(I can’t find my digital version of these pictures, so I’m giving you the pictures of pictures version until I can. I HATE that, but it’s what I’ve got right now, so…)
This is not going to be my normal blog post, I’m going to tell you a story. It has moments of laughter, moments of woe, moments of shock, too! I think we managed to avoid bloodshed, but I’m sure it was a close thing. That’s what happens in my world, my friends. And this? This was my wedding day! Or, as I prefer to call it, a comedy of errors.
(Please know, there’s a lot more to this story. I’m just going to tell you about the actual wedding day. Ask me about the week leading up to it, some time. This was just the icing on the cake, friends.)
The alarm went off at 7 am and I got up, quickly. I don’t ever get up quickly, but this was the adult version of Christmas, so you can see why I did. I got through the shower, knowing my hair needed a ton of time to dry before I hit the salon a few hours later. Mom and Dad were already up and moving around downstairs when I got out of the shower (they may have been up before that, but I was focused on getting my to do list checked off). We stared out the window in the dining room, glaring at the clouds overhead. It was going to rain. Rain on your wedding day is good luck, right? What about a downpour that nearly flooded the cul-de-sac outside my parents’ house? Huh? My parents slide some of my most prized possessions on me about then, a rope of pearls that were cool on my skin and a pair of earrings to match. They’d picked this particular rope because they weren’t bright white, they were soft ivory, like my dress, and had an antique feel to them. It was love at first sight and I don’t remember whether I cried, then or not, but if I didn’t, it was a close thing. Mother Nature decided to be distracting then, as she let loose with a downpour you couldn’t see through outside.
Why is this a problem? Well, you see, my wedding was taking place in the meadow by the lake at Red Top Mountain State Park. Yeah… outside. Where it is now pouring buckets. The day before, I picked this little sunken area off to the side where there was a copse of trees that would give everyone shade and it wasn’t a far walk from the lodge, either. That would SOOO not be happening now! Mom said it was fine and we’d do the ceremony in the group shelter we’d rented and decorated the day before. No worries! It wasn’t what I wanted, but I was determined not to be Bridezilla, so I nodded and we got on with our day. Other ladies from the wedding party started arriving, my maid of honor and my sister, to be specific. It wasn’t long before we piled into cars and headed to the salon to get our hair done.
As everyone else got their hair finished, they headed out to help work on prep work. Mom and my sister went to the group shelter to start working on getting veggies sliced and ready to be set out after the ceremony. My best friend stayed with me laughing and taking pictures of the massive ‘fro that my hair had been teased into on its way to being a beautiful updo. We were about to walk out the door when she realized that she’d left her wallet at home. She couldn’t pay for her hair without it and everyone else had left us. She had to call her mom, who lived 45 minutes away. So, we hung around until they arrived, and I’m pretty sure I was an antsy mess by then. I get a call as we’re leaving an hour later from my mom, who needed me to stop by the house and grab one of the plugs for the fondue pots (they’re electric) that had been left at home. Oh yeah, and the refrigerator that I tried to tell everyone the day before was a freezer… it was a freezer. Everything we put in it (and by that I mean ALL of the food for the reception, including both cakes) was frozen solid. A couple that I dance with bailed us out and ran to the grocery store to replace it all, though, and they left the cakes out in the group shelter to pray they thawed again before the reception started. Be proud of me, I didn’t scream. I nearly cried, but I didn’t scream! I run in and grab everything that looks like the right plug (none of them were) from my parents’ house and we’re on our way to the ceremony site, two hours before the wedding is set to begin.
The ladies at the front desk very nicely let me check into the room we booked VERY early and we unloaded everything into that room. My dress got hung up on that huge picture frame that hotel rooms always have over the bed. It’s bolted on so no one steals it, not that anyone would, because it’s hideous, but there ya go. The good news is that I could hang my two ton dress from it with the train on it to hope some of the packing wrinkles fall out. I attacked my makeup, as did everyone else. I handled the flood of people coming by like that wedding day scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, smiling and refusing to scream. I was not going to be Bridezilla! Before long, the dress was on, pictures were taken and it was time to wait for the wedding to start.
We were told when we arrived that the meadow was dry in the high point, so, knowing I wanted to be married outside, Mom and Dad started prepping the outside space. OK, Dad started prepping the outside space. He didn’t get much help, not even unloading the 100 chairs he moved from the group shelter an hour before the ceremony was supposed to start, which he did in the tux I made him wear. I watched through the window, so close to throwing on my tennis shoes and helping, since everyone was just standing around watching. A few people helped here and there, finally, and I could stop fuming. It was freakin’ hot outside, and the humidity was thick inside the room, too. Or, maybe that was just me getting irritated and trying my hardest not to turn into Bridezilla. I cranked up the AC, which was one of those under-window units, and dropped my skirt on top of it. It was glorious.
