a small gathering would commence in Aunt Pitty's garden followed by a dinner before they departed for their train to meet the boat to New Orleans. Scarlett shivered with anticipation of visiting New Orleans, as she ran her fingers along the lace on her silk robe that Rhett had sent for from New Orleans, she wondered what other excitement and decadence awaited her there.
Melanie broke her thoughts as she came in the room smiling, followed by a scowling Mammy. Scarlett had heard the debates and admonishing for nearly, two months, ever since the engagement was announced in the paper, and today was the day, whether Mammy liked it or not, the wedding was today.
"Scarlett, dear, you look lovely, but let's get your hair done first. Mammy?"
Mammy stood behind Scarlett and looked in the mirror, "How you want to do your hair, Miss Scarlett?"
Melanie could feel the tension between Mammy and Scarlett, and knew how so many people were talking and disapproving of this marriage. Melanie was in awe, she had wished it would have happened years ago, Rhett was so good to Wade, and he cared so much for Scarlett, why else would he had risked his life saving her family more than once. Melanie observed Scarlett, and saw the irritation growing in her face.
"Mammy, do it like you do for Sundays, except leave two long curls in the back, hanging, the rest piled on my head."
Scarlett held the small wreath of shrub pink shrub roses in her lap.
Prissy knocked on the door and stood in the room holding Ella on her hip, drowsily laying her head on Prissy's shoulder, "Miss Scarlett, the baby is so tired."
"Put her down for her nap Prissy," Scarlett said dismissively.
"But- what if she sleep too long?"
"It doesn't matter, she's a baby, I rather her sleep that be cranky and screaming at the wedding."
Scarlett caught a glimpse at her scrawny daughter, with a cap of stiff ginger curls on her head, and her monkey face sucking her thumb. The dress Rhett had gotten for Ella, was a pale green organza made into tiny pleats, and gathered at the yoke with white ribbon roses. Scarlett smiled with pride at how pretty the dress looked on the pitiful child.
Mammy arranged the small wreath of roses in the hair pulled up in the back of Scarlett's head, and Melanie unwrapped the dress from the gossamer white paper it had been placed in when Rhett brought it back from Paris. Melanie marveled at the creamy pearl buttons sewn along the trail of delicate beige lace on the pale blue silk. The blue was a delicate blue, but it had a strong hint of green, Melanie thought, "This is the color of aquamarines my mother used to have earrings this color."
The dress was tapered at the waist and the chest which gave Scarlett a graceful silhouette, and the skirt made a smaller arch as it flowed down into an underskirt made of the same beige taffetta trimmed with beige lace as the bodice. Scarlett folded her hands in front of her looking in the mirror, and the sleeves were tailored to her arms, and flared out like bells at her wrists trimmed with the same lace and buttoned with pearls.
"You look beautiful, darling," Melanie hugged her at the waist.
Scarlett smiled at her reflection in the mirror, "Yes, this dress is perfect."
Mammy folded the tissue from the dressed, and snorted. Scarlett looked over her shoulder, and ordered, "Mammy got check on Wade, see he has gotten his bath."
Mammy left the room, and Melanie watched as Scarlett began patting the rouge ever so carefully on her face. Melanie knew the gossip, and she prayed that nobody would ruin Scarlett's day.
"You look very pretty, too, Melly."
"Oh, Scarlett, thank you. I just dressed up the dress you got me for my birthday last year."
"But that gray has such a nice lavender stripe, and those new buttons are so delicate."
"Thank you, dear. It really makes me feel good that you approve, after all you always look so lovely."
Scarlett placed her mother's ear bobs in her ears, and looked at them in the mirror admiring the dangle. It was Wade that knocked on the door, "Mother?"
Melanie opened the door, and Wade stood there smiling broad and proud in his new suit. It was his first formal suit, and he and Rhett went to buy it downtown right after Christmas.
"Wade Hampton, don't you look handsome!" Melanie piped.
The boy's soft brown eyes went to his mother, "Mammy said to tell you, I'm dressed."
Scarlett nodded, "Very well, go and sit in the parlor, read a book or play with your soldiers, but don't go outside!"
"I can't Pork and Uncle Peter, they are putting the flowers on the chairs in the garden, and that white stuff all over the garden. When is Uncle Rhett coming?"
"Later," Scarlett snapped as she dabbed on perfume at her neck.
Wade turned and left hopping down the stairs making thuds, that Scarlett dismissed as she hummed to herself. Melanie asked, "Do you have everything you need?"
