So after a total of seven years together, about a year and nine months of which we spent engaged, we are married. The words “husband” and “wife” are really fucking weird, and I expected to keep saying “fiancé” instead then correcting myself for at least a solid two weeks. And one day, when I’m really tired or just not quite with it, I’ll regress back to “boyfriend,” and if I’m really fucked, maybe even “that guy I’ve been talking to.”
I’m glad I took off from work from Wednesday on last week, because it was a little chaotic. Simple tasks, but lots of them, and they were some little things I’d meant to do but forgot about–I meant to buy a case of Angry Orchard or something for myself and other fruity-drink lovers to have since two kegs were devoted to manly beers and forgot, I forgot to clean my engagement ring to spruce it up before the wedding, and when I packed for my overnight stay at my parents’ house the night before the wedding, I forgot that I’d also need to pack for the actual wedding night and following day. So I was all prettied up Saturday but wore the same clothes Sunday that I wore Friday.
But those days were dedicated to wrapping up loose ends, buying alcohol and mixers, and rehearsal. We carted liquor up into the apartment Thursday and then back down Friday to take it to the venue, and between that and the mixers, our apartment was even worse than normal. We had a tiny path to walk through, and now it’s back that way with anything left over plus gifts and any other little things we or other family had dropped off that needed to come back. Fortunately, we weren’t inundated with a bunch of things we don’t need, and everything we got was really pretty. Some of it might sit in my parents’ basement due to lack of space until we get a house or bigger apartment. But if this place catches on fire or something leaks again, we’re fucked.
Rehearsal was, well, rehearsal. Terra, newly licensed with a new car, has never actually come out here to Washington and got really fucked on traffic and was late, but it wasn’t a huge deal. I was concerned about forgetting everything they told us to do/not do, but the priest was pretty good with reminders mid-ceremony, and in the end, it kind of doesn’t matter because no one really cares.
If I wasn’t keeping busy Friday, I was really nervous, and the only thing making me nervous was that for maybe a week or so leading up to the wedding, I kept picturing the big doors in the back opening before I walked down the aisle, and the thought of everyone watching me combined with how big the church is and how long the aisle is made me nervous. It’s dumb because on your wedding day walking down the aisle, that’s kind of the point, but that was the most anxiety-inducing thing for me. Nothing else mattered–I wasn’t nervous about the ceremony itself, no cold feet, not worrying about everything being perfect at the reception, nothing–just that single moment walking down the aisle. So after a nice dinner and some time hanging out with everyone and having to go back into my apartment three times for things I forgot, I went home with my parents, was nervous there, and slept for about four hours.
I was nervous Saturday morning, but like Friday, not when I was busy. Getting hair and makeup done was fine, and then we left and I got nervous again. We hung out for about an hour, then picked up the dresses since we had no good place to store them otherwise, and I happened to run into a high-school classmate at the store who was wedding-dress shopping with her sister. Small world.
I managed to forget that I’d told the photographer we’d do pictures of me getting dressed, but that’s okay. I wasn’t super set on photos of that specifically, and what happened was we were so focused on getting the thing on that we just did it without thinking. But she still got some good ones. And Aunt Gina brought my grandma’s garter. My mom was concerned about me actually wearing it because the elastic is so old, so we found a good spot on the lining of my dress underneath layers of lace to pin it. It was a nice little sentimental touch for me personally, of course, but for probably the whole side of the family to know I had it. Paul’s family was late, so I have no idea if we actually started on time, but one minute I’m writing checks for the remainder of people who needed paid and the next Terra’s rushing to grab her flowers because we were totally not ready when they came to get us.
And strangely, I wasn’t nervous anymore–a little bit when I could hear people coming in and when I heard the music playing that we picked for before the ceremony, but that whole moment I’d built up in my head was totally fine. I looked around at people a little bit and it was a long walk, but I was pretty calm. And then since the rest of it was just kneeling with our backs to everyone almost the entire time, I didn’t really care anymore. The priest had a nice homily, despite saying we picked tough, non-cliche readings, and he was funny but good.
