- 8 years ago
- Wedding: August 2011
SO long, so I’m just going to c/p the post I wrote for my blog about this earlier. To all you upcoming brides, I hope you love your wedding day as much as I loved mine!
“Welcome to the magic show…
…where we turned a [maiden name] into a [married name] right before your very eyes.”
This was the beginning of my dad’s welcome speech at our wedding reception on August 20th, and it is just after this sentence that he began to cry, and then I began to cry (this following our best man’s speech which ALSO made me cry) and nobody could hold it in. My dad had carefully thought of what he was going to say on this day, the first time he was ever a Father of the Bride, but he could not make it through his speech when it came to give it. He got choked up, laughed at himself getting choked up, and then could not get unchoked. He told everyone he couldn’t give his speech, and I went to hug him and he quite literally sobbed into my shoulder when he told me he loved me.
In the two days leading up to the wedding, there was so much stress! There were a million errands to be run, and no matter how organized and prepared you are, there are just some things that cannot be handled until the days immediately preceding the wedding itself. I deftly handled a few snafus, but lost it 30 minutes before our wedding rehearsal on Friday following a culmination of uh-ohs that I had completely perpetrated upon my own self. I got a manicure, then ruined the left thumb’s polish as soon as I got in the car. I was running late. I threw my rehearsal dress into a bag that also had a bottle of anti-frizz serum for my hair, and anti-frizz serum got on my dress and left what looked like grease spots. My maid of honor dabbed them with a Tide To-Go pen and they came right out minutes later, but before I’d seen that they’d come out, I pulled my heels out of my bag only to find that I’d correctly packed one gold heel, and one flat sandal. And then I lost my mind!
In those minutes, crying in the bathroom 30 minutes before my rehearsal, hating my self for making such dumb mistakes, worried I’d look like an idiot at my own wedding rehearsal and dinner with grease spots on my dress and mismatched shoes, I wondered why I’d ever thought planning a wedding would be a good idea. Why would I have willingly signed myself up for this stress when I could have just as easily gone to a courthouse and had it taken care of in five minutes? I could have saved myself and our friends and family so much trouble had I not insisted on throwing a wedding.
I eventually straightened up, rehearsed my wedding ceremony, and at my rehearsal dinner, ate the delicious low country boil my mother in law had spent the day cooking. It poured rain and we had to evacuate the tents and cram ourselves in my sister in law’s house to eat our dinner, but I didn’t mind in the least. At this point, with my pre-rehearsal meltdown behind me, I knew the worst of my stress was over and from here on out, it was smooth sailing.
The next day, the wedding day, was immeasurably better. The hard work was done, and all that was left was to get married and have a party. (Though, as my dad correctly told me later when I said this to him, the hard work was not done. “The hard work is just starting,” he said. “Getting married is hard. Being married is harder. Staying married is hardest of all.”)
On my wedding day, I went to Target for fake eyelashes and quickly swiped a close-enough shade of Essie polish over my smudged thumbnail, and that solved that problem. I got my hair done with four of my closest friends and my mom and my sister and the hairstylists brought us mimosas to drink and my mom picked up my favorite chicken fingers and spuds from Spanky’s in Savannah to munch on while we all waited for everyone’s hair to be finished. And as much as I loved my dress (and I did), I think I loved my veil even more. Because when else in your life do you get to spend your day in a long ivory veil? I practically swooned when it was pinned in my hair.
After the um, lackluster, experience at MAC, I enlisted my friend and fellow Scrumpet Emily to do my makeup the day of. She intuitively knew what I would like, and what I’d be comfortable with, and she made me look amazing. And one of the best parts of my wedding day was getting my makeup done in my hotel room with my bridesmaids and friends as everyone got ready and drank champagne and listened to Culture Club on the 80s Music Choice channel we’d put the TV on.
The traditional mother-of-the-bride task of putting on fake eyelashes.
When our (wonderful, amazing, ten billion superlatives) photographer, Julie, showed up, it was time to get in the dress. And the zipper promptly split when my mom and bridesmaids zipped it up. Luckily, my maid of honor and best friend is handy dandy with a needle and thread and it took 30 minutes or so, but she sewed that zipper up and secured me nice and tight in my dress and you’d never have known the difference. I drank champagne and chatted while she was doing this, which is kind of amazing seeing as the day before I had had a meltdown the likes of Fukushima 1 over some hair product getting on my dress.
And finally, around 4:00 pm, I was a bride.
As we rode over to the chapel in our Town Car, the limo driver told me I didn’t seem like a nervous bride.
“What do the nervous brides do?” I asked him.
“Cry,” he answered.
