The wedding was to begin at 6:30. The bridesmaids were to be at the Park at 5:30 (for photos). Knowing that all the tables had to be set up, the reception pavilion decorated, the chairs arranged for the ceremony, the fabric hung on the arbor and who knows what else; I had made the somewhat sleepy offer the night before that if Kelly needed anything she shouldn't hesitate to call me.
So, I kept my phone by me in anticipation. I slept late. Went for a hike (yes, with my phone). Did my nails. Lounged by the pool. I felt almost guilty that I was having such a relaxing day. Not until 2:00 did my phone ring and Kelly's name appeared on the screen.
C: Hey you…what's up?
K: Hey, can you do me a favor?
C: Of course. Whadaya need?
K: Could you go to the office? On my desk is a blue folder and in the folder is my passport, which I will need. I would go myself but have to go get my hair done.
C: Sure thing. Not a problem!
K: Oh and could you also get some thumb tacks?
C: Thumb tacks? Sure. Do you want me to run them over to the park now or just bring them with me at 5:30?
K: You can just bring them at 5:30 along with my passport. Thanks!
I had a mission. So, as I’m getting into my car to go to the office my phone rings again.
K: Could you also please pick up some napkins for the cake? Just whatever you can find at Wal- Mart or wherever. Thank you!
A few simple tasks which I completed expediently and still had plenty of time to get ready to play my part. My part as a bridesmaid included donning a strapless pool blue dress…which doesn't sound so bad, I know, I didn't think so either. However, the material was the familiar satiny, non-breathable fabric with two separate slips and a heat-trapping layer of that crinkly, poofy stuff to give the dress shape. As I zipped it up in the comfort of my air conditioned apartment and slipped on my shoes, I didn't think anything of it.
Then I stepped outside. Into the 95 degree heat. Into the 115 degree oven that was my car. And quickly realized that NOT sweating would not be an option. I imagined that is what it would feel like to be trapped inside of a kiln. Despite the inferno going on under my dress (oh get your mind out of the gutter!), I made it to the park on time (yay me!). While we were waiting to get our pictures taken, Kelly's dad, brother-in-law, and Lacey's husband were hauling chairs out of a truck and setting them up in the grass. Brad (the brother-in-law who is a mountain of a man - no, not a mountain man…he's just extremely tall and broad) bent over to lift an enormous pile of chairs and in mid-squat a look of sheer horror crossed his normally amiable face.
He slooooowly stood up and sidestepped his way over to Julie (his wife and matron-of-honor). Poor Brad. He had split his pants. Yep, a huge gaping rip. We tried very hard to stifle our mirth as he was clearly mortified. His only option was to drive back to Kelly's house (which is way out in little mexico) and change into a pair of non-air-conditioned trousers. Having less than an hour to get there and back, he quickly got directions from Kelly's dad and tore off in the truck.
Meanwhile, Kelly (in full bridal gear) arrived with Lacey (bridesmaid) and Liz (bridesmaid and Matt's sister) with the bouquets we had so carefully crafted the night before. Although the flowers themselves looked great, the cream-colored bows we had tied onto them had turned to weirdly-streaked-with-green bows. Again, none of us ever claimed to be Martha Stewart!
At approximately the same time as the discovery of the chameleon-esque bows, it was also discovered that Kelly had left her bouquet at her house. How this happened I have no idea. The bridesmaids bouquets were there, the corsages were there, the centerpieces were there, the boutonnières were there…and yet somehow the most important floral accoutrement was not there! Brad was called (who, by the way, got lost trying to get to Kelly's house) and was requested to bring the bridal bouquet.
By this time, our photo session was running a bit behind but we managed to smile at the camera at the appropriate moments and to look candidly light-hearted.
The toothless Reverend arrived in a bright purple robe. The violinists arrived. Guests began to trickle in and seat themselves. Kelly had gotten a runner to walk down the "aisle" on - a really pretty sheer white runner with little white flowers on it and her and the toothless Reverend arranged it neatly on the ground. One of the ex-girl-scout-troop-leaders arrived with armfuls of white roses which she placed on the ground in a semi-circle near the toothless Reverend. Now, I'm not sure if this was a predetermined flower arrangement or what, because it seemed very random. So, time is a-tickin' and all of these little adjustments are going on while there are guests seated on the lawn.
It was by all accounts 6:30 and time to begin but the groom and groomsmen were not to be found. The mothers of both the bride and groom were not to be found. And Brad still had not returned with Kelly's bouquet.
Finally, the rest of the bridal party was spotted on the horizon. The violinists began to…well…play their violins. The mothers and grandmothers were seated. The purple toothless Reverend shooed us bridesmaids into our places and gave us the signal to GO! We went. We walked. We smiled. We stood in a row awaiting the bride. It was fine. Although, and I'm slightly embarrassed to admit this, but do you ever have those moments where you're doing something totally normal - something you do every day like walk up the stairs - and suddenly you just kind of forget what you're doing? It's like your brain is on autopilot and then out of the blue, it stops and is like, "okay wait…what are we doing again?". I had one of those moments.
The route for the bridal party was very simple. Bridesmaids on one side of the semi-circular arbor and groomsmen on the other side. We would walk to the middle, meet up with our opposite gender partner, link arms, walk the few steps to the toothless Reverend, unlink arms and go take our places on opposite sides. Well I was fine until the part where my partner and I were to unlink and go our separate ways. I almost kept on walking (and probably would have if Charlie's arm hadn't held me back) and then my arm wouldn't unlink. Eh. It was just one of those moments where my brain forgot what was going on for a second. I think though that I recovered rather gracefully as there was no snickering and no one said anything to me afterwards.
Wow, this is an extremely long blog entry…sorry 'bout that…almost done.
The violinists, who, I should mention, were high school students (a girl from the ACE program actually and one of her friends) I guess ran out of music or something before the entire bridal party was in place…so the silence was a bit awkward. But, then the silence stretched on as the flower girl made her way down the aisle tossing rose petals and trying not to trip in the now bunched-up runner. Following directly behind her was the 3-year old ring bearer who was much more preoccupied with stomping on the rose petals than with his duties as a ring bearer.
Finally, the violinists began playing again once the flower girl and flower-stomping ring bearer were settled. They got off on the wrong key or something and had to stop and begin again, but once they got going, it was clearly the bridal march and Kelly and her dad came down the aisle (also being careful of the treacherous runner!)
Matt and Kelly's dad shook hands and Kelly unlinked arms with her father and put her arm through Matt's as they walked up to the purple toothless Reverend and turned to face each other for the vow part of the ceremony. Although I'm sure Kelly and Matt had no trouble hearing each other (which is really all that matters), I had a little difficulty hearing the speeches what with the jazz music going on at the concession stand nearby and the plane overhead. Apparently Matt's mom could hear just fine because she was weeping through nearly the entire thing (or maybe it was just allergies, I don't know).
Then it was time for the kiss and from my angle it appeared that Matt was mauling Kelly and I shifted uncomfortably on my patch of dirt and then it was time to walk again. I clung to Charlie's arm so as not to trip in the runner and then stood in the receiving line, which I was a little confused about…it wasn't something we had rehearsed and honestly I thought the only ones in the receiving line were the bride, the groom and the respective parents. Of course, I could be wrong - after all, weddings are not my thing.
On to the reception!