The wedding has come and gone, and now I am a wife. I've got a husband! It still feels so strange to say that, not because I don't like it, but because for 28 years I was single. All of a sudden, I am married. Life is approaching normal again. We returned from our honeymoon yesterday, spent today hanging out and working on the apartment, and tomorrow will be full of errands. On Wednesday we will both join the real world again - back to work for both of us. But before that, I need to venture back to Wedding Land to tell the story of our day.
Once I got to the hotel the night before the wedding, I realized in horror that I didn't have my debit card with me to pay for the hotel. I was pretty sure I had left it at the nail salon but it was way too late to call and check. I paid for the room with a credit card, and all these visions of my lost debit card were swimming in my head. I was afraid that it was truly lost and that there would be no way for me to withdraw funds before leaving on the honeymoon. If it wasn't for this issue, I would have slept through the entire night before the wedding without waking up. Other than that, I was pretty calm.
I woke up just before 8 AM the morning of the wedding. I hung out in my hotel room a bit, made various phone calls (which I didn't want to do, but had to because of the debit card issue), and had breakfast alone in the dining room. My family showed up and hung around for an hour or so. Once they left, I took a shower and got ready to get ready. That probably makes no sense to anyone who's never been a bride. :) Once I was all ready to get ready, I sat on the couch and wrote in my journal. I was amazed at how calm and utterly normal I felt. It felt like any other day, except that I was in a hotel. And time was going by at a reasonable pace, which made me happy.
Then my hair and makeup girl arrived and started working on me right away. Mandy and her friend (who was doing her hair and makeup) showed up afterwards. My mom also came by and took a few pictures:
And then Crissy showed up. I have to say that I am so glad that we hired her after firing our original photographer. She is just awesome. She quickly took all the pics of the inanimate objects I wanted (shoes, jewelry, etc.) and then helped my hair and makeup gal get my hair and veil just right. I thought it was so cool that she took an active interest in how I looked and helped achieve the goal. All of a sudden, it was 2:30, time to leave for the site.
Mandy and I drove to the site together, and on the way I finally began to get nervous. Once we got there, I was supposed to just hole up in the bridal room, since Roy was supposed to arrive at the same time. However, on the way to the bridal room, I got severaly distracted by the set-up of the reception area, not to mention our fabulous cake:
I was pretty overwhelmed by how gorgeous it all looked, and the only thing I could do was jump around in extreme excitement, screaming "Oh my god!" I was so happy. It must have been strange seeing a girl in a turquoise track suit with a veil on her head jumping around like a crazy person. I ran outside and found the memory table, which looked awesome (except that the place cards really should have been taped down):
And then I proceeded on down the path to the ceremony site:
At this point, I was in awe. I think it was the beauty of the fabric blowing in the wind that got me. I realized how perfect our colors were for the site and how glad I was that we didn't use tulle and/or flowers on the ceremony gazebo. :)
I went back to the bridal room. I changed into my dress and felt like a celebrity as both photographers snapped away. People kept coming in and out; it was really strange how everyone wanted to see me. Most of my time was spent with Mandy:
I realized that I had forgotten the card I wanted to give Roy, so I got a sheet of paper and pen and was writing him a note as Crissy walked in. It was almost time for us to meet before the ceremony, and I was kind of a mess writing him the note. I was at a loss for words - me, of all people. I read the note to Crissy, which made me cry even more and got her started. Finally I finished it up and went outside to meet him. I was pretty composed until I saw him sitting on a little bench with his back to me. And then I lost it as he turned around and saw me. All I could think of was how amazing he looked in his suit and how lucky I was to be marrying such a beautiful man. I think part of me has always been scared that our relationship has been too good to be true and that such a good person like Roy would surely not marry me. Seeing him there, waiting for me, made me realize how important it is to show up and be present for the important moments. I have no idea if that makes any sense or not.
Strangely, during that time when we were hugging and kissing, it was like neither of the photographers was there. And then we went to go take pictures, and we had a great time.
About an hour before the wedding, we went our separate ways. I hid out in the bridal room and watched guests arriving through the window. It was so exciting! Crissy and Rowena (her second shooter) hung out in the room with Mandy and me, and they retied our bouquets since my florist did such a crappy job with them (there's a shock).
I began to get really nervous. I was (and am) so thankful that I saw Roy before the ceremony because my nervousness might have led me to actually throw up if I had to deal with all of it at once. I remember thinking that I couldn't believe it was finally my turn. After all the months of planning and watching my online friends on the IE board on the Knot get married, I was finally going to be walking down the aisle.
