Thursday, December 24, 2009

Day 7 – Friday – day before wedding

Got up early and went to the hotel buffet to have breakfast with Dad. Then DH and Dad went out to finish up more errands. They had to pick up some wine. Here is the story about the wine. Our original plan was to bring Oregon wines with us. Maybe a red and a white, a couple of bottles for each table. Then, a couple weeks before the wedding, DH said he wanted to buy wine from his cousin’s California winery. He got a hold of her on the phone and she said she would tell us where she had a distributor in Dallas so we could pick some up at a family price. DH told me the family price would still be more per bottle than we had originally budgeted. This changed things a bit since at that price we did not want to open every single bottle and leave them on the tables and then possibly wind up with expensive leftovers. So, I told the Abbey that we needed a bartender, and they were able to hire one for us right away. Now fast forward to the day before the wedding, and we had not heard back from Susan as to where the Dallas distributor was. So, DH and Dad went to Wal-Mart and bought a mixed case of various wines there! Back at the hotel, DH typed up a wine list and made it sound very elegant (and totally made up). So, though the bartender ended up being sort of unnecessary, I was glad that we hired him anyway, I thought it was a nice touch.

While they were shopping, I stayed in the hotel and pressed my dresses, and then proceeded to hem one of them. When I had tried on the dress in the bridal store, they determined that it was maybe an inch and a half too long. To save money, I hemmed it myself. This exercise turned out to be pointless, as I found out on the wedding day.

Then I sat down with my processional music and choreographed the processional, writing down names and times and musical cues on a piece of hotel stationery. If I had known that the wedding coordinator was going to take my notes and interpret them literally, I would have been a bit more careful…more on that tomorrow as well. My processional music was a song I had picked out a long time ago and always dreamed of having for my wedding march. I think it may have been this song that inspired me to have a Christmas wedding. Someone had asked me what made me think of a Christmas wedding, and at the time I could not remember. But I think maybe it was the song for the wedding march. It is an arrangement of Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring that begins as an acoustic guitar with string quartet and then transitions into a very festive march, which more than one person said sounds Irish, and so also lent itself to celebrating DH's Irish heritage. As I was listening for the musical cues and making my notes, it was hard for me not to get teary-eyed as I imagined how it would look and feel in reality. I found out later that reality is different from sitting in the hotel room next to the speakers. My cousin warned me the next morning that when the time came, I would not actually be able to hear the music very well, and it was true, so I can only hope that the guests got the immersive experience that I missed.

When all the errands were done, we headed over to the Abbey for our rehearsal. I recall that our coordinator had been kind of surprised when I told her the minister was not coming to the rehearsal, and that previously the minister had been surprised when I had invited him to the rehearsal. Sometimes I think the wedding industry needs to figure out what is standard for the wedding industry.

The decorations were mostly in place at that time, and simply gorgeous. The coordinator was very bossy. She walked us through how the ceremony would go, and where everyone would stand, considering the length of my train, and then we started discussing the processional. Apparently the standard procedure for this venue is to play the music, people walk down the aisle as the coordinator directs, and when everyone is done walking then they just fade out the music. So I explained, for what felt like the umpteenth time, that the music was very important to me and was as much as part of the ceremony as any person (recall that originally it was supposed to be a live band), and that it was a very obvious march with obvious musical cues and a big finish and was not the kind of song you could just fade out. I dug out my piece of paper to show them, as evidence of how my plan would work. They took my paper and studied it very seriously and decided that they would use walkie-talkies to send the cues from the music room to the coordinator. I thought this was complete overkill and laughed, but no one listened to my suggestion that I could just cue everyone myself.

They played the music through once so they could listen to it themselves, and then started it again so we could rehearse. I had to admit it went pretty well.

Then the recessional discussion began. You know, the exit march. For which I had also chosen a specific song. This time, I know we were having the discussion for the umpty-JILLIONTH time. My plan was (1) minister announces bride and groom, (2) exit march music begins, (3) bride and groom exit, and (4) everyone else exits, to the music. Item (4) was REALLY messing the coordinator up. Apparently this was a big deal and a huge deviation from the way things are SUPPOSED TO BE. And she didn’t exactly like the order of (1) (2) and (3), either. She had some other complicated choreography in mind. I called upstairs to the music coordinator and asked her to please play my exit march so the coordinator could hear how dramatic it was and so could not handle any interruptions or complicated choreography. The exit march played and DH and I demonstrated how the exit would look. I was delighted that there was laughter from everyone present and a big “a-ha” moment from the coordinator, exactly the reaction I was hoping for on the big day, since the exit march was the theme song from Pirates of the Caribbean. And so the exit march was re-choreographed to go well with the music, and then it was suggested that we should practice it while I was wearing the wedding dress with the long train and Ada helping to fix the train. A few people had seen my dress in advance, but I said I really wanted the look to be as much of a surprise as possible, so everyone was asked to exit the chapel except for Ada and me. They all went to the reception hall where my sister passed out cookies.

Ada and I practiced with the train. Then the rehearsal was over. Pat said she wanted to go to the store to get some makeup, so the carpools were rearranged.

DH and Pat and I went to Wal-Mart and picked up a couple items, then headed over to another barbecue place for dinner. Really good food, and I said it was cheap too, though the cashier seemed surprised by my comment.

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