March 28, 2001
Wedding Anxiety Dream #2


Wedding Anxiety Dream #2:

I am standing in the shower, squirting bath gel onto a loofah and leisurely slathering my neck and shoulders with raspberry-scented bubbles. The sun is shining through the bathroom window, and I am humming.

It is the morning of my wedding.

Karen, my best friend from high school, is showering next to me. "Y'know," she says, in a just-between-you-and-me tone of voice, "I think it's really nice of David to let you have your wedding in the school gym." And she bends her head under the water and rinses the Prell out of her hair.

That's when I look around me and realize that I'm not standing in my own bathroom: I'm showering in the girl's locker room at Sunset Junior High School.

And I am not alone.

Besides my friend Karen, I can see Angela and Kelsey, two of the snootiest Popular Girls, showering on the other end of the locker room. Standing next to the lockers, getting dressed, are Sharon and Barbara, two horrible girls who always made fun of my underwear when we were changing after volleyball. 

And in the corner sits Oregon Tim, my last serious boyfriend before David. He is doing a crossword puzzle and smoking a cigarette. 

"I'll give you a ride to the gym," Oregon Tim says, sounding annoyed. "But then I'm going to have to get back to work." And he dips his cigarette into his styrofoam coffee cup, then takes a bite out of the filter end like it's a piece of biscotti.

I don't want ANY of these people at my wedding. (Hell: I don't even want them in my DREAM.)

"Why do I have to get married in the gym??" I wail in anguish, to no one in particular. "I thought we had everything ARRANGED already!" And I stand there in the shower, wet and naked and agitated and crying like a baby.

End of almost-too-embarrassing-to-relate dream.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

We had barely gotten home from work last night -- I was still struggling out of the uncomfortable undergarments and the ridiculous shoes -- when we heard a knock on our front door. David answered it as I peered cautiously around the corner from the bedroom, holding my sweatpants in my hand.

Alma, our sweet little landlady, was standing on our doorstep holding a large cardboard box. "Package for Tay-ree," she said smilingly. It was from Rexcraft Printers.

Our wedding invitations!

Holy shidt!  Our wedding invitations were here already!

I was absolutely floored. I just placed the order last Thursday, forcyringoutloud: the ink was barely dry on the ballots (following our thrilling *Help Secra & Ю僱êrvØ¡ Choose Their Wedding Invitations* Election, last week). When I sent in the order, via the Rexcraft website, I was advised that it would take at least 5-8 working days for the invitations to be shipped. So this was a happy surprise.

(I couldn't have been more surprised, in fact, if it was Ed MacMahon himself on our doorstep, here to personally beat me up for yesterday's *FootNotes* entry.)

"Well ... let's see how they look!" David said excitedly.

But I wasn't ready to open the box just yet. "Give me a minute," I said nervously. "I want to finish changing my clothes." And I went back into the bedroom and finished changing out of my work clothes and into my ugly comfortable sweats. I carefully hung up my suit jacket and my blouse and my skirt, taking time to smooth out the wrinkles. I scrounged around in my underwear drawer, looking for my favorite pair of raglan socks. When I couldn't find them, I settled for a pair of plain white crews. I went into the bathroom and brushed my hair. I popped a zit on my chin. I picked a hunk of leftover apple out of my front teeth. I stood and looked out the bathroom window for a couple of minutes.

When I'd finally run out of ways to procrastinate -- when the beating in my heart had slowed down to a nice manageable jackhammer rhythm -- I wandered back into the living room and ripped the box open as David stood nearby, watching. Nestled inside of the main shipping carton were several smaller boxes ... one for inner envelopes, one for outer envelopes, separate boxes for the response cards and the response card envelopes ... etc. I pulled out the largest box, the one obviously containing the actual invitations, and opened it carefully, heart in my throat.

And there they were. Our wedding invitations.

"Oh my god," I breathed reverently. "They're beauuuuutiful."

And they were beautiful. Even *I* wasn't prepared for just how beautiful they were. Seeing them displayed in a catalog is one thing: actually holding one of them in my hand ... feeling the elegant paper stock, smelling the fresh ink, seeing our names in print ... is something else entirely. It was a little bit like giving birth.

