The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, Part 3: The Good, Part B

Nothing like needing to write one thing to make you want to write a completely different thing. I’ll take it wherever I can get it, though! I promised myself I would work on my Memoirs of Japan tonight, but all I could think of was wanting closure on this here blog, so let’s hop to it!

When we last left off, our hero was spending the last night as a single (well, unmarried) girl in her parents’ loft hotel room. It was kind of sad to say goodnight for the last time, knowing that everything was going to change the next day. Since I am also a masochist, I also couldn’t help thinking of that scene in Father of the Bride where Annie is nervous about the wedding and goes outside to shoot hoops, and Steve Martin comes out, and there’s this whole montage of her as a little girl and it’s just the saddest thing in the whole world.

I had just finished practicing the surprise dance, and my mom and dad were finishing up some last-minute lists and gluing various things together, and I was just happy and nostalgic and energetic and I fell asleep the second my head hit the pillow.

I woke up excited but nervous, and my mom made sure the coast was clear so I could run across the courtyard to get ready in my suite with all the girls. When you have a million girls in your party, they can’t all get their hair done at once, so they were slotted to arrive at different times, and I would be the last. This meant I got to sit on the couch and try to breathe while all my friends buzzed around and got ready.

I’ve known my hairstylist for about 5 years now, and I’m so glad I was able to share this part of the day with her. She mentioned a few times that I was the calmest bride she’d ever met, and all I could think of was how many months of preparation it had taken to get here, and there wasn’t anything else to be concerned about (bum bum BUM, cue the DJ ruining my life, but I’m over it. I’m over it. I’M OVER IT.)

I was calm, though, also despite the fact that the videographer (bless his heart) called me saying that A) he was at the wrong hotel, 20 minutes away, B) he had sort of, um, lost a whole tooth, but C) he would be there soon, and D) he didn’t need a dentist, he had a WEDDING to shoot and he would be there! I have nothing but great things to say about him (well, one small thing later, but, shh) because he edited our video in such a way that it appeared NOTHING went wrong. Amazing.

The photographer was there, everyone was joking, my parents and brother and aunts came in. It was a time to be happy. I was just kind of the princess. Not in the My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding way, but in the way where people waited on me and did my hair and brought me macaroni and cheese. I will always look back on that as the first relief of the best day of my life, like, it’s really happening, and it’s going to go fine.

I scribbled the last of my notes on a piece of paper, and I got in the limo with my mom and Jordan.

Up until a few months before the wedding, I had been staunchly opposed to seeing Tyler before I walked down the aisle. But with the time contraints and loss of daylight and photo ops, it just made sense to see each other before so we could get all the pics we wanted before getting kicked out. But I still wanted “the reveal” to be ceremonial and private, and the tiny garden we were in didn’t leave a lot of intimacy with 16 people in the wedding party.

It felt a little weird and exclusive telling the 7 of the 8 girls I had chosen to be my bridesmaids to vamoose for a bit, but I wanted to be myself instead of being entertaining, crying with my soon-to-be husband instead of being concerned about how awkward my cry face looks. (I punched Tyler just last night for LOOKING at me during the Dobby scene in HP 7 Part 1.)

I let my mom and Jordan in our little prep tent to help me put on my dress. They laced me up and helped me put the garter on, with the lucky family Scottish tartan sewn onto it. Then, as soon as the photographer and videographer were in place, Tyler would walk out to the bridge where we were to be married, and I would walk up behind him, tap his shoulder, and he’d turn around and see me for the first time in my dress.

I was nervous, but mostly relieved again. This was the easy stuff. As I approached, I could see the videographer a little bit ahead of Tyler, and he was saying, “Okay, she’s almost here! She’s rounding the bend! She’s coming closer!” and sort of ruining my romantic mood, so I romantically jerked my finger to my lips to quiet him.

Seriously, it was only because I was in my head with all happy things and this is it and how much I loved Tyler and Mr. Man’s color commentary was distracting me. He did leave that in the video, and I’m kind of glad, because in my mind, it was a ferocious, sassy whip of my hand, and on film it appeared to be a good-natured shush. So, we cool. We cool.

I tapped Tyler on the shoulder, and he turned around, and we cried, and it was really warm and happy. I think he had been nervous, too.

We invited the party in, and my brother handed Tyler a handkerchief of the family Scottish tartan for him to have in his pocket as good luck. Then we all posed around various rocks and trees and generally got to know each other very well after the photographer’s instructions of “closer!” were helping us get to know each other on the subatomic level.

Soon it was back to our little huts, where we waited for the guests to filter in. It was the most gorgeous day I have seen in California. Not too cold, not too hot, not a cloud in the sky. I don’t know how we lucked out in February, but it couldn’t have been more perfect.

The ceremony was nice. I walked down the “aisle” garden path, and I was told a trail of koi fish followed my steps. Our friend Ben was the officiant, and had written a very touching ceremony for the two of us, surprising everyone who knew him as a jokester. Tyler and I had written secret letters to each other that Ben was to read. Tyler’s was so sweet, I knew anyone from my family who had just met him could be sure he was the one for me.

