Friday, March 13, 2009

I Bought A Toothbrush, Some Toothpaste, A Flannel For My Face

ACT II. The Wedding Day. (To clarify, that would be the first Wedding Day.)

Act II, Scene I. The Morning.

INT. A swanky hotel room. E&E awakens to a ringing telephone, an early wake up call. Despite her exhaustion, she pops out of bed.


Let's back up.

Before we explore the morning of The Wedding Day, can I take a moment and gloat about two decisions I made the night before my wedding? Decisions I actually made without the advice of Martha Stewart and/or that editor chick from the Knot with the sassy blond haircut, my bridesmaids, my Mom, and/or the consultation of any blogs? (Ultimately shocking me with the conclusion that perhaps people were once able say their vows and get married without media assistance.)

Hearing no objection, I shall proceed.

Awesome Decision Number #1 - The night before The Wedding, I took a high-powered blissfully sleep-inducing Ambien pill. That white little pill (and the four glasses of wine I had before it) put me to sleep quicker than C-Span's Book Notes (sorry, I love to read, but dammit if that show isn't boring as hell).

Drugs are awesome, kids. Little miracles ground up into potent powder and molded into gifts from God, bestowed solely upon those who can afford them. Or are smart enough to live in upstate New York and travel to Canada for their purchase.

Awesome Decision Number #2 - I spit on tradition and forced my fiance to sleep over in my hotel the night before. We snuggled in our sin (and 400 thread count sheets). It was warm and cozy; and for me, it made me calmer and saner.

Granted, Mr F actually wanted (and intended) to bow to tradition and stay separately (he in our apartment and I in the giant hotel suite).

So I got him drunk so that he was unable drive home and had to stay with me. Less romantic, but same outcome.

Anyway, back to the Wedding Morning.

For some reason, when I pictured my Wedding Morning I thought I would be transformed into Juliet (with a sprinkle of Cinderella). I don't know where I conjured this image from. (Well, actually I guess I sort of do....I mean, come on, it's a day where I am flanked by ladies in waiting and corseted into a large ballgown - my only experience with these events hereto are Disney movies and William Shakespeare.) But I envisioned myself awaking in a lovely silk chiffon full length nightgown and the birds and mice (cute speaking germ-free mice, not dirty city mice) would bring me over the clothes I would be wearing for the day. I would sweep down the stairs (or uhm, hotel elevator) and be a princess.

Much to my surprise, when I looked down I was still wearing my pink Hello Kitty fleece pajama pants. When I looked in the mirror I also saw I had a pimple. And Mr F was groaning that it was too early as I tried to roll him out of the bed before my Mom arrived.

I don't recall Cinderella wearing Japanese anime. And there were no mentions of blemishes in Juliet's soliloquies. Death, yes; skin irritation, no.

So maybe I wasn't an actual heroine per se.

But whatever. I was too tired to really belabor the fantasy.

Luckily my mom and my darling bridesmaids knew that I may not be a character from the page of literature, but I am indeed a woman of chemical substance, and so no less than three people brought me coffee.

Now, that's what I call Princess for a Day.

And a good thing too. Because as my harem of bridesmaids accompanied me down to the bridal dressing room, we realized that we were locked out.

At 8 a.m.

And we couldn't find anyone to let us in.

So I did what any rational Bride would do. I called my wedding coordinator, Big Hugs.

Who answered the phone and promptly yawned.

"Oh, did I wake you? I'm sooooo sorry!" (I was in no way sorry.)

In her sleepiest voice: "That's okayyyyy." (Clearly, she was not okay with my wake up call.)

"We are locked out of the Bridal Room." (And if you don't solve this soon, I'm going to freak the frack out.)

"I'll take care of it." (Spoiled princess.)

"Thanks! I'll see you later!" (You better not mess up my wedding, dum dum.)

"Can't wait!" (I don't get paid enough for this crap.)

Within five minutes someone appeared and let us in. (Well, not before accidentally bumping into me and the wedding dress and having it crash to the floor and get smooshed by a door. Well, it was ruched. No one would notice, right?)

And then, the next 3 hours were generally a blur. I made myself relax and sat around and chatted with my bridesmaids until they got their hair done. I had a great time.

We had sandwiches, we read trashy magazines (do you think Tony Romo really cheated on Jessica her own bed?), and I started to get my hair done. Fun all around.


I looked at the clock and realized Mr F was supposed to be at the hotel in the "Groom's Dressing Room." So I decided to just "check up on him."

I got on the cellphone while the makeup artist began to work on my makeup.

And asked Mr F if he was downstairs.

He was not.

He was at home.

But according to him, he was "leaving momentarily."

Mr F's leaving momentarily is about as likely as a lunar eclipse, peace on the Gaza Strip, JLo having a lasting marriage.

