Hair appointment…9 o’clock. Must shower, groom, pack overnight bag, pack clutch, eat a good breakfast, finish wedding slide show, print vows, practice vows…it’s 6:30am…have to get up…have to start the day.
The whim of things flooding my mind for this monumental day that lie ahead of me…it was thrilling yet exasperating. I couldn’t figure out what to do first. The past week had been a nightmare. Little to no sleep, nit-picking about every little detail I could think of, arguing with my soon to be husband about irrelevant things, stressing over things that didn’t need to be stressed over, spending countless hours decorating the reception hall and changing my mind at the last-minute about so many things. Being a perfectionist was not at all helping me this week.
I dragged myself off the floor in the office (which is where I slept because all the beds were full of family members who spent the night). I couldn’t remember sleeping much, yet my eyes were wide and alert. I felt wired, but at the same time I felt weak and my mind was mush. It’s okay, after I have a shower I will feel much better. I stood under the running hot water trying to get my mind off my “to do list” for just a few minutes. I needed some relaxation before this day really began. I had been working on a slide show for the wedding for what felt like a month and it still wasn’t finished. So I spent the next hour trying to piece it together. I took a few bites of scrambled eggs and gnawed at my fingernails desperately trying to perfect the slide show, knowing that over 100 people would be watching it later that night.
My mom was up now and trying to get me to eat more. But I couldn’t. My stomach was in knots and my mind was racing. Some more people got up. My aunt and grandma were in the kitchen now too. Everyone’s asking me questions, but I’m only hearing rambling. My eyes are glued to my computer screen. The girls were up now. My cousins, aka my bridesmaids. Everyone’s wandering around the kitchen. The chaos was about to begin. I decided my slide show was taking up too much time. I gave up. I gave it a quick ending and closed the computer down. Okay, one less thing on my plate. Have to be at the hair salon in an hour.
After a lot of running around, we finally got out to the car. We managed to squeeze all 6 girls into my cousin’s Toyota Matrix and then we rushed off to the salon. The morning was going pretty good, until we got to the salon. I sat down with my hair dresser and she began. I got my whole head of hair curled, which took a really long time, and I couldn’t help but start nodding off in the salon chair. My photographer was there snapping pictures of me and my bridesmaids while our hair is getting done. I was so tired I could barely smile for her. I noticed the bags under my eyes in the mirror. My skin looked dry and red. I don’t feel like a bride today.
My girls are done their hairdos before me. One after the other, they are complaining that they don’t like how it looks. Oh no. Can this be happening? One by one they have the salon manager trying to fix their dos. I try to just stay relaxed. They’ll be okay. My hair is all I need to worry about. Just breathe. Finally I am off to get my makeup done. It’s been two hours, and now I’m starting to get hungry, and when I’m hungry I get cranky. This can’t be good! As she is doing my makeup I keep a mirror handy so I can see how it’s coming along. I don’t like my face today. I look tired. How is my makeup going to look good with this face! More and more is put on, I still looked tired. I felt ugly. I started to feel my emotions twirl inside me. The stress of the week, the high tension, going on no sleep and little food. My eyes started to well up. My makeup artist was looking concerned. She was trying to do my makeup and tears were starting to form in my eyes. “Are you okay honey?” I’m ugly, I’m ugly, was all I could think of. And then the tears started pouring down and I was sobbing uncontrollably. What a nightmare! Only one of my bridesmaids was here with me now, the others went to run an errand. She tried to cheer me up. Everyone was looking at me. Other customers saw me crying and making a fool of myself. “It’s okay just go to the washroom and take a minute.” She said. I run off to the washroom. It only got worse! I was breathing funny, my eyes were puffy, and turning redder by the second. All the makeup was getting ruined! Oh no, I’m a bridezilla…was going through my mind. My bridesmaid, Janelle, came into the bathroom trying to calm me down. Once I start crying it’s hard to stop. I had erratic sounds coming out of me, and my voice was creaking. Could this day possibly get any worse?
After a good twenty minutes of trying to stop crying and calm my nerves, and Janelle consistently waving a fan in my face and saying “Think good things, Bora Bora, Bora Bora” and having tea bags put on my eyes to calm the swelling…the makeup managed to get done. Everyone at the salon, especially my makeup artist, did an amazing job at helping me through it. They were patient and accommodating. I was able to leave the salon smiling. Okay, On to the next…
Back to my full house. Grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, parents, a baby and a photographer. One house, two bathrooms, and 19 people. The girls were stuffed into one bathroom trying to fix their hairdo which they weren’t pleased with, and putting on their makeup. Aunts, uncles, grandparents were everywhere. We had one baby and two thirteen year olds; they were THANKFULLY behaving. So I had to get on my dress and jewelry and stuff my face with some kind of food before I passed out. The photographer was snapping pictures everywhere; I had to look pleasant while eating and getting ready. The whole couple hours went by so fast. You could only imagine how fast the food went with 19 people in the house. I managed to get two chicken fingers and some veggies and dip.
Somehow we all got out the door on time after a hot mess of 6 girls running around painting fingernails, fixing hair, doing makeup, getting dressed and getting pictures taken all at the same time. My dad described us as “6 girls aimlessly going around in circles at the bottom of the staircase squealing, dropping things, losing things and running into each other”. Sounds about right.
How I managed to squeeze everything I needed into one little clutch and go out the door is beyond me. But now we were on our way to the church. The ceremony started in about twenty minutes. I was feeling a lot better than I was at the salon. I felt more beautiful now, my dress was on, my makeup was fixed, my hair was staying in place. It was time for me to walk down the aisle. My nerves were somewhat shaky, but I was smiling and ready to go!
When we arrived there weren’t as many cars as we thought there would be and we are told that the church is still half empty! A bunch of people hadn’t arrived yet. So my dad and I sat in the car outside waiting for the cue to come in. We were both a bundle of nerves, but we carried on mindless conversation to keep us sane. What was going through my dad’s mind was probably how scared he was to give away his oldest daughter to another man. What was going on in my mind was walking down the aisle with my dad, the most influential and only real man in my life, arm in arm and hugging him “goodbye”, so to speak, as I declared my love and companionship to the new man of my life. It was intense to say the least.
So then we saw two cars full of people show up (my mom’s side of the family) and that was when we were given the go ahead to come inside. The next hour of the reception I could only describe as emotional, clumsy and yet…memorable. I could tell Nathaniel was nervous because of the sweat dripping down his face. But even so, he smiled at me lovingly through the whole thing. And as for me, even though my emotions went crazy at the hair salon that morning, and I thought I was drained from tears; the tears and emotions came back during the reading of my vows. I was amazed that I even got through them. The whole congregation was sniffling behind me as I struggled to get through them. I could hear my bridesmaids sobbing behind me. At one point I couldn’t see my vows anymore through the water that was built up in my eyes, so I had to ask for a tissue. I looked down to see my tear-stained dear little grandmother reaching up to me with a tissue in her hand. I graciously took it and wiped my face, wiping the sweat from Nathaniel’s face in the process. I got through the vows, my emotions were very clearly overflowing the whole way through them. The pastor even mentioned to everyone how impressed he was with how sincere our vows were. Good, I thought. It was real, and heartwarming. Very good.
The next few hours we posed for over a thousand pictures, in different locations. It was a beautiful day, but we were all sweating in the sunlight as our cheeks hurt from smiling at the camera. Nathaniel and I were in a daze it seemed. We just did what we were told. We were both taking in the whole process of what had just happened. We were married. Finally. Just weeks before, tt seemed like the day would never come. The hardest parts were over-with. Now it was time to enjoy ourselves.
