and I watched our wedding video, a couple of nights ago, for the first
already seen bits and pieces of the ceremony on tape. We
few minutes of it at my sister's house, for instance, the final night
of our honeymoon (until The World's Cutest Nephew accidentally hit the
*Render VCR Inoperable!* button on the remote control). But
different. This video was uniquely created, edited and narrated for us
by my dad and my stepmom, as their special wedding gift to us. It
features hand-lettered credits, my Dad's cartoons, occasional endearing
technical glitches and,best of all, my father's irrepressibly
droll narration running throughout. ("Well, there goes another
damn airplane.") It also features a fifteen-minute
introductory segment, where my father visits all of the important
landmarks of my childhood/teen years: houses I lived in, schools I
attended ... even the tree under which I lost my virginity.
really an incredible piece of work.
arrived in the mail earlier this week. On Tuesday night, after our
company went home, we crawled into bed and tossed the video into the
VCR. This was the first time we'd had a chance to watch our wedding,
straight through from beginning to end ... and it seemed especially
appropriate to be watching it on our *monthiversary.* (One month to the
day after we said "I Do.") Naturally, I wept buckets as soon as I heard
my sister on the tape singing "Grow Old Along With Me" ... and when I
saw my two beautiful daughters, mincing across the lawn in their
matching dresses ... and when I watched David slipping the wedding band
onto my left ring finger.
naturally we both found plenty of things to hate about the way we
looks like I'm wearing a yarmulke," David said, as
he watched his videotaped bald spot gleaming in the sunlight.
even tougher on the bride. "I'm totally wearing the wrong shoes for
that dress," I gasped in horror. There was at least a two inch
*interval* between the hem of my dress and the top of my incredibly
uncomfortable Payless pumps. Plus my slip is showing, my part is
crooked, and whenever I turn sideways in the video -- thirty-pound
weight loss or no thirty-pound weight loss -- I still look as a big as
a Frigidaire. White is not a particularly forgiving color.
of that stuff really matters, and we both know it. The truth is we
were having as much fun dissing ourselves, while we watched the video,
as we were reminiscing. "Would you do anything different?" I asked
David, when the tape was over. He said no ... he thought the wedding
was pretty close to perfect, just the way it was.
about you?" he said. "Would you want to change anything?"
thought about it for a minute. While I don't believe I would do
exactly, I might not do some things the same. (And
yes, that makes sense. At
least, it does in *my* head.) I might have remembered to pack both
pairs of wedding shoes, for instance: that way I could have ducked into
the bathroom and swapped them out when my feet started to bleed. I
have made a more concerted effort to find a full-length mirror, at some
point before the wedding. I might have paid a little more attention to
how I combed my hair. I might not have sat down on a wet picnic bench
in a white dress, while we were eating pasta and wedding cake. (The dry
cleaner says the pine tar will probably never come out.)
everything else in life, this wedding was a learning experience, and
most of the "learning" came directly from the stuff that didn't go
according to plan. The thing about learning experiences, of course, is
that you have to pass the wisdom along. Otherwise Karma shows up on
your doorstep at 3 a.m., one morning when you're least expecting it,
and whacks you over the head with a broken Waring blender, ten or
fourteen or eighty-seven times in a row.
for what it's worth -- here is some of the "wisdom" I've "acquired"
this year. Who knows? Maybe it will help another bride-to-be, out there
in the vast *FootNotes* audience somewhere ... especially if she's
wondering if she's the only fortysomething second-time-bride who ever
tried to plan a wedding in a world full of twentysomething Size Twos.
* * * * * *
Shopping For Your Dress As Soon As Possible.
mind about "dropping a few pounds before the wedding," or "paying off
your credit card first," or "waiting for the new
spring/summer/fall/winter line." Start looking for your wedding dress
NOW. Immediately. Today. In fact, if he
proposes over dinner I suggest you forego the dessert menu and head
directly to the mall before it closes.
is especially important if you are
- Fortysomething or older
- A "Returning Bride"
a Size 2
a close personal friend of Vera Wang
of the above
the rush, you ask? Simple. Because the wedding dress industry hates
serious. They. Hate. You.
do NOT want you to look lovely and radiant and
bridelike on your wedding day: they want you to look like your
Doreen's sofa. (Or like you're wearing your Aunt Doreen's sofa
anyway.) They do NOT want your dress-shopping
experience to be fun or easy or pleasurable: they want you to suffer
and sweat and feel bad about yourself. They do NOT
want you to find the wedding dress of your dreams: they want you to
settle for second- (or third-, or fourth-, or eleventh-) best, out of
simple exhaustion. And desperation.
they most especially do NOT want you setting foot
inside one of their ultra-snooty *Every Bride Deserves To Be A
Beautiful Bride! (Except For YOU, Because We Hate
You)* bridal boutiques.
this means is that you are going to have to work four times as hard as
the "average" bride-to-be (read this: Daddy's Little Princess) in order
to find your perfect wedding dress. It's going to take you four times
as long. You're going to have to drive four times as far, endure four
times as many crowded shopping malls, disrobe in four times as many
fitting rooms. Before the whole damn thing is over with, you'll have
four times as many new gray hairs.
then again, you'll probably be four times as thankful when you
finally do find your dress. There's something to be said for that.