While David cooked dinner, I sat on the sofa and went over every inch of the invitation with the loving eye of a new parent ... and the rabidly critical eye of an editor.

Terri Lynn Polen
David Alan Rafter
have chosen the first day
of their new life together
as Saturday, the twenty-first of July
Two thousand and one
You are invited to share in their joy
as they exchange marriage vows
at four-thirty in the afternoon
The home of Ishwaki and Nobudnogetti Van Schmaackenstein
1234 SomethingorOther Street
TicTac, Washington

And that's when I noticed the error.

"Wait a minute!" I said in surprise. "This has us getting married at four-THIRTY, instead of four o'clock!"

How did that happen?

I immediately ran to the computer and pulled up all of my invitation order information. I know I double-checked my order before I sent it in last week. Then I triple and quadruple-checked it. I even printed out the completed order form and carried it around with me for a couple of days before submitting it, just to give me some extra time to look at it and make sure everything was correct. I wasn't taking any chances.

If there was a mistake there, it had to be their mistake.

But I was wrong. There it was, right there on the order form, in *my* handwriting: Time of wedding: four-thirty p.m. Somehow, in all of the excitement and terror of ordering, I had fudked up ever-so-slightly.

As 'errors' go, of course, this one is pretty benign. It's not like we've booked the Space Needle for the ceremony: we're getting married at my sister's house in suburban TicTac. A difference of thirty minutes, one way or the other, probably isn't exactly going to be a life-or-death scheduling issue. But it still gave me a moment or two of that sick *bottom-dropping-out-of-stomach* feeling when I first spotted the discrepancy on the finished invitation. If I fudked up the time of the ceremony, what else might I have fudked up without realizing it? The return address on the response envelopes, maybe? The date? The de Saint-Exupery quote?

Did I spell our NAMES correctly, forcryingoutloud?

It took another two hours of panicky, obsessive, fine-tooth-comb-variety scrutiny before I was finally able to relax. No other bloopers anywhere. By bedtime I was calm and reassured and loving our invitations again. But it was ironic that out of all the possible mistakes/mispellings/misprints/general blunders that could have possibly shown up on our invitations, it was the TIME of the wedding that got screwed up.

Because this has been an issue right from the start.

When David and I first started talking 'marriage' and 'wedding plans' -- right after we got engaged in December -- one of the earliest points of gentle contention between the two of us was what time to have the wedding. I said that I thought six o'clock would be nice. (Actually, what I wanted was the candelight-and-Celtic-music ceremony of my girlhood dreams ... the romantic evening wedding I'd always secretly envisioned for myself. But setting a wedding date in the middle of July sort of precluded that possibility.) So I thought that six o'clock would be a nice, elegant hour for a summer evening wedding. Everyone I discussed it with, though -- David, my mom, my sister, my daughter, the Human Resources Director Person, miscellaneous *FootNotes* readers, the UPS guy -- pretty much said the exact same thing: Y'know, six o'clock is kinda late for a wedding, Secra. Especially on a Saturday. Especially in summer. After some discussion and some research and some time to think it over, I said OK, let's make it four o'clock instead ... and I was FINE with the idea, I really was: I figured we would simply save the candles for the honeymoon suite ... and that was pretty much the end of that.

Until the invitations arrived last night, and I had my little Sphincter-Failure Moment.

But like I said, as errors go this one is pretty minor. We're over it already. (It wouldn't have even merited a journal entry, probably, except that I'm trying to chronicle the wedding preparation process as thoroughly as possible for posterity.) We're getting married at four-thirty instead of four o'clock, and that's totally, completely fine with everybody concerned.

End of dilemma.

Here is how I see it: if this is the only thing that goes wrong between now and the wedding, we can consider ourselves pretty damn lucky.

It won't be, of course. Weddings are inherently fraught with goofs and gaffes and fudk-ups: even my dinky little 1981 non-ceremony taught me that. (Anyone want to hear the "Love, honor and carry" story again?) But still, wouldn't it be nice if this WAS the only thing that goes wrong this time?

All we can do is keep our fingers crossed, I guess. Maybe quintuple-checking everything from now on wouldn't hurt, either.

Or maybe we'll just have David order everything between now and July. It might be safer that way.

two years ago: lightbulb moment
one year ago: shut up and listen

throw a rock