Scarlett looked around, "Well, my dress is new and blue, my ear bobs are old, and wait, I have this." SHe rummaged in her drawer and pulled out a starched white handkerchief with the letters RKB, laughing Scarlett said, "This is Rhett's I borrowed it a year ago, I guess I can give it back to him today!"
Melanie blushed as she giggled, thinking of after the wedding Scarlett and Rhett were going on a grand honeymoon. Melanie knew Captain Butler had means and money, and she felt good that Scarlett had someone who could keep her safe and happy. Melanie knew that Scarlett had not had luck with her other marriages, both men dying within months of the wedding, and she was proud of how strong Scarlett was that she could go on with her life, with a heart full of grief. Even though, Melanie knew that her marriage to Frank was convenience and a financial venture to save her home, and even her marriage to Charles, her own brother, Melanie knew Scarlett was a naive and impulsive young belle, just as CHalres was naive and impulsive, and young love rarely ponders of love and commitment, but she was grateful if Charles life was short that Scarlett had made it a happy one, and had given them an heir for the Hamilton name. In that, she knew Scarlett had good within her. But Rhett, Melanie knew this time Scarlett was marrying for love, for Captain Butler loved her. Melanie could see it in his eyes and smile as they followed Scarlett, and Scarlett looked forward to his visits, not just for gifts, but they had shared so many adventures and trials during the war, Melanie knew that these years had brought them closer, and they loved each other.
Mammy brought up the nosegays and placed them on the dresser.
Scarlett seeing the tight nosegays of pink roses and baby's breath tied with a pale beige ribbon, she asked, "Is Captain Butler here?"
"Yes…. he's downstairs reading to Wade." Mammy grumbled.
Melanie took Mammy's hand, and brought her in the room,"Mammy, you attend Miss Scarlett, I'll see how Captain Butler's doing."
Mammy waddled in, as Scarlett stood up, "You look very pretty, Miss Scarlett, too pretty."
Scarlett glared, "Don't, I don't want to hear any more of your fussing!"
"I ain't fussing, I'm just saying, you like fine, like your Grandmother, too fine for that white trash."
"Mammy! Captain Butler is from a fine family in Charleston, of course they don't see eye to eye-"
"Look, I knows your Pa was from Ireland, and maybe he come from peasants and farmers, and Lord, you take right after him, but somewhere in your blood and your heart, you are a Robillard, too. And I pray that sumptin from Miss Ellen would come out in you, good."
Scarlett looked as if she was six years old again, and had pushed Suellen in the mud after the Spring rain. She didn't know what to say, she wanted to be like Ellen, but it was so hard, her nature was brash and outspoken, and her temper was quick and seeing people being stupid, infuriated her, she didn't feel pity for ignorant people.
AFter a long silence, Mammy asked, "You love this man? I know he loves you, probably for one reason."
"Mammy?" Scarlett looked scandalized, but she felt she couldn't lie to Mammy, "I am fond of him."
"Like you were fond of Mr. Kennedy and that poor boy, Mr. Hamilton?"
Scarlett made a face, "You know I needed the money for Tara, don't bring him up, you helped me. Rhett and I we have a lot in common, and we get on well. He likes to go and have fun. Mammy, I haven't had fun in so long."
"That's not what marriage is for-"
"Mammy, I'm marrying him, now if you want, I can send you back to Tara-"
"No, you ain't I won't leave Master Wade and Miss Ella and you."
"Alright, then be civil and no more talk of this."
Mammy grumbled and handed her the bouquet, the doorbell started to ring, as the small group entered for the wedding. Scarlett stood on the landing and she could hear the high pitch sounds of Beau and Wade, Aunt Pitty welcoming Ashley and Uncle Henry. The wooden leg of WIll, followed by the sweet, fake sappy voice of Suellen, and the whining of her baby on her hip, caused Scarlett to take a deep breath. The priest from the Immaculate Conception church followed Suellen's family into the house. Rhett had insisted on having the priest and he had paid him quite a donation to perform the ceremony. Wade dashed passed the priest into the parlor as the group was led out to the garden and heard the chuckling as he pulled on Rhett's hand, leading him out to the garden. Scarlett gasped as she tried to hide in the shadow, but Rhett had glanced up and saw the glimmer of the pale blue silk in the sunlight through the round window.
He casually called over his shoulder, "Beautiful as ever my sweet, I could kidnap you at this moment, and forget the ceremony."
"Rhett, don't look, just go outside!"
"Hmm, I hope you change your mind tonight."
