I woke up Friday morning feeling giddy and full of anticipation. I wish there were more synonyms for “surreal,” so I wouldn’t have to keep saying it over and over, but that’s how it felt. Mr. Octo and I were engaged for sixteen months, and for a long, long time, it felt like I was just planning into the void, “playing wedding,” thinking about something that would never actually happen. But it was Friday. We were ACTUALLY rehearsing that night, and having an ACTUAL rehearsal dinner, in preparation for our ACTUAL wedding. Surreal.
After having breakfast with my parents and strategizing our agenda for the day, Mr. Octo and I headed off together to pick up the cake for the rehearsal dinner. Did I say the cake? I meant THE CAKE. We opted to serve an extremely well-known Pittsburgh dessert: a sheet-sized burnt almond torte from Prantl’s. (This means nothing to anyone but Pittsburgh gals, I’m sure, but everyone who knows the majesty of that cake is drooling. I guarantee it.)
OMG SOOOO GOOOOD!!!! (source)
Anyway, in driving back to the hotel, we passed through Oakland, the neighborhood where the University of Pittsburgh (and Heinz Chapel) is located. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, all the college students were out and about walking to class and strolling around campus and whatnot, and it was the first time I’d seen Heinz Chapel since arriving in Pittsburgh. I felt a huge thrill. Pitt! Heinz Chapel! WE ARE GOING TO BE IN THERE TOMORROW! WEDDING WEDDING WEDDING WEDDING!!!! AAAAHHHH!!
After we dropped the cake off at Bridesmaid Clara’s parents’ house (the site of our rehearsal dinner), I met my bridesmaids for our nail appointment. It was really great to have the quiet time to sit down with all of them and chat, although unfortunately, the nail salon blew. Seriously, worst manicure EVAH—all of our nails were chipped by Saturday morning, and the polish had completely cracked and popped off my nails by Sunday afternoon.
They were also somewhat unprepared for our large group (even though I had both made a reservation weeks ago and confirmed it only a few days prior), and worked fairly slowly, so we left the salon a good thirty minutes later than planned. The timeline was getting pretty cramped—we all still had to shower and get ready for the rehearsal, and the none of the bridal party gifts (which were being handed out at the rehearsal dinner) had been wrapped, either.
Unfortunately, between the nail appointment and the rehearsal, we had the only truly sour moment of the whole weekend. When my bridesmaids and I returned to the hotel, the air was practically crackling with frazzled energy. It was no one’s fault, but some of our rehearsal attendees were confused about where to go, and when, and how to get there, and lots of people were running late, and there were still a bunch of things to do, and you CANNOT be late to Heinz Chapel because they run a crazy-tight ship, and and and…
Here’s the thing. Mr. Octo has many, many lovely qualities, talents, and skills. Remaining cool under pressure, however, is not one of them. He often wilts in high-stress situations. I waltzed into our hotel room to discover a fiance who was feeling very overwhelmed, very frazzled, and very much on the verge of losing his shit. He was really not his usual self, and because of that, he made some EXTRAORDINARILY ill-advised remarks suggesting that I had not done enough to prepare for the wedding weekend, and had I done a better job planning, the disorganization and stress that was freaking him out so badly would not be occurring.
And then I instantaneously transformed into this:
After I finished scorching all the earth within a fifty-mile radius, Mr. Octo snapped right back to his senses and apologized repeatedly and sincerely. We called a truce, and resumed racing around the hotel room, trying to make up for lost time. It was totally one of those fights that has nothing to do with reality and everything to do with emotions running high and rational sense running low. It was an unpleasant but quick little storm cloud, and we had to move on immediately, a real forgive-and-forget moment.
Still, our nerves were pretty shot, and we were running maybe fifteen minutes late for a rehearsal that was not, under any circumstances, supposed to start late. We headed down to the hotel lobby, expecting that we’d quickly hop into the car and head straight to Heinz Chapel. Instead of the smooth roll-out we were expecting, though, we were met by an absolute tidal wave of people. Our entire bridal party, and their various spouses and significant others, and our grandparents, and our siblings, and Mr. Octo’s nieces, and our ceremony readers, and their families, and some hangers-on who were just excited to see us, were ALL waiting in one really huge group in the lobby, and many of them hadn’t seen us yet, and they ALL wanted to greet us right then and there.
Under any other circumstances, I would have been thrilled to see each and every person in that forty-person mob. However, I was already jangly from our lateness and from the brief dust-up with Mr. Octo, and walking off the elevator to one giant, collective, “HIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!” just totally shredded my last reserves of mellowness. And, you guys, my well of calm runs deep. I plastered a giant, frantic smile on my face, gave hugs and said some pleasantries that I hope were actually pleasant, and indicated to my sister that she needed to get me into a car immediately. She read the situation and hustled me out quickly and gracefully, which is why she was the best MOH ever. By the time we were actually on our way to Heinz Chapel, this was pretty much me:
Has wedding stress caused you and your fiance to have any out-of-character squabbles?
Previously, in the Octopus wedding…