Ginny stared in horror at the orange chiffon bridesmaid dress that awaited her in the changing room. Turning around, she saw her beaming future sister-in-law. How could this have happened?
Not appearing to notice Ginny's reaction, Hermione said with a smile, "I love this colour. When Ron first said he wanted orange as one of the colours for the wedding I thought he was crazy, but I think this soft orange is so beautiful."
"Hermione," Ginny said cautiously. "You do realize that I have red hair, right? I can't wear this dress. I'll look horrible."
To Ginny's dismay, Hermione's face crumpled and she thought she saw tears starting in her eyes. Ginny reached out to touch Hermione's arm, "I'm joking. I'll go try this on now."
Her good humour restored, Hermione beamed as Ginny headed into the dressing room.
The dress wasn't bad by itself. It was a floor length, chiffon, soft orange dress with intricate crystal beadwork on the bodice. The issue was the colour. How could Hermione not see she was marrying into a family of red-heads?
She pulled the dress on and smoothed it into place. It was a gorgeous dress. Then she looked in the mirror. The orange washed her out and she looked pale with her fiery hair blazing and clashing with the dress.
"Merlin's beard," she grumbled. "I look awful."
Sighing, she stepped out into the fitting area. Hermione smiled when she saw Ginny. "Oh, Ginny, you look beautiful! Look, I found the perfect little dress for Victoire and my cousin's little girl."
Ginny stole another look in the mirror and saw that no, she still looked horrible. Before she could say anything, the clerk bustled up and smiled, "Oh, lovely dear. Step up on the platform and we'll get you pinned up."
Is the clerk required to lie? That's the only way she could imagine the clerk being able to say 'lovely' with a straight face. In a daze, Ginny did as she was told and listened as Hermione and the clerk chatted about the dress and of course the upcoming wedding.
When Ron had finally proposed to Hermione, Ginny had been thrilled. What could be better than one of her closest friends actually becoming her sister? Unfortunately, Ginny soon discovered that Hermione planned a wedding with the same attention to detail as she'd shown studying during school and had the same tendency towards little panic attacks.
Last night, Hermione had firecalled her at midnight in a panic that she'd forgotten to tell Ginny about the dress appointment today. Luckily for the sake of their friendship, Harry had talked to her last night and calmed her down.
Looking at her reflection in the mirror, Ginny wondered if Harry could talk Hermione out of orange as a wedding colour. She made a face as she looked at the orange next to her skin, it was awful.
"Hermione, I thought we were going to look at cream coloured dresses as well," Ginny tried.
"We were, but I don't think we need to now. This is perfect," Hermione replied.
Could Ron have Confunded her? Is she under the influence of some type of potion? Ginny shook her head as she headed back into the dressing room and changed back into her jeans and green shirt.
She found Hermione standing in front of a mirror trying on a veil. Watching her friend for a moment she said, "I thought you were wearing you hair up?"
"I can't decide," Hermione confessed. "I've always pictured myself with my hair up and just a circle of flowers or crystals, but I like the veils as well."
"You could borrow Aunt Muriel's tiara," Ginny suggested. "I know Mum would be thrilled with that idea."
Hermione laughed, "I know, she has mentioned it at least once every time I visit. I'm still considering it. My Mum thought it would be a nice idea to wear something from each family. I'm going to be carrying the blue handkerchief that she carried in her wedding and using the tiara would balance it out."
Putting away the veil, she asked, "Did you see what the guys are wearing?"
Ginny was almost afraid to look. Hermione led her across the shop to the men's section. There were a number of black and grey tuxedos any of which Ginny thought would look good on Ron and Harry. Hermione, however, pointed to a white tuxedo with an orange shirt and a vest of orange and white.
"Isn't it amazing?" Hermione asked. "I think it will go perfectly with your dress. Ron was thrilled with them when he was here last week. Harry is coming in for his fitting next week, right?"
"Monday," Ginny agreed as she stared at the orange and white monstrosity in front of her. She looked over at her friend wondering anew if perhaps she'd been replaced by an imposter. They'd been out for over an hour so it wasn't Polyjuice Potion.
"We need to stop by the stationery shop. Ron and I picked out the invitations last week, but I'm not entirely certain I'm happy with them." Hermione announced once she'd finished admiring the tuxedos.
The two witches headed out of the dress shop and headed back towards Diagon Alley. Ginny waved to Hannah as they entered the Leaky Cauldron, but Hermione was not to be deterred from her mission and they didn't stop to talk.
Hermione entered the stationery shop and, for the first time since Ginny had known her, hurried past the stacks of parchment and rows of inks and quills. Her destination was the back counter that held several thick books filled with sample wedding invitations.
The clerk looked up as the two women approached and Ginny thought she saw a terrified look cross the woman's face before she plastered on a welcoming smile.
"Miss Granger, it's good to see you again. Can I do something for you?"
"I need to see my invitations," Hermione said abruptly.
"Of course," the clerk replied. She reached into a file behind her and pulled out an invitation, which she set on the counter in front of them.
