Friday, May 29, 2009

Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone

OK, I'm a terrible person. I dropped off the face of the Earth leaving what appears to be throngs, indeed hordes, well, at least 27, brides-to-be in agony by failing to recount how my wedding actually turned out. After a year of complaining about every single moment leading up to the wedding, I never told you how the wedding went.

I am a horrible person.

But I have a great excuse!

No, I really don't. My excuse is that I have been doing nothing but eating and watching TV lately. And not thinking about weddings. Most especially, my weddings.

But here I am! Five pounds heavier and with a mind full of useless plot twists on Grey's Anatomy.

And I am ready to go back to part II of my wedding day....

Where did I leave off? Oh yes, dancing with Mr F, my husband-to-be, during the time we should have been taking family photos.

(By the way, while attempting to take you back in time, in my head I keep hearing the "da da da" noise with the wavy motion of hands, a la "Wayne's World" which I can only assume most of you are too young to have actually seen. But it's a great movie. Watch it.)

We were dancing.

And then, moments later, Mr F realized we were awesome at dancing and we were totally going to rock the first dance. I was given permission abandon dance practice and move on to the family photos.

Which I have to admit, didn't go as planned.

Because we were a half an hour behind and were on a seriously tight schedule to begin with.

Weeks earlier, at our final meeting, Big Hugs recommended we take the pictures in The Library, a lovely room which was, in fact, a library. Or might have been at one time since there weren't books in sight. But there were old pieces of distinguished furniture, and a fireplace, and richly colored walls. So I can believe it may have housed books at one point and can justly be called said library.

I told the photographer the plan the week before the wedding and so that afternoon we herded everyone into the room. As the photographer began frantically snapping photos, taking pictures of me and my mom, my dad, me and my brother, Mr F and my parents, and every iteration in between, I could feel myself tensing up. This was taking forever.

And then the next group moved toward me and Mr F - my father's family. And within moments, it became readily apparent that the Library was not nearly big enough for all of the people.

Oh Big Hugs, I knew you would fail me miserably. And before we even said "I do."

It was E&E in the Library with the candlestick.

At which point the photographer proposed we move elsewhere, to a bigger room, but a quick glance at the clock made us realize that this was not an option. So we pressed on, taking pictures of grown men and women squeezed together like they were high school cheerleaders about to throw their teammate up into a double cupie.

And while I was happy and excited, honestly, this part kind of sucked. I couldn't let go of the knowledge that we needed to take all of these photos but that we only had a certain amount of time. The only thing that made me feel better was the knowledge that this seems to happen at most weddings. (Or at least at my family's - since I distinctly recalled having little to no time to take the pictures at my brother's wedding the year before).

We took photos of about 40 people in about half as many minutes.

And having now seen those photos, I can assure you - no miracle happened. Those photos kinda suck. At least someone has their eyes closed in every one. But you get what you allot time for, and at least we have pictures, right? Even if they will probably only be used as expensive kindling on a very cold, very drafty night.

So as the pictures were winding up, I was thinking about the next step, which was in fact, the final step before the really final step. Confused yet? The signing of the ketubah was next, which I was (if I can admit) a little apprehensive about. Although I very much liked our officiant, she mentioned during our meetings that we should "leave the ceremony during the ketubah signing up to her." Hmmm. I don't leave much "up" to anyone. And certainly when there is not the possibility that lots of Jewishy religious things that I don't believe in could occur.

But I pushed that out of my mind as I asked one of my bridesmaids to check that the hall was clear so we could make our way over to the Boardroom, the room that we set aside for the ketubah signing.

I chose that room because there was an amazing Rembrandt (yeah, like the toothpaste, only older and more like a REAL FRICKIN Rembrandt) hanging over the board table and there was a gorgeous ceiling with beautifully intricate detail.

My bridesmaid came back looking a little confused. "Uhm, the Boardroom is locked. Big Hugs has your ketubah and stuff in another room...." her voice trailed off, clearly scared of what was in store for Big Hugs.

This was the Hug that broke the camel's back. "Well tell her to open the goddamn door on the double, because that's where we are supposed to have the signing!" And with that, badly beaten down bridesmaid disappeared back across the hall.

I don't know what transpired, but what I do know is that five minutes later we made our way over to the board room like nothing had happened. I have great friends.

Until someone stepped on the train of my dress and my body yanked backwards. I spun around ready to yell at whoever the perpetrator was.

It was Mr F.