After the photo shoot, we had to race back to make it on time for the reception to start. But in the rush of the day we had forgotten to pick up our wine for the reception, and my maid of honor, Chelsea, had forgotten her speech at home. So on the way to the reception site we got the best man to drop us off at the liquor store while he took Chelsea to get her speech. Let me tell you about the looks we got in the store. Here we had a bride and groom in full attire running through the liquor store with some bottles of wine. We felt like celebrities, everyone was watching. We laughed and joked and just had fun with it. Our ride was taking a while, so we went into the grocery store and got some chocolate and mints too. Yes, we are ridiculous! Everyone was asking us questions, and looking at us like we were crazy, but we loved every minute of it. The next part was waiting for our ride to come back. It took quite a while, and we were beginning to think we were stranded at the grocery store! We didn’t even have our cell phones on us. Typical! We even got offered rides from strangers. But we held it together until our ride finally showed up. Off to the reception! Late…as usual.
My reception is the part of the day that whizzed by so fast, I barely remember it. Mind you, it was the most relaxing part of the day. We just had to sit there, eat, drink and occasionally stand up and kiss. But there were so many things jammed into such a small amount of time it seemed. As soon as we got there, things just took off. We walked in, sat down, the MC (my dad) ran us through what was going to go on through the night, we ate, we listened to speech after speech after speech (all of which were really awesome and much appreciated), we cut the cake, the dessert was put out, we watched the slideshow, more speeches, kissing, and then next thing you know it was time for the first dance. It hit us like a whirlwind. I was so caught up in all that was going on, that I only had one small plate of food. And I didn’t see or even try any of the amazing desserts that the kitchen crew made! The food was awesome and we had some really cool desserts planned out. But I didn’t get to see or eat any of it! There were chocolate and yogurt covered strawberries, chocolate mousse with mini chocolate chip cookies, shortbread cookies, fruit trays, cream cheese filled pastry puffs and more! At the time, I didn’t even think of it. Afterwards I was pretty bummed I didn’t get to try any of it. The cake we got was done at Costco and turned out beautifully, as well as 36 yummy chocolate and vanilla cupcakes from Suzy Shortbread. They were both excellent.
The night was light, fun and fancy free, among everything that was going on. The music was playing throughout the evening. We had oldies like Billie Holiday, Barry White and there was some Claude Debussy, Michael Buble, Louis Armstrong and Paul Simon. For the first dance we played “Hold you in my Arms” by Ray LaMontagne, and for the father and bride dance we played “Daddy” by Kendall Payne. It was all quite magical. I’ve never liked being the center of attention, but that day was really exhilarating. Everyone was watching me and everyone wanted to be around me and talk to me. It was very bizarre! It’s something that only happens once in a lifetime.
The dancing was by the far the most enjoyable part of the night. We had an absolute blast. My aunts and uncles joined in, even my parents! Not to mention my little baby cousin, barely a year old, sat in the middle of the crowd of people bouncing up and down on her knees and loving every minute of it! We all danced the night away, literally. I have never had so many people I love and care about in one place at the same time having a blast together. And I got to enjoy dancing to my favorite songs with all of them! The lights were dimmed, the music was loud, the people were happy. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
The night came to an end sooner than expected and everyone was leaving, we all started saying our goodbyes. There was so much going through my head by the night’s end. I was about to take off to spend the night, for the first time ever, with the man of my life at a cute bed and breakfast. So much to take in! All I know is that the stresses that lead up to the wedding day were so heavily condensed and overwhelming that I almost wasn’t able to just enjoy my day! It wasn’t until the chaotic morning was over was I really able to let loose and take it all in. But it really is amazing how short the day was. So much planning and sleepless nights for such a short day. I wouldn’t have changed anything that day, it went smoothly and everyone had fun, but I know for a fact I wouldn’t have fussed and frazzled so much for the months previous. It took me and Nathaniel a long time to learn to relax and not be running around 24/7 after our wedding day. I took the time to write out my feelings on the day in this blog so that I could remember some of the remnants of it all. But on the day of the wedding, I barely had time to think it was so crazy. I hope that those of you who read this and have yet to plan your wedding, take it from me…don’t put more on your plate than you need to! The day goes by so fast and people will barely remember the decor and the taste of the food. It’s all about enjoying it for yourself. It’s about you and your new husband/wife. Take it easy, let loose and try not to let your emotions and frustrations get the best of you! It is the life that comes after the big day that matters. And that is all I have to say about that 🙂