The Genesis of Amber “Murphy”

Last weekend, we had the pleasure of hosting one of my dearest friends from France. I taught her during my LDS mission and we formed a bond like I have never had before. She was 16 and I was 22. We have seen each other a few times since those memorable days in Europe but not as Married Women With Children.

The Canuck Clan fell in love with Isa and her sociable and charming husband, Christopher. At one point after church, he was gabbing away with his cute French accent to an adoring throng of people when Isabelle had an epiphany: “Oh my gosh, Amber. I MARRIED YOU.”

Except those people at church? They do not adore nor throng around me.

Isabelle brought us a year supply of European chocolate (because Mormons are all about having our year supply) and Christopher teased me incessantly about their wedding. Miss that one? Yeah. So did I.

It is The Ultimate in Amber Murphy Travel Screw-ups. I was single and working as a publicist in Salt Lake City when Isa announced she had met The One and they would be married in the Swiss Temple September of 1999. There was absolutely no question in my mind that I would attend and I planned to do a trip around Eastern Europe following the wedding. My family freaked out about my solo travel plans so my Aunt Sue volunteered to come with me. I love Aunt Sue but she is a lot like me and her life’s mantra is, “Things are never 100%, Amber. Never 100.”

And things were not 100.

In France, church ordinances are not recognized so all marriages are first performed civilly, followed by the church ceremony. Since they had to travel to Switzerland for the religious ceremony, Isabelle planned the civil ceremony and party the night before and they would leave for their honeymoon immediately after going to the Swiss temple the next day.

The French know how to do weddings. The party was a blast and the multiple-course meal and dancing lasted late into the night. I ate, danced and flirted with cute French men. One of these French men–Renaud–stayed at Isa’s house that night, which is coincidentally where we were as well.

Adoring and romantic Renaud would later parade me all over Paris like a French poodle and follow me back to the United States in a rather intense fling.

But that is a story for another day. And really, do I want my children to read all about it here?

All that needs to be said is I stayed up all night talking to Renaud. When the wedding party left that morning at 7 a.m., I waved them off, saying I would get just a wee bit of sleep and Sue and I would then just drive ourselves to the temple.

But here’s the deal: I didn’t know how to get there. Even with our directions, we got horribly lost. After blindly wandering around for hours, we were mere minutes away from the ceremony. I FREAKED OUT and rear-ended someone.

In the end, we never found the temple and missed the wedding. You know. The ENTIRE REASON I WENT TO EUROPE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Christopher would later tell me that every man imagines the sweet nothings his fiancee would whisper into his ear mere moments before the wedding. Isa’s sweet nothings? “WHERE’S AMBER?”

Or maybe they were more like “Sweet Wailings.”

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