Apple-y Ever After: Stress Mess and Grief

I suppose I owe you an apology for the (probably unnoticeable) lack of posting on my end. What can I say—life has just gotten in the way of blogging. We have had a busy past year, including lots of travel, moving, new jobs, and acquiring a pup. It isn’t just that, though. For some reason, I feel protective over our wedding. I haven’t really found words to express what an incredible, awesome (in the literal sense of the word) feeling it is to be surrounded by nearly all of your closest family and friends. How it feels to enter into such a sacred union with the person you love most in the world. I know it sounds cliche, but it was the best day of my life, and I can’t imagine that my pitiful words will do it justice. I have just wanted to wrap the memories of our day around myself, like a warm blanket. I selfishly didn’t want to share them with anyone that isn’t my husband. Is that strange? Possibly. But it was the start of my marriage, and it just felt too deeply personal to share. At least right away. But now, I am ready.

Before I get back into the meat of my recaps, though, I want to write a post about how crazy and stressed I was before the wedding. Because, well, it was slightly all-consuming to me at the time. Sorry—it’s a big ol’ wall of text, so feel free to skip past if you don’t want hearing about how insane I was. I understand. I don’t really want to read about it either.

As some of you may recall, my grandfather passed away the week before our wedding. I don’t need to go into the details of my grief because 1. I imagine most of you know how it feels and 2. I am honestly still dealing with it. But let’s just say that it involved lots of crying in the shower, crying while doing the dishes, crying while writing my blog post. Lots of crying. Lots of remembering. Lots of smiling at old pictures. Lots of thanking God that I had such a wonderful grandfather that had an active part in my life. Needless to say, it was a difficult time. I will be honest: his passing put a little black cloud over the week leading up to the wedding. It was supposed to be such a happy time, and I felt a large amount of grief and guilt over the entire thing. But, the show must go on, and what better way to celebrate someone’s wonderful, long life than with a new marriage?


Personal photo, circa 2006

It did turn out to be somewhat of a blessing in disguise, though, as horrible as that sounds. You see, due to my grandfather’s passing, several family members who had previously RSVP’ed “no” to attend the wedding decided that they would, indeed, be able to attend after all, so that they could also attend my grandfather’s memorial. My family joked that he planned it that way all along, so that we could all be together to celebrate. There wasn’t anything my grandfather loved more than being surrounded by his family.

As happy as I was that the additional people would be able to come, this meant that not only was I dealing with my own sense of loss and grief, but I was also dealing with those inevitable wedding stresses that somehow seem to pop up in those final weeks leading up to the wedding. The main source of stress? Our table numbers and escort cards had been sent from Twin Ravens Press to our wonderful calligrapher, and she had started working on the cards already.

Before leaving for Seattle, Mr. CA and I had spent hours agonizing over the seating chart for the reception. We tried to seat people with friends and family that they would feel comfortable with, and it turned out that we had exactly the right amount of seats for each table. It worked out perfectly. Everything was settled. Until we had those additional family members decide to come. I do not want anyone to get me wrong: I was very happy that they were able to come after all (so so happy!). But their attendance bumped up our guest count (obviously), which meant that we had to add another table or try to squeeze additional people into the existing tables. Which our venue coordinator informed us was not feasible. I don’t deal with last-minute changes well. Cue bridal panic.

Thankfully, I had included an extra arrangement on the contract with our florist (in case of emergencies—phew! [Actually, we had ended up cutting a table and I forgot to alter the contract. Yay for happy forgetfulness!]), and our meal counts weren’t due until a few days before our wedding. So those things were not affected by the additional people. However, that added table gave me serious stress. The thought of having to redo all of the tables, escort cards, etc. made me sick to my stomach. Literally. After our final meeting with our priest, I was so stressed out that I was dry-heaving on our walk to lunch. Dry-heaving. In public. With people around. In the middle of the street. Over tables. Yep.