Scarlett turned red to her hairline, and refused to answer him, she had thought about it late in the night, but somehow the busy morning had not allowed the honeymoon to bother her all morning, until Rhett had brought it up. Now, her stomach fluttered and her knees shook, it was the sight of Melly at the bottom of the steps, that caused her to feel a calm.
"Dear, we are ready, you look nervous?"
"No, I'm fine, just waiting for you, take your bouquet."
Melanie hurried up the steps apologizing for forgetting it, she wanted everything to be perfect today, because she really felt Scarlett was marrying for love. Wil waited at the bottom of the steps, as Melanie and Scarlett met him. Wil smiled at Scarlett, "Hello, Scarlett, you look happy. Are you happy?"
"Yes, Will. I am."
"From what Suellen has told me, I was looking for horns and a pitchfork on that Butler man, but I must say, he seems like quite the gentleman."
Scarlett giggled, "Not quite, he's on his best behavior today."
"You got something to do with that, I gather."
"I do, WIll."
"Well, maybe there is hope for him and you, after all."
Will took her arm and led her out behind Melanie. The group sat in white chairs trimmed with cream tulle and pink roses, as Scarlett made her way to meet Rhett at the white arbor arch that was in full bloom with climbing roses, and a small pair of feathered doves hung above almost grazing Rhett's head. Ashley sat in the back holding, Beau on his lap and fiddling with the child's buttons, to avoid Scarlett's eyes, Suellen glared at Scarlett wearing the dress she had wore to her wedding with WIll, as she bounced her daughter on her hip as the baby grabbed for her necklace. Will was a nice looking man, and their daughter was a sweet chubby cheeked golden haired baby, nothing like scrawny Ella. Wade sat next to Pitty, and Mammy sat on the side, holding Ella on her lap, the child's eyes red rimmed, from being awoken from her nap.
As the priest read the passages from the Bible, it sounded as if Scarlett was hearing them for the first time, at her first wedding which had been a daze, until she found herself alone with a fumbling boy. But, at this wedding, Scarlett was awake, and alert and listened to the priest as he read," My beloved speaks and says to me:
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love
all the wealth of his house,
it would be utterly scorned.
—Song of Solomon 8:6-7"
Scarlett looked at Rhett, and his teeth gleamed white, as he nodded at her. Scarlett had heard the word wealth, and could not believe, he had the gall to laugh at her. Her eyes twinkled with rage, but everybody smiled, thinking the two were exchanging loving glances. "So far, his good behavior was over," thought Scarlett.
The vows came next and as she repeated the vows for the third time, her anger subsided and she repeated after the priest, and answered with a quiet and demure, "I do."
Rhett gleamed and his eyes gleamed with anticipation as he recited the vows, and Scarlett felt as though her knees were about the buckle as she imagined the thoughts that were in his head, and then she wondered, what he was used to, and if made her mouth go dry, just as the priest mentioned God, her guilt caused her to wipe her mind clean, and focus on the here and now.
Rhett answered with a confident "I do." stressing the "do" which made Wade giggle, at Uncle Rhett as he winked his way.
Scarlett felt Rhett's hands were warm and clammy as he took her hands, and gave her the chastest kiss on the lips, like two kids kissing for the first time. As they turned to lead the group in the house and receive their guest, he took her arm close to him and whispered, "I need to save something for tonight."
Aunt Pitty stood in line with the new Mr. and Mrs. Butler and received the less than a dozen guests, but the food was spread out for two dozen. Rhett had purchased a ham and a turkey from the butcher, as well as three cakes: the traditional dark whisky fruit wedding cake about two feet high, a small square cake in white with green trim and pink roses for Scarlett and a devils' food chocolate round cake for him lathered with bourbon soak cherries. Dilcey had cooked Miss Scarlett's favorite potatoes and stuffing with apples, sausage and pecans. The delicacies that Rhett had ordered from the hotel filled platters with canapes with olives, cheese, cherry tomatoes and french puff pastry filled with coastal shrimp and crab meat.
The guest stood eating and talking, as the last of them bid their good wishes to Captain Butler. Ashley, always the gentleman, shook his hand, "Congratulations, Captain, I hope you and Scarlett will have a long and happy life." Ashley mechanically kissed Scarlett on the cheek under Rhett's deathly gaze, but Scarlett was still fuming by Rhett's choice of scripture, talking about money at a wedding, it was bad taste. Scarlett eyes were steel as she leaned in for a peck on her cheek from Ashley.
