Monday, August 13, 2007

the one with all the words

They say the day of your wedding is a blur, and it's true. They don't tell you that the days after are a little blurry as well. I suppose this is why photographs and writing is so important in this span of time because things are already disappearing from my memory, with so much else to take in.

After our rehearsal dinner, with the excellent buffet food (if I were to do the reception over again, I think I would have made that a buffet too, formality be damned) and the amazing company, The Husband and I drove home to the quiet of our home, our last night to spend together as an unmarried couple. A beer, and two posts from me, and we were asleep. I was amazed that I fell asleep moderately easily, but the day had been spent with gamut of people dropping by, an impromptu grilling, and many place cards to write out and table settings to print. The house was full of happy noise on Friday afternoon and happy quiet on Friday night.

We woke at 4:37 am to the sound of the tornado siren. Tornado siren! On our wedding day! We both automatically rolled out of bed, knowing exactly what the sound meant, the wail mimicked by Zephyr, the background sound of thunder and the shock of lightning turning night into day. I gathered the cats in their kennel, to much hissing and spitting, and The Husband went to let the dogs out quickly (as they would surely have an accident after five hours of being locked up, and then the excitement of this storm and our being up, such a treat) in the middle of a hail storm. Hail, in August! Reminds me of the storm in June, only with sirens and a wedding, so instead of the amused observer, I was afraid, nervous: I don't want to die before I get a chance to marry him. We waited in the dark of the living room, the lights outside flashing, not even being able to be afraid of a dark that isn't there, watched the furious red blurb make its way across the computer screen radar. When the worst of it passed, we went back upstairs, though The Husband tells me he couldn't fall back asleep. So when the dogs got restless a little while later, he was up with them, walking and bringing back food for the wedding party.

And at 7:30, the girls began to arrive. We set up in the living room, a makeshift hair salon, using fancy folding chairs and long mirrors leaning against sofa cushions. Kelly's hair was first and quick, mine keeping time with her own. Kelly's friend Kelli (their husbands are best friends) is a hair stylist, so she and another girl drove down to fix the girls' hair. I thought this would be best--to allow those who might not want to pay to participate and to make everything a little more personal.

The morning was spent with me forgetting what was happening to the recollection of what that day was--my stomach then turning over, doing what my body does best in reaction to extreme nervousness. The Husband was there, keeping the dogs entertained, helping keep food moving about on the table, and beer, of course. Kelly and my sister did my make-up (my sister making my eyes do things they've never done before, our house chilly and thus, her fingers little cold stones on my eyelids, and later, finding more makeup on the dinner napkin than I'd ever realized could be on my face) and then, suddenly, the boys were there, and we were sliding me into my gown, yanking the zipper up, keeping me hostage in the computer room as The Husband searched for all the missing pieces, just barely having glasses and wallet along.

And it drizzled at noon. I sat at the window, my heart sinking, the only time I really felt sad and frustrated about anything in regards to the wedding day, because our pictures were outside, and our ceremony too, and our town is just too beautiful to not have it as a rich backdrop to this summer wedding.

Emily drove us down in the minivan, my crinoline keeping me cushioned, not really needing that airbag had we gotten into an accident, and I popped out like a turkey, into the hot air. The rain evaporated, leaving massive amounts of sweat instead; we could feel it trickling down our backs, and as you can see in Chris's collection of pictures, some girls found sweet relief in the air conditioned cars between locations.

We used Joe Dickie of Generation Photography, and I'm incredibly glad that we did. He was funny, quick, and non-traditional, which was all what I was looking for. His style is more photojournalistic, capturing moments rather than poses. I like the artistic angles from his website, and I appreciate the framing and unique uses of light. I think what he does with reflection and movement is similar to some things I do with my own point-and-shoot pictures. I am so excited to see these pictures. He said they take about a week to put up on the webpage, and I already love what I've seen just from my morning pictures and my mother's quick pictures that I think I will be thrilled with what he does. Photographs are so important to me, which is entertaining, considering The Husband hates having his picture taken!

After clamoring in the bluffs, and watching the photographer get scolded by the security man for taking pictures in the casino itself, we made our way up to the suite, and so wonderful it was! Huge, multiple rooms, two bathrooms, a whirlpool tub, a king size bed... I almost didn't want to go down to the reception--we could have had the party upstairs!

Suddenly, it was time for the ceremony, and there we were, daddy long legs and grasshoppers climbing our skirts, watching as the guests arrived, forgetting the drunk campers from the night before who threatened to remain (hey, no reservations, right?), watching as the white chairs filled, framed so well by trees and in the background, the backwaters of the Mississippi. We milled about, listening to the Celtic musicians from a distance, hovering in a copse of trees, and then lining up, making our way down the aisle, so much impromptu, my own inability to meet people's gazes as I made my way down, being kissed by my father on the cheek, not given but ushered and loved.

The readings: Sue, winking at me while sending her well wishes; my father, who brought a humorous moment in with his humid guitar, far flung, and such sweet, sweet words (Dad, so many people told me how much they loved that song, as did I, of course); and Eireann, whose voice brought life and love and continued on. I do remember, so much, the way he was looking at me through the ceremony. Those pictures I posted from my mother, if you look closely, or click on the picture to make it bigger, you can see it too. I think that's the best part of the day--the way we looked at each other. I didn't even know I was doing it at the time, but I do know how he was looking at me, and I know that floors me, even though he looks at me like that in private often enough. But there he was, all goofy and in love, in front of everyone, willing to do all those things he's generally reluctant to do--kiss me in front of strangers (or family!), have his photograph taken again and again (and again), speak in front of so many people.