Ginny was curious to see the invitation that, if her brother was to be believed, took five hours to design. It was a fairly simple invitation, albeit rather orange. It was a cream-coloured parchment with an orange border. To Ginny's amazement, even the wording was also orange. It read:
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Granger request the honour of your presence at the marriage of their daughter Hermione Jean to Ronald Bilius son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Weasley Saturday, the nineteenth of June two thousand four at eleven o'clock in the morning The Crown Inn at Pishill
Looking at the younger witch, Hermione said, "The wording isn't too old fashioned is it? Should we change the wording?"
"No, I think it's fine," Ginny offered. She could have not even spoken for all the attention Hermione paid to her response.
"We chose the Edwardian script, but I'm not certain it was the right choice," Hermione said as she traced the wording on the invitation.
"Hermione, it looks great. The Edwardian script is perfect," Ginny soothed. She reckoned her bridesmaid duties included keeping the bride from being murdered by the stationery clerk.
Giving the invitations one last look, Hermione agreed. "You're right. I just wanted to double check."
Herding Hermione out the door before she could change her mind, Ginny said, "Why don't we grab a bite to eat?"
"Okay," Hermione agreed distractedly.
The two witches headed to their favourite booth at the Leaky Cauldron. Hermione placed their usual orders while Ginny signed a few autographs and even posed for a picture with a young Quidditch fan. Hermione pulled her bulging wedding planner out of her bag. She ticked off the items they had completed that day.
"We need to go to the bakery," Hermione said as Ginny slid into the booth.
"I thought we were eating lunch," Ginny said in bewilderment.
"We are," Hermione replied impatiently. "I meant after lunch. We need to look at wedding cakes. Hannah told me about a bakery that specializes in magical wedding cakes."
Ginny groaned as she envisioned a very long and very orange afternoon in front of her.
"You must be joking," Ginny said as she looked around.
She had just entered the picturesque thatch barn where the wedding was to be held and it had been turned into an orange nightmare. The tables and chairs were draped in orange with cream ribbons. The greenery that hung in the rafters was wrapped in orange ribbon.
"Ginny! You're here!"
Although she really wanted to run away, Ginny turned and smiled at Hermione.
"I was starting to get worried," Hermione said. "I thought you would be here an hour ago."
"I told you I had practice this morning," Ginny reminded her friend. Hermione was no longer paying attention to her; she was focused on the flowers that were just arriving.
"Ginny, I need your help," her mother called.
Glad to escape, Ginny hurried over to a large table where most of the women were sitting. Her mother, Fleur, and Angelina were all sitting at the table creating orange and cream favours. Hermione, her mother, and her aunt were going over the flower arrangements.
"Orange?" she questioned her mother. "I thought we talked her into cream with orange ribbons. How did it switch to orange with cream ribbons?"
"She's crazy," Angelina said flatly. "That is the only possible explanation."
"I know, at first I thought maybe he had put some sort of spell on her or was using some sort of potion, but I've come to the conclusion that she is just nuts." Ginny sighed dropping down next to Fleur. "I guess that isn't too big a shock. She is marrying Ron after all."
"Ginny, don't talk about your brother like that," Molly admonished her.
"Have you looked around, Mum?"
Molly sighed, "I know, it is a bit much. I blame your father. He is the one who allowed Ron to paint his room that horrid orange."
She fixed her only daughter with a glare, "Of course I do actually get to help with your brother's wedding."
Ginny groaned, "Mum, can we have one get-together where you don't bring up the fact that Harry and I eloped?"
"My only baby girl and I couldn't plan her wedding," Molly sniffed as she bent over her work once again.
"Apparently not," Ginny grumbled. Turning to Fleur she said, "What do I need to do?"
It was several hours later before Ginny escaped the orange saturated barn. She was relatively pleased with how well her family and Hermione's family had gotten along.
An arm snaked around her waist, "Hello, beautiful."
Leaning back against her husband of four years, Ginny relaxed. She looked up and kissed him. "Hello, did you just get here?"
He nodded, "I had to clear up my work so I can have the whole weekend off."
As she turned in his arms, he laughed, "How many times did your Mum complain about our eloping today?"
"Only five or six," she said burying her head in his chest. "For her that's a record."
"Do you regret not having the big wedding with all of your family?" He asked softly.
"After seeing this? No," Ginny replied emphatically. "I would have killed my Mum. Fussing about colours and who sits where, that's not me."
Wrapping her arms around his neck, she said, "All I wanted was to marry you. I think that our orange-free wedding was perfect."
Harry smiled down into her beautiful face, "I agree. It was perfect"
"What if she changes her mind? She might. She's so smart and so pretty, why would she settle for someone like me?"
Harry rolled his eyes as he listened to his best mate. "Ron, she loves you. She has loved you for years; she's not going to change her mind."
"Don't you think that's a question you should ask her?" Harry asked desperately.
"I'm not allowed to see her today," Ron whined. "Some Muggle superstition, I'm not allowed to see her until the wedding."
"Only another hour," Harry tried to reassure him.
"Everything okay, son?"