The guest were having their fill and Rhett brought a plate with a slice of ham, some stuffing and a shrimp pastry to Scarlett, her face screwed up, and he asked, "Do you object to my choice of food?"
"No, is that all?"
Rhett laughed, "I didn't think you wanted to eat quite so much."
"Well, I want to try everything that's here, especially the food from the hotel and I need more than one piece of ham!"
Rhett laughed, "Well, I wonder where you will put it?"
"Just get more, and a glass of champagne!"
Rhett left her standing by the window and went off on his tasks. Wade came up and hugged his Mother, "I'm glad Uncle Rhett is our family now."
Scarlett smiled at the boy and kissed his cheek, "You look so much like your father. Thank you Wade." and the child ran off towards the yard as Beau was calling him to play ball. Soon Mammy's footsteps were shaking the floor, "Master Wade, take off that good suit jacket!"
Ashley made his way to Scarlett, "Scarlett, it was a beautiful ceremony with such a glamourous bride."
Scarlett could see, Ashley's smile did not meet his eyes, "Oh, Ashley, how you do run on. Melanie and Pitty made the garden ever so lovely."
"Are you happy, Scarlett?"
"Yes, I am."
"You know, if you ever need help of any kind Melanie and I will help you, maybe not financially, but if you need a place to stay or a shoulder to cry on, we are there."
"Ashley, this is not the discussion for a party-"
Rhett approached them, and Ashley pet her forearm, "Just remember what I said."
Rhett looked at Scarlett's face, and the bewilderment as her mouth made a perfect "O".
"What did he say?" Rhett asked, quietly, placing the heaping plate in Scarlett's hands.
"Oh, the might take the children to visit Suellen, while we are in New Orleans, now that the weather is nice."
Rhett stared after him as Ashley walked like a ghost through the house in search of Melly.
The food danced on Scarlett's tongue and as she forgot to eat anything for breakfast other than coffee, she indulged into the plate of delicacies. Rhett watched in awe as he spooned his meager plate of canapes and turkey.
Rhett laughed, "I was worrying about supporting your extravagant tastes in clothes, but I see I will have to invest more money to feed you!"
"SPeaking of money, Rhett, why did you pick that passage from the bible about money for the wedding?"
Rhett laughed out loud, causing Suellen and Will to look up from their plates, to see Rhett almost choking on his food. Scarlett's face went purple as she took his plate, and patted his back. Rhett waved his hand and stepped out on the porch, followed by Scarlett.
When he gained his composure, Rhett smiled, "You are such a literal fool."
Scarlett stood silent, unable to speak as the rage grew inside of her and tears from stress, anxiety and now insults brimmed her eyes, "Don't laugh at me, and make me cry on my wedding-"
Rhett's face scowled and he took her in his arms, "Oh, my pet, I'm not laughing at you."
"Yes, you are-"
"No, I'm laughing at how your mind works, you take everything you hear, so literally, it is a poem the song of Solomon. I'll explain to you the flame of passion tonight-"
"And stop joking about such vile things," Scarlett hissed as the tears started a new.
"They are vile anymore, we are married. It was your condition, and I met it, now it's your turn to meet my condition. You won't bully me like Charles and Frank, and I'm more direct than your paramore who dangles his "love" in your face."
"Oh, where is the priest? I'm going to ask for an-"
"Annulment? Ha, you'll have to get a letter from the Pope, and even you may not manage that, Scarlett, calm down your ruffled feathers. I care about you, and I would never cause you any stress or harm, you do that to yourself."
Scarlett felt her heart starting to slow down, "Now, tell me why did you pick such a passage?"
"It's about how strong love is, and that death and disasters, like floods cannot destroy it, and that even if a man gave all his money for love, it would never be enough, love is priceless. Love is so sacred, you cannot put a price on it."
Scarlett thought about it, and smiled, "Humpf, is that so?"
"Yes, true love in Solomon's poem is the most strongest and sacred force on earth."
Scarlett blushed, she felt stupid, and then she smiled, "Is that how you feel about me?"
Rhett smiled, and thought about the $300, but didn't remark about that incident, Scarlett's nerves were frazzled today, and because of all things- the wedding night. He didn't realize how prudish she was. Rhett took a deep breath, "I'm sure you will prove to me after 2 weeks of eating in New Orleans, just how priceless you are, we may returned quite poor!"
Scarlett giggled as she finished her champagne and kissed him on his cheek, handing him her empty plate.
"I would like a piece of my cake, you had them fill it with strawberries?"
Rhett chuckled, being married to Scarlett would always be a challenge, and one he was up for.