Friday, December 25, 2009

Day 8 – Saturday – the wedding

The professional photographer has posted pictures and a slideshow on his website, and they'll be up for about 3 months.


I think most of the blog readers were at the wedding, so I'll try not to write too much detail that people already know.

After an early breakfast with Keith and Maya, I went back to the hotel and made my bouquet and Ada’s bouquet, with some help from DH.

Then DH and my dad went out, I think, while I waited to meet with the stylist. Jerry was to meet us too, to take some pictures. I had decided not to have the photographer meet us for the styling, because there wasn’t enough room at the hotel.

Then Pat came over to have her hair done too. DH was back by then, he and my dad brought me some lunch, which I had nearly forgotten about.

Soon it was time to go to the chapel. DH and I were to get there around 4:00 to meet with the photographer. We arrived alone, just the 2 of us. This seemed to surprise everyone at the Abbey. I guess most couples arrive with an entourage. We helped set up a few things and then the photographer took pictures in our dressing rooms for a while.

We changed into our formal wear, and that’s when I made the decision to go barefoot under my ceremony dress. I had not brought heels with me, just my dance shoes that I intended to wear to the reception. The dance shoes were not very high-heeled, though, and they laced up, and once I was in the dress I could not very well bend over to lace up my shoes. So I just went without. This is why it ended up being pointless to hem the dress the day before. It was too long anyway due to my lack of shoes. I carried my dress everywhere that I walked, and I decided I could manage to walk down the aisle without picking up my dress, by walking slowly and kicking my dress ahead of my feet.

We posed for the photographer until it was time for me to hide in my dressing room. DH came with me for a while. I didn’t feel nervous. I was more acting as coordinator, my mind racing with event details, like where the video cameras were placed and who was going to turn them on, my frustration with the coordinator and minister who were intent on interrupting the recessional to announce where the reception would be (despite protests from both DH and me that no one was going to get lost on the way to the reception hall), which guests had and had not arrived, did Bill and Colleen know that we intended for them to participate in the processional, etc etc.

I barely breathed before suddenly the coordinator was telling DH and me that it was time to start. So it was really happening. The chapel doors were closed and all of the processional participants were lined up in the foyer. We heard laughter from the chapel and those of us in the foyer had no idea why. I whispered, “this isn’t in the script!” which made us all giggle. It turned out the photographer was taking some pictures and had made everyone laugh.

Then it was time to begin and the first glitch happened. The coordinator had given the minister a walkie-talkie so she could cue him when it was time to come out. I had meant for the minister to come out and then the processional music to begin, but instead, they began the music and then cued the minister. Not a big deal, except he didn’t come out. He kept calling back on the walkie questioning if he was supposed to come out now. “yes,” they told him. “right now?” he said. “Come out now!” they repeated, and the music played on. In the meantime the coordinator refused to let anyone walk down the aisle until the minister took his place, and so the first and second musical cues were missed. If DH and his mom were the first down the aisle, I don’t think DH would have let that happen. But the first down the aisle was Jerry, and he had not been at the rehearsal or heard the music before, so he didn’t know. I was extremely annoyed and was making frantic motions at the coordinator to get everyone caught up, but she didn’t notice. Her boss was there and saw me and simply smiled. But the song was long enough that everyone got caught up to where they were supposed to be, so I was calm again. Dad and I started down the aisle a little earlier than I had intended, but it all worked out perfectly with the music in the end.

As we started walking down the aisle I made eye contact with Aleah and Yvonne. I was specifically looking for them, wanted to see them, and there they were in the back row. After that I don’t remember anything. I couldn’t see anyone, I don’t know where anyone was sitting and I don’t remember seeing Jerry with the video camera or the photographer or anyone except DH, smiling at me. He looked so happy, and that made me happy. He took my elbow to escort me up the stairs, exactly as the coordinator had choreographed. The reason he was supposed to take my elbow was so that I could use my right hand to pick up my dress so I wouldn’t trip going up the stairs. But my mind was blank and I didn’t grab my dress and I tripped anyway. I had to pause and take both my hands to lift my skirts enough to get me up the stairs. It’s rather funny on the video and you can see my bare feet. Then Ada forgot to take my bouquet from me, and in one of the videos you can see Mike wink and make a motion to her, and she ran up and got my bouquet with perfect timing to the end of the music.

The ceremony was very quick, a little more prayerful than we thought we had agreed to, but it was lovely. We had asked Bill and Colleen if they would like to do a reading of their choosing. We expected a poem or parable or something, but Bill had taken the assignment much more seriously than that, and ended up giving us some heartfelt advice straight from his and Colleen’s own marriage. It was so personal and wonderful, so touching, that even the minister thanked Bill for it as he and Colleen returned to their seats. It was a beautiful gift.

We exchanged rings, kissed, and then it was over as suddenly as it began. I could barely hear my exit march cue, and I didn’t hear the audience laughter that I had heard the day before at the rehearsal, so I knew the coordinator had messed it up. (My review of the video later confirmed that the recessional did not go as I had directed, though I’m sure no one knew it but me.) Oh well.

DH and I retreated to the bridal suite as directed. I didn’t feel like we had enough time alone before the coordinator was knocking at the door. We went back to the chapel for more pictures.

When we joined the reception, it was time for dinner. We’d had a wonderful turkey and ham dinner buffet ordered, with beautiful china plates that the Abbey had picked out for us. White with silver trim around the outside. The Abbey had decided that our wedding colors would be red, white, and silver. I think it’s so funny that they made this decision for me and didn’t even consult me, but it was wonderful. How lucky that DH picked a red vest to wear with his tuxedo. It worked out beautifully. I would have chosen green, if it were up to me.

For some reason it didn’t occur to me that the bride is supposed to go through the buffet line first. I suppose I should have known since we have a similar rule in the DAR. But my aunt Ann helped steer me over and keep the correct protocol. Then I was so ding-y, I sat down in the wrong seat, and once again Ann had to guide me to the seats that were clearly delineated for the bride/groom. Ack! I was so grateful for the guidance!

The food was yummy, but I didn’t eat much because I knew DH and I would be swing dancing next, and I didn’t want anything heavy in my stomach. And so the first dance was announced, and the music started, and the dance was wonderful. We chose “More” by Bobby Darin. Everyone seemed delighted by it, and it was a lot of fun! In video later, we think the song looked so slow. Right after our dance, we started up more dance music and dimmed the lights and everyone started dancing. About the 5th song in was Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” which has a swing dance beat and was actually another song we had been considering as our first dance song. We danced to that song, and this time we danced fast, and I had SO MUCH FUN. DH said that’s one of his favorite wedding memories, that he saw my face and how much fun I was having.

We cut the cake about an hour into the dancing. We served cupcakes that had been decorated with a Christmas design that I had found in a Martha Stewart book and that my sister asked the baker to re-create. I made it really easy, I had even bought the exact decorations in advance. The cake topper was a one-of-a-kind creation that I’d found on ebay. It was a Christmas theme with 2 elves kissing. I was very delighted with the way the cake display turned out.

We didn’t have a grand exit with bubbles or sparklers or anything. Simply announced the last dance when it was time to go. The Abbey said we’d have another hour after the last dance to get changed and pack up our car. As we said goodbye to everyone, it ended the way it started, with just the 2 of us left at the Abbey. Again, this seemed to surprise them, but there wasn’t much to clean up and it seemed like such a fitting way to close the night. At the beginning and end, it was just the 2 of us.

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