The Big Day, Part 1: Somehow, it all comes together. I think elves might have been involved.


I awake in a dim grey light, a few minutes before OF comes down the stairs. “It’s 7:07”, she announces. “OK, thanks,” I say, and pull on the wedding underwear and bra I spent waaaay too much money on, my (still wet on the bottom from all the rain the day before) jeans and a shirt.

I realize that I have forgotten to get my button-down shirt from my bag o’ stuff at the rental house. I don’t want to have to pull a shirt over my hair after it’s done, so I ask OF if she has a button-down shirt I can borrow. She finds an old one in her mother’s closet. It’s a little big, but it will do. OF’s parents greet me and offer me a few choices for breakfast. Not being a drinker of beverages in the morning (unless I’m sick or it’s really cold out), I opt for just a toasted English muffin with jam and peanut butter. OF’s mom makes me bring a tangerine with me, but I never eat it and find it in my purse days later.

OF putters around and I realize that it’s 7:25 and we should really get going. My hair appointment is at 7:45. I pick a few lupines that are growing near the house on the whim that they might look nice in my hair, and we drive down to Cloverdale. OF has arranged to have a manicure while I’m getting my hair done, so she and the nail person chat a bit while the lady does my hair and some other lady having her hair colored is sitting in the next chair, draped in a towel, gabbing with us about weddings and such. The lady finishes with my hair and pins in the hair vine I’ve made, and I decide that flowers would be overkill. It’s only taken about 20 minutes for my hair to be finished, and OF and I leave and head to my mom’s house, where two very important bags have been accidentally left – Dan’s smaller backpack which contains the laptop (and thus, all our music) and a plastic Target bag with all my makeup and nail polish. The photographer calls to let me know he has arrived in the neighborhood and reconfirms the address of the rental house. We get to my mom’s and I grab the bags,say hi to my family who is just waking up, then call Bequi who has offered a few weeks beforehand to do anything that needs doing the morning of the wedding. She has just woken up, so we wait a few minutes to give her time to get dressed, then drive over to pick her up. I knock my old knock on the door, for old time’s sake, which makes her parents laugh.

Bequi gets in the car, bags in hand, and I tell her some of the things that still need doing. We chat a bit driving up to the club, see that Dan has already put up the signs directing people to the event, and drop Bequi off at the rental house so she can change and meet up with other people who will be helping with set-up, and then OF and I drive down to the club quickly to make sure that the caterers have everything they need. Luckily, Dan’s already been down there to unlock everything (except, we will discover later, the bathrooms) so we head back up to OF’s parents’ house and I bring in the bucket that has the flowers for my bouquet. Then the photographer shows up, and he introduces himself to OF’s parents and takes a few photos of me while I pick lupines to put in my bouquet. He takes a few more while I make it, wrapping it with ribbon and sticking it with pins. OF’s mom asks if I would like a piece of quiche. I eat the quiche in intermittent bites while finishing up my bouquet and I can’t remember if I eat the whole piece. Probably not.

The bouquet finished and the mess cleaned up, the photographer heads back over to the rental house. My phone rings; it is my cousin who tells me that her husband and my other cousin’s boyfriend are at BevMo to pick up our keg and it hasn’t been paid for yet. Doh! Despite telling myself that I’d remember to call at 9 AM to make sure they wouldn’t have any problems when they picked it up, it has completely slipped my mind. I call BevMo right away and ask to speak to the manager with whom I have arranged this transaction earlier in the week, give her the credit card information, and everything is OK. For some reason, they won’t accept payment in advance or allow people from out of state to pick up kegs so it had to be a local picking it up, and my cousin lives in Santa Rosa. I start to put on my makeup and my mom shows up. She takes a photo of me in my bra which we both find amusing. I finish putting on my makeup and hastily paint a coat of the green nail polish I’ve been saving for today over the polish I already have on my toes, since I don’t have time to remove what’s there or give myself a true pedicure. I’d originially intended to do it the night before, but never found the time.

My sisters arrive and start to get dressed. Both have purchased, as they call them, “plastic boobies,” stick-on bras. I was hoping that they could get away with wearing no bras at all, but at least they didn’t have to pay for the dresses. I tie Lissa’s dress and tie Laurel’s dress. They take pictures of me in my bra and underwear. We all laugh some. The photographer comes back just as they start helping me into my dress, OF and Lissa working on the lacing, Laurel painting my fingernails and helping me into my shoes. I am annoyed at myself; I had intended to put my shoes on first so nobody had to help me, but of course, I forgot. The photographer tells me that Dan is there, hiding in the downstairs part of the house, waiting for me so we can do “first look” photos. In a few minutes I’m ready. I feel as though this is the least amount of time I’ve ever had to get ready for any event, as I put on my makeup in about two minutes. The bumps are as bumpy and red as ever; I hope that the photographer is able to work some magic with photoshop. I forget to put on the earrings I’ve borrowed from my mom. I put on the necklace Julie has made for me from the green pearls I got in China. Because I am thinking about it and my purse is there, I write out a check for the photographer.

