Soooo.... I got married. Hot dang.
The tricky thing about planning a wedding in two months is that afterwords it all seems like such a blur, and like so many difficult but rewarding times in life, the stress and pain all kind of fade away pretty quickly in the glow of happier things. One thing I will tell you, wedding planning is not for wimps.
So many little things that had seemed sure to go wrong ended up going so well. In fact, the accidents that came out of minor catastrophes ended up being some of my favorite parts.
The invitations, for example, so very nearly sent me to an early grave. Getting the addresses was not bad, actually, but getting cards and photos printed on such short notice was grueling. I found myself two days away from my mailing deadline with nothing to put in the envelopes. In fact, I didn't even have envelopes. That night I discovered Fedex online. Two days later I was standing in my living room, holding a box of full color invitations with envelopes and inserts. And I loved them. I still do. No really, I absolutely adore my invitations. And somehow our photo ended up matching them perfectly. Minor miracle? I think yes.
The dress was more than a minor miracle. With my specifications (6'1" and LDS) getting a wedding dress that would be long enough and fit the modesty bill would be difficult enough. Getting that dress in less than three months? Tee-hee, good luck. Most dress shops can't even order in a dress in that time, let alone get it fitted and altered to specifications. So it should come as a huge surprise that I found the perfect dress in the first and only shop I visited. It was even long enough as-is, so long as I didn't wear heels (I hadn't planned to anyway. At my altitude, I don't need any extra vertical help). The only set back was the lack of sleeves. Like nearly all wedding dresses, it came totally strapless. Enter Russian-designer-and-shop-owner-of-Awesomeness. "My dear, ve put like dis, same material, it goes in a V, you see? And buttons!" I'm pretty sure she must have been whispering Bippity-Boppity-Boo in Russian under her breath because the transformation was pretty magical. The whole thing took less than three weeks from the day my mother first teared up watching me in the dress shop to the day I tried on the finished gown. Well done, White Swan Bridal. Your arsenal of Russian women with attitudes is impressive, to say the least.
And then there were the flowers. This seemed easy at first, all I wanted was a simple bouquet for me and a button-hole for the main man of the night. However, not only did I put off talking to a florist until the week before the wedding, I barely even talked to the florist. Turns out a simple bride's bouquet can be pretty pricey these days. So basically, I heard the price quote and said "Crackah what? Please. Take me to Costco, people. I'll do my own flowers."
And so it was that six dozen roses (two white, two pink, and two pink-tipped-white) ended up spending the night in my refrigerator the night before the wedding. And then when we opened the fridge the next day, five dozen of said roses were dead. (Let's just say I left the responsibility for changing the temperature on the fridge to the wrong person, and leave it at that.) Somehow my mother managed to make two button-holes and three bouquet options from the survivors, and the thing is, the first bouquet was absolutely perfect. One reason I had hesitated in contacting a florist was that I was still so unsure about the bouquet in the first place. I don't like those tightly wrapped balls of flowers that seem too geometrically perfect to be real. I didn't really want a sheaf of roses either, and though I had toyed with the idea of carrying a single rose instead of a bouquet, that didn't seem right either. So when my mom handed me three perfect pink buds with long stems and a graceful, droopy pink ribbon tying them together, I was thrilled. It was perfect. It was absolutely what I wanted. Simple, innocent, elegant, and unique. Wow, mom. Just...wow. And that is why I am actually grateful that my refrigerator murdered most of the flowers, and even more grateful that my mother is just as magical as my Russian dress shop owner.
