Wednesday, May 6, 2009

wedding post II: getting to the ceremony

Okay, so where were we? Oh that's right, we were bolting down peanut-butter rolls and Tim-Tams and trying not to FREAK OUT about the fact that it was raining and we were about to leave for our OUTDOOR WEDDING.

Once my hair was done and we had inhaled our lunch, it was time for the rest of the preparations. Getting dressed was quick and easy: pull my dress over head, pull on a pair of tights, and slip my shoes on. I was wearing minimal make-up because a) I never wear make-up and I didn't want to look completely different, and b) I don't like the way it feels. I put a little soft eyeliner, eyeshadow and waterproof mascara on and that was that.

The boys got dressed quickly. Liz helped Robert tie his tie, which was kind of adorable. Liz took out her curlers and got all fancied up. Everyone looked beautiful.

A side note: I do not regret at all our decision to get ready together. Seeing one another in the hall of our home was no less special than doing it at the ceremony. It was a pretty magical moment.

At this point, we were running a little late and it was raining. We jumped into Tim's car and were off. Driving with friends, instead of in a limo, was definitely the best choice. I won't say I was calm, but I was definitely less freaked out than I would have been otherwise. We listened to Of Montreal and made jokes and it all seemed a it less scary.

Halfway to the university, Robert realised that I had forgotten my bouquet. For a moment, this felt like a TRAGEDY. My precious, beautiful bouquet! That cost $40! That was so cute! Now I was A BRIDE WITHOUT A BOUQUET! Waaaah!

After a few seconds, I decided to forget about it. I would like to say that this was because I turned my radiant face to my groom and said blissfully, "This is one of the happiest days of my life; I don't need anything but you, darling." In fact, I decided that I was too freaked out about the rain and our lateness and the fact that both my parents had their mobiles turned off to worry about anything else. And yeah, after a bit I realised that it really didn't matter, and if I let it matter to me I would just make myself sad, so what was the point? As it happened I forgot about it as soon as I stepped out of the car and didn't think about it all day.

Our wedding location was something we had given a lot of thought to, and I was really excited to have the ceremony in the Tropical Grove. Our backup location for the wedding was also pretty, sheltered under the clock tower, but it was very dark on a cloudy day. And we had really wanted to get married under the trees.

We made our way to the clock tower with umbrellas. The University is a popular place to hold a wedding, and as we walked we saw a very spendid and traditional wedding party go by, with the bride in a poofy white dress, several bridesmaids in red satin, and some nondescript men in black, all trailed by a photographer and a videographer. I felt a bit frumpy but very glad I wasn't them.

As we approached the clock tower, I saw a few people milling around. I started to feel even more nervous. Then I walked under the arches and saw Everyone.

I had gone over the invitation list several times; I'd even addressed and posted all the invitations. I knew that 80 people, plus about 15 children, were coming to the wedding. But in my mind's eye, on the way to the wedding, I had seen my family, Robert's family, and a few friends. Here is an interesting fact: when you put 80 people and 15 kids in the same place, it is A LOT OF PEOPLE. And when they are all dressed up in fancy clothes looking like complete strangers, and they all turn and look at you, it is the scariest fucking thing you have ever seen in your life.

I felt like turning around and running. Luckily our little friend Bella ran up to greet us, and I grabbed her like a lifesaver and dove into the crowd. All I wanted was to find my mum and hide!

I've seen a few photos of me at this point, and I look kind of drunk. I have this big, confused. terrified smile on my face, like I've wandered into a surprise party and everyone is expecting me to do a song-and-dance number. I felt completely overwhelmed, like this whole thing had gotten out of hand and I just wanted everyone to go away and stop looking at me.


I think I'll leave it there for now. Tune in tomorrow for the best bit: the ceremony!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

it is done!

We're married! And it was wonderful.

Okay, I'm going to write about EVERYTHING. Partly because I feel like going over it all again, partly because I want you all to know, and partly so I can go back and read it when I've forgotten most of it (in about 6 months, probably). And now that I'm an old married lady I can give advice with even greater authority (and pomposity), and tell you from the vantage-point of Experience exactly how you should run your wedding. You lucky readers!

Anyway, I'll start with the day before.

This was kind of awful, mostly. Robert had to work and I had the day off, and I was running around trying to organise various things (getting a new car stereo so we could have music on the trip down to our honeymoon, picking up our wedding favours [more on them later], dropping stuff off at my parents, etc). I felt very anxious and I just wanted the whole stupid thing to be over. The nicest part was going to my parents' house to drop off the favours. They were very busy making food and cleaning the house, but we sat down and had a cup of tea and I took a deep breath. It made me feel so much better to see them, and see how lovely the house and the garden were looking.

