Eyes burst open. What time is it? 4:30 AM. Great, 4 hours of sleep. Perfect for the day that I have to look my absolute best, be my happiest, and then go spend the night with my husband for the FIRST TIME. The plans for today are supposed keep me up for at least 22 more hours. And I want to be dancing for many of those hours.
I should go back to sleep.
What time is it now? 4:50. Not happening.
Husband? I am getting married today. Or at least that’s why I wore the shirt that one of my bridesmaid’s had rhinestoned to say “Bride” on the front. It was either a commemoration or a reminder. Take your pick.
I manage to at least stay in my room until 7 AM. Then I meet my mother downstairs.
“So how are you doing?”
“I’m not excited yet,” I say hesitantly.
“Maybe you shouldn’t tell that to anyone else.” Wise words.
Slowly but surely my bridesmaids wake up and run to see me,
“You’re getting married today!”
“Yeah.” I don’t know what else to say.
I’m scared out of my mind.
I get like this anytime I’m coming up on something really important that I’ve put a lot of effort into. When it gets to be the day of whatever it is I freeze and get quiet and get annoyed because I realize that I’ve lost control over something that I spent a lot of time controlling.
In this case it was a wedding that I wouldn’t be planning anymore. No more discussing a million details with my mom. No more obsessing over whether my effort to go “simple” was simple enough or really just minimal. No more practicing my makeup. No more asking J a bunch of theoretical questions about our marriage. Nothing would be all that theoretical anymore.
It was going to happen today, and then it would be over.
But that wasn’t the only thing giving me fear.
Ok, not completely. But I was a wreck. Since I was exhausted from an, ahem, eventful bachelorette party the night before THAT, I cried all through my bridal luncheon and managed to call Jacob by his best friend’s name rather than his own name. When I did this, the room got very quiet. His mother and grandmother were there. Please, let them know that I know his name. I tried to nap afterward but Gilmore Girls got interesting, and then the rehearsal happened and that was easy, and I had a fun time at the dinner but it was difficult to manage a coherent sentence.
So I was hoping that today, the wedding day, would be less like yesterday and more like today, a wedding day, should be. I wanted to be like a bride should be. Beautiful, fun, and able to complete a sentence using her husband’s correct name (maybe if I write it on my hand in case I forget?).
And then we went to ballet class.
If you know me, you know I’m a dancer, and this part of my identity fluctuates in importance throughout my life, but it is always there. This is proven by the fact that 5 of my 6 bridesmaids were dancer friends. Forget a groomsmen golf game, we were going to a bridesmaid ballet class.
Yes, they all love me very very much.
Putting on those ballet shoes was the best decision I ever made. All the energy that had been pent up in worry was let out in the plie, tendu, pirouette and grand jete. And for an hour I got to build up my endorphins with some of my best friends.
And then the whirlwind began.
Hair appointment. Return to the house. Do my makeup. Photographers arrive. Act like they’re not there. Finish makeup. Gather emergency kits, dress and accessories and other necessities and jump in the cars. Sing Going to the Chapel in 3 part harmony on the way to the church. Sing Boom Boom Pow on the way to the church. Realize that Boom Boom Pow has a lot of obscenities on the way to the church.
Arrive at the church. Unload all belongings so they make sense. Bridesmaids put on dresses. Time to put on my dress.
The women all got ready in a small theater area of our church. There was a stage. Somehow it was decided that I would change from my white shorts and white button up into my ivory wedding dress onstage.
Well, I felt at home there at least.
Awkward moment of “I’m not wearing a bra with my dress (unnecessary) and I’ve undressed in front of all these women before but I’m onstage and there’s a photographer and it’s my wedding day!” before I finally get over it and just get into the dress. I exhale to make my jumbo-size ribcage a bit smaller, thus cutting some slack for my bridesmaid who is fighting with the many buttons, hooks, eyes, snaps, elastics and crochet hooks necessary to fasten the back of my dress.
In the dress.
More photos, a snack (eaten with a sheet draped over me), a bathroom break, and suddenly we’re 30 minutes away and I’m ordering bridesmaids to gather their things together (making sure our area was clean pre-ceremony was one of the few things that day that I could take control of. Plus, I refused to let anyone be late for photos because they’d left something at the other end of the church.)
So then we said prayers, only fun ones, nothing that would make me cry, so we sent up thanksgivings for pretty dresses and high heels, flowers and feathers, lipstick and candles.
And then it was only 10 minutes and we gathered my train and my bouquet (all 15 gorgeous pounds of it) and made our way.
We get to the church foyer and I kick myself for picking the only song for a prelude that NEVER fails to make me cry, and so I dance around like an idiot to keep from crying, and this is all on film.
I peek in a side window to see what it looks like: