I wrote about my own (long-ago) wedding last week, and since then, I’ve been posting stories by friends about their own wonky nuptials. Here’s one last batch for your amusement!
Ryvr Jones Lets the DJ Know Who’s Boss:
I’m a control freak, but for some reason I was a very laid-back bride. I have to thank the hidden part of my personality that took over that day, because otherwise, it’d have been a nightmare.
Some highlights of what went wrong:
The hair dresser. I’ve never been a fan of going to the hair salon, so it didn’t occur to me to make an appointment. The few times I’d been there to cut my hair, I just showed up and waited for my turn.
On my wedding day, I did the same, a few hours before the ceremony. The hair dresser told me she was swamped—there were several customers waiting for their turn—and she didn’t know how long it would take for her to be able to take care of me.
I shrugged and went home. I washed my hair in the shower and let it dry naturally. It looked pretty great in the end, and I saved some money. 😛
The music. When I arrived at the church, I was still in the car when the DJ started to play the song that was supposed to play as I walked down the aisle. My mom came running, slightly panicked (which is funny because she’s usually the laid-back one).
“Hurry up, the music’s already playing,” she told me.
I shrugged. “Tell them to stop and wait until I’m ready.”
She stared at me in disbelief.
“If you don’t tell them, I’ll do it.”
She knew I’d do it. I’d enter the church to tell the DJ to cut the crap and wait for me, so she went back and told him.
The wedding night. My husband and I forgot to think about where we’d spend our wedding night. Once the reception was over, we went clubbing with my friends. By five a.m., we were tired and didn’t have anywhere to go (our own home was 500km away, and we didn’t want to spend the night at our parent’s homes).
Hotels were expensive (we didn’t have a lot of money back then), so we decided to go to a motel—one of those that charge by the hour, where you go to engage in adult activities. 😉
Problem is, Saturday nights are really busy for motels, for obvious reasons. We made a tour that covered all the city’s motels (there are about seven or so, it’s small town), and they were all full. No soup for you!
We ended up back at the first one by six a.m., and finally got a room.
The next day. We hadn’t even packed anything for our wedding night, so we got dressed in our wedding clothes again, and went to have some ice cream in the busiest street of the city.
I was happy to be able to show off and enjoy my wedding dress for a few more hours, since I’d never wear it again…even though people stared at me like I was nuts, and some of my relatives were pretty horrified because I was wearing it in the street. *shrugs*
[NOTE from Olivia: Did you know that Ryvr has a spanking-new book available for your enjoyment? No? Well, GET ON IT, PEOPLE.]
Ainsley Wynter and the Mysterious Power of “Return of the Mack”:
I’ve said many times that on my wedding day I experienced every emotion. I imagine that isn’t unusual. It’s a stressful day that involves family, and the whole event carries the added pressure (for some folks) of being a metaphor for your relationship. High stakes. Plus, weddings can be expensive. All of these are ingredients for an event that evokes intense emotions.
When I got engaged, I hoped to plan mine to minimize the stress and make everything go smoothly. (Can you hear me cackling at myself?)
*Note: I usually recommend eloping when I meet newly engaged couples.
My husband was kind of a typical guy and didn’t have strong opinions about wedding details. He listened and was supportive and helped me do a lot of it and never told me any detail was too silly.
I bought a lovely wedding planner and carried it everywhere.
I had a notecard system for logging guests’ addresses and gifts.
I typed out a schedule for the rehearsal and wedding day events and responsibilities for the wedding party. I think it was a few pages long. (I know, I’m ridiculous.)
We had just over a year to plan and budget and save for the wedding. We talked with our parents about what they wanted to contribute financially and we paid for the rest. We settled on a guest list of just over 300 people (which later expanded to 350). Leading up to the big day, we had five (!) bridal showers. It felt like we’d been sucked into The Wedding Machine. We ended up having almost 250 guests.
I made appointments to visit venues, meet with florists, photographers, and bakeries. By the end of it, we kept the costs down, especially given the size of the whole shindig.
But there were some snags.
