One of my favorite bloggers got married two weeks before we did. Consequently, she got to experience all the wedding stuff right before we did, too. She recently wrote a blog post all about what she remembered from her wedding day. I decided it was a good idea; this is as good a place as any to dump out that portion of my brain and come back to remember it later. So, while I blog for others, this post is for me, too. This way, 50 years from now (or next week, depending) I can read this and go "oh yeah!" Thanks for bearing with me.
Most married people I know offered me the following advice in the weeks leading up to the wedding: the day will fly by. They also told me that I should try to be present in the moment. Great. I have no control over time, and who are we kidding, on such a big day, I don't have control over my brain either. I am pleased to announce, that while the minutes did pass by quickly, I definitely remember a lot of moments from my wedding day. I was 'present in the moment' much of the day. After my wonderful friends and family posted pictures online I actually remembered what was going on in almost all of them. What are the odds? That's not to say I remember each and every detail, and since we didn't have a videographer, there's no way to go back and relive them. But here are the things I do remember. There are a lot!
I remember walking in during the wrong song during rehearsal, even though I insisted to my Dad that it was the right one. In typical Jules fashion, I majorly goofed during the rehearsal of an important event. (See also: musical senior year of high school) We all had a good laugh and the mood was light afterwards. See, I meant to do that!
I also remember not being able to eat a thing at rehearsal dinner. Between us Michael and I ate half a salad, one-third of an entree, and two bites of cake. We talked about both being excited and anxious. Not nervous, just ready. And that damn food got in the way. I didn't sleep well Thursday night, and Friday was no different. I slept, but it was interrupted.
I remember waking up the morning of the wedding, feeding the cat, and trying to figure out what to eat for breakfast. (Yet I have no idea what I actually ate) I'm pretty sure I emptied the dishwasher, too, which is appropriate, considering it's been a job of mine since I could reach the cupboards. I was not stressed at all. I remember Al coming into my room as I was getting dressed for the hair salon saying "Feliz Wedding, okay!" There's also a vivid memory of Ash and Pannie walking through the back door squealing "You're getting MARRIED!" We had a small hiccup when Al didn't know the address of the hair place, but luckily Dad has atlases stashed in every drawer, so we were OK. Gloria and Bonnie had a tray of donuts and muffins out for us, along with juice. What a nice surprise. Do you know any other bride who had a donut on her wedding day? It was for sure typical Jules.
I remember Hannah being sniffly and Ash saying "Hannie, blow" which resulted in Hannah blowing us a kiss. We nearly died laughing when Ash said "I mean your nose!"
I remember Gloria making my hair too high on the top and me telling her what was the matter. "I love that about you. You know exactly what you want" was perhaps her way of saying "Julia, you are being a bridezilla" But no, she was serious in her sentiment. We quickly corrected the little problem once Al found a picture of my hair trial on Gloria's digital camera. I remember Al, Ash, and Hannah assisting Gloria as she inserted the hair piece and began trimming the beads, making sure nothing looked weird from the front or stuck out in the back.
I remember Mom being anxious only one time the whole day. WAY TO GO MOM! It was when we arrived back home for makeup because we were slightly behind schedule. But Jacque is a pro and we were back on track in no time, and everyone looked beautiful.
I remember the florist calling that morning to ask me about reusing centerpieces from rehearsal dinner, and thinking "You're the pro, I will love whatever you do" but also being very tickled that he thought to ask at all. I also remember getting worried about the amount of food that would be in my stomach by the time we got to church, and requesting yogurt. (Donuts only go so far, you know) My Dad obviously knows what to do in such dire situations, because he went out and got me two different flavors. Thanks, Dad! The flowers arrived during all of this, resulting in my oohing and ahhing from the peanut gallery.