At that point, Mr. CA stepped in. I don’t think he had realized how stressed out I was until that point when I almost vomited on the sidewalk in front of him. He couldn’t understand why I was so stressed and, looking back, I am incredibly embarrassed at how much this situation stressed me out. Like, really embarrassed. Why did I let such a little, unimportant thing get to me? Mr. CA got me seated at lunch, forced me to drink water and have a few bites of food, and gently helped shoulder the burden. He made me see that, yes, we had extra people coming. But that didn’t necessarily mean that we had to redo all of the tables or escort cards. And it definitely shouldn’t be making me stressed to the point of dry-heaving. It was just one party, after all. Not even a full day.

So we handled it. Together. With much less stress. We added another table, but rather than shifting everything around, we simply created another “Table 3.” Our escort cards and table numbers arrived the next day and, with the additional paper Kristin letter-pressed (thank God we had extra!), I made another Table 3 sign. This meant that there were two Table 3s right next to each other at the reception. It was fine, though—I simply added a small “a” and “b” to the backs of the table numbers, and the backs of the corresponding escort cards. I asked my mom to just spread the word with her family that there were two Table 3s so that no one was confused. It cracks me up to this day when I see our wedding pictures, because the photographers ended up snapping a picture of the “Table 3″ table number that I crappily did in my regular black ink, rather than the nice Table 3 that the calligrapher did in pretty green ink. Ha. I laugh every time I see this picture. (I’m so sorry, Michele!!)


Letterpress by Kristin at Twin Ravens Press. Last-minute calligraphy attempt by yours truly, horribly copied from Calligraphy by Michele.

I suppose the happy ending of the story is that after Mr. CA sat me down for lunch and we talked about the arrangements and how panicked and crazed and ridiculous I was, all of my stress melted away. Things were under control. And even if they weren’t, it didn’t matter (much). What mattered was that we were getting married and our friends and family were there to celebrate with us. Everything else would fall into place. Even if it didn’t, it would be OK. Mr. CA was there to help me through it.


And yes, everything worked out in the end. Duh. Of course it did! It always does. Ultimately, I was just so happy all of that side of my family could be there to celebrate and spend time together remembering my grandfather. The added stress (and yes, even the dry-heaving) was worth it, but pretty silly in hindsight. Looking back now I honestly can’t believe how stressed out I got over something so small-fry in the grand scheme of things. I am so grateful that I have Mr. CA right by my side, calling me out on my cray and helping me through the rough patches. And yes, holding my hair as I dry-heaved into the bushes on a side street in Capitol Hill.

In the throes of planning, did you get stressed about things that later on seemed minor and unimportant? Anyone else have lovely dry-heaving episodes like yours truly?


**All photography by Sarah Rhoads Photography unless otherwise noted**


Mrs. Candy Apple

Princeton Junction, NJ/ Seattle, WA
Wedding Date:
August 2011
Hair Trial & Inspiration
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  1. Member
    LissaBeans 340 posts, Helper bee @ 3:03 pm

    I’m trying to think of how to respond to all of these emotional things in your post, but is it weird that I really want to say: “Yay! So happy you’re back! One of my favorites.” But in reality, things always work out. Lucky that you have Mr. CA by your side to help you through.

  2. Member
    ashleighxcult 173 posts, Blushing bee @ 3:39 pm

    About the dry-heaving over tables… considering your grandfather had just passed, I’m not surprised. Stress and grief and confusion do AWFUL things to your body.

    My grandmother passed last August, a month before my cousin’s wedding. Everyone was so emotional, and that was a month later – I couldn’t imagine working through that in a week.

    So glad to hear that everything worked out for you, and that you have a wonderful husband by your side :)

  3. camel Member
    camel 703 posts, Busy bee @ 3:50 pm

    First of all, welcome back Mrs. Candy Apple! I still remember the day you first became a Bee blogger and I am glad you are back to share your recaps!