The idea of custom-designed cakes that are theme-specific to a wedding was not common back in the late 1990s, at least not in my hometown. I seriously looked through books featuring page after page of strange double-decker staircases stretching between giant tiers of light pink cakes. Sprigs of baby’s breath and tiger lilies were clustered around the tops of these…monstrosities covered with shell-shaped piping. Uh, no.
We’d put in an order for something much simpler but a week before the wedding we had to find another bakery because they lost our order. We went with a local grocery store and the cake was beautiful, with a few periwinkle (frosting) flowers—and tasted great! I still use that store for my kids’ birthday cakes.
Early on, my mother-in-law said it was important to her that my husband and I get married in his family’s church. Neither of us was religious, but it was a sticking point with her. I never wanted a church wedding, but this particular church had a lot of meaning to her and location-wise, it was already set up for weddings. The church itself worked out fine.
As part of the wedding prep, we met with the pastor—who was a woman (so cool!)—and picked out some readings. We also wrote our own vows. (I’m sure I have a copy somewhere, but I have no idea what we said.) My husband’s aunt read from Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet. Everything was planned and agreed upon. However, during the ceremony, in the repeat-after-me section, the pastor added a small tag of “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” at the end.
As the bride, I went first. My heart dropped. I didn’t want to say it. We hadn’t agreed upon it. I would have said no had she mentioned it would be part of the vows. But it wasn’t a battle I wanted to fight in front of a church full of people. I said everything else, then lowered my voice and rushed through her tag. Ugh. The pastor probably thought nothing of adding the words, maybe adding them out of habit. The rest of the ceremony went as planned and I sobbed happily through all of it.
My husband had been involved in picking out songs for our dance. We’d chosen two. The day of the wedding, we’d left the cds at our apartment and the deejay didn’t have the songs. One of our friends drove to our apartment and got them during the reception. Our dances were saved. Woo! And, yes, of course, I danced the Macarena and the Electric Slide. Receptions are made for dancing and we did lots of that.
One of the groomsmen requested a popular song by Usher. By that point it was a hit, but “You Make Me Wanna” cleared the dance floor. I loved the song too, but it was not wedding reception friendly. (*Waits while you sing the lyrics to yourself. See? Awkward.) Somehow “Return of the Mack” killed though. Maybe it was a tempo thing.
When I said that I experienced every emotion, I truly did. Family drama on both sides accounted for the more negative ones. There was enough leading up to the wedding to fill a New Adult Romance. And, no, my husband wasn’t secretly an MMA fighter…or was he?
I wasn’t a girl who dreamed of her wedding, planning it from an early age. However, at some point in adolescence, I decided I wanted to walk down the aisle by myself. I liked that symbolism. (I’m a big believer in do-what-you-want for your wedding, so that’s just what worked for me. Do you.)
When I walked down the aisle during the processional, it felt great, empowering. I happy-cried the whole way, clutching my bouquet of white roses that shared a name with one of my grandmothers. My husband smiled at me the whole way, and wiped a tear or two from his eyes.
We had a table full of different candles, and did a unity thing where each side of our families stood up for us. I wanted a sense of us coming together as equals, not giving one person to another.
We ended up having a lovely wedding that was meaningful to us, surrounded by friends and family.
To me, the most important part of a wedding is the couple. Is this person someone who makes you happy and is good to you? Are you to them? That’s all that matters. Well, and good cake. Thankfully, I didn’t have wedding day jitters about who I was marrying. We’ve been happily married for over seventeen years, together for twenty-one. (We were babies when we met—in college—babies!)
And, yes, I planted a big smacker on my husband at the end of the ceremony because, hi, the smooch is the best part!
What I learned is that no matter how much you plan and prepare, you cannot control everything. Something will happen or go wrong. You have to roll with it or fix it. I’ve tried to apply that mentality to other areas of my life because it was a good lesson. Focus on the big picture and the rest will fall into place.
[NOTE from Olivia: Do you follow @AinsleyWynter on Twitter? No? Well, GET ON IT, PEOPLE.]
Okay, no more wedding stories for now. But engagement stories…I make no promises about those for the future. 🙂