* * * * * *
Color Your Hair Less Than A Week Before The Ceremony.
don't care if you never ever use anything but good old reliable Shade
#68B ... or if you've been coloring your own hair since fourth grade
... or if your mom is MISS CLAIROL,
color your hair less than a week before your wedding. Trust me on this
takes at least seven days for the icky chemical smell to disappear
completely, for one thing (and for the brown stuff to stop bleeding
onto the pristine white hotel towels).
Plus -- and this is the most critical part -- by coloring your hair
less than a week before the wedding, you leave yourself zero margin for
error. And leaving yourself plenty of nice, wide margin for error is
the key to being a relaxed, radiant, successful bride.
bride who isn't
standing at the altar in Miss
Clairol #68E because she misread the little numbers on the box, four
* * * * * *
Two of Everything.
early in the wedding-planning process I stumbled across an amazing
you buy two of everything, you'll always have a choice.
not talking about buying two identical items -- like two identical
pairs of suntan sandal-toe pantyhose, or two identical packages of
plain brown bobby pins -- although that also makes sense. I'm talking
about two different styles of the same thing. Two different pairs of
white shoes, for instance. Two different pairs of pearl earrings. Two
different flowery bridal headpiece thingamabobs.
this may not be the most practical (or frugal) approach in the
universe, it does save on emotional wear-and-tear.
You can relax a little. You know you have options. You know that you're
not irrevocably "stuck" with Plan A, because you've got Plan B hanging
in the closet/packed in the suitcase/rolled up in a little ball at the
bottom of your purse. (Unless of course you accidentally forget to pack
Plan B ... in which case you wind up irrevocably stuck with Plan A,
after all. Or unless you decide at the last minute to forego both the
Plan A and the Plan B flowery headpiece
thingamabobs, and go bare-headed instead.)
possible, buy two of everything.
* * * * * *
An Invitation To At Least One Person You're A Little Nervous About
this case it wasn't my ex-husband, or my potential new in-laws, or even
The Relatives Who Hate Me who made my palms all slick and warm and
itchy, whenever I remembered they were coming to my wedding.
was Kevin, my friend from high school.
and I were never romantically involved, exactly, but our teenage
friendship was intense and complicated and chemical and weird and all
of the other stuff that makes boy/girl friendships so interesting,
especially when you're remembering them from a nice safe distance of
twenty or thirty years. I hadn't seen him since 1978. I hadn't spoken
to him since a year or two after that. (He says I called him one year
on my birthday, drunk and incoherent. I have no memory of that, but it
sounds like something I would have done: I was always
getting drunk and incoherently calling people to tell them it was my
birthday.) Inviting him to the wedding just sort of happened
accidentally, after we discovered each other online via *FootNotes*
earlier this year. It was only after he'd accepted the invitation that
blind, gibbering panic began to set in.
the hell have I done??!?)
here is what I learned through this experience. Inviting people you
know and love and are comfy with to your wedding is easy. Inviting
somebody you haven't seen in years, on the other hand -- or somebody
you don't especially like, or somebody who doesn't especially like you,
or somebody to whom you were once married, or somebody who still owns a
Polaroid of you sitting naked in a bathtub -- lends a nice interesting
*edge* to the occasion. It sort of lifts you out of yourself. It forces
you to be more outwardly focused than you might have been, otherwise.
It makes it feel less like a family barbecue, and more like an
-- in the case of seeing my friend Kevin -- it sometimes turns out to
be one of the unexpected highlights of the day.
* * * * * *
Your Own Vows. Or At Least A Portion of Them.
almost blew this one off at the last minute, believe it or not.
because I was having a hard time getting my portion of the ceremony
written. As I've said before, I had my vows written ten minutes after
we got engaged. And not because David was having a hard time getting his
part of it written, either. He composed a rough draft of his vows
during the flight to TicTac, two days before the wedding ... and then
he sat in our hotel room the morning of our wedding (see below) and
pulled the rest of it together.
I almost blew it off at the last minute because I had stage
we were standing there at the altar in front of our family and friends,
listening to Brother-in-Law Tim talking about love and committment and
two hearts joining together as one, I experienced a sudden and
profound attack of the Oh god! I can't do this
heebie-jeebies. Not Oh god! I can't marry this person!,
but Oh god! I can't recite these stoopid vows in
front of all these people! All of a sudden, the
written seemed all wrong. It wasn't traditional enough. It wasn't
solemn enough. It was too breezy and informal ... more suited to a
*FootNotes* entry (or a One-A-Day commercial) than to a wedding
was one of the scariest moments of my life.
since I didn't, in this case, have a Plan B at the ready -- no
auxiliary set of vows, tucked discreetly inside my bridal bouquet --
and since the only other speech I've ever memorized was my big line
from the ninth grade Spanish Club Christmas play ("El rey
proclama que todo el pueblo tiene que ir a su ciudad natal para paguir
sus impuestos") -- I was sort of stuck reading the vows I'd
It turned out fine. Better than fine, actually. People --
new mother-in-law -- are still telling us that the personal vows we
exchanged were one of the best things about the wedding.
the video now, I have to agree with them.