Just a side note, here: we had the reception at my parents' house, and they were AMAZING. They took a week off work to work on the house and the garden, as well as many weekends before that. They made almost all of the food themselves, and worked so hard at the wedding making sure that everyone had food and drinks. They did an incredible job and I was so, so happy. To be honest it really made the day even more special, because so much love had gone into it.

Anyway, back to the dreaded Day Before. I hadn't really realised how anxious I was until Robert got home. I said, "I need a cuddle", but when we went into the bedroom I remembered that I had stripped all the bedlinen to wash it. SO I BURST INTO TEARS. Robert, understandably confused, was very soothing and gentle and sensible and made me feel much better, but that's the level of stress I was feeling. All of which now makes me realise how much worse I would have been if it had been a huge production with bridesmaids and waltzes and so on.

That evening, we were having dinner with friends. While we had several lovely friends flying in from interstate, the others had family in Perth; Ive, our Best Friend, was coming in from Victoria just for the weekend, and Tim came all the way from New Hampshire, USA, to see us get hitched. We knew we wouldn't get a lot of time with them at the wedding, so we decided to have dinner on the Friday night.

I really wasn't feeling like going out; I wanted to curl up under the covers and vibrate with anxiety. But it really did end up being the best possible thing. If you were to ask me what you should do the night before your wedding, I would strongly advise a relaxed dinner with friends. I felt so happy and loved and supported and calm.

The next morning we both woke up feeling nervous and edgy. We had breakfast (I couldn't eat much) and mooched around the house. We had heaps of cleaning to do, because our friends Liz and Tim were house- and rabbit-sitting while we were away, but we couldn't bring ourselves to do anything constructive. In the end we sat in front of our computers playing games on the internet, Picross for me and Uno for Robert. Romantic! Eh, it was better than rushing around between hairdresser and beautician.

At around 11:30 our friends Liz and Tim arrived. We had decided to get ready in our house, together. At first this worried me a bit. I felt like we 'should' be getting ready alone, and then hiding till I walked down the altar, so he could see me for the first time at the altar and blah blah blah. In the end we decided not to, for a couple of reasons:

1. We were getting married on the grounds of a University, which meant that in order to avoid Robert and the guests, I would have to skulk around the Physics toilets or something.

2. My mum was busy getting ready for the reception, I didn't want to drive at all on the day (a VERY wise decision, I would have driven straight into a tree) and I didn't want to ask people to chauffeur me around.

3. If I was separated from Robert all morning, I would be wound up to an unbearable pitch by the time I saw him at the altar and probably would have burst into tears.

4. It's stupid.

So our valiant and wonderful friends came over to help us get ready. Liz was doing my hair, which deserves a post to itself, so I won't dwell on it here. Having them over was another thing I was worried about (actually it would be more efficient to make a list of things I wasn't worried about: 1. Bat attacks. 2. Drought. 3. Tapeworms) but again, it turned out to be wonderful. I was able to chat to Liz which she did my hair and Tim talked to Robert and kept him occupied. We shamefully used Tim by sending him out to get rolls for our lunch, even though I was convinced I would be too anxious to eat. As it turned out, poor Tim got lost on the way back and was very late, which turned out to be a blessing because I was starving and managed to wolf down not only my roll with peanut butter but half a packet of Tim-Tams which we had planned to leave for Liz and Tim when they house-sat. Here is some good advice: try to eat something before the wedding, especially if you are not having a sit-down dinner, because you won't get to eat anything for ages.

Oh, and here was a lovely little extra keeping the butterflies at work in my stomach: after an unusually warm and sunny start to autumn, it had started raining on and off the day before, and was sprinkling while Liz and Tim were at our house. Getting us ready for our outdoor wedding. EEP.

More tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

bad advice

Presented for your edification and enjoyment, in no particular order, here is the worst wedding advice I have come across during my brief foray into this insane world.

1. Six months before the wedding, start having regular facials administered by a beautician.
That way, when you get a pimple three days before the wedding, it will feel like a major disaster instead of a minor inconvenience.

2. Work out what is most important to you, and spend the major portion of your budget on that. If music is important to you, you may not use an iPod full of your favourite songs. If your dress is important to you, you may not wear a $20 dress from an op-shop. Don't you understand that the importance of a thing is measured by how much it cost?

3. If you're wearing a sleeveless dress (i.e. 99% of all wedding gowns) you must tone your arms. It's such a beautiful moment in a wedding when your grandmother leans over to your aunt, tears in her eyes, and says, "Check out those guns! This wedding is awesome."

4. It is important to supply out-of-town guests with a bag filled with maps, chocolate bars and cute reminders of your relationship. You don't want them wandering around town, lost, starving and without a magnet to remind them of your initials, do you?