I remember Ash and Pannie helping me put on my dress. They were getting weepy and saying things like "You're getting married" and "You look beautiful" and a lot of other nice things, but I yelled at them. I was afraid they would make me start crying. I'm confident if I hadn't yelled, we would have all been a pile of mush on the floor of my bedroom at 11 AM. Sorry guys :)
I remember the cat resting on the couch after I emerged with my gown on. She was excited about a dress with a nice long train, so Dad had the honor of removing her from the room before she had a chance to investigate further. I remember my sister arranging stuffed buffalo along the edge of my train, and the photographer being completely into it. I even have professional photos to prove this insanity.
I remember having trouble getting into the car. I had to go in backwards, and I'm pretty sure Hannah was crawling in through the hatch holding up my train. I remember Al driving the bridesmaids in the other car, behind us. I remember blowing kisses to them out the back window as we waited at a stoplight.
I remember that when we got to the church there were groomsmen standing on the front steps, and Mom saying they had to get back inside and couldn't see me! Dad calmly reminded her that only the groom needed to hide, and there was no sign of Michael on the steps. Dad also agreed to shoo them all inside before I exited the vehicle. I remember discovering there was no bathroom in our basement waiting are in church. (WHAT?!) I remember Mary Lynn making sure the groomsmen and Michael were away from the glass doors so I could walk by and use the bathroom. I remember Ash and Pannie helping me and being in fits of giggles as we tried, for the first time, to master a group bathroom trip. Once we returned, I artfully perched on a folding chair until it was time to go.
I remember Auntie and Benita coming by to say hi before church started, which was another fun surprise. I was afraid they would make me cry but thankfully, they did not. I remember Gloria coming downstairs with a bag full of products, in case anyone needed a last minute touch up.
I remember Al, who has lived alone in foreign countries and Manhattan, who sometimes works on the trading floor for God's sake, get nervous about fixing my train. I remember Christine telling us it was time to go upstairs, but me needing to wait until I applied lipstick before anyone left the room. I remember standing with Dad in the back of church and he reminding me to "walk slow." Anyone who knows my Dad will find this amusing, as he has extremely long legs and therefore walks quicker than most. I remember taking my first step into the church and soaking in everyone's faces.
I remember first seeing Lenie and Mark and Nikhil, friends I have known my whole life. I consciously walked slowly and tried to take in all the faces who were turned to watch me walk down the aisle: I saw the faces of everyone who loved us. And I remember not being able to see the face I most wanted to see; the groom's was blocked by all of our guests standing to watch me!
I remember getting to the altar, Dad giving me a kiss, shaking Michael's hand, and walking back to his seat. He walked to his seat the same time Michael walked up to me, and they both stepped on my train simultaneously. Oh, and I also tried to walk forward. No one else knew I almost fell on my face, but they might have seen the two matching black marks on either side of my train. I remember sitting in the two chairs up at the altar, listening to the readings and the gorgeous music from up in the choir loft, and being very aware of the moment, where I was, and what was going on. During this time, a fly flew into my face, and landed in my bouquet. We both cracked up, but quietly, so as to not disturb anyone else.
I remember Father Ols gave a wonderful homily, reminding everyone that I was the third generation to get married in this church. He started out by saying that in 1953, Margaret Kerecz married John Lasky. And Michael and I almost lost it. It is the only time all day that I had tears welled up in my eyes so much that I was sure they'd fall. I knew once the tears fell, it would be hard to stop them. But somehow, we both held it together and did not cry. Thanks, Grandpa, for helping us out there. Even though you weren't sitting in the pew, you were in church with us that day.
I remember saying our vows, and not fumbling any of the words, and not crying then, either.
I remember walking over to give our bridal party the sign of peace and hugging Ash extra hard, hoping it would help her tears slow down a bit. I remember going over the the Blessed Mother during Ave Maria, and hearing loud sniffles from the bridesmaids pew. Evidently my hug to help Ash was not long-lasting. I remember Father Ols pronouncing us married, and having our first kiss, and then lingering on the top step to soak it all in. I remember (and photos prove this) both of us grinning like fools as we walked out of church as husband and wife.
