Friday morning as Oldest Friend came back I realized I wasn’t going to be able to sleep anymore. OF, Leah, and I went to a cafe a few blocks away and ate pie (me) and drank tea (OF and Leah), and it was really the only moment of relaxation I had all day (and would have for the next three). The apple pie was really good, and I felt much better after I’d eaten.
I had made a list of things that needed to be done on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Here was my list for Friday:
Get flowers and lemons from Leah and Simon
Shopping for house at Costco
Haul flowers & decorations & luggage & wine & drinks from mom’s house to rental house
Make corsages, bouts, and bouquets
Decorate club, set up tables
Pick up linens from caterer
Pick up cake
Construct ceremony thingy (this didn’t end up happening)
Make lemonade (didn’t happen until Saturday after the wedding)
Hem QIR & Laurel’s dresses ( my mom ended up doing this)
Leah drove back to the East Bay and OF and I went to Union Street because she wanted to find a necklace to replace one she’d bought a few months before and lost. The GPS she’d brought was interesting, something I’d never before used or encountered, but it got us to where we needed to go. The shops on Union street were all closed, but we happened upon the right shop (she couldn’t remember which one, only that it had a black and white awning) just at the shop-running people arrived. Being Oldest Friend, she managed to convince them to sell her two versions of the necklace (one in gold and one in silver) a full hour before their shop officially opened. As we walked back to the car, we passed by a flower stand and they had the yellow roses needed for the bouts, plus the white daisies I’d wanted. Total bill for all flowers: $72. Plus a few bucks for wire, tape, ribbon, and pins. Sweet!
OF and I used the trusty GPS to get us over to Simon and Leah’s house, where we picked some greenery and a few flowers (they brought up a tub of callas later, plus a bunch of lemons) and poured a hungover Dan into the car. We headed over to QIR’s place, where we added both QIR’s dress and QIR to the load. From there, we headed north, significantly later than I would have liked, and we stopped at the Costco and Target in Novato to get the food for the afterparty and to have stocked at the house (breakfast stuff, snacks, etc.) I was pretty exhausted and overwhelmed by this point with the huge list of stuff still to do, and at 1 PMish we were eating slices of pizza in the Costco parking lot to fortify us, thanks to QIR’s thinking ahead. I was really nervous about how in the world we’d be able to add the linens and the cakes to the load and manage to fit everything, so OF called her parents (who had recommended the bakery to us), and they offered to pick up the cake and bring it to the club. OF also called the bakery and gave them our credit card info over the phone so it was all paid for.
After a quick stop in Petaluma at the caterer’s to get the linens, we were finally ready to complete the journey. My mom called at some point to let me know she was unexpectedly entertaining some of our out-of-town guests, and they were at her house and wanted to know what they could do to help. Our wine, water, flowers, decorations, and some other stuff were all still at her house, so I said they could pack up a vehicle or two and drive the stuff up to the club and meet us there. So they did, which was a huge help and saved us a trip. When we arrived, my mom took QIR and her dress (which still needed to be hemmed, and, despite opinions to the contrary, was not only possible to hem, but my mom managed it with a minimum of fuss. Thanks, mom!), and Dan went to my mom’s to pick up our luggage, toiletries, and an assortment of other things that needed to go up (like the signs). Left at the club were myself and Oldest Friend, and we hunkered right down and started in on the flowers.
It was raining when we got up north, incidentally. It rained, and then it rained some more, which is precicely what the weather report we’d been watching all week had said it would do. The tent people still hadn’t put up the tent (and they didn’t actually get it up until about 5:30 PM, and by the time they did everything was soaked). OF and I looked at the buckets of flowers we had available (seriously, we had waaaaaay more than we needed) and she got to work on her own bouquet and started arranging flowers in my mom’s mason jars and some smaller vases we had, while I took the various flowers out of their plastic wrappings and rubber bands, and arranged bouquets for QIR and my sisters. I set aside the flowers I wanted for my own bouquet but knew I wouldn’t be able to make it until the next morning, because there were some specific wildflowers blooming in the area that have personal significance to me (lupines) and they wouldn’t last overnight.
I managed to get flowers from my mom’s yard into each of the bouquets, and added as needed. Lissa’s bouquet was a paler palette, and Laurel’s was all bright colors, while QIR’s was a mix of both. Oldest Friend made her own bouquet – I can’t really remember exactly what was in hers, only that it was (of course) beautiful and she took the time to wire up some leaves and made it look really pretty. We both worked on the mason jar flowers, adding as they looked like they needed, and everything turned out pretty much exactly how I wanted it to – a mix of colors and textures, looking like everything was fresh-picked from the garden. Hooray!