Later, I will realize that I have left a whole mess of stuff at OF’s parents house. They are kind enough to pack up all my clothes, toiletries, makeup, and sundries, plus stuff my sisters have left behind, and deliver the bags to my mom later in the afternoon.

Dan is waiting on the back deck, gorgeous view of the valley behind him. From the back, he looks great in his kilt. I tiptoe over to where he is standing and wrap my arms around him. I forget that the photographer is there taking pictures of us, I just enjoy seeing Dan look so smashing. He looks pretty googly-eyed at me, too. Our original plan had been to walk down to the club together, but we’re running low on time, and it’s also pretty chilly, so instead when my mom and her friend come back from helping set up at the club (which I have no idea they are doing until later – and apparently my mom’s friend mopped up a bunch of water still on the ground from the storm the night before), they offer to drive us down instead. I pile myself and my dress in to the front seat, along with the flamin’ chucks I plan to wear in a few photos, while Dan and my mom get in the back, and in just a couple of minutes we are there. So are a ton of other people, and the tent is starting to look great. People are hanging twinkly lights and cranes, the tables have their table name cards and the snars and the flowers. One person I don’t recognize until she turns around; it is Laurel’s best friend, who has recently become a brunette (she’s a natural blonde). The caterers tell us that the bathrooms haven’t been unlocked. Dan sends someone up to get the keys from the rental house, and to get my green scarf from the car. Simon gives my my “something borrowed,” a kickass purple and black garter with skulls on it.

The PA system and the benches are set up down on the beach. I don’t know who does this, only that the tasks are done. I tell my sisters and QIR where to find their bouquets, or maybe I show them which one is for which person, I don’t really remember. I hand out the corsages I’ve made for our readers, our moms, and Leah, which I’d put pins in the night before. I give the bouts to someone and direct them to put them on the appropriate guys, but there are no pins in them. OF drives Leah & Simon’s car up to her mom’s house to get the extra pins. The pins arrive; the bouts are pinned on, everything is ready to go.

We’re almost ready for photos, and more people are starting to arrive. Laurel starts following me, holding up my dress. It is cold and still a little damp; the tissue paper pompoms are all somewhat wilty. The keys return, are used to unlock the bathrooms, and I get my green scarf. We all head down to the beach for posed photos: bridal party, the guys, the girls, the families. Lissa’s got a few photos she wants the photographer to take, and I have no problem with her helping direct things. Bequi acts as photographer’s assistant; I am told that she gave him a few good reasons why she’d be good at people wrangling. She holds the list of the posed shots we’d asked for. Some of the photos include us walking out onto a really wobbly dock and playing on a playground.

We’re finally finished with the photos, and more people arrive. I hug lots of people and greet others and am kind of agog that so many people are there to see us get married. It’s more than a little overwhelming.

Weeks beforehand, I’d asked my friend Joey, a confirmed attendee, if he would videotape the ceremony for Dan’s grandma – he used to do a lot of videotaping and moviemaking in high school, so I trust his abilities. It’s getting later, and more people are showing up, but Joey still hasn’t arrived. We need to start the ceremony, and the only person I can think of who isn’t in the wedding party or a family member and happens to be someone I can trust and is also nearby is my friend the Irish German. I ask if he’ll be so kind as to press record on the videocamera, as we have that and the tripod ready to go. It’s the last minute, but he kindly obliges. I feel terrible but I know it needs to be done and don’t have time to think of someone else to ask. I look across the parking lot and see two people I don’t recognize walking toward the club. It isn’t until they get really close that I realize it’s an old friend of my mom’s and her boyfriend, who I’ve never met, and who has a long white beard. Joey never shows up, and never returns my message when I call him the next day.

The guys gather on one side of the assembled group, near the playground, and the girls gather on the other side, by the boats. Laurel’s boyfriend starts the processional, Mark Motherspaugh’s Canon from the Royal Tenenbaums soundtrack, and Lissa’s fiance walks my mom down the aisle. EEK follows them and stands at the front. The guys walk in from the left side. It’s time to go.

Thanks to Curtis, Lissa, Katherine, and my mom for the photos

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2 responses to “The Big Day, Part 1: Somehow, it all comes together. I think elves might have been involved.

  1. Speaking as someone who attended the marrification: Folks, the first thing people would say when they wandered up to the photography session was “Wait, she MADE those dresses?” Actually, that was the second. The first was how lovely the whole wedding party looked, bride and groom inclusive. Seriously y’all. She MADE 4 dresses. m, I’m sorry you have some weird allergy giving you those bumps, and as someone with multiple skin issues I know it sucks to look in the mirror and see that. But it’s always more apparent to you than it is to others. You looked beautiful that day and when I saw you last (sans makeup), I had to look really close to see what you were talking about. I hope kaiser comes through with an allergist referral for you soon!

  2. Aw sniff. It all sounds so beautiful and crazy at the same time. I love the playground photo. You guys did such a good job putting it all together.

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