It’s not the end that matters, it’s the journey. It’s the entire first night dating we shared together talking until the wee small hours. It’s the meals I cooked him in his all boys flat, it’s the time we racked up telephone bills in the six months we spent living in different cities. It’s the laughs, tears and all that we shared on the way to our wedding day.
Last minute prep…
I began our wedding day at 6.30 am in the bathroom, blowing up balloons and trying to let my FH sleep a bit longer. We found ourselves creeping into the back yard of the reception venue early morning and hanging the balloons on the washing line – as you do. I’m glad we did as the overall result was stunning.
I felt more than a million dollars after hair, makeup, preening and pruning, then slipping into my gown. The process you go through with wedding preparations and beauty treatments is a journey in itself. All day, I swished around in my gorgeous lacy number, hardly believing this was me. It was a good attitude to have, as many things went wrong on our day. I forgot my bouquet for the ceremony and didn’t realise until the photographer asked afterwards. Someone took our car keys from the ceremony and we had to ride with the photographer. My husband forgot his belt and had to borrow his father-in-laws. I couldn’t get my contact lenses in and after instruction and encouragement from my father and sister; it was my lovely make-up artist that shoved them in my eye sockets for me. She had a vested interest to get the make-up started.
It’s traditional for the bride to be late, right?
As everyone rushed about in a panic around me, finishing outfits, fixing and unruly wad of hair, making snacks, packing bags, I was obliviously perched on cloud nine. None of that mattered as I was about to go and marry the man of my dreams.
Down the road my father and I whizzed in his convertible, listening to highway to hell (his choice), I was about to marry my sweetheart. What more could you ask for? My father and brother walked me down the aisle to my husband. We had a few hand-squeezes and good luck wishes then we marched three in a row. There was a marked improvement from the rehearsal the day before where we had my brother out in front, dragging me while my dad was dawdling behind and me in the middle being pulled in different directions. Some swear words and Dad’s army training came in handy and we seemed more graceful while chanting “hup, two, three, four”. My brother insisted that that wouldn’t do and we upped our game to silence. Finally reaching the top of the aisle, Dad slipped a lotto ticket and 50 bucks into my groom’s hand and said good luck. I quite agree; he needed it.
This will go down in history – well, my history anyway…
Now that we’ve got the wedding itself behind us, I feel there should be some sort of marker in history. Our wedding was a very momentous day for us. We have references in time like BC – Before Christ. I believe I need to refer to life before our nuptials as BW – Before Wedding and PW – Post Wedding. I guess the closest you can get in this day and age is by adding it to your Facebook timeline. If my idea catches on, people could describe their stress as Post Wedding Stress (PWS) Syndrome. That’s what honeymoons are for. Ours (honeymoon in Bali) went swimmingly, by the way.
New title, new name, new me…
I love the feeling of greeting my new husband and we call each other that all the time. We’re still trying to get used to it. Like a new jumper, you have to wear it in a bit before it gets comfortable. But for now, it’s a blissful novelty.
I’ve got a new persona, a new title, MRS, and changed my last name. It feels a bit strange but eventually when people ask the simple question of what my name is for a hair appointment, I won’t even need to pause and think. Perhaps I won’t even need to correct myself as I accidentally say the name I used the first twenty something years of my life.
To all those that have been part of our life journeys that have led to the moment when we became husband and wife – thank you. However big or small a part you played; you helped shape us into who we are today. Understand that we are not a traditional couple. It was common knowledge that we were eloping. Somehow, a few family members found their way into it. Earlier this year, we told everyone to keep their eyes peeled on Facebook and all their questions about our wedding would be answered. Now they are. Here’s hoping you’re all okay with it.
Here’s a little PW (Post – Wedding) Advice:
Everyone has an opinion; let them have it then do what you want anyway. Remember it is about you and your groom and at the end of the day you’re going home together. And so, I leave you with this advice, the smaller the guest list, the better.