I remember descending the side stairs so our guests would exit the church but not stop to chat. It was a great moment alone right after the ceremony, and our photographer took some adorable photos. I remember Mr. Crooker eventually coming down with some of Marilyn's music, and saying the sweetest things to us. He also served as an excellent spy to see whether or not our moms were done chatting with all the guests so we could come back upstairs.
I remember taking group photos in church, and my bouquet weighing a ton. I remember standing with the wedding party on the altar for awhile, as the photographer took what seemed like a hundred shots. "I feel like Britney Spears" uttered my sister, sending everyone into hysterics, and resulting in some fun photos. I remember the wedding party being hungry and asking me if we could get lunch, and not wanting to deal with such questions. I remember Uncle Jimmy waiting for us to take all the pictures, so he could help us with the convertible top, so we wouldn't freeze as we drove away. Al and Donald in the front seat drove us to Arby's to get sandwiches before heading to the reception, and Donald used his flip camera to film the whole thing. I remember jokingly scolding Michael for giving the best man his lunch before the bride, which completely set Al off. We arrived, and Ash dipped her finger in my water cup in order to smudge away the pollen that had inexplicably gotten on my cheek on the drive over.
I remember walking into the Country Club and seeing an extra layer of cake on the cake table and declaring "That is NOT supposed to be there" and sending Michael off to find our coordinator. While posing for photos behind the country club, I remember the groomsmen giving their jackets to the bridesmaids. I also remember the bridesmaids posing with their bouquets stuck down the front of their dresses. I remember having a hell of a time trying to bustle my dress after pictures. I remember Ash googling 'bustle' and the designer of my dress to figure out what to do.
I remember guests arriving at the reception and introducing many family members to my groom. I remember seeing Kari for the first time in more than 8 years, and giving her a huge hug. I also remember it being chilly outside, resulting in a full dining room during cocktails. I remember the DJ announcing the bridal party, and hearing us as Mr. and Mrs. for the first time. I remember our first dance, asking 'what's next' after each move, and Michael reassuring me the whole time to just follow him and we'd be fine.
I remember our moms standing at the edge of the dance floor singing along to the song, while our bridal party smiled along the other edge.
I remember cheering and whistles and clapping as we showed off our moves. I remember needing help when we went to cut the cake. But really, how hard is it to slice into a dessert?!
I remember being consciously happy we went with a head table, so that we could eat with our entire bridal party surrounding us.
I also remember Dad giving a toast, and reading off a card, explaining that while Mario gave an off-the-cuff toast at rehearsal dinner, 'engineers sometimes need notes'. I remember Al teasing Michael when he forgot to put his napkin on his lap, and Donald and Marissa trying to warn me about getting dressing on the bread basket. I remember Donald giving a toast that involved notepaper and a pen from his hotel, memories from the late 1980s, and reminders of how things have changed since we began dating in 1999.
I remember Michael standing up to thank everyone for coming, and giving such a lovely speech, that almost everyone in the room teared up. But I didn't!
I remember visiting all the tables while dessert was being served, and therefore not eating a piece of cake that night. Not complaining! It was great to talk to all of our family and friends who had traveled near and far to be with us. It was a big dinner party full of people who care about us, and who we love right back. I remember dancing with my dad, trying to convince him that Yes, he does know "My Girl" by the Temptations.
I remember the dance floor being packed all night, and the music being exactly right, laughing as I tried to do the electric slide in my dress, as Michael 'danced' to Cotton Eyed Joe, per Hannah's request, and as our sisters danced to Thank God I'm a Country Boy.
I remember the night ending sooner than I thought possible, and Hannah and Ashley loading our stuff into the car so we could leave. I remember Erica and Nikole gathering up all the photos and gifts and loading them into the other car to go to Mom and Dad's house. I remember getting into the car and Michael looking at me and saying "Well, we had a perfect wedding"
And then that was it, the wedding was over, a whole 49 weeks of work dissolved in a single day, which is the strangest feeling ever. Especially the day after, when the adrenaline has worn off, your shoulders still hurt from holding up a big dress the entire day before, and your contacts want to fall out of your eyeballs, so you actually have no choice but to wear your glasses.