I spent a lot of time planning for the wedding. I made the floral arrangements, hair-pieces for the flower girls, the jewelry gifts, the cake topper and all manner of other things beforehand. My wedding, even with the venue (the Timberline Lodge), cost less that $5500. Believe it or not. That doesn't include the dress, which was $600.
The thing is, you spend all this time planning and planning, being a control freak, making sure everything is just right, and then the day goes flying by so fast, you don't get a chance to take in the end-result. Thank God for the invention of the camera, that's all I have to say.
As weddings go, ours brought its fair share of drama (mostly induced by my very evil mother who just delighted in offending just about every single guest in some way or other). It seems you can never escape having one or two people who are determined to take your special day and to turn it into something about themselves. It's really unavoidable. It's a side effect of having family, I guess.
I was so nervous. All sorts of things went wrong, as they often do. The first thing was that as I arrived with my gown and accessories, my mother took a bag, and disappeared with it, bringing it to the ballroom. It happened to contain some of my more necessary items, like the undergarments and my veil. After someone went all the way back to my house to see if we'd left it there, it was discovered that my mother had ferreted it away and left it there while she and my step-father-in-law went out for a smoke together. She was not in the room when I got dressed.
My mother, during my shower the week of my wedding, told me that I had to choose between her being there and my father being there; it couldn't be both. That was probably one of my most heart-breaking moments, since I had planned for him to walk me down the aisle and to give me away. I had the song picked out for the father-daughter dance. But my parents hadn't bothered to take the full year of advanced notice to make arrangements for my brother's care so they could both attend my wedding. So she put the decision on my shoulders.
They also forced a distant family member into my bridal party last-minute without telling me ahead of time (yet somehow she had a dress of the right colour... Hmmm). She was adorable, and it wasn't really an issue, but it was typical of how a wedding can sometimes be taken from your hands and can become an entity of its own--how your vision and plans often come second place to pleasing others. Sometimes, your wedding can become the avenue for family members to play out their politics, to reinforce grudges, gestures of forgiveness and amending relationships. It's more like two family reunions coming together in a clash; like two highly reactive substances being rent together to create a massive out of control ballooning explosion.
I had nobody to give me away, so Kurt and Michelle, the world's best wedding officiants, recommended that I have the congregation of guests give me away as a collective. That was a great idea. And it kept me from melting down.
The Timberline Lodge is a big tourist draw, and as I was waiting to go down the aisle, a Japanese lady asked that I take a picture with her. I was so flustered I must have looked like a freak in the picture.
My slip-on shoes kept coming off, and I had to descend shallow stairs before I got to the aisle and a gazillion eyes were on me and I'm a notorious faller and stumbler.
My flower girl trucked down the aisle at mach-V.
And then I stepped down the stairs gingerly, reached the bottom unscathed, and then looked up to see my husband-to-be waiting for me.
Everything else just stopped mattering at that point. I saw the love in his eyes as he gazed at me, and I couldn't stop grinning. I floated down the aisle, oblivious to the cello music I'd insisted on, oblivious to the decor, the candles, the bridesmaids, the fidgety flower girls, the photographers who completely ignored my shot-list and took over my wedding... everything. It was just him and me, with Kurt coming in occasionally with some important words.
The reception was such a blur, I hardly remember it. We didn't even have time to eat anything of substance... we were so busy walking around and talking. We did our first dance, and then my husband's parents got up to leave, and my mother took that as a signal to shut things down, and then boom... two hours early, our wedding was over, and I was standing in my gown, barefoot downstairs, wishing the out of town family safe travels.
It was really and finally over. All those months of buildup... poof. Gone.
The next morning, I awoke to my husband saying: "Wow. It looks like someone poured milk in the valleys." My husband, I thought. Standing by the window looking down the mountain. And indeed, it was a crystal clear day on the mountain, and below, mist laced in and out of the clefts of the hills.
Despite all the madness and sadness; I was overcome with this sense of wellbeing; of everything being right with the world.