“The lead up to your wedding is like becoming an overnight celebrity, and all of a sudden, everyone wants you to do an appearance at their dinner table.”
I’m not an attention seeker. Despite the plethora of in-home ballet recitals, plays, and karaoke shows that I subjected my parents to in my early days, I avoid the spotlight. Unless, that is, I am fuelled by a few too many alcoholic beverages and momentarily decide it is a stroke of genius to leap onto the nearest table and belt out ‘the summer of 69’ or the like.
And so, it follows, that I met someone else that is as understated as me. We both wrote on a piece of paper what we wanted in a wedding. The main priorities were that it had to be at a beach and it had to be simple. Every time I had a decision to make, I checked against our original goals and we have kept to them.
We touched down in our home country, New Zealand and madness ensued. We zigzagged across the city from appointment to last minute shopping to the dry cleaning shop. Errands all day long. The lead up to your wedding is like becoming an overnight celebrity, and all of a sudden, everyone wants you to do an appearance at their dinner table, to be their guest, they encircle you, and sometimes it can be hard to cut yourselves into enough pieces to go around.
Our game plan…
So, you want to know the details of our wedding? You and everyone on the guest list. If you have a small guest list then your options of the unconventional are limited only by your imagination. We will marry on a public reserve by the sea and then have a reception at a rented holiday home. Mum is bringing flowers from her garden; my father in law to be is supplying the old preserving jars which we will put candles in. My mother in law is bringing a bunch of fairy lights. The cake is one simple tier and one simple cake stand; with no royal icing in sight. Dinner is a kiwi roast coming from the local club.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been asked whether we have organised the grooms outfit. I am pleased to inform you that we went out precisely one week before the big day and purchased everything head to toe. I did have a bit of fun playing it up and explaining time after time that it was fine, because he had a tie and it was going to look great with just underwear, much to their horror.
Reality TV potential…
I could probably fill a tv show with wedding drama. The night before my wedding, I had to pop out to the car for something I’d forgotten. Unable to find it, I began the laborious climb up the winding stairs to our apartment. After the long day I had had, half way up the stairs felt like the full length and I trudged into the apartment exhausted and full of a list of things to do before tomorrow. That’s odd, I thought I left the lights on. I flicked the switch and ferreted into my bag and find a pen. What’s that? I wondered. The TV is on? My fiancee was watching something on the computer a few minutes ago. God, it’s loud. “Why is the TV so loud? Turn it down, it’s late and you’ll wake the neighbours”. No reply. “For god’s sake, why aren’t you listening to me?” I stormed over, angry by this stage, to give him a piece of my frazzled mind.
Two bemused faces were staring back at me from under the covers. Realisation hit me and I wasn’t in our penthouse apartment at all, I was in fact at – the neighbours! I had just turned the lights on, yelled at them and then stood, stuck, staring at them in their bed. No one spoke. Then I realised I had to get out, and quickly. With a trail of words behind me; namely “sorry” and “Oh my God”; my legs took me out the door. Before exiting, I kindly turned the lights off for them again and let them have the TV as loud as they liked. It was the least I could do.
Up to the top floor and into my own apartment I stood in the doorway in shock. Upon hearing about my stupidity, my FH (Future Husband if you didn’t read part 1 wedding blog) pissed himself with laughter and was pleased to have such a good story to tell the next day. Never mind his FW (Future Wife) sitting on the floor traumatised by her own actions. A note was duly slipped under the neighbour’s door profusely apologising (I actually got one back saying it was their fault for not locking the door). I was going to explain that I was a strung out bride-to-be but there really is no excuse for what I had just done. Also, the less they knew about me, the better. I signed anonymous. Better I didn’t drag my new last name through the mud before I got it.
