Well, it’s over, and thank god for that.
I’d say I was kidding but then I’d be lying – it is a huge relief not to be planning, worrying, checking up on or otherwise managing some step of the wedding process. And in a more positive light, there’s an unexpected sense of fulfillment after going through a small part of the familial traditions. We’ve been legally married more than two years, it’s a surprise to realize that the ceremony truly had deep and significant meaning and I’m now glad that I insisted on retaining that much of it.
1. The morning of, my hairdresser/make-up/friend got so fed up with my damnable eyes refusing to STOP BLINKING while she applied make-up that she slapped fake lashes on me and said: Deal with it. Never having worn fake lashes before I scrubbed them off that night thinking that was it, and went around with a leftover clump obscuring my vision the whole next day. What IS that?
2. There was a costume change and before I could get into the big puffy dress, 7 girlfriends hollered at me: GO PEE!! Talk about peer pressure.
3. Both PiC and my dad forgot what to do during the ceremony. We got to the top of the aisle and they just looked at each other. Bossy Mcbossypants (hi) had to coach them: SHAKE HANDS. Now HUG ME. Now you go there, you come with me this way.
4. Rehearsal. I’ve seen the tea ceremonies conducted in many variations, and figured we’d do whatever worked for us. Um, no. How could I forget that Dad would have OPINIONS THAT ARE FACT? At that point I just didn’t care how it was done, but I’d like to say for the record, I have video evidence that my perfect perfect cousins did it the way I was going to. So there.
5. We bought PiC a bowtie. Neither of us knew how to tie it. Ooops.
1. Our ceremony music. I hated hated hated the idea of walking down the aisle. But there was no way around it with our venue, I had to come out SOMEHOW. So I insisted playing awesome music that I loved and that would MAKE me smile. No sappy classical for me. And sure enough, it made me grin. If you were there, I was absolutely grinning at you guys. If not, I was just tickled to death by my music.
2. Not having a bridal party. I had reasons. Asking a group of people to dress up in color coordinated clothes they’d never wear again (alert: I own 7 bridesmaid dresses. No, you can never wear them again) seemed like the opposite of keeping a low profile. Instead, I thought I’d just let it go and anyone who loved us enough to help on the day of, would. And it’s true. We were absolutely blown away by the level of help on the day before. My cousin commented somewhat enviously, with a touch of puzzlement, that I had really good friends. I do. For all of my antisocialness, I am Very Lucky in my friends.
3. Our photographers. We paid a LOT for them, and while we haven’t seen their finished product yet, they themselves were fun and easy and not weird at all to work with.
4. Doggle wore a bowtie and laid on my dress every chance he got. And he was such a good boy, just hanging out, even when being swarmed by a horde of cousin children.
5. Things we got done. We were working literally up til 1 am the morning of, and I was fine with tossing everything if it didn’t get done. But I was really happy that we found gluten free cupcakes for celiac friends, that the cake buffet was gorgeous and I have a whole cake left over for myself. That we made little gift bags for visitors. That we did hire a photobooth and I made up a lot of a scrapbook ahead of time.
1. Some of my obnoxious family kept monopolizing my time and getting into photos they weren’t asked to be in. Very very annoying.
2. Thanks to the above, we ended up wasting double the amount of time outside taking pictures, missing a huge part of our reception.
3. If I weren’t so damn sick, I could have asserted myself more. But my brain was stuffed up and on drugs, I was just faking my way through it. Well enough that people didn’t know I was sick, so huzzah for that, I guess.
4. The food. No wait, the food was good. Or at least I think so. I was surrounded by all that lovely food and literally did not eat more than 7 bites all day. Stupid stupid sickness taking away my appetite.
5. I pretty much collapsed after we saw off the out of town guests. Turns out I was fighting a losing battle against both the flu and an infection curiously like pneumonia since Christmas. No wonder I was just holding it together the whole day.
We spent a fairly significant amount of money on the event – another thing that baffled my family. Normally, you do the ceremony at a house and a cheap (comparatively) banquet dinner, and the monetary gifts are enough to pay for the whole wedding and a vacation on top of it. My aunt advised we get it over with and have a vacation – her daughter had enough left over after her wedding to go to Hawaii fully paid for.
I was paying for convenience (full service location), entertainment, and getting my own way. It was enough worth it that I’m not upset about spending a bit more than twice the usual: I was pandered to just enough to keep me from starving or coughing up a lung, the entertainment kept people busy so that I didn’t have to be on my feet and talking to them the whole time.
We cashflowed the whole thing, out of the incidental money I’d set aside in the last couple of years and stretching our paychecks a little more; it might be a family thing to pay for the wedding out of gifts but I’d been determined to foot the bill myself rather than hoping the gifts would pay for it. Our friends and family were terribly generous but it wouldn’t have covered the bill so I’m glad we did it my way.
We haven’t totaled up all the costs but we probably spent $21K for the whole thing and will come out of it with: 2 suits that Dad and PiC can wear for years, enough candy to last til next Halloween, a fun scrapbook and set of photos we’d never have gotten in a normal setting, a set of professional photos, and most importantly: a strengthened relationship with each other and the family and friends who showed up for us. I wouldn’t recommend it as a means to reconciliation specifically, but for me, it became a means of rebuilding a once-treasured relationship thought to be lost years ago.
As PiC retells it, I “kept him honest” with the division of duties. We split a long list of things to do, but after a spat over when to get things done, I backed off. Instead of giving him grief over the things he committed to, or his version of time management, which were both giving me anxiety, I cleared the critical items and let him get on with it at his leisure. Of course, his frustrated late nights and slow progress were then entirely his burden to carry. Fair’s fair.
The wedding was just one day, but it was the culmination of a lot of days where we learned, even after ten years together, how to work as a better team even when sometimes that means not working together at all; how to accept help from loved ones; how to be reasonable; and how to take care of each other when we’re both stressed out by circumstances and each other.