You know what else was magical? The lighting at our wedding. And this, it shall be acknowledged here and now for all the world to understand, was entirely at the hands of my sister, who also speaks Russian, as it turns out. So maybe she, too, was whispering Bippity-Boppity-Boo in Russian as she wrapped strands of lights and lit candles and luminaries all over the grounds at our venue. Originally, when I had first started planning my reception, I had envisioned it all taking place just before sunset, in that gorgeous soft light of early evening. Take a note people: the sun sets earlier in late September than it does in early August. In fact, it set exactly one minute before my reception was scheduled to begin. I realized this was going to be a problem the week before the wedding, the day my sister casually mentioned "are you at all worried about lighting?" and followed that up with the perfect solution and the organizational skills to pull it off. Later she asked me if I would rather have had the reception in daylight after all. Answer: Ummm....did you see my magical, romantic, glowing garden reception? Trade that for daylight? I repeat: Crackah, please.
Oh, I also forgot to plan music for the event until the night before when I spent an hour making a playlist for my iPod. Which might seem kind of lame, but my arsenal of Russian speaking geniuses had not yet run out. You see, my Russian speaking brother just happens to play the guitar and sing. He took the time to learn a Jack Johnson song the groom and I both love, and then he played and sang while we had our first dance. Which was awesome. I cannot tell you how awesome. I get a little choked up when I think about it, actually.
And then there were friends who flew all the way across the country to be there. Some brought chubby, gurgley babies to smooch, and others came early and stayed late to set up luminaries, tie ribbons, and figure out how the fetch that last button on my dress is supposed to go because the photographers are here and my new husband just tried to fix it with a pen.
(On an aside, that conversation went something like this:
Him: I can't figure this last button out....
Me: Hmm, can you go get my mom to help me then?
Him: Actually, I can just use my pen to-
Me: TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF THE BRIDE AND BACK AWAY SLOWLY. There will be absolutely no contact between your ballpoint pen and this wedding dress. You sick, sick man!
Friend of the bride who just walked in: Let me get that, Jen. It's okay, Groom, you can go now.
Bride: Thank. Heavens.
End of aside)
We served artisanal breads and preserves with a variety of really cool cheeses, and though I had always pretty much planned that, it still kind of surprised me that it went as well as it did. It looked gorgeous, and though I didn't get to sample any of the cheese myself (I spent so much time in the softly glowing gazebo greeting guests) I hear it was all pretty darn good, particularly the brie torte with fig and cranberry preserves. Also I just like bragging that we had a brie tort at our wedding.
I did get to taste the wedding cake, or course. But when your wedding cake is actually a variety of world-famous Georgetown Cupcakes, in all your favorite flavors, you make time to try some. And the groom manfully restrained himself from smashing cake into his bride's face. I think something about the pen incident a few hours before sort of tipped him off about mixing messes with my wedding dress. Also he didn't want to waste the cupcake. When cake tastes that good, you don't mess around with it. I only got one, but it was divine as always. Two words people: Key Lime.
Hmm, this is turning into a really long and boring post about my wedding reception, so I'll refrain from describing the necklace I jerry-rigged out of an earring or the antics of our 2 yr old flower-girl whose skill with a ribbon wand is to be greatly admired.
I will tell you that our set up was pretty fantastic for greeting guests. I mentioned the gazebo before, strung with white lights and hanging candles. But to get the full effect you need to imagine it in a moonlit garden with a soft breeze and the sounds of laughter and joy coming from the terrace where the food and guests had converged. That's where Mr. Awesome and I spent almost the whole night, greeting guests as they came, but mostly just being with each other. Because it was separated from the main party area just a bit, it gave us a chance to be alone together between influxes of arriving guests. To dance a little bit without everyone watching us, and laugh at our own dumb inside jokes. We got to enjoy the romance of a perfect fall evening with each other, on our wedding day. And that was priceless.
Clean up was not priceless. But the friends who stayed to help were incredible. We sent them home with some extra food from the event, too, so I hope it wasn't too hard on them. And anyway, I happen to know most of them don't have church until 1pm the next day. Our new ward starts at 8:30 am...guess who didn't make it that Sunday ;).
And then we were exhausted and ecstatic and married!! And we ran off to Scotland together, which is a post for another day.