My little cousins were the ring bearer and flower girl, Tyler’s nephew being too young to be the ring bearer himself. They were adorable and so well-behaved. The only thing I was nervous about was where the rings would go, and when they came out of the best man’s pocket (off of the awesome ring bearer pillow my mom made), Ben placed them on the notebook he was holding…and they slid back. Luckily the little metal binder flap caught them, but I had visions of them sliding off and into the pond, and I’d have to wrestle a fish to get them back, and no one wanted to see that.

Ben pronounced us Man and Wife, and Tyler could now kiss the bride. I literally don’t remember what happened after all that. Relief is a funny thing. I assume we walked out and went to hide somewhere, but soon we emerged, with everyone standing in the passageway outside the garden. They had little silver poppers to shower us with as we ran through, since the venue wouldn’t support sparklers or rice or anything.

Just then, a fleet of Air Force planes did a flyover RIGHT above our heads. Everyone thought my dad or Ryan planned it, and they swear to this day they had nothing to do with it. I don’t care either way. It was awesome and magical, and I’ll never forget it.

As everyone filtered away, I remembered something my friend and co-worker Steven said to me. After the ceremony, to take 10 minutes with just you and your new spouse, and go somewhere where no one can bother you, and just take in the enormity of the day. Before we have to entertain guests, before everything is going to be loud again, before starting the rest of our lives, just take a moment to reflect. So we walked back to the tents and sat. For about 10 seconds before I said, “Now’s our chance to practice our lift in my dress!”

We had one more pretty nerve-racking thing to endure, and that was the secret dance in front of everyone with this lift we had never perfected. So he lifted me. The first time was shaky, with the extra weight and cumbersome girth (HEY! ARE YOU CALLING ME FAT?), but I jumped into his arms a few more times, and I thought we had it. We were married. And we were about to do a dance. Everything was good.

I had forgotten this happened, but I just went through some Flip Cam footage that reminded me…as soon as Tyler and I arrived at the reception venue and were scooted off to a waiting room of hors d’oeuvres, we both laid on the ground, ded. I slightly choked on a delicious spanikopita.

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We were soon told to line up in the tempting and delicious buffet room where the stunning and fatherly emcee, my dad, would announce everyone in the wedding party and give a little speech about each of them. It was, oh, about one couple before Jordan was to exit when Jordan realized she had forgotten her Maid of Honor speech back in the waiting room. We convinced her that she would have plenty of time AFTER the dancing and the secret dancing and the relief and the delicious cold ice-water drinking, and she stayed put.

Tyler and I were announced and walked out amidst epic Jurassic Park music and waited while my dad told everyone the story of our first dance song. The short version is: it’s the song I predicted in the ’80s would be the song that the man who would be my husband would sing to me, and a few months into dating, Tyler sang this random ’80s song to me, and here we were.

We started off slow, rocking back and forth in each other’s arms, but as soon as the first chorus came along, we busted out the dance moves. My mom says she was watching the woman who had choreographed them, and she had been on the edge of her seat, mouthing the counts to herself.

We finished and bowed…and went directly into our fun choreographed song, “Dancing Through Life” from Wicked. At the end, my brother and Jordan stood up to join us for the end of the song, surprising anyone who didn’t know the song…and probably people who knew the song and assumed we’d play all four parts. None of us missed a beat. It was amazing. I’m so glad I get to watch it over and over on our wedding video, heh. I AM VERY CONCEITED.

We ate dinner. Everyone says they don’t remember the dinner, so I made it a point to pause saying hello to people to eat the dinner that was costing us 51% of the wedding budget. I do not remember the dinner. All I remember of it is that there was a Mashed Potato Bar served in martini glasses, which I guess is all you need to remember, and why don’t I make Mashed Potato Bar for myself at home more often?

We danced. I spoke to relatives. We took pictures. Tyler and his guys sang “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” We all formed a huge circle and rocked out to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” We had a great crowd. The DJ warned us over and over that we would need songs to “get people out of their seats,” and Tyler and I just looked at each other and said, “I don’t think you know our friends. We’re theater people.” I’m so glad we were right. It was an awesome night with amazing friends.

The night came to a close, and some of us scooted over to a nearby bar to keep the party going. A few drinks and more intimate conversation, and it was clear we were both exhausted. We walked back to our hotel — across what is probably a semi-busy road during the day, probably looking ridiculous. A white wedding dress and a tuxedo sprinting across the pavement. It occurred to me that this was the last time I was going to wear my dress, as I said to Tyler “unless I’m one of those crazy people who wears it all the time after we’re married.”

Apologies if you are one of those people. I’ve only seen “wearing the old wedding dress” in popular culture tropes as happening right before the stabbings of sane husbands or estranged ex-husbands. I could be wrong.

So, that’s that. The happiest day of my life. It was pretty great, but I’m really glad it’s over. Mostly because of all the drama and emotion, but also because now I get to look forward to all the future happiest days of my life!

I couldn’t be more thankful for everyone in the wedding party and their support during the showers, the Bachelor/ette Parties, Rehearsal, the wedding itself, and everything in between. The private chats we all shared, the pillars of strength they were, for me AND Tyler. Our families went so far above and beyond, I don’t know how we’ll ever repay them. And everyone who came out to the wedding from far and wide to support two crazy kids. It astounds me to this day how much happiness friends and family can bring just by coming together. Let’s have a wedding EVERY year! Just, someone else plan it!