    Secondly, I think little things like seating charts and extra guests become tipping points for all the grief, stress, and emotion we have building up over the course of the wedding. I wouldn’t be embarrassed by dry-heaving over tables. It sounds you like had so much on your mind I’m surprised you managed to power through everything so well and still throw a wedding! And what a lovely way to celebrate your grandfather’s life, to honor his memory at your wedding.

  4. panda Member
    Mrs. Panda 1359 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:11 pm

    I think seating charts and extra guests are one of those last minute things that you just don’t really want to deal with. You’re already stressed with well everything else, and it starts to overwhelm. I’m sorry about your grandfather.

  5. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 5:25 pm

    Yay, I’m glad you’re back, CA! I don’t think anyone besides other brides can truly understand how something so small can really stress one out before a wedding. Your reactions were completely reasonable given the grief and stress you were feeling.

  6. Member
    Miss Ariel 83 posts, Worker bee @ 5:38 pm

    First I’m so happy to see that you’re starting your recaps!

    We had a few woes in the days leading up the the wedding regarding our tables as well. Although ours was due to the fact Hurricane Isaac hit days before our wedding, which meant several people canceled their trips for the wedding. We practically had one entire table disappear. But it did work out since we had some unexpected guests as well, and just had some tables emptier than others.

  7. Member
    bridesmomma 476 posts, Helper bee @ 7:54 pm

    So glad you’re back!!!

  8. Member
    SouthernmostBride 111 posts, Blushing bee @ 3:48 am

    It’s so fitting for me that you just posted this. I am less than two months from my wedding and feeling sick to my stomach every morning when I wake up because of everything I am stressing over. Which is in fact why I logged onto Wedding Bee this morning for the first time in months. I felt particularly ill two days ago when I got a photo of how the ribbons were being tied around our invitations and it wasn’t at all what I had said they were to look like… and then I had to remind myself that they are just RIBBONS and that I was being absolutely crazy. I am trying my best to be level-headed and to step back a bit and let other people take care of the details from now on… hopefully it helps!

  9. mswallaby Member
    mswallaby 2070 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:22 am

    Welcome back! I can’t imagine how stressful the week of your wedding must’ve been. My grandparents and I have always been really close, and if my grandpa passed away the week of my wedding, I probably would’ve lost it. It sounds like everything worked out, and Mr. CA is such a sweetie!!

  10. candy apple Member
    candy apple 1877 posts, Buzzing bee @ 6:31 am

    @LissaBeans: You are so sweet – thank you!

    @ashleighxcult: It really is crazy how physically stress and grief can affect you.

    @Miss Camel: Love this response. Yes! So true.

    @Miss Panda: It’s true. And at that point in time, it just seemed like the biggest problem in the world. Sigh. Bride brain, I suppose?

    @Mrs. Pony: :) Thanks, lady!

    @Miss Ariel: Oh man, I can’t IMAGINE how stressed I would have been if a hurricane had hit before my wedding! Yikes. I am glad things worked out with yours; they always do! The show must go on, huh?

    @bridesmomma: Aww, thank you!

    @SouthernmostBride: YES. I know how easy it is to get wrapped up in the minutiae, but just remember to focus on the REASON for all of this. You’re getting MARRIED! :) Everything else is just icing.

    @Mrs. Wallaby: It was so, so hard. But yes, we got through it :)

  11. hyena Member
    hyena 2537 posts, Sugar bee @ 8:51 am

    Way to go, Mr. CA for stepping up! I would have been fuh-REAKED too about having extra people show up!

  12. sword Member
    sword 1029 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:18 pm

    OK, you are totally normal! How stressful all of that would be! I can’t wait for the rest of your recaps, and I love your personalized “Table 3.” :)

  13. funnelcake Member
    funnelcake 1171 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:29 am

    OMG, just reading through this one now and I have to say thank God for Mr. CA calming things down! Poor you. Dry heaving. My goodness! I feel stressed just reading this. 😛

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