So I hung up while my makeup was being done. I remained calm. Ok, calm-ish.

And then called him back twenty minutes later.

He had not left.

We were supposed to start pictures in 20 minutes.

I had a mini freakout.

Everyone thought I was worried that he wouldn't show.

That was not my fear at all. I knew he would show. I was worried about the timeline.

To which everyone said (in very calming tones) that "I was the bride!" and "The day can't start without me!" But if I can be quite frank, I knew both of those things.

The issue was really this: I knew Mr F was going to marry me. Not concerned at all. But if we started pictures late, then we would have less family portraits (which did end up happening by the way) and we couldn't really be too late making up time taking pictures because I hated the idea of our friends and family waiting for the ceremony to start for more than a half an hour and dammit, I wasn't cutting down that cocktail hour by a single minute. When you're paying like a zillion dollars for that crap, you want people to enjoy every minute you've paid for.

I know, I'm a little crazy, but that's where my neurosis came from. Not that he wouldn't show.

Oh, I knew he would show. That crazy guy loves me.

So what did I do? I delegated.

I got my Mom to call Mr F and tell him to get there pronto, my sister in law to call my brother (a groomsman) to then call Mr F to tell him to ease on down the roo-oad, and Mr F's sister (my bridesmaid) to leave him a stern message telling him to get his ass to the hotel on the double.

And so, only an hour after he was supposed to be there, I learned that Mr F (at that point Mr F-U), had indeed entered the building.

With that burden off my shoulders, I looked in the mirror at my hair and makeup and couldn't believe that they had actually come out so perfect. Un-frackin-believable.

At which point I was told that Mr F asked that I call him immediately.

Stop the presses.

If there is one thing I learned from "Sex and the City: The Movie", it's that if the groom calls you on your cellphone on your wedding day, you'd best be answering that call.

Which is exactly what I said. And so everyone looked at me with inquiring eyes as I called Mr F back.

I listened for his voice, curious to hear the emergency.

Mr F paused for a moment and then said, "Do we have time to practice our first dance?"

Sweet matrimonial dowry, of course we had no time! We were already running late and there was a Schedule to adhere to, for goodness sake.

So what did I say to my husband-to-be?

"Of course, sweetheart. I want you to be happy and comfortable when we do the dance."

And so I stepped into my totally gorgeous silk satin mermaid-bodice gown (which I loved!!! loved! loved! - I was a movie star!) and then got back out of it as I realized I needed to pee.

I ran to use the ladies room. I returned breathless and bladder-empty, and stepped back into my gorgeous silk satin gown and my Mom and bridesmaids buttoned and zipped me up.

I looked in the mirror and loved my whole look. I wouldn't have changed a thing.

And then I said screw it to the Schedule, and went and practiced my first dance with Mr F while the hotel staff set the tables in the reception room around us, so that he too would be happy on our wedding day.

As Mr F twirled me to the clang of charger plates, and dipped me to the clink of wine glasses, I had no doubt it was going to be a wonderful day.

Stay tuned. Act II, Scene II awaits.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I Don't Know Why You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

I know, I know.

I disappeared.

I fell off the face of the Earth.

And here's the worst part: I haven't even gone on my honeymoon yet.

Clearly I could not anticipate the amount of exhaustion I would feel after attending two weddings.

That were both my own.

But now I'm back and ready to give you the play-by-play on all of my many weddings.

Well, I'm not so much "back" as about to depart for my honeymoon in two days. And I'm not so much "ready to give you the play-by-play," as I have mentally checked out from my job and am sitting at my computer with nothing to do because I need to stay here until 5 p.m.

And by nothing to do I mean that I don't want to write my thank you notes. Because man, those suck.

So, without further adieu....

The Wedding.

A Play in Three Parts. (Or possibly four, depending on how I decide to write this up.)

Act I. "The Rehearsal Dinner"

I've been trying to think of a way to not start this post with the rehearsal dinner, because it was not my proudest moment. But all of the things that happened before that - namely, Mr F not packing up to leave for the hotel until 3:00 because he was watching Sports Center and the hotel only having one person at the check-in desk for a line of 20 people - don't really merit much discussion. They were really just speedbumps along the proverbial wedding road.

Although I suppose that they may have provided a backdrop for what happened next. For it was because Mr F made us an hour late to get to the hotel, and because the check in took another half an hour (since I learned one cannot "cut" in line at a hotel even if one is single-handedly providing them with massive amounts of revenue by filling up 25 guest rooms and also happens to be holding a 10 lb wedding dress), that I only had 20 minutes to get ready for my own rehearsal dinner.

There are entire magazine articles on how to dress for your rehearsal dinner. Some people have their makeup and hair done; others have official photographers.

I was forced to get ready in less time than I do for my job every morning.

This put me on edge.