I don't remember all the official stuff. There were things about the state of Minnesota and best of times, worst of times, all unhappy families are unhappy in their own way, and reader, I married him, and of course, The Husband didn't let the officiate finish all her speech, so eager to say Yes and bringing more laughter. Then, suddenly, there were rings on our fingers, and me mumbling, a little confused as we never really rehearsed any of this, and after all, I've never been married before, and we were presented and married. We walked back down the aisle to a song called "Fanny Power," and right up to Mike's parents' golden retriever (no, no, not our Penelope, she was home with Zephyr, cranky at being left out of all that attention). There were so many hugs (sorry for smelling like I was out in the sun all afternoon--poor Husband has a sunburned forehead; everyone thought he was blushing, which is so sweet).

The wedding party came upstairs and we had the requisite drinks, arranged to have them sign a picture mat, and made our way downstairs, marching in arm-in-arm, to a room full of folks who were applauding. For us! All I had to do was wear a big white dress and buy them dinner and drinks. We should do this more often.

We are married, I can only think, again and again. We are married, and there we were, sitting at a table stretched forever, some of our favorite people flanking us, and there were toasts. Oh, how kind they were--Mike, jokingly starting with roses are red and ending with Shakespeare; Kelly, reminding us all of failed first dates and ending with her telling Husband to take care of me; Eric, saying we were good people and making one of those silly wedding jokes (may all the ups and downs be between the sheets...); Chelsea, the one who brought me to tears, my eyes raccooned, her putting any speech I could ever give or have ever witnessed at a wedding to shame, filling my heart up and so many hearts in that room (so many compliments on that speech, too, Chelsea); and I remember a little of his boss's speech, the one where he told everyone how much of a workaholic Husband is and a joke about the paycheck, but I was really trying to get my contact back in my eye from all the crying, the sweet, sweet crying. I gave my toss bouquet to my paternal grandmother in honor of her sixty three years of marriage to my grandfather, the one with Alzheimer's, who promised to be good for Christmas when he meant the wedding, who had to have the event explained to him, but seemed so happy to see the girl in the big white dress who loved hugging him.

We danced, we danced, and we drank quite a bit. I remember talking to so many people and feeling like I hadn't spoken to anyone by the end of the night, not nearly enough. I remember looking up at the Husband during our first dance, which was "Be Here Now" by Mason Jennings, and having The Husband dance with his mother while I danced with my father to the second song. I remember boogeying with so many people and watching the ebb and flow of the dance floor. I remember being proud of not needing assistance with the big dress in the bathroom and getting congratulated by all the gamblers in the hallway. I remember dancing with Eric (and the next day, Eric not remembering), which turned into dancing with Danno and Kyle and Steph and Heather as a big lump and Danno being Danno, getting drunk, hugging everyone in his sweaty stink, trying to buy my father a shot (which I took instead). I remember watching Eireann and Brian dancing to the side, adorable. I remember Nikki confessing a little something about her feelings for her date and how happy I was for her. I remember dancing to country with the Husband's mother's side of the family. I remember Cole and Eric S. hitting it off and remarking on how similar they looked. I remember saying good-night to Megan, and asking Are you coming back down and her looking at me like I was crazy because someone had to stay with the baby (I just meant her--leave the husband upstairs, after all). I remember the Husband's parents dancing still more. I remember their family sitting in a big table, all talking, how sweet that was. I remember seeing my parents dancing. I remember talking to people I haven't seen in too long--Sarah and Regan and Terry, Steve and Tanya, Jesse and Sarah and Davin (who will have another addition to their family this winter), so, so many people. My aunt and uncle, whose car broke down just before the ceremony, and they made it just in time. My grandparents and my grandma and step-grandpa.

I remember the second hail storm, how rain is supposed to be lucky, but hail, furious, like gunshot on the roof of the ballroom (a kind of metal tent, the last wedding to be had in those walls), everyone's cars a little (or a lot--so sorry Mike and Richard) damaged, the photographer flinging a door open to get a better shot, and how the bits of hail zinged through, a storm like no other I have ever seen (and I'm used to pretty sizable storms here in Minnesota), the dance floor littered, and the Husband, receiving kudos for his strength getting that door back closed, as it thumped against the siding, refusing to come shut. Two hail storms, this second one worse, the second one impressive and dramatic, a little sign of I don't know what, but I do know that having those storms on either end, and the drizzle in the morning, with sun sun sun for the photographs and for the ceremony, so shocking for it to have worked out so entirely neatly, almost as if scripted and false, but a story now to tell to children. (And tonight, another storm, supposedly of equal force, approaching. Anticipation and the loveliness of lightning. Now, I am less afraid, as the consequences do not involve muddy dresses and indoor photography. Of course, I don't want damage--fireworks without the harm.)

And that night, tottering down the hallway, bouquets in hand, a styrofoam cooler full of our remaining favors, the hotel room waiting. A hot tub, chocolate, beers still cool. The huge bed, and my dress, full of stains from the night (not that full, Mom, don't worry, but I love those marks, the grass stain from walking through for pictures, after the rain and the hail, and the place where Jen stepped on the train), flung across the sofa back, my crinoline (which someone so silly-like suggested I take it off for the reception, not realizing just how fun it is to twirl in crinoline) in a heap beside it. We sat, facing each other, rings on our hands, my hair undone from bobby pins, Medusa-like, recounting all the small moments, how we had wedding crashers and didn't mind (two kegs of Honeyweiss was a little too much, in retrospect, but better more than not enough) and how now, we were different, we were husband and wife.


eireann said...


lizardek said...

Magical, beautiful, memorable!!

Julia said...

this is a beautiful description molly! so magically written. how wonderful it will be to have this account for years to come when some of those details might slip away. it sounds like a truly perfect time. congrats!