* * * * * *
Take Your Wedding Anxiety Dreams Seriously.
how I see it.
are two ways you can deal with the perfectly normal, perfectly healthy
pre-wedding stress and anxiety that every bride-to-be experiences: you
can either allow it to manifest itself via migraines, violent
fingernail shreddage, midnight Girl
Scout cookie binges and/or wild shrieking arguments with your fiance
over frozen chicken breasts ...
or you can quietly suffer through the occasional Wedding Anxiety Dream.
doesn't hurt, doesn't make you fat, probably won't jeopardize your
relationship, and is completely forgotten, ten minutes after you wake
up ... unless of course you write about it on your website, in which
case the dream is preserved for the ages, like a beetle caught in
I'll take the dreams, please.
fact, towards the end there I was actually starting to enjoy
my Wedding Anxiety Dreams. (My personal favorite? Probably Seagull Pie.)
They were great fodder for the website. On a slow news day, all I had
to do was plunk a Wedding Anxiety Dream into a template, write a couple
of paragraphs around it, toss in a gratuitous graphic or two ... and
vóila! Instant journal entry!
I don't think I'm going to be able to get away with using *Overflowing
Toilet Anxiety Dreams* quite the same way.
* * * * * *
Things Out In Advance.
you're going to be doing/wearing/walking around in anything
new or different or slightly out of the ordinary on your wedding
dangly earrings instead of posts, for instance, or a pinker
lipstick than you're accustomed to, or bikini underwear instead of
your usual modest, comfortable, slightly-matronly Hanes For Her
waist-highs -- I strongly suggest you try it out at least a couple of
days in advance of the ceremony ... just to make sure that nothing
squeaks or pinches or falls apart or smells funny or rides up and
wedges itself in painful and potentially embarrassing fashion, midway
through the ceremony.
wouldn't believe how strongly I "suggest" it.
maybe you would.)
* * * * * *
Purchase Your Bridal Jewelry On The Internet.
pearl necklace looks so lovely there on the GullibleBrides.com website,
elegant. So simple. So classic. The pearls almost look
real ... and a "silvertone setting" is nearly the same thing as
platinum, right? You're sure it will look perfect with the earrings you
ordered from TackyTrousseausRUs.com. Plus the price is right: not so
cheap that you feel like you're buying junk, but not so expensive
that you're going to have to hide the credit card bill from your fiance
pull out your VISA and place your order.
that when the necklace finally arrives, it doesn't look
like it did on the website. In fact, it looks just like the other four
wedding necklaces you've ordered off the Internet this spring: cheap,
fake, poorly-made, the wrong color/wrong size/wrong style ...
and destined for your daughter's Christmas stocking next year.
* * * * * *
Yourself To Be Even More Selfish Than Usual, Towards The End.
day before the wedding, my mom had me scheduled for a midafternoon
manicure, to be followed by dinner and rehearsal at my sister's house
about my nap?" I said.
was running on about four minutes' worth of sleep that day. Plus I was
at that icky place hormonally (the 72 Hours From Hell, which had by
that point already become the 144 Hours From Hell) and I knew that my
resources were running dangerously low. The least little glitch would
be enough to make me snap like a baby carrot.
"I need to fit a nap into
the schedule," I said, with somewhat more insistence than is normal for
OK/As Long As You Don't Mind/Please Don't Hate Me For
mom understood, I think. After my nail appointment, she dropped me off
at the hotel. I went directly upstairs to our room -- David was at my
sister's house helping set up folding chairs, so I was alone -- and I
took a solid one-hour nap. When I woke up I didn't exactly feel
"rested" ... there were way too many shrieking voices in my head for
that ... but I did feel better.
think that towards the end, you need to exercise your God-given Bridal
Rights as much as possible. These include:
right to use all the good towels.
right to maneuver every conversation around to the subject of *you.*
right to capriciously change your mind about stuff every five or six
right to burst into tears over absolutely nothing.
right to order a side of bacon with your low-fat Denny's Slim Slam
right to demand that everybody rearrange their schedules so you can
take a "nap."
also think that you probably need to really, really enjoy exercising
those Bridal Rights ... because once that ring is on your finger, the
Diva stuff is over.
* * * * * *
Watch Your Wedding Video For At Least A Month After The Ceremony.
it for your monthiversary.
me: by then you'll be ready to see yourself walking around in bad
shoes, with a crooked part and pine tar on your butt ... and you won't