Marriage. For my partner and I, it’s a somewhat sudden shift in response to a much slower, subtler eight year transformation into the couple we are today. We shared a lecture theater, a few movies, some long conversations, a room, a house, and our lives. Now we are about to share a last name as well. So far our wedding journey took us from “yes” hurtling through engagement at breakneck speed. Everyone turned their attention to our plans, the next step, have you thought of this? Why don’t you get married there? You’re not running away to elope are you? Could you do that to your mother? So, we can expect grandchildren soon?’
Facebook doesn’t help; in fact the entire World Wide Web seems to know much of our engagement. It goes to no end of trouble in bombarding me with countless adverts for getting slim, photographers, dresses, pregnancy (it too assumes that babies come straight after marriage).
As I write to you, I’m lying bra-less in black sweats, carefully positioned with a black blanket sandwiched between me and the couch. I have an orange glow radiating from me; it’s brightening by the hour and will continue to do so for the next eight. The things we do for love, I guess. Well, that and a little vanity. I need people to be able to decipher from my skin and my dress.
Virtual dress shopping…
You could call me an unusual bride. I loathe fuss, I detest shopping, and I couldn’t think of anything worse than trekking the shops and facing bossy old women to pay an arm and a leg for an outfit I’ll wear once. Online shopping saved the day. In six months, I’m going to don the most fitted, ornate, and expensive dress I’ve ever owned and it is in a most unflattering colour of ivory.
Every time I try my wedding dress on; I get interrupted. I wait until my beloved goes out; I say a little prayer and suck my stomach in, then put the long flowing, lacy white, custom made sack over my head. Standing in the bathroom wondering if I can pull this outfit off and thinking to myself that I must remember to get some of that underwear that sucks you in in all the right places; I’ll hear the phone ring or a knock at the door. Hopefully this isn’t some awful sign; merely a chance to stop obsessing.
There have been many discussions about my footwear, I threatened to wear my jandals; it is going to be on a beach after all. Then I went a step further having some fun. Everyone drew back in outrage as I told them all I was going to wear beaded ribbon on my feet. I caved on this occasion and now have kitten heels, but I’m still going to stuff my jandals in my purse.
Two of my dear friends have married this year. They went to the beautiful Cook Islands with a handful of family members. When one single exquisite picture emerged at the top of my Facebook page, it took my breath away. She was absolutely beautiful in her ankle length gown and her bare feet. Her body relaxed under the grasp of her husband as he dipped her back in a sweeping kiss. The Cook Island Sea lapped at their feet and provided the most perfect backdrop against the setting sun. My heart sang for them and everyone tittered messages of happiness to the lovely couple.
This is how my fiancee and I chose to announce our engagement in fact; a discrete photo on Facebook. We went to the middle of the city of Melbourne and snapped a close-up of our hands entwined with a backdrop of the river, bridges and the city-scape. The diamonds of my engagement ring glittered in the sun and hinted to friends what we had just done.
I feel like I’m entering a brave new world with all this wedding business. There is even a wedding language http://www.squidoo.com/weddingworld bursting with acronyms that make a newly engaged couple’s head spin. I’m semi-fluent in French but that didn’t prepare me in the least for all this wedding-speak. This language is splattered all over wedding websites. If you can navigate (or ignore) the jargon, then the websites will prove invaluable (and free) planning tools. Here are a few acronyms to get you started:
MOB = Mother of the Bride
FOG = Father of the Groom
FH = Future Husband
Do’s and don’ts…
There are also minefields like the emerging trend of “Don’t save the date” where some people actually tell friends and family that they will not be invited. We announced that we would elope when we told of our engagement. There is the question of whether or not to do a gift registry, which can be anything these days. We opted for a rule of no presents, but said if you must then we asked to please consider the luggage limit. We’ve been around the world trying to find a honeymoon destination that suits our limited time and budget. Like the wedding itself, the honeymoon has so many options, and we want to make memories that last forever. Preferably happy memories at that!
So, where am I at right now in this wedding process? I’m amongst wedding magazines, online wedding sites, scouring flight deals, and desperately trying to remember the reason for all of this without getting carried away.