Before the Ceremony
I woke up in the corner room of our family beach house with the sun streaming in the window. My sister was still asleep in her bed, but I couldn't sleep anymore, even after the Benadryl I took the night before. I thought I might go for a run on the beach and have some time to myself before this crazy day started. Yeah, right.
I went downstairs and Allison and Jenifer were already there making coffee. I got a cup and went out onto the deck to soak in the early morning sun, the smell of the ocean, and the sound of the waves. I wasn't really nervous yet, but it could have been my surroundings. Laurie came downstairs and said "Happy Wedding Day!". Boy, that was weird. It was my wedding day. MY wedding day. My WEDDING day. Wow.
The phone rang and I spent time talking with my cousin's wife since she wouldn't be able to make it to the wedding. We chatted for a while and it felt good not to be talking just about the wedding. She was surprised at how calm I was. Yeah, weird, huh?
After taking a shower, TRYING to eat something (me not hungry?), I got my gown, veil, and accessories, and everything else into my little white Subaru. I said see you later to my friends, and with Jenifer and Jamie, drove off to my wedding. Pretty bizarre feeling driving to your wedding in shorts with your veil and gown in the backseat blowing in the wind from the open window, while you try to maintain the calm you've had until now. I'm DRIVING to my WEDDING.
At the Habitat, Tina got there as we were starting to unload my car. She looked great! We brought the stuff into the house, stowed it away for the ceremony/reception, then went upstairs to begin the whole process of getting ready for THE WEDDING. Okay, NOW I'm starting to get a little nervous.
Also, I was the only one who knew where I wanted everything to be.
Joe and I had pictures of us in varying stages of growing up, and also
pictures of us skydiving in a freefall kiss that I wanted near the guest
book, which I wanted in a visible place. I also had made little baskets
for the women's bathrooms that had little toiletries in them. Not
being able to show someone where I wanted them, or do it myself was a little
source of stress for me.
TIP: Arrange with someone before your wedding day (whether the maid of honor, the wedding consultant, someone) to set up everything how you want it. Walk through the hall with that person and say "I would like this here, and that there" etc. There is NO WAY you are going to be able to do it yourself as the bride.
Tina did my hair, which came out unbelievably beautiful. I said it seemed really big (I almost got whacked!). As she was doing my hair (and telling me that she didn't want to hear me complain once about the large amount of hairspray she was going to use), my attendants showed up. Things started to get busy, although not for me. I just sat there.
Once my hair was done, Maria took over doing my makeup. My mother showed up then in her new purple dress (my favorite color). This is where the details start to get a little muddled.
I remember being surrounded by activity, not necessarily focused on me, but focused ABOUT me, and having to DO with me. It was very surreal. Your wedding day is something that most girls think about for years. I mean, come on, Barbie's wedding gown, little wedding gowns for halloween dress up, talking about it growing up. It's very hard not to buy into the whole idea that this day is what you've been waiting for your whole life. And although I didn't buy into it completely, meaning I knew that this was a great day, but not the highlight of the rest of my life, it still felt almost like a dream, like it wasn't really happening. It's hard to explain, although I tried talking about it with one of Joe's friends, and she said the same thing about her wedding day.
Things seemed to be moving along, and I also heard that Joe had arrived. It's a good thing to hear your groom has showed up on time!
Joe got up late that morning and hung around the apartment until it was time to get dressed and go. He had a sense of awareness of what the day was, but it was strange to be waking up alone in the apartment on such a big day in his life, knowing that I was getting ready for this big day somewhere else. The only thing he was nervous about was saying his vows.
I wasn't quite ready to get dressed yet, when my sister made me cry. She KNOWS I'm a very emotional person, but no, she couldn't wait to give her present to me until AFTER the ceremony, could she? She took me aside, away from the hubbub, and gave me this beautful framed poem she had written herself. Well, of course I cried, and I believe I saw my little sister's eyes fill up too, which made me cry some more. Thanks Erin!
So back to Maria for some eye-swell-down tactics and make-up touch ups! I got dressed (and stayed in the bathroom a little longer than I needed to for some personal time), more people were coming in the room to see me, my friends were getting dressed, and it was time to get photographed. Once the pictures were taken, everyone went downstairs. Wait a minute - I'm not ready!! Okay, okay, let me take one last look at the vows I wrote myself, because I refuse to look at a piece of paper during the ceremony, even though Joe said that he was going to. I paced the room a couple of times, taking deep breaths, then went down the semi-curving staircase to-no one! Where are my parents? Where is Kim, the Habitat coordinator? What if I go around the corner and run into Joe?!?
I slowly poked my head around the corner, and no one was in the main dance room. I walked through that, wondering now if they had begun the ceremony already thinking I was in place. Oh, THERE are my parents! We walked through one of the gardens to the gate we would walk through to the ceremony area. I think my parents were nervous too, because as soon as we got to the gate, they went ahead without turning around and saying anything to me! Okay, okay, I'm a little freaked, but it's my turn to go. I really hope I don't trip on my dress. I really hope I remember my vows. I really hope I don't break down and cry-
And there's Joe. Standing by the bush. Just like he said
he would. Suddenly, I feel fine.