When I set out to write my recaps, I never intended for the first one to go live 16 months after our wedding. I mean, that’s a really long time, right? But 16 months have passed. Eight of those were spent in wait for our pro pics. About a quarter of the content was written by the time our pics arrived. I had grand plans to knock them out in two months and have the last one wrap up right around our one year anniversary.
But life throws things, sometimes pretty big things, at you that disrupt your forward momentum. My grandfather was diagnosed with cancer and given six months to live… and if I wanted to look back with no regrets, it meant putting the recaps on hold and finally giving him a copy of their love story (my senior design thesis) before he was too ill to appreciate it. So in early spring, I launched into the arduous task of redesigning and printing the book. I finished in time but was emotionally exhausted.
Even though I was anxious to write, there was nary a free weekend or quiet evening now. And I was experiencing all sorts of uncomfortable arm issues relating to too much computer usage. Knowing these recaps would be my “Weddingbee thesis,” I did not want to force them or release them before I felt they were as close to perfect as I could get. It was imperative that the recaps started with our then-non-existent wedding video and, of course, I needed a special PaC recap banner. You might get the idea I’m a little perfectionistic. But it’s important to me to give you a set of complete recaps ready to roll with no interruptions.
So thanks for waiting. I promise I’ll make it worthwhile.
The days before our wedding were not what I expected. I fell into the trap of thinking just because everything on my to-do list was done, that there would be no stress, nothing to do. Hah! Hahahahaha – man, I was delusional!
What I expected: calm, leisurely days lunching with family, evenings reminiscing on our childhoods complete with embarrassing stories, and maybe a cocktail or two with the younger relatives. A mature, controlled transition into married life.
What I got: Read on. Just read on.
There was so much going on that I had trouble processing it before it stressed me out. This bride wanted fewer details, less information from the periphery. Only the important stuff! No, I don’t care to know what everyone ate for lunch. The expectation was that I’d play host and find activities for everyone. Coordinate meeting times and corral people. I didn’t want to be responsible for myself, let alone a large group of people. It felt like a game of Hot Potato and I did NOT want that damn potato. I wanted to be sedated (see title).
The endless running around combined with the hot, hot weather had taken its toll on me. There was no extra effort on my part to look presentable in the days before the wedding, as you’ll see in the photos to come. When I get overwhelmed, it’s no make-up and comfy clothes. Thus the maxi dress (sans bra), flip flops, air-dried hair, and pale face. Heck, I didn’t have time for food.
Welcome dinner hosted by Mr. PaC’s dad and step-mom!
Enough smiling. This is all you get!
We are a united front.
There were more important things to focus on two days before our wedding. Like the fact that my dad’s condition hadn’t improved much. He was still weak and very pale. My stomach was in knots over his health, which selfishly turned to how it might affect the wedding’s big moments: our walk down the aisle and the father-daughter dance. Most brides stress about the weather. I was stressing about my dad’s health.
After the chaos of the past few days, the last thing I had energy for was playing cruise director to my out-of-town family so it was a relief when they starting leaving me out of their plans. “Really, no. I’ll be fine by myself. Some quiet time would be good.” We’d finally cleared everyone out of our house and recaptured our space. A bedroom to lay out my suitcase and finally pack for the honeymoon. A living room to serve as a prep area for boxes and decor. An unoccupied bathroom – no waiting. Regaining our space felt good. Exhausted, hungry, and in need of a drink, we snuck away from all the crazy with Mr. PaC’s mom. God, did we ever need that break.
Being incommunicado for an hour or two was liberating and restorative. But in our radio silence, I got my wish. Things were being scheduled for us… like an impromptu mini-shower with 15 of my family members crammed into a hotel room. Nothing says “welcome to the family” like the following picture.
Doesn’t Mr. PaC look a little freaked out (and tired)?
Once the shock of so many people in such a small space wore off, Mr. PaC and I realized everyone was looking at us, waiting. Awwwwkwaaaaard. So everyone got a preview of the rehearsal dinner slideshow. It tested well. Which was good, because I wasn’t making any more changes!
Then it was time for the gifts. My uncle, who recently picked up stained glass as a hobby, designed and crafted a seascape panel months in advance and drove it all the way from Minnesota. It now hangs in a prominent location at the base of our stairs.
The rumors we like wine are far-reaching, indeed. My cousins gifted us a quartet of custom “Pain au Chocolat’s Wine Bar, est. 2011.” It’s cute how they encourage our drinking habit.
The PaCs: 44 hours and counting until “I do.”
By the end of the impromptu shower, I was wiped. We said our goodbyes and enjoyed a peaceful drive home. The house was quiet and dark. Sleep couldn’t come fast enough. Tomorrow was our rehearsal day.
(all photos taken by my snap-happy family)