Actually, it’s kind of hard to tell when you’re in the Bay Area in the summer, because it’s nearly always overcast that early in the morning. How early, you ask? After nearly 5 hours of sleep I rolled out of bed at 6:30, tiptoed down the stairs, brushed my teeth, checked my email and updated my Facebook status, and attempted to leave Leah and Simon’s house in order to drive to my sister’s in time to do her hair. Except the screen door wouldn’t open, so I had to wake Simon up. Boo.
So I got to Lissa’s house around 7:15 and everyone was awake, or as awake as most of them can be at that time of the day (none of them are morning people). As I said, it was overcast, so there was still some dismay over the possibility of the wedding being cold rather than warm. Staying in their house were L&C, Laurel and her friend Lindsay, and Jackie, the awesomest ER nurse evah, and so as you might imagine, things were a little crazy. Someone put the Princess Bride on the TV, and someone handed me a caffinated sody pop when I asked for one, and there was a parade of showers and people pouring coffee and I plugged in the curling iron and started on Lissa’s hair. Because her hair is even thicker than mine, I knew it would take a while to get it all curled so I could start to style it, so I had Lissa sitting in a chair in a daze by about 7:40 as everyone else fluttered around.
Due to some practice earlier in the week, I knew exactly how I’d be doing Lissa’s hair, so once it was curled it didn’t take long. I sprayed the heck out of it and hoped it would hold with only small bobby pins – in our family, with our thick hair, we usually need the big ones, but the amount of hair that was pinned wasn’t especially big, so I was hoping it would hold OK. I shoved in the two pearl hairpins that had belonged to my maternal grandmother to help camoflage some of the bobby pins, and Lissa’s hair was ready to go. I sat in the kitchen to do my makeup, hand mirror propped against a box on the table so I could see, because the bathroom mirror and living room mirror were full of primping ladies.
At various times throughout the morning, a parade of people stopped by the house to assist in transporting things like all the wine and beer and prosecco, the champagne flutes, the 15 potted orchids, the elements for the table settings, and a large cardboard cutout with Godzilla and a Sumo wrestler on it (more on that later). My mom arrived and was put to work ironing shirts and wraps. I put on my bm dress (a little tight in the boobs, but fit OK otherwise) and did something very simple with my hair, and stopped in the middle of something to apply Lissa’s eyeliner when requested (tightlining using a dark brown eyeshadow, which I think looks much nicer than a pencil) after Jackie and Laurel had done the rest of her makeup. Jackie filed my obscenely long nails down in a square shape and I gave myself the quickest French manicure ever, and immediately smudged it when helping Jackie to tie her dress. Someone put makeup on Curtis (don’t ask me why, but there is photographic evidence). The groomsmen who hadn’t been at the rehearsal dinner came over to get their ties (silkscreened with sumo wrestlers) and one of them had a large hole in the back of his pants, which I fixed with about 6 safety pins. And suddenly we all had to leave, and so we piled into three cars, Lissa with her dress, veil, purse (with vows) in hand, and headed up to the Brazil Room in Tilden Park.
I didn’t know where I was going, since I’d never driven up there from the part of the East Bay where L&C live, and the drive was far more challenging than I expected – lots of twists and turns on super narrow streets undergoing construction, trying to follow someone who knew where he was going but wanted to drive way faster than I did. On the drive up, it became clear that the fog was going to burn off completely, and then someone realized that the tie for the remaining groomsman might have been left at their house, so Lissa switched cars and Curtis drove home to get the offending piece of formalwear. We made it to the location in time for Lissa to get her dress on before the photographers arrived (10 AM), and people immediately went into action, arranging centerpieces on the tables, setting up SumoGodzilla and the camera and the guestbook that Dan made them, helping Lissa with her dress and getting her veil in the right spot, and visiting with each other. I managed to find everyone on whom I needed to pin flowers (8 men, 6 women) and eventually the last bridesmaid (Curtis’s sister) arrived so we each picked a BM bouquet (each one was different, and all had elements similar to Lissa’s bouquet). I ended up with the one I liked best, and I think everyone’s bouquets went best with their dresses, even though I didn’t plan it that way.
More guests arrived as we started taking formal photos, and it got brighter and hotter as the morning went on. The fog had burned off completely, so it was actually much more comfortable indoors than outside where we were taking photos. Leah and Simon arrived with the PA system and Dan just in the nick of time, as he was supposed to be in some of the photos. More people arrived. It got hotter. People started to seat themselves on the shady side of the ceremony space. Nobody seated themselves on the sunny side except people who’d thought ahead and brought umbrellas to shade themselves. And then it was time for us to gather inside and discuss the order in which we’d be walking out, since we hadn’t had any sort of rehearsal the day before. Dan escorting Mom, officiant, flower girls, every other groomsman and bridesmaid, and then Lissa and Curtis walking arm in arm up to the front of the group to say their vows.
So that’s what we did. Some of us grinned. Some of us cried. Some of us did both (me! though I managed not to let any tears actually fall out of my eyes). And then, suddenly, after all this time, they were married.
It was time to party.
photos by Dan, Leah, someone with Lissa’s camera, and Laurel