Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Reflecting After a Long & Wonderful Week

A few days have passed since the wedding, and it's Halloween. It hasn't been much of a Halloween this year, but I wouldn't have traded it for anything. 

We didn't take a honeymoon. Instead, we opted to stay home and enjoy the holiday, with the hopes that we can take a vacation together sometime this summer. We spent some of our gift card money and spent several otherwise lazy days together, but today, David has gone back to work. I'm at home watching TV that's been DVR'd over the past week or so. Tonight, we'll go to the Halloween parade and watch "Cabin in the Woods" and Monday, my vacation will be over and it will be back to real life.

Since I have this opportunity to catch up, I wanted to jot down a few things I want to remember from our whirlwind of a wedding weekend. Pictures later.

On Wednesday, a week ago today (our first day off together), we picked Diane up from the airport, and had lunch with her at Mac's Time Out in Downtown Alton. He played volleyball while I played a softball double header, then we stayed up till about 3, anxiously awaiting the arrival of two more out-of-towners - Brian and Erin. Once they got here, we went to bed almost immediately, but it was the start of a wonderful stretch of days.

Thursday, Brian, Erin and the guys, along with David's mom and brother, went to Fairview to pick up the tuxes from Willard's Formalwear. It was a surprise to see the place so busy - but I guess I'd never been in during a fitting day. Everything was almost perfect, except that we had to order shoes to Justin's order (my fault) and David needed a different shirt because the sleeves were the wrong size. (His parents would return the next day to pick those up for us.) For lunch, we went to St. Clair's Square for Panda Express' orange chicken. I'm sure Brian and Erin thought it was odd that we'd make such a big deal about it but there isn't one much closer to home so we don't get it very often. Later that afternoon, we hit up Target for some last minute items, and had dinner together at Applebee's. It was nice. At the end of the night, we watched Paranormal Activity 1, 2 and 3. It may not sound like much, but it was one of my very favorite parts of the weekend.

Friday, Erin and I met Diane and Marissa at Fancy Nails in Alton, where they got pedicures, and Marissa, Erin and I got our nails done. While sipping mimosas, they got manicures, and I got acrylic nails - only I didn't know they were called that so the lady got halfway through giving me a manicure just to have to back up and start over again. My bad! To top that off, I spilled my coffee on the way out while trying to dig my engagement ring out of my pocket with nails I wasn't used to, so they probably will never welcome me back ;( After nails, we went to Josephine's in Godfrey for lunch. While we waited for our reservation, we looked around the shop and I found a blue glass heart, which I bought for my "something blue." At lunch, I had a turkey sandwich with half caesar salad, and a brownie on bottom cheesecake with another mimosa. Everything was beautiful and yummy. Afterward, we went home and I cleaned up a little bit - nervous energy waiting for rehearsal.

Suddenly, it hit me - the nervousness - and I couldn't stand still. I realized that even though the rehearsal was just a practice run, it was also the first time I would see this ceremony that I almost singlehandedly planned myself, and whether or not all the details would work. Before I knew it, it was time to go.

Once we got to the Benjamin Godfrey Chapel at Lewis and Clark Community College, it was even more nervewracking - lots of people everywhere, little kids running about. The control freak in me started to come out. All I knew was that we had one hour to work out the kinks - and I didn't want to have to worry about any of this on our big day. Eventually, it started to run more smoothly. Everyone was a great help - the biggest problem was that I had failed to print the music queues for my brother, and he was worried he wouldn't be able to do it perfectly. A part of me knew it would be OK though.

The bonfire went off without a hitch. Brian, Erin, Marissa and I stayed behind at Lewis and Clark to print the ceremony program for James, and by the time we got there, the fire was already blazing and people were already helping themselves to food. :) We had several drinks and sat by the fire. It was a little cool, but it was a wonderful night for reminiscing drunk college stories, dorky high school stories, and more. I thought about how lucky I was to have such great friends and family there with me and I felt content. I'm not sure the gifts we had for our wedding party were enough to show our thanks, but we gave the groomsmen and ushers their chalkboard paint mugs, which they seemed to love, and the girls their DIY canvas monogram tote/gift bags. The parents received picture frames, and will later get a new family portrait to store in them. The night didn't end early like we originally wanted it to, because even after mostly everyone was gone, the rest of us stayed up into the night watching "Friends" on mute, like an episode of Masterpiece Theatre. It was a great way to end the night.

Instead of staying at my parents' Friday night, I opted to stay at home with my soon-to-be husband. I woke up Saturday in his arms, and we headed to the VFW to decorate around 9:30 a.m. My mom and her sisters were already there, along with some of the wedding party. Everyone worked as a team and things started falling into place quickly. The cupcakes and jack-o-lantern top cake were delivered around 11, and we were out of there before noon or so. Erin and I caught a ride with my parents back to their place and the guys went to our house to get ready. It was the last time I would see David before walking down that aisle.

Sally showed up a little early, but we waited for Korin to arrive before starting my hair. We had ham sandwiches for lunch, but I couldn't eat a lot thanks to nerves. The girls grabbed various mirrors throughout the house, and got dressed/did their makeup. Like some twist of fate, TNT was showing a marathon of "Supernatural." :) Once we were all ready, we sent Korin to the chapel to take pics of the boys, and asked Justin to call us when she was ready for us. We sat around the living room for what seemed like forever, then we sent James' girlfriend Katie to get us some more booze. Just as she pulled back up, Justin called, so we downed two bottles before heading out the door. We shot some pictures and then headed inside the chapel to wait - it would be another hour before the start of the ceremony. We sent David and the guys to the balcony so that we girls could have access to the bathrooms. Because we were waiting on the stairs, the guys instructed David to face the back wall so he wouldn't see me, and Joe gave him his new Windows tablet and a painting app to keep him busy. He later told me he was so nervous, that the drawing helped - and that's how "Curtis the Turtis" was born. (Joe later printed and framed Curtis as one of our wedding gifts ;) Yes, I just noticed he has a wang.)