And so, when at 4:30, the time when I asked my bridesmaids to come over so I could give them their bridesmaid gifts and the time which I rushed my guts out to be ready by, no one showed up at my hotel room, I started to freak out.

And I called one of my bridesmaids.

"Aren't you coming over? Didn't you see The Schedule said to come to my hotel room at 4:30?"

"Uhm...oh. I didn't know we were supposed to. The revised schedule you sent us took that off the schedule. So I didn't know we were supposed to."

And then I could feel the tears pricking at my eyes.

I had stayed up late writing all the thank you notes to each girl and packing their gifts just perfectly and now no one was coming and I didn't know when I would give them their gifts because if it wasn't now, when would it be and how did I take this off The Schedule since I only revised The Schedule to give them more details and I went through all the trouble to get them champagne so we could have a toast and I even got cranberry seltzer for the pregnant girls so who is going to drink the seltzer now?????? My mind was racing, I was sweating and I wanted to cry but I knew that I didn't have time to re-do my makeup. And I hated seltzer.

I was just overwhelmed. Truth be told (and Monday Morning Quarterbacking Be Used), I didn't give a crap about people showing up at 4:30. But this was all too surreal and too much to handle, so my Type A personality focused on The Schedule.

So I sniffled and whined: "That was a mistake! You were all still supposed to come here." And then my voice cracked as I was about to say something else, so I hung up.

Meanwhile, my front door rang and I opened it up to see my Co-Matron of Honor. I practically cross examined her: "You knew you were supposed to be here at 4:30, right?"

She looked confused. "Uhhhh, I thought you changed the schedule. I was just stopping by to say hi."

And then.

I lost it.

I went off on a diatribe, spewing all the words that had been in my head out onto my poor hapless CMOH. Who had come up to my room just to be nice and check on me.

"Well I guess no one really cares then. Since everyone else has already been married it doesn't matter to them about my wedding. They had their day. Who cares if E&E is doing everything herself with no help. And maybe if any of you responded to my emails then someone would have asked if we were still on for 4:30...."

And that was only the half of it.

Somehow during this meltdown there must have been a red wedding bell silhouette beamed onto the TV screens of each of my bridesmaid's hotel rooms alerting Bridal Danger because in the next 5 minutes all of the bridesmaids showed up.

At which point I realized what an idiot I was being and started saying "I'm sorry."

For I realized I had done exactly what I resolved NOT to do.

I let a little bump in the road (well, a few bumps and a few potholes) completely waylay everything.

God damn it.

So I apologized AGAIN. To EVERYONE. Even the girls who were blissfully unaware of my craziness.

I noted to my CMOH that this was my first freakout in 13 months of wedding planning. And didn't I deserve just one? I was no Bridezilla, but couldn't I be a little tiny Tricera-bride? Or a Bride-a-saurus Rex?

I gave them their gifts (which I thought were awesome by the way - in addition to the pashminas, each person got a sterling silver necklace hand crafted by a local Baltimore artisan who made each one unique but generally related to the "branches" motif that we were using).

And then we went downstairs for the rehearsal. As I walked over to the rehearsal space, I cursed myself for my derailment and promised myself I would not let it happen again.

The rehearsal went perfectly.

Sigh of relief.

So I put on my fabulous fancy coat, and we all went on over to the rehearsal dinner. And in the cab I closed my eyes and repeated the words "do not get off course" over and over in my head. (I think saying them aloud might have confused the cab driver, not to mention alarmed Mr F's grandma, who was sitting next to me.)

I resolved that no matter what unexpected surprises came my way the rest of the weekend, I would have FUN.

So when we arrived at the rehearsal dinner restaurant, and I realized they were not serving any of the wines that we discussed at length and ultimately agreed on, I just ignored it and ordered a Chardonnay.

And when the steamed parchment-wrapped fish that we agreed on was not on the menu, I said screw it and ordered the pan-seared bass they substituted without my permission.

Similarly, when I realized that the food was less-than-delicious and barely more than lukewarm (according to Mr F and the untouched portions on everyone else plates), I simply encouraged more booze to our guests.

Moreover, when Baskin Robbins' son ran around the restaurant non-stop for three hours and cried because he could not sit where he wanted to, I simply ran away from him. (OK, and I talked some serious smack to my bridesmaids about the fact that she needs to learn to control her child. But I still consider that a zen moment.)

And finally, at the end of the meal, when the waiter brought us the check and I realized that the restaurant charged us the wrong price per person, we simply paid the bill and decided to call the restaurant and let them know the day after the wedding that they were schmucks and overcharged us.

And so, as we left the restaurant to go meet the rest of our friends at the bar across from the hotel, I didn't have to say my mantra anymore because I was already having a ton of fun and had somehow succeeded in seeing the bumps in the path as unique characteristics making my trip down the aisle special.

Well, at least for that night.

Act II was another story.