When we got to the chapel, the girls went inside and my dad came to wait with me in the car, in preparation for our big entrance. Our chapel, the glorious and graceful Whitefield Chapel at the Bethesda Home for Boys, had no separate area in it where I could hide undetected with my dad while guests were being seated. So we pulled around to the back of the circle and waited in the air conditioned Town Car until 5:00 when it was our time to pull around front. Later, during formal portraits, my mom asked me, tearfully, what my dad had said to me while we’d waited in the car pre-ceremony. Truthfully, not much, because he and the limo driver, Kevin, discovered they’d both served in Saudi Arabia and they spent much of the 35 minutes we were all together bonding over this shared torture they both went through. I, almost apologetically, had to interrupt them at 4:59 when it was time to pull around to the front of the chapel so my dad and I could take our place at the front steps.
For the bridal party, I had selected a piano and strings cover of Coldplay’s “Life in Technicolor ii” to play for their walk. I heard the tail end of this as I stood on the steps outside our chapel with my dad in the last few seconds before the ceremony. And here is where the most ferocious swarm of butterflies took flight in my belly. It is always the strangest sensation when a day you have long prepared for and thought of finally arrives and as you finally get to live it, you think, “So this is what it is like.”
My version of the Bridal March was Vitamin String Quartet’s version of U2’s “With or Without You.” An exceedingly, achingly beautiful piece on its own, it had a special significance to me because one of my first memories is my father dancing with me to this in our living room when I was two years old. This was my special nod to him on my wedding day, for our walk down the aisle together. I was not, in our ceremony, officially “given away.” My father kissed me goodbye at the end of the aisle and I went to Tarry of my own volition, not given away by any member of my family. Because as the song goes, “You give yourself away.” And my dad let me give myself away.
It is probably this and a million other things I thought of when the doors opened for us just after the stirring of strings started up on our song and we prepared to walk down the aisle. I can’t remember what else I was thinking, or what I saw when I walked into the chapel, except for Tarry. I made it about 7 steps before I began crying and had to bow my head to get myself to stop. Which I did, until my maid of honor read her reading, which was an excerpt from Walt Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road” and her voice broke on, “I give you my love, more precious than money.”
The ceremony went like most ceremonies go, with prayers and vows and ring exchanges and a kiss, and then we were done! And it was the best feeling in the world. My photographer has posted a few pictures to Facebook already and I have taken the liberty of saving them to my computer so I can show you, but all of these are her property:
Our reception was beautiful, and fast. Later, we went for drinks at Rocks on the Roof atop the Bohemian Hotel overlooking River Street, and my dad was able to finish his speech. And yes, it made us all cry again.
And at the end of the night, Tarry and I went back to our suite and were greeted with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries and a note addressed to “Mr and Mrs” congratulating us on our wedding. I had to, literally, be cut out of my dress, and I reluctantly took off my veil, and suddenly, at 11:30 pm, I was no longer a bride. But I was a wife, and although this is the purpose of having a wedding – to become husband and wife- it is not the point. And at the end of my wedding day, I answered my own question from Friday when I asked myself why I had gone through all the trouble to have this wedding and what the point of it all was.
The point of having a wedding is this: it is one day in life where nothing of the real world intrudes upon you. You do not think about the air pressure in your tires, or when the car insurance will be deducted from your checking account. You do not remind yourself to pay the cell phone bill, or add bananas to the grocery list. You just exist in this bubble of happiness, and I suspect this is the reason so many girls say or expect their wedding day is “a fairy tale.” It’s not that it’s a fairy tale or that it’s perfect in every way; it’s just that you are so exceedingly happy, so full to the brim of I-wish-I-could-bottle-this-up giddy love for everyone around you, that you can’t think of any other regular day in your life to compare it to.
On my wedding day, I felt nothing but happiness. I felt beautiful. There are surely brides who were and are prettier than me on their wedding day (though not that grotsky biatch Kim Kardashian, one of my arch nemeses who of course was married the same day; I feel confident I was still a prettier bride than her), but on that day, I felt beautiful, which is all you can ask for, really. I loved and felt loved. I saw Tarry, who looked just as happy as I felt, and I got to marry him, and it was just… the essence of why we love. So while the purpose of a wedding is getting married, it is not the point. The point is so you have something to look back on when times are hard, when the inevitable worse part of your vows comes into play, and remember what it was like on that day, when you felt the prettiest you’ve ever felt in your life, when you could look around you and see (most of) the people you love most in the world all in one place, when you loved and were loved as on no other day. It is a sad and sorry fact that we cannot bottle up happy and joyous feelings and emotions and dab them on ourselves later like perfume to cheer us up on sad or lonely days. If we could, I’d wear the scent of my wedding day for the rest of my life.
But because there isn’t perfume, that is the point of the wedding. For motivation. For remembrance, and nostalgia. I questioned myself in the midst of the madness of getting ready for it why I insisted on having a wedding. On the other side now, I am grateful beyond measure that I insisted upon having it. It was the best and happiest day of my life.
And now the hard work begins. But thank you for coming to “the magic show.”