Tuesday, October 12, 2010

ON FAMILY ~ Bumble Vows...

Eight years ago was our wedding day. This was a wicked long time in coming, my friends. Andy and I have known each other since we were 20 and we didn't get married until we were 32. We dated for 7 years before our wedding day, and I spent at least the last 5 of those years asking him when we were going to get married. It is a miracle he didn't leave instead of caving to the pressure. But my tortoise Bumble eventually became inspired by a long drive with some tunes that spoke to him and a proposal was finally offered.

What struck me as most humorous was that Andy spent a long period of time being nervous about proposing. He knew the answer would be yes but he wanted things to be just right. So he was nervous about selecting a ring, keeping it a surprise and making the moment go perfectly. When the perfect moment had passed and that was over with he promptly took a stress-free nap on the couch. While I had been completely calm and secure leading up to a proposal possibility, once it actually arrived I suffered what may very well have been a panic attack while the Bumble slept peacefully.

The transfer of stress flowed from Andy to me. I realized that now I was supposed to actually plan a damn wedding. I am not a girly girl. I don't enjoy shopping. I don't get overly interested in frilly things and decadent decor. I blush when speaking in front of groups. I despise showers. I was...the anti-bride. I just wanted to know when and where to show up and be done with it all. I wanted to roll a keg out to the beach and get married at sunset with a bunch of family and friends hanging out. Andy wanted a fall wedding with proper tradition followed. How is it that we went 7 years of my nagging about getting married without discussing the type of ceremony we each wanted to have? No matter. If it took formal attire and fancy venues for me to be married, that's what we would do.

In a panic, I decided that the first thing I needed to do was to buy a bridal magazine. Boy was that a bad idea for me. All it did was show me all of these things that went into the perfect wedding. Things I didn't know anything about or care to learn. Things that were NEVER going to get done in the 7 months we had to pull everything together for this Fall ceremony Andy wanted to have. So I enlisted the wife of Andy's Best Man to give me some pointers in forumulating a plan.

Cristin kindly met with me over beers one afternoon and excitedly asked me what our wedding theme would be. Well. I had seen mention of this theme business in that bridal magazine but thought that was just the way fancy rich people did weddings. When reassured by Cristin that a theme would make things operate more smoothly I went out on a limb and told her we would be going with a "Fall" theme. Cristin wanted color schemes for our Save The Date cards to tie them in with the bridesmaids gowns and tablecloths but instead I convinced her to print out brown postcards with random fall leaves. The only word I recognized from that entire afternoon was bridesmaid. At least I knew I needed those.

A few members of my bridal party dragged me out shopping for a wedding gown one weekend afternoon when I would have preferred to be watching the Red Sox game. I tried on dress after dress after dress. What seemed to be ugly on the rack looked promising when I had it on and what looked like it would be beautiful made me look like a sausage. So every damn one had to be tried on. I don't know how super models do it, changing in and out of fancy clothes non-stop. After a day of shopping I had had enough and narrowed it down to a couple of options, saving a final decision for another day in front of the mothers. But regardless of my attempts at speed I missed the entire Sox game, finding out that I had missed Derek Lowe's no-hitter. Damn dress.

I deferred to Andy on the location, the music, the size of the guest list, the food and most everything else. But what I refused to do was get married in the Catholic Church. I am not Catholic and Andy is. I had no intention of converting and didn't feel it was appropriate for me to stand up in his childhood church and untruthfully promise to lead life in terms of his religion or at least to raise any family we may have along those lines. Thankfully Andy made peace with this sticking point and agreed to a non-church wedding. He now was tasked with finding someone to officiate the ceremony.

I've never worked so hard for a 2 week vacation in all my life. Though I did involve Andy as much as possible in all of the various wedding preparations, I handled many of them myself since he was constantly on the road for work and never home when the various vendors needed to be met. So other than planning the Hawaiian honeymoon, his one job was to find an officiant. He didn't like the idea of a J.P. He didn't like the idea of a friend or family member becoming licensed for the day to do our ceremony. I didn't have a religious affiliation of my own directly, not having attended a Protestant church since I was a teen. So I was beginning to think our entire wedding would be derailed. We had everything in place except for someone to make it official.

My mother-in-law-to-be came up big for me. She read a newspaper column about a local church led by a former Catholic priest who had left the church to be married. But his Christian faith was strong and so he and his wife built a church of their own where they serve together as Pastors. Grace Church has what I would call a very strong footing in Catholicism with a modern view on the religion and the world around us. We met with Pastor Peter (whom I forever after referred to as the Preacher Dude) one day in a beautiful place of worship that he had built by hand using fine carpentry skills that Andy admired very much. He was amiable and agreed to do our ceremony for us at the location of our choosing. He was just the right balance for our needs.

