10/06/2011 05:36 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2011

Why I Compared My Sister's Wedding to My Own

My sister and I got married the same year. Not the ideal situation, but sometimes love and marriage happen suddenly and people move on an impulse. That's what happened with my sister Michele and Bobby...

In December, I married Bob Savage after dating for 5 years. I was already working in fashion and envisioned the most stylish wedding, but I was on a shoestring budget. I bought an exquisite 1940s lace dress for $45 from the local Salvation Army. The ceremony was at 5 p.m. in a tiny chapel in a park, the snow fell gently, and the setting was perfect. For the reception, we rented a 1930s ballroom and hired a big band with an old crooner to serenade us. Michele had 2 dates at my wedding: one a New York boyfriend who didn't realize he was about to get the boot, and her new love, Ohio politician Bobby Hagan.

I kept waiting for the fun to start, but it felt like I was watching myself trying to have fun all night. The real highlights of the evening were when the minister (my hippie uncle) took ecstasy and started wildly making out with his date, and when Michele's two suitors almost had a duel.

By April, Bobby Hagan had won her heart and Michele was engaged and planning her wedding. She must have been taking notes on what not to do at my wedding, because her wedding was gobs more fun. Throughout the night, my wedding was fresh in my mind as I compared all her details to mine. But that's the key, Michele's wedding wasn't about the details, it was about throwing a big, fun, all-day party.

With a wedding that started at noon, she had 5 more hours of fun than I did. No silly dresses on the bridesmaids, no stuffy rehearsal dinner. She hired a band called the Fabulous Flashbacks, I hired a band that played only foxtrots. Needless to say, her dancing went wild; mine was subdued. Instead of champagne toasts, there were shots of whiskey.

I spent years thinking that if I could do it all over again, I would. Maybe if I ever got divorced, I would have a second chance to make the party rock, but fortunately we sisters have been married to our Bobs for over twenty years -- one of the few decisions from my wedding that I don't regret. Oh! That and my wedding china... I still love it after all these years.

So here's my advice: if you have a sister, make her go down the aisle first so you can learn from her mistakes. And when it comes to a party, no one remembers the details, they just remember the fun.