You know how they say something will go wrong? Paul forgot the rings. He had this “oh, shit” look on his face that I’m honestly surprised no one seemed to notice and said he forgot them, and because we screw with each other all the time, I wasn’t convinced until the time came to actually exchange them. The priest said we’d fake it and Jacob didn’t have them, so yep, they weren’t fucking with me. But by all accounts, you couldn’t actually tell–the photographer and the first like two rows of pews, which was Terra and the parents, thought something was up, but everyone else I told this to said they had no idea. Our backs were turned just enough that faking it was actually really effective, and since we live next to the church, I told Paul when we processed out to just go out the door to the car and get them, so we had them for pictures and the reception and Father was able to bless them for real. I wasn’t thrilled, of course, but also not as mad as I think Paul expected me to be, and everyone–older married couples and the priests in particular brushed it off as a good story we’ll have to tell. Paul’s parents’ wedding story is that he passed out during the ceremony.
And then there was an issue with the shuttle we were supposed to have between the hotel and reception. There was some confusion where initially, we heard there wasn’t one, and it turned out people just needed to request it–because another wedding was in the same hotel with 35 rooms book and they reserved the shuttle, an option I didn’t know we had. And then they lost Terra’s reservation, so Paul got on the phone and was the bitchiest I’ve ever heard him, making sure they got her in a room for the reduced rate. It’s worth noting that what I considered level 10 of pissed-off Paul sounds like a 2 to everyone else.
Julie ended up stuck at the reception taking care of things, but I think she took on more than she needed. She got there early to drop stuff off and kind of panicked when things weren’t set up yet, but it was just that she was a little too early, and not much needed done. And while I appreciate the fact that she felt the need to make sure things were okay and didn’t want to bother us with things, I do wish she or someone would’ve told one of us, because we could’ve told her it was fine and that she didn’t need to stay. She ended up missing the ceremony, so I feel bad about that.
But other than that, things went well and were fine. The cake didn’t turn out quite like I expected but tasted really good, and I wish the DJ would’ve played more of our song requests, but I knew we had more songs than we had time. But dinner was really good, and the Polish family seemed pleased by a traditional Polish hunter’s stew–Uncle Del in particular, who joked that with a vegetarian bride having a wedding at a botanic garden surely meant everyone would be eating grass, but nope. Bigos, shrimp pasta, mashed potatoes, grilled vegetables, and salad. But of course, I wasn’t very hungry, so I ended with a small plate of small servings of food, and I’m annoyed that I couldn’t fully appreciate the good food. Normally, I’d have loaded up and hit it hard. Most annoying was the fact that I was pretty hungry in the morning, when I was at peak nervousness, but had no appetite when the nerves died down. We also barely touched the cookies I’d made sure to have out because I wanted to get to enjoy those, too, but at least we could box those up.
Jacob gave a nice toast, his dad gave a nice blessing, and we had a successful first dance to David Bowie’s “Heroes.” Like everything else, you spend all this time and money and it’s over like that, and I felt like the dance was a little rushed and sloppy, yet looking at the video of it, it looks fine. I’m sure we didn’t quite nail everything we’d talked about in our classes, but it was prettier than I expected and I think we did good.
And then we partied. I danced some and mingled some. My mom and Brandon had arranged with the DJ to do a little something to “The Bird” by Morris Day and The Time, and I feel like only the three of us and my dad even knew what the hell that song was, but we liked it. We played the shoe game, where we sit back to back with one of each of our shoes and answer questions to show how well we know each other by holding up the shoes, and since I didn’t have a bridal shower, I thought something like that would be a fun thing to do. We did the bridal dance, and after going through that line at so many weddings over the years, it’s weird to be on the other end of it. Terra said she could tell the families apart because mine was a little bit rowdier.
Everyone seemed to have a good time. Friends got drunk, some of my cousins had to be drunk, my Uncle Vince surprised everyone and danced so we think he was probably drunk, and two people who are known to hate weddings even had fun. Everyone always says it’s a blur, and it’s true. Everything came together and we pulled off the most important event of our lives, and we even came in a few thousand dollars under budget.