Lord, it was going to be a long life.

I shot him a look from hell.

We started walking again at which moment I once again felt a yank from behind and almost tumbled backwards.

Once again I spun around and was face to face with my soon to be husband.


A silence fell over the crowd as Mr F meekly stepped off of my dress and moved next to me (instead of behind me which seemed to be what was tripping him up, literally).

I smiled sheepishly, realizing I was acting like a crazy person and turned to my husband-to-be. "I know you didn't mean to do it. Sorry....we're just a little behind and I want this all to go so perfect." I took a deep breath and smiled at him.

Mr F came over to me and took my hand and we walked to the Boardroom together. And I have to tell you (because I'm sure you're wondering if I managed to sabotage my WHOLE wedding, or just the parts leading up to it), I didn't lose my temper, yell at anyone, act crazy or freak out another single moment after that. Really.

And as we walked into the Boardroom, I suddenly felt the most calm I had all weekend.

There were no more items to check off the "to do" list. (Which is what getting the family portraits felt like.)

Our Cantor brought us over to the ketubah (the Jewish marriage contract, traditionally promises to each other for the couples' life together; signed at the same time as the marriage certificate, prior to the ceremony). And she gathered our parents near us as well and began to discuss our future together and said a Hebrew blessing.

She smiled as she praised Mr F's ability to give the best hugs ever (take THAT, Big Hugs) and explained that the fact that I asked so many questions was actually a good thing and not a bad one in Jewish tradition (I knew I liked this chick). We were surrounded by just our parents and the wedding party as we signed the contract and promised to honor and love each other for life. It was a great moment.

And then it was time to walk down the aisle.

We were ushered into a holding area where the wedding party lined up in couples.

Big Hugs asked if we were ready. I was ready. I heard the notes of the pianist playing the recessional music. Let's get this thing going.

Mr F's father was not ready.

He needed to use the bathroom.

Really? Now?

He returned to his place in line and Big Hugs asked if we were ready.

We weren't.

Mr F had to use the bathroom. Like Father, Like Son.

I was thinking we should have changed the vows to include loving your significant other through bladder issues. (Although in reality, I'm pretty sure Mr F gets the short end of the stick on this one since I get up every night at about 3 a.m. to go to the bathroom. But I suppose we can discuss bladder issues another day.)

Finally, we were all ready. Properly lined up, our wedding party began to walk two-by-two down the aisle. Like burgundy-colored species boarding a gardenia covered ark.

I was so happy. Honestly, I felt like I was experiencing an out-of-body experience. As if I could float up above my body and look down at the luckiest girl in the world. I had both of my parents there to walk me down the aisle. Both of whom loved me, each other and wanted only the best for me. (Even if sometimes the way they expressed that wasn't what I had hoped).

And I told them that.

At which point my Dad started to cry.


And then my Mom started to cry. OH NO OH NO.

We were just moments before stepping down the aisle. And I was at a loss. There was a giant lump in my throat and butterflies in my stomach.

Luckily, Mom put the kibosh on any more displays of emotion and we all snuffled our tears back and somehow became clear-eyed in a matter of moments. (OK, well I didn't actually cry, because I never cry at happy events. Even my own wedding. But I felt like I could cry, if I was that kind of person. Sorry, but I feel like I need to explain the lack of tears since just about anyone else would have been bawling at that moment.)

I heard the first few notes of "In My Life" play on the piano and I felt like I could barely breathe around the lump that was in my throat. But I had to smile as my father managed to swap tears for his OCD and began to count "1-2-3..." to ensure we all started on the same foot and walked in unison.

As we proceeded down the aisle I grinned. And looked straight at Mr F. (who I always envisioned locking eyes with as I made my way down the aisle, he being unable to take his eyes off his beautiful bride as his eyes brimmed with tears at my loveliness).

But Mr F was scanning the crowd.

Uhm, I'm right HERE! I used Jedi mind tricks to make him look at me. And then I remembered. Months earlier, he had told me one of his "friends" gave him the great advice to make sure you "take it all in" and see all the people in the crowd who were there for you.

Typical Mr F.

I'm pretty sure the "friend" did not mean when YOUR BRIDE WAS WALKING DOWN THE AISLE.

And finally he looked at me and grinned. And I grinned. I was grinning so wide my teeth felt dry and I had to keep swallowing. I was just so...HAPPY.

Stay tuned. I promised to finish this up in the next few days. (No, really.)