In the interest of keeping it real, I’ll tell you that the time period between our family portraits wrapping up and our bridal party portraits beginning was the only time during our wedding day in which I felt genuinely unhappy. Like I mentioned in a prior recap, our ceremony felt like A Big Deal. It was joyful, but important and serious, too. It was also short—from the officiant’s opening words to his pronouncement, the entire thing took less than twenty minutes.
What made me unhappy was feeling like I’d had no time to really process what had just gone down. As soon as the ceremony ended, we were whooshed downstairs by the Heinz Chapel staff, where our excited bridal party immediately mobbed us with hugs and shrieks of congratulations. Then, right after that, we were whisked back upstairs for our family portraits. Our formal portraits turned out beautifully, and I’m glad we have them, but the process of taking them was not quite what I’d call “fun.” I was starting to feel hot in the stuffy chapel, and my dress was feeling heavy and tight, and my bouquet was heavy, and our young nieces (who, do not get me wrong, I love very much) were really excited about me in my bridal getup and wanted to be really close to me at all times, and it’s kind of hard to beam radiantly for photo after photo after photo, you know?!
Basically, what I really, really wanted to do was sit down in a cool, dark room, alone with Mr. Octo, and take a little break to talk with him about how we were feeling, how the ceremony had gone, and just process the fact that we were now married. Instead, I was starting to feel a little like Wedding Day Barbie.
This all culminated when the formal portraits wrapped up and we left the Chapel to discover that the bridal party was nowhere to be found. Like, seriously, nowhere. My sister had been inside taking portraits with us, and volunteered to go round them up. She disappeared. When a few minutes passed and no one had come back, Mr. Octo then volunteered to go find everyone. He disappeared, and didn’t return.
So there I was, alone, with no idea where my new husband or any of our twelve bridal party members had gone. And I started to feel mightily out of sorts. For me, packing the amount of emotional impact our ceremony had into fifteen minutes felt, honestly, weird. It felt weird to go through such a significant experience in such a short time, and it felt really weird to cap it off by half an hour of grinning through tons of pictures without a moment to breathe in between, and then to suddenly find myself alone after that felt even weirder. I just felt overwhelmed, I guess. Discombobulated. It felt like my brain was running on a thirty-minute time delay from my body. Once I was standing alone, outside, with no idea where anyone was, my brain started catching up, and I just kept thinking, “wait, what just happened?! Seriously, what HAPPENED? What is going ON right now?! I can’t do this! I want to take this dress off! I want to lay down! I want to go HOME!”
There wasn’t any one particular thing that cured my funk, although finally locating Mr. Octo and the bridal party helped (turns out that Mom Octo, trying very hard to be helpful, herded everyone away to wait for the shuttle to the Children’s Museum—forgetting that the bridal party was going to take photos around Pitt’s campus for an hour before the shuttle arrived). What really perked me back up, though, was getting our bridal party portrait session underway. It was sunny and breezy and a perfectly refreshing 65-70 degrees, and walking around with our friends felt much more low-key than the family portraits in the chapel, and it was the first time all day that I didn’t feel nervous.
I’m actually really glad that we didn’t do a first look for this reason—if I hadn’t had the opportunity for some calm after the ceremony, and instead jumped straight into cocktail hour, I suspect I would have gotten progressively more frazzled and freaked out. Instead, after our nice, low-key portrait session, in which the pressure was finally off, no one was watching me, our friends were making us laugh, and I had lots of time to hug Mr. Octo and talk quietly to him, I felt relaxed and ready to get my party on.
Basically, the thing is, I have a pretty strong introvert streak. Not in the sense that I’m shy (I’m not), or that I don’t enjoy parties and socializing (I do, a lot), but in the sense that I’m an alone-time person. Being alone clears my head and makes me feel grounded. I need it to function properly. I also need to take a breather periodically when spending time with lots of people. So, fellow introverted, alone-time brides: find the space to sit down and have a quiet moment to collect your thoughts and take fifteen deep breaths on your wedding day. Seriously, find it. You will need it, and you will not regret it. My feelings about our wedding may have gone in a very different direction if I hadn’t.
Previously, in the Octopus wedding….
- We did errands all the live-long day.
- We ran late, we got stressed, and we argued.
- We rehearsed and had dinner, and had a great time doing it.
- We got fancy with hair and makeup.
- I got bridal.
- I waited and soaked up the moment in Heinz Chapel.
- We processed up the aisle.
- We made it official.
- We posed our way through our family portraits.