Soon we all began to line up for the processional (but not before I took a gigantic crap brought on entirely by nerves). The rest of the bridal party lined up right outside the door, ready to walk down to Drifting by Enya. My mom and I stayed in the reception room alone. I'm not sure how it began, but we had a moment that I will cherish for the rest of my days. It, of course, involved tears and me telling her how much it meant for me to have her walk me down the aisle. And it also involved her telling me that she would love me forever. I suppose that sounds cheesy, but even in recounting this moment, I've got tears in my eyes.
(You see, my mom and I had some drama between us during the wedding planning. She had some major issues with things that I wanted to do in the wedding. Being a staunch traditionalist, it took my mom 4 months to think about walking me down the aisle and finally agree to it, being as the giving away of the bride is normally done by a male. I didn't understand why it took her 4 months to decide, and I was a little sad that she didn't say yes right away. That wasn't the only thing, but it was the first of a few things that really hurt my feelings. The moment with my mom before we walked down the aisle together cancelled all of that out. All of a sudden, none of it mattered anymore. All that mattered is that she was there, ready to present me to my groom, and offering her support and love.)
I let my processional music, the most beautiful version of Canon in D that I've ever heard, play for a bit, and then my mom and I began our slow walk. We walked down the path to the ceremony area. At this point I couldn't even hear the music. Everything felt so surreal, especially when everyone stood up and watched me walk down. It was, hands down, one of the most dream-like moments of my life. It was as if a veil and a hush had fallen over everything, kind of like when it first snows. In my mind this moment was perfectly quiet and simultaneously full of chaos. I kept my eyes on Roy, but I can't even remember what I was thinking.
When my mom presented me to Roy, I hugged her with all my might. At that point, I felt so emotional and didn't want to let her go. Imagine that - the girl who couldn't wait to move out 9 years ago, the girl who sees her mom only twice a year. But we did let go, and the ceremony began.
I pretty much looked into Roy's eyes the entire time, although sometimes I looked around a bit. A couple of times Crissy and I made eye contact, and I could see that she was teary - another reason why I love her: her investment in her clients. Saying my vows and hearing Roy's was so incredible. I cried, he remained stoic.
Here are our vows:
"I, Roy, take you, Leslie, to be my wife, in equal love, as a mirror for my true Self, as a partner on my path, to honor and to cherish, in sorrow and in joy.
Leslie, I choose you today and every day, for the rest of my life.
I have already given you my heart. Now I give you my life."
And mine were the same. The only difference is that we used our full names instead of just our first names. I left out our full names for obvious reasons.
All of a sudden, we were married. We stood in front of everyone while they applauded. I feel now like I should have done something photogenic like done a little cheer with my bouquet, but I wasn't thinking of it at the time, and plus, I wasn't even holding my bouquet. In fact, I almost forget it once we started walking down the aisle.
Once the time was right, we took off down the aisle to a much hipper version of Canon in D. Once we were down the aisle, we kissed, and I promptly burst into tears and cried into my bouquet for a few seconds. I reminded myself of a baby who falls down, bursts into tears, and then stops crying seconds later when he realizes nothing is wrong. Prozac, anyone?
While the guests snacked on appetizers and hung out in the reception room, all of the bridal party and family were hanging out near the back of the chapel, our designated portrait place. Doing all the portraits was actually fun, especially when all the ducks joined in:
However, during the hour it took to take pictures, I also became ADD Bride. I kept staring longingly in the direction of the lodge. I really wanted to join the party! Nevertheless, some good shots were taken:
Then it was time for the bridal party grand entrance. They walked into Battle Without Honor or Humanity, which was so awesome (from the little I saw). We flubbed our grand entrance by walking out before our DJ actually announced us, and he gave me an exasperated look. However, I think we made up for it by having a really cool song playing. During our first dance, all we did was tell each other how much we hated doing the first dance. We absolutely did not like having everyone staring at us while we were dancing. Good thing we look like the picture of happiness in our first dance photos!
Our first dance was to our song, Breathe Me by Sia. For some reason, letting everyone watch us dance to this song felt so much more personal than having them listen to our vows. Does that make sense?