As the wedding day approached, we were not nervous. I had lost my initial panic once I had nothing but vendors to meet and schedules to coordinate. All I needed was a plan - like Cristin had said. That broad Fall theme served us well. We got to incorporate mums and pumpkins from local farms, vibrant cranberry reds in those dresses and tablecloths, carved turkey with stuffing, hot mulled cider and baskets filled with flowers on each table with our signature flower (yes, you need one of those too) - the sunflower - since other than the rose, that was the only flower's name both of us knew and admired. To make sure that baseball found its way into our day, I designed our programs around a team's lineup card and we were introduced as husband and wife to "Take Me Out To The Ballgame."

There were no nerves from either of us on our wedding day, even though plenty of things did not go as expected. It didn't matter that it rained. My Maid of Honor was hospitalized for emergency surgery the night before and couldn't come. Bridezillas would have thrown up. Instead, I found someone to bring a video camera to record the day so she could still see how things went and moved on without my best friend. You see, that title really belonged to Andy after all of these years. And all I could think of was having our Preacher Dude get us through those vows so we could celebrate a long time in coming.

And so we did. We fondly remember the incredible flowers, the delicious food, the dance floor packed with our family and friends and the speed with which it all flew by. But what I loved most about it all was that any stress that day fell on someone else's shoulders. We were filled with pride, joy, love and relief.  And dreams of mai tais in Hawaii.

13 comments:

ds said...

Ah. Methinks you were my kind of bride. I had not Clue One (except that it was not to be Huge), no Cristin, and a mother who should have rescinded her Hands Off policy that one time (I was younger than you, but had known Mr. L-S for a long time): she focused on the cake. Oh well.
Love the sunflowers!! Signature flower--who knew?
Bet those Mai Tais were divine ;)

cardiogirl said...

Congratulations on eight years of wedded bliss! But really it's 20 years, right? Eight plus the 12 years you've known each other?

Wow! Hope you have a fantastic day!

otin said...

Happy anniversary!

(Missing a Red Sox game is no big deal) LOLOLOL! JK

Sandy Nawrot said...

I've always said you are my kind a girl, and this (wonderful) post just confirmed that fact. Hey, I got married in Vegas so there you go. If a genie granted me the wish to go back in time, I think this is one of the events I would want to see.

jehara said...

happy anniversary!!! fall weddings are my favorite. :)

kaye said...

happy anniversary--I'm glad you shared your memories. It sounds like everything turned out perfectly for you.

Margot said...

Molly, this post was a beautiful way to memorialize your special day with Andy. It was so well written that I was misty-eyed at times and smiling at others. This was a wonderful look at who you both are. Congratulations on a long and happy relationship.

Florinda said...

Happy Anniversary! I'm rather fond of fall weddings myself - I have an anniversary coming up next week (on the 21st). I loved reading about yours!

stacybuckeye said...

I love this story. I had not a clue about what I wanted. I always knew I wanted to get married but had no expectations for the actual wedding. Since I was living in DC but got married in Ohio my mother did almost all of the work.
We got married in October too, although we did not honeymoon in Hawaii. Lucky girl!!!

Lynn said...

Thanks for sharing your sweet story. Take Me Out to the Ballgame -- I love it! I, too, would have mourned at missing a no-hitter in order to shop. What a sacrifice you made. Hey, how 'bout those SF Giants, eh? :)

Matty said...

Congratulations to you and Andy. You compliment each other perfectly.

I have to admire you for your calm demeanor while making the plans and on the wedding day. My oldest daughter was just the opposite. Everything had to be just perfect or the world would end. Yep, the typical nervous bride. Several minutes before the ceremony, she noticed a spot on her wedding gown. Only she could see it. She was pointing it out and we couldn't see a thing. She was freaking out. My oh my. LOL

Gwen@ChewDigestBooks.com said...

Happy belated Anniversary!

You also taught me something. I have been bugging Art off and on for years about when he is going to ask me, but like you, I have no real picture in my head of what I want. Yikes, I guess I need to be careful what I am wishing for.

P.S. My mom got married by a Preacher Dude like guy too. She really wanted to be married in the church, by a priest, but an annulment of both she and my step dad's first marriages would have been a nightmare. If Art does ever pop the question, I will have to see if she still has the Dude's number:)

Jess said...

For some reason, I thought your anniversary was next week! Happy way belated anniversary to two of my favorite people.