Four bridesmaid bouquets plus six corsages
It got later, and the tent people finally showed up. Dan returned with a bunch of what was needed from the house, QIR in tow. Finally, people started to arrive (we’d asked people to show up around 5 PM to do the rehearsal and several people said they’d come earlier to help) and we discovered that there was some extra terrible, hours-long traffic going through Santa Rosa that everyone had to deal with – so everyone was late. Someone told me at some point that they’d heard there were six accidents! And of course, my cell phone didn’t function or have any signal at the club, so there was no way anyone could let me know. Leah and Simon arrived with Holla and The Lovely Katherine, EEK and her paramour arrived a bit confuzzled, and my sisters arrived with their significant others. Finally, everyone was there, and everyone was doing things like decorating inside the club with our cranes, lanterns, and tissue paper pompoms.
Dan and I left briefly to take much needed showers (I think it was one of my shortest showers on record) and to change into nicer clothing. While we were gone, people did more decorating and arranging of things, but unfortunately someone made an incorrect assumption and they did a lot more work than they needed to, as the tables we were using (and were to be put under the tent) were NOT the wooden picnic tables but instead some folding tables in a locked cupboard. When Dan and I returned, we were able to set things straight, and with so many people the picnic tables were removed from the tent and the correct tables brought out, unfolded, and arranged according to the schematic Dan and I had determined earlier in the week. Due to the size and space issues, not to mention the “who shouldn’t sit near whom” issues, our table arrangement was a little funky. Luckily, it went quickly. I just feel bad that Lissa twisted her ankle helping move the picnic tables that didn’t need to be moved in the first place.
Finally, we were able to do a quick run-through of the ceremony, with Dan and I directing how things would go, and EEK (being our officiant) asking questions. Other people asked questions, too. We got almost everything figured out and then Scarlett and her boyfriend showed up (she was one of the readers, still looking a little green) so we were able to let her know what was going to happen and when. Laurel’s boyfriend volunteered to push the button on the laptop to start and stop the processional and recessional (thanks, Laurel’s boyfriend!) and things pretty much all got figured out. Dan and I let people know we planned to roshambo to decide who would get to say vows first (we wrote our own, and didn’t know what the other would say beforehand). I gave everyone a copy of the program. We all piled into various cars, some of which headed straight for the rehearsal dinner and others of which made a pitstop along the way. I rode with Scarlett, her boyfriend, and Oldest Friend. Both Scarlett and I changed and/or removed clothing during the drive, which amused her boyfriend greatly. (I was wearing a dress over jeans, and I took off the jeans when we got there). I dudn’t have time to put on any makeup and thought I looked pretty terrible, but luckily the lighting at the dinner was dim.
We arrived at the restaurant where Dan’s parents organized a fabulous rehearsal dinner (with delicious menu, wine, and more flowers) and greeted everyone and talked to everyone and waited for the rest of the crew to show up. Finally, everyone was there, and it was time to choose our meals and eat and toast and do all the things that people do at rehearsal dinners. Dan’s aunt and uncle had some of the images from our invitation printed on coffee mugs (what a cool gift!) and toasted us a bit. Dan’s dad gave a toast, and so did Dan, and so did my mom’s cousin from Beijing. Everyone enjoyed the meal and the fabulous dessert, and little by little people left. I tried really hard to stay in the moment and enjoy the party, but I was focused on what still needed to be finished. We left while quite a few people were still there, because there was still so much to be done back at the club. Because of the rain, the decorating couldn’t really be done in the tent (it was too wet) and I still had to finish the bouts and corsages.
Luckily, despite everyone’s exhaustion and earlier assistance, QIR, Simon, and Leah came back to the club to help us finish some of the things that needed finishing after I’d changed clothes. Oldest Friend joined us a little while later, feeling a bit run-down (she’s been seriously ill a few weeks before and was still recovering). “You have me for 45 minutes,” she announced. QIR got to work on the bouts, while I made the corsages. Everyone else helped finish the interior decorating. I gave Leah some instructions for the next day, knowing that a few people would be coming up early to help in the morning and would need direction that she could provide. It was nearly midnight and I was about to fall over, so Leah and Simon drove me up to OF’s parents’ house and Dan bid me goodnight, our last kiss as an unmarried couple.
It’s possible that more people were there to help late that night. I honestly can’t remember, I was so tired. If you were there and I didn’t mention you, sorry.
I lay in the downstairs bedroom at OF’s parents’ house, unable to sleep because my brain wouldn’t shut off, even though I’d taken a benadryl for my face. I’d given Oldest Friend instructions to wake me up at 7 AM. I was cold, couldn’t find an extra blanket (though I found in the morning that there was one), and put on my sweater. I must have slept, finally, at some point, but I can’t even remember if I had any dreams. All I know is that everything that still needed doing was running through my head.