5. If you see the perfect pair of adorable Louboutins and you just absolutely need them for your wedding day, go ahead and splurge! You deserve it and if you don't you will always regret it. You are a sparkly princess and everything revolves around you and there will never ever ever be any consequences to your actions.

6. Your invitations must match your decor. All your guests will bring their invitations, hold them up against the table decorations, and check that they are the exact same shade of lilac. If they are not, you will be PUNISHED.

7. Put your initials and/or the date of your wedding on everything. As we have seen in many films, people often have sex in laundry rooms and bathrooms at weddings, and your bridesmaid might need to check the date of the wedding against the date of her last period.

8. If you can't dance in your wedding dress, you might want to consider getting a second dress for the reception. This is the only way to solve this problem. Oh, wait-- you could wear rollerskates and just get the other people on the dance floor to push you around, maybe?

9. Find room in your budget for a videographer; it's an important keepsake you won't want to pass up. Especially if you can edit in cool effects later, like a dinosaur biting you on the butt or something.

10. Your wedding should perfectly express not only your taste, but who you are. Because the best (perhaps the only) way to express yourself is through conspicuous consumption, and the decision to have poppies instead of roses in your bouquet is the most effective way to communicate your innner self to the world.

aw jeez

I'm getting married in three days and I don't have my shoes. Just about everything else is taken care of, though.

I had a big fat freakout the other night. I stopped the car in a parking lot and cried hysterically while Robert patted my hair and soothed me (possibly while wondering if it was too late to escape). It was over something completely unimportant, which just acted as a trigger for all my stress and anxiety and worry about this whole thing to come pouring out, and I found myself making reasonable points like "WHAT IF NOBODY THINKS OUR MARRIAGE IS REAL BECAUSE IT'S NOT A SIT-DOWN DINNER" and "I SHOULD HAVE STARTED MAKING TISSUE-PAPER POMPOMS MONTHS AGOOOO-HOH-HOH!"

Deep breaths.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

ring-a-ding ding

Handscape rings by Zlda

Yesterday was the 18th of March, and it was exactly one month from the wedding. Today it is one day less. Holy frijoles, Batman.

We have been Getting Things Done. We have signed and lodged the papers. We have met with the celebrant to discuss our ceremony. And we have our wedding rings, which ended up being surprisingly painless.

Robert wanted a plain silver band. The first silver jewellery shop we went into showed us a bunch of rings, and he chose one. It was $50. The whole process took about five minutes. WIN.

My ring was a little more work. I decided that since my engagement ring has a gold band, only a gold ring would look right. I had my grandmother's wedding ring, the one which goes with the engagement ring, but it was too small. I wanted to look around and see if it would be cheaper to buy a ring or have this one melted down and remade.

Here is my advice for buying a wedding ring:
  • Know what you want. This may mean sitting down and trying on a bunch of rings until you find the material you want (white gold? yellow? platinum? silver?), the style (plain? engraved? with stones?) and the width. Oh, and find out your ring size while you're at it.
  • Once you find out what you want, you aren't obliged to buy it. Make a note of what it is and how much that shop is charging, and get some more quotes. (Letting the store know you are getting quotes is also a good way to see if they will be flexible with their prices.) This way, you can go around to different stores or even phone around, and you can quickly find out if they have what you want and what they're charging.
  • No, seriously, go and get some quotes. I was looking for a very modest ring: a 2 mm width plain 18-carat yellow gold band. One of the shops, which was beautifully fitted out and staffed with exquisite people who had been extensively trained in the art of eyebrow-raising, showed me a ring in this style for $360. The next shop, a less impressive place, showed me the exact same ring for $250.
  • If you have gold, use it instead of buying something new. This not only saves you a whole bunch of money, it is better for the environment: the mining has already been done. A wedding ring is a thing that doesn't really get thrown away; chances are that your parents (or your partner's parents) have old rings lying around from grandparents, or even jewellery such as bracelets that they never wear. After getting quotes from shops, I went to a jeweller and asked how much it would be to melt down and remake my grandmother's ring; he quoted me $180.
In the end, when I tried on my grandmother's wedding ring, it was only a few sizes too small. Not all old rings can be upsized, as they may have structural defects, but this one was in good shape. It was also exactly what I'd been looking for: a 2 mm width plain 18-carat yellow gold band.

The jeweller changed the size for $32.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

it's a nice day for it

Some wedding inspiration: a literal version of Billy Idol's 'White Wedding.' Please, someone tell me they are using this song for their first dance!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I just dropped into a St Vincent de Paul's op shop on my lunch hour, and bought a veil for $8.

I haven't quite worked out what I'm doing with my hair, but I thought it might be nice to work a veil in there somewhere. Since I'm not wearing a wedding dress per se, I thought it would be fun to go for a crazy head-dress to bride it up a bit. And really, when am I ever going to wear a veil again?