Harry looked up in relief as Arthur and Bill entered the room. As Arthur began to speak in a low soothing tone to Ron, Bill turned to Harry. "Ginny is looking for you."
Happy for the excuse to escape for a while, Harry headed down towards the room where the women were getting ready. He knocked on the door and the noise and laughter abruptly stopped.
"Who is it?"
"Harry. I heard Ginny was looking for me."
He heard whispering on the other side of the door before Ginny called out, "I'll be out in a minute, love. Wait across the hall."
Leaning against the wall in the corridor, he waited for his wife. The inn where the whole wedding party stayed the night before was a beautiful, picturesque spot. Charlie and Percy were already at the other side of the barn assisting those who were arriving by magical means. Some of the younger crowd and all of Hermione's Muggle relatives were driving to the wedding. To everyone's relief, the press hadn't discovered the wedding was happening today. He shook his head, he was glad that he and Ginny had avoided all of this.
A noise caused him to turn and he saw his beautiful wife slip out of the room. Her hair was arranged in an elegant knot on top of her head and she was wearing more makeup than usual. He smiled when he realized that she was wearing the diamond earrings he'd given her for their wedding. She hadn't put on her dress yet, instead she was wearing an old dressing gown.
He smiled, "You look beautiful."
"You have to say that. Wait until you see me in my dress, then you won't be thinking I look so beautiful." Ginny grumbled as she wrapped her arms around him.
"How are you holding up?"
"If the wedding happens within the next two hours, I will be fine. If it takes much longer, I might have to kill the bride."
Harry laughed, "Is she freaking out?"
"Why is he marrying me? Does he realize I spend a lot of money on books? What if he gets tired of me? He could get any girl he wants, why would he want me? We argue so much." Ginny mimicked her friend. "Ugh! She is driving me insane."
Settling his hands on her hips, Harry dropped a kiss on her neck. "He's the same way. Maybe we should just stun them until it's time for the wedding."
Ginny seemed to consider that, "No, probably not. She's not done with her hair yet."
"Is Aunt Muriel here?"
"Not yet, she already sent over the tiara though."
A harassed Audrey poked her head out of the room, "Ginny, Hermione is asking for you."
Groaning Ginny dropped her head on his chest, "I don't want to go."
He tipped her head back, "It will be over soon."
"Kiss me," she demanded.
He happily complied until they were both breathless. She pulled back, "I think I can make it through now."
"I love you."
She smiled over her shoulder as she headed through the door, "I love you, too."
"Are you ready?" Ginny asked.
Hermione nodded. She looked beautiful in her simple gown. Her gown was a cream coloured sleeveless gown with a fitted yet relatively plain bodice and a full, floor length skirt. It was simple, tasteful, and beautiful; everything Ginny would have expected Hermione to choose. She was carrying a bouquet of orange and white flowers with her mother's blue handkerchief.
Glancing down at her gown, Ginny found to her dismay that it had not changed colours in the last five minutes as she had hoped it would. She shook her head as she looked over at her niece, Victoire, and Hermione's cousin's daughter, Chloe. They looked adorable in their little orange dresses. The dresses had full, puffy skirts that the girls delighted in twirling around. Victoire's hair was a light strawberry blonde and Chloe had light brown hair, both of them looked great in orange.
She put on her cream-coloured heels and shepherded the two little girls down the stairs followed by Hermione and Fleur. Hermione's father was proudly waiting for his daughter, ready to walk her down the aisle. Fleur kissed her daughter and slipped outside to join her husband.
The courtyard of the inn was set up with the dreaded orange and cream chairs and an orange- and cream-coloured trellis. As the wedding party appeared, the processional music started. Hermione and her father headed slowly down the aisle towards Ron. Ginny and the two little girls followed at a sedate pace. She smiled at the besotted look on her brother's face as he watched his bride approach him. They really were perfect for each other.
Ginny turned her attention to Harry who was watching Hermione approach with a fond smile on his face. His smile turned a bit brighter when he caught sight of Ginny. She felt a thrill as she did every time he smiled at her like she was the centre of his world.
As the ceremony started, Ginny forgot she was wearing a horrid orange dress and relaxed as she watched her brother and best friend exchange their vows. Hermione recited her vows perfectly while Ron only wavered slightly. Once they were bound for life, they faced the crowd and headed down the aisle.
Ginny linked arms with her husband while the two little girls scampered in front of them. Harry leaned over, "I still think you look beautiful."
She smiled up at him, "That is because you are a good husband."
Thirty minutes later she felt her smile was plastered on her face. She could hear the sounds of fun and laughter spilling out of the barn.
"Are we almost done, Hermione?"
"I don't know if we have all of the pictures we wanted," Hermione fretted.
"I think we have," Ron soothed her. "The photographer went by your list, right? We have all of the pictures we wanted."
Smiling up at her new husband, Hermione agreed and the wedding party headed into the barn. Ginny sighed in relief, they were finally married, and her duties were almost at an end.
Harry reached out for her hand, "Let's go celebrate." He leaned in laughing, "Then we can get that awful orange dress off of you."