Archive | October, 2010

Expectations don’t always meet reality (if you’re lucky)

17 Oct

Back in July, I evaluated myself on this low-maintenance, chilled-out bride scale. Since I’ve been married for nearly two months now, it’s time to admit just how unchilled I became minutes before I walked down the aisle. It had nothing to do with second thoughts. It was all about crowd control.

The afternoon of my wedding,  I started developing that glazed over look that propelled people to talk to me as though I were a teetering house of cards. It was a combination of not having slept enough plus everyone and my mother asking me to make a decision of some kind. The hairdresser, the photographer, and all former brides spoke to me in soft voices that let me know I seemed delicate. But things were fine; I was just ready for people to get in their seats so we could get this party started.

You know when you’re in a busy restaurant on a Saturday night and you’re ravenously hungry because for some reason you didn’t eat anything but a banana and a handful of granola all day? You still have to wait for a table, wait for your appetizer, and wait for your entree. This makes you anxious and heightens your hunger pains. All you want to do is sit down and eat. You aren’t nervous about your main course: you know you will savor every morsel. But the waiting….it makes you nuts.

On my wedding day, the venue was hosting a symphony performance complete with fireworks the same night so there were an extra hundred or so people mingling on the grounds. No big deal except that I had to walk among them in full wedding dress right before the ceremony for bridal party pictures. While my guests were arriving. Also fine except that people you know want to talk to you.

What they don’t know is that asking you to stop and pose for an impromptu photo and discuss the weather is the opposite of anything that will make you sane. So you are forced to ignore them, knowing that people who love you will understand. Which is absolutely the truth.

Except that I couldn’t get inside the building until said guests submerged themselves into those empty white chairs.

Photo: J. Kingston

I couldn’t get inside the building because guests were swarming the door trying to get outside for the ceremony. The last thing the photographer said to me when he left me was “they won’t start without you.” Here’s where I refrain from expanding on how the photographer and venue wedding planner set me up to fail. He tells me everything’s taken care of and she is…absent.

My bridesmaids formed a protective purple shell around me, trying their best to get me inside the building before the here comes the bride business started. People started gawking. Then smiling and waving and oohing and aahing and just when I think they’ve cleared the door and start to head inside, one bridesmaid warns me in a panic: NOT THIS DOOR!

  • photo: J. Kingston
  • You see, my groom was coming out NOT THIS DOOR. Cue visible symptoms of waxing panic. Moments before this I notice that my bouquet’s pistols (aka pollen Uzis) shot me in the stomach in the shade of mustard yellow. The culprit:

    photo: J. Kingston

    Initially I ignored the flower vomit. Big picture wise, it’s not about my dress. But then I couldn’t escape the well-meaning (rubbernecking) crowd; my attendants looked desperate to protect me from what was clearly about to turn into a full blown attack.

    A depiction of agoraphobia, fear of open or crowded public spaces

    The last thing I expected was to be spooked by a crowd, but my urge to escape was so strong that I felt trapped. Finally the venue wedding coordinator appeared motioning me to enter through her office door farther down the building.

    Where have you been all my panic attack, lady?

    Here’s where she redeems herself: I show her the dress and she reappears with a Shout wipe and bam, I’m an ivory tower once again. (My dress was ivory; I’m six feet tall…that might not work…)

    In the interim period of waiting for the stain cure, my sister (and matron-of-honor) tells me dutifully that I am still beautiful (despite the heavy breathing and panicky tears I’d been fighting). And in her pregnant radiance, I believe her. This is the same sister who found out she was pregnant one week before I told her I was engaged: she didn’t mention until later that she’d be needing a maternity MoH dress. She wanted to give me my moment.

    Bird's eye view of ceremony

    Just married!

    I realized earlier in this post that I’ve inadvertently woven a theme. The guests were swarming the door. My attendants were buzzing around me. Queen bee, anyone?

    Queens have attendants who groom and feed them. My husband tells me they even go on nuptial flights. Even funnier, they fly into drone congregation areas where they mate with 10-20 males.

    That part isn’t so romantic. There’s more I won’t mention other than to say drones die during intercourse.

    My husband is a beekeeper/entomologist and my source for all things insect. We gave in and incorporated this into our wedding:

    Our favors: honey we bottled ourselves

    Back of jars (husband's creativity)

    Bees & green orchids on the cake

    Bees love a flower.

    “Things have a way of working themselves out,” is a thing people say when you’re overwhelmed. The optimist in you agrees but part of you doesn’t believe it can be that simple. That panic attack gave me the chance to see how much support I truly had in my life. That’s what your family and friends do for you: they save you from falling down alone.

    Good luck charms

    At the rehearsal, Aaron found a four leaf clover. It wilted. The day of the wedding, my nephew found another one. Aaron wore it in his jacket pocket during the ceremony. I didn’t know about the second clover; I was too busy freaking out.

    “Things have a way of working themselves out.”

    After moving to Florida during a year of teacher layoffs, I was afraid, even a little lost. Then in the middle of October I got a full time teaching job at a good high school with a friendly staff. That’s the last thing I expected would happen.

    Lucky me.