Here are the lyrics:
"Help, I have done it again
I have been here many times before
Hurt myself again today
And, the worst part is there's no one else to blame
Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
I am small
Warm me up
And breathe me
Ouch I have lost myself again
Lost myself and I am nowhere else to be found,
Yeah I think that I might break
Lost myself again and I feel unsafe
Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
I am small
Warm me up
And breathe me
Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
I am small
Warm me up
And breathe me"
Once we sat down, Jake, Mandy, and Wade gave their toasts. I'd like to say a few words about these toasts, because each one of them was truly well thought-out, genuine, and touching - definitely one of the most memorable moments from the wedding.
Jake's toast was so sweet. He told a story that illustrated Roy's good character, and he said so many good things about me (things that I never thought I would hear come out of his mouth) that I got very teary. Mandy talked about how she was glad that Roy had given her a sister and a friend, and of course, I was very close to crying at this point. Finally, Wade started off very philosophically, and I was preparing myself for a lecture, but he ended up making a simple statement about how our wedding day would be the first of many happy days together. The toasts were just awesome; they totally made me feel warm and fuzzy.
So then it was time for dinner! We had lasagna, and I hardly got to eat any of it. The thing about being the bride is that everyone wants to talk to you and hug you. Eventually I gave up on trying to eat, so Roy and I started going around to all the tables to talk with all of our guests.
After dinner, we immediately cut the cake. Of course, I had picked an awesome song for the occasion. What a fabulous cake it was! I was actually a little sad to cut into that beauty, but obviously not that sad:
And then the dancing began, and here is where things got really good. Not that they weren't before, but you know what I mean. I honestly don't know if I've ever had as much fun as I did dancing all night. And dance all night I did.
We began with the bridal party dance, which I didn't really want to do, but our DJ assured us that it would help get people dancing. He was right. The bridal party (us included, of course) started off dancing to Come Away with Me by Norah Jones. About halfway through the song, Jay (our DJ) invited everyone else up to dance with us. Once the song was over, Jay went straight into In the Mood by Cherry Poppin' Daddies. What I remember most about this song is what a great time my mom and brother had dancing together; they looked like they had an absolute blast.
The rest of the night was just incredibly awesome. We all had so much fun dancing to songs like Baby Got Back, Lean Like a Cholo, Lady Marmalade, Good Vibrations, Now That We Found Love, Crazy in Love, Ice Ice Baby, Bizarre Love Triangle, and What is Love. My song choices made it impossible for anyone to take themselves too seriously, and so there was lots of funky dancing...and, in the case of my brother, lots of sweating:
Roy and I had a very special dance to Tiny Dancer, a song we both love and sang to each other as we danced. (It was also a contender for my processional song, but I couldn't find a good instrumental version of it.)
One of my absolute favorite memories from the entire day was when Jay played Family Affair. It was then that I noticed that Patty, my mom, and my uncle Charles were all out on the dance floor cutting a rug with us youngsters. I was so surprised and happy that they were all there! They all looked so cute dancing. Then Jay played O.P.P. and all bets were off. We had people from every age group on the dance floor yelling "Yeah, you know me!" It was so incredible. (I'm fairly certain that none of the older people knew what O.P.P. means.)
Another great moment was watching Mandy and Paul dance to I'll Miss You Till I Meet You. The way they danced together was very indicative of their deep love for each other.
Before I knew it, we had our last dance to Be Mine, and the night was over. I had gotten married, cried about 7 times, danced my ass off, and taken a shot of tequila and not felt it at all - all in the space of one day. My brother, mom, and uncle were leaving when I realized that we hadn't signed the marriage license yet. So I ran out to the parking lot to get ahold of my brother before he took off, leaving us officially unwed.
We were the last to leave, except for the venue staff. I don't regret not making a grand exit at all, because we got to stay until the very end (and we also got the leftover cake). It was sad, though, seeing the remnants of a very beautiful event that I planned.
When we got to the hotel, a man standing outside saw us walking up and yelled out, "Congratulations!" Even the good wishes of a perfect stranger mean something to this sentimental bride.
I expected to sleep like a rock that night, but I woke up in the middle of the night still totally pumped and excited. It was then that it really began to dawn on me that the wedding was over and that marriage had begun...
It is now August 8, and I have finally finished my wedding day story. I'm sure I'll be editing it and adding in pictures and links in the near future, but eventually I'll leave it as it is. The wedding is only a memory now, and sometimes I just don't know how to feel about this. My feelings are as conflicted as they were before the wedding. Nothing is ever simple, is it?
For a glimpse of some professional wedding photos, click here.