My Maid of Honor told me to come look at something funny, so I walked outside, thinking nothing was very funny at this point. The ceremony was close to an hour late in the sweltering July heat in North GA. I had no idea why it was late and my patience was wearing thin. I needed something to laugh about. What was so funny? You see, I only had about 50 or 60 people come to my wedding. The ceremony was set it a big open meadow, next to a lake. This meadow didn’t have much in the way of shade or trees, but it did have two small little trees that happened to flank the ceremony site. From my vantage point in the lodge just outside, I could see most of my guests huddled together under those two tiny little trees. I know it was miserable for ya’ll, but I really needed that laugh. While I was standing out there, I saw my Mom running by the end of the walkway. I yelled down the walkway to find out why we were so late and she said the the radio we’d been using for the music I’d burned had been left on the night before and the batteries had died. She was going to run to the store to get more. The closest store was a 30 minute drive to get there and back. So, my now famous response echoed through the meadow, “Mom, screw the music!”
Well, the music was screwed and I’m pretty sure I annoyed my mom with that, but 30 minutes later, my best friend walked out and left me standing by myself watching the procession through the doorway as my wedding actually started. Dad came for me, since it was my turn, and teared up. He looks rather spiffy in a tux, don’t let him tell you any different. I’m sure I’m the only one that’s ever gotten him into one, and will die with a grin knowing I managed it with minimal fussing on his part. You’re welcome, world! Then it was our turn to leave the comfort of the shade and brave the heat of the July sun after a rain storm.
I stop at the end of the isle, seeing a friend who I wasn’t expecting standing right on the end and smiling at me. Then my family standing there smiling at me, probably because they were glad the end was in sight, but I’ll make myself feel better by saying it was because I was really pretty that day. You don’t hear me say that very often, but I’ll admit it on that day. I mean, look at this dress, people…
I walk all the way down to the end of that isle, the only music being the birds singing in the trees and the soft lapping of water against the shore of the lake, thinking everything is going to be fine, now that we’ve got the ball rolling. Right? The birds are playing better music than I could’ve picked, anyway. This is going to be good, right?
HAHAHAHAHAHA! Have you MET me?
We purposefully picked the shortest ceremony in the book because of the heat and sun. I’m glad because I don’t remember most of it. I put my hand in Dana’s and smiled up into his… wait, is that a mustache? Dana does the full around the mouth facial hair thing, has since the day I met him. Not a full beard, not a mustache, the full thing. When it gets too long, he’ll shave it all off and start fresh, which is how I prefer his face, but he never has JUST a mustache. That is, until the one day where we’ll be taking pictures our great-great-great grandchildren will see some day, because standing in front of me is the man I’m pledging to marry missing half the hair I’m used to seeing on his face. Oddly enough, this is where I start to slip into “you’ve got to be kidding me!” I’d been through all of that, just today (remember, there’s so much more I didn’t tell you about the week leading up to this moment), and THAT is what made me want to toss that bouquet and cry. I call it stress. I managed to restrain it and we hit the vows. Now, the preacher that married us was a long-time friend of my family. I’d dated him in high school, shared a duplex with him in college… let’s just all assume he knew me pretty darned well, ok? How do you know he knows me? Because when my vows came out, “Do you promise to love, honor…” BIG DRAMATIC PAUSE… “and obey him?” I nearly gave myself whiplash and if looks could kill I’m sure we’d have a dead Donnie on our hands. Everyone laughed when I asked for clarification and it was repeated. Everyone knows me, apparently. Through gritted teeth I repeated it, adding, “if I have to” to the end for good measure. Dana was laughing at me, too.
My sister played a song I had long forgotten I had vowed to have played at my wedding. She played it on her flute, which I hadn’t heard her do since her sophomore year of high school.
Remember this one?
It was going great… mustache and “obey” aside. Then a bee flew past me. He hovered around my bouquet, which had 3 leather roses in it that had been sprayed with tea rose oil at the GA Renaissance Festival a few months earlier. I tuned out of the ceremony again here, because my Mom is allergic to bee stings and I was scared to death the thing would smell HER perfume and go make friends with her. I kept my eye on that thing until it flew off. A few seconds later, there’s a shout because the bee did sting someone… my mother-in-law! Then it was all over!
Mom told us to give them a few minutes before we hit the reception, so we went back to the hotel room and cooled off. Detached the train of my dress (it was a cathedral length train, did I mention that? I LOVED THAT DRESS!) and folded it up to be packed away. Then we drove over to the group shelter and had a party! That’s where things finally went right. The food was perfect, the cakes were MOSTLY thawed, the music I burned was working perfectly!
I danced with Dana, which started as a box step and ended with white-people shuffle step. To this one, that perfectly outlined most of our dating life:
I danced with Dad, choosing a song I refused to watch anyone cry through… Moonlight Serenade by Glenn Miller.
We cut cake, we tossed bouquets and garters, we left and changed clothes and came back to eat because we’d been so busy hugging people we hadn’t done much of that.
It was one of the most insane days of my life. 13 years later, here I am, regailing you with the insane tale of my wedding day while you’re shaking your head and wondering how in the world I made it through without screaming. If not, you should be, because, honestly, I’m not even sure. In the end, it’s a day everyone remembers parts of and I’m one of the few with the whole picture. It’s a story I tell when I need a laugh, now, though it sure didn’t feel like something to laugh about, then. “Not like Tiff and Dana’s wedding” was heard many times in the years since. *smiles* At least it was memorable for everyone, I guess…
Happy Anniversary, Dana! I’m glad most of the 13 years since that day have been INFINITELY easier to get through. ❤