Anyway, we were on the stairs for what seemed like an eternity, then the music started playing (denoting the half hour mark) and we came around to the front to switch the guys. I didn't know it, but the other way around the chapel was blocked off - I kept yelling at them to go behind the building so we could get in. I look back on that and feel bad for yelling - it was just nerves getting the best of me. We went to the balcony and the boys went around back. My stomach hurt worse and worse, until finally, it was ready to begin. Only ten minutes before, the chapel felt empty, but suddenly, the house was packed.

When people stopped coming in, we queued Katie to start the ceremony music and the parents were seated in the front row. Once James took his seat and the guys took the stage, he started the processional music and the girls went in before me. Olivia was perfect, except she forgot to throw the leaves. ;) Madden walked slow, sporting a "Here Comes the Bride" sign. Then, it was mine and my dad's turn.

When asked "Who gives this woman?" My dad replied, "Her mother and I do." I could hardly look at him I was so nervous, but I gave him a big hug and locked eyes with my David. We took the stage and the ceremony began. The only hiccup was that I was so nervous I almost forgot to give Erin my flowers. As soon as I realized that I gave them over to her and took David's other hand. I could tell he was nervous too because he swayed from side to side as if we were slow dancing. The rest of the ceremony went so fast. All I can really remember is smiling at David and trying to hold in the emotion. I felt like my smile looked half like a smile and half like a grimace (although I'm hoping it was more attractive than that). I couldn't tell whether I was about to cry or laugh, or throw up! But I was happy. :) The unity ceremony felt like it lasted forever, so I hurried it up. David, it turned out, was trying to make the song last. :) I was too nervous to hear the song, the beautiful "Fade Into You" by Mazzy Star. After that it was a whirlwind. The kiss was perfect - although I didn't know it (and I'm not sure if there were any pictures taken of it), the boys high-fived behind our heads. I knew they had planned on it, but didn't realize it even happened! We walked down the aisle for the first time as husband and wife, and our friends followed after us.

The receiving line was great because we got to see everyone who came to see us, but it was also a lot more hugging than I'm used to! When everyone was outside, with their ribbons Anna and Gracie handed them, we came out and everyone cheered. It was the most awkward part of the ceremony because we approached our closest friends and then stopped, ready to go back in for pictures. ;)

We took pics with Korin, then we piled onto the party bus. I had Greg take us the LONG way to the VFW. We had about a half hour on the bus, but it was nice to wind down with our closest friends. Because David wouldn't allow him to speak at the reception, Kevin gave a short speech to the wedding party, which was very sweet and heartfelt. :) When we got there, the DJ came out and put us in the order we would walk in. The house was TOTALLY PACKED! Everyone seemed to like the food (fried chicken and cheesy tortellini by Chef Bob), and then the toasts went on. Marissa was going to talk, and then Erin stepped in at the last minute. Her speech was short and sweet, but I appreciated her kind words. Next, Justin spoke. He started with a story (without naming Ben) about one of our first encounters with one another - the night we held a seance in the Washington House and he and Ben tried to convince us ghosts took pictures (of Ben's butt) with my camera. Then, he spoke about his friendship with David, centering around the story of them coming from from Bonnaroo 2007 and listening to old timey radio at 5 in the morning. It was sweet and personal, and almost brought a tear to our eyes.

After the food, we did cake, and then the first dances. David and I danced to "Do You Realize?" by the Flaming Lips, and then our parents and we danced to "In My Life" by The Beatles. Then the dance party began. It took awhile to get people out on the dance floor, but it was a good time when they did start dancing. The place started clearing out around 8/8:30 - one problem with serving dinner too early. At 9 we did the bouquet and garter toss. I freaked a little when I couldn't find the souvenir garter to throw, but it turned out Brian had it, which was funny because he was the one who ended up catching it. Kevin dove for it about three minutes too late, which, I have to admit, was pretty funny. Diane, a person who has said over and over she never wants to get married, ended up with the bouquet.

By the end of the night, some of my mom's brothers and sisters were still around, as were our closest friends. A lot of people had left, but we couldn't have asked for a better crowd out of the people who stayed. We danced until the lights came up around 11, and even then, some of our closest friends stayed around. We continued to drink for another 20 minutes until we cashed out the second keg, and then we went home. Some of the others went out, but we helped my dad unload presents and made our marriage "Facebook Official." ;)

It was an amazing day and night that went on without a hitch, for the most part. The only problem was the free beer debacle - apparently the VFW tried charging my family for beers, which were supposed to be free. We were also supposed to have our own bartender inside the hall, but they screwed the pooch on that one.   They later told my dad the bar was closing at 10 and that we were out of beer, which was simply not true when I inquired about it, and it turned out we had just enough to close up shop when we did.

It does feel different, being married. We feel more grown up, more official, and our relationship feels new and wonderful. It turns out that even when you've lived together for five years, there's still a honeymoon period to be had, even if there's no honeymoon. We've already started the official stuff as well, like merging bank accounts and other aspects of our life, although we still need to vote tomorrow before I start the name changing process.

And that's all for today's update ;)

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