Thursday: Two Days Before the Wedding
I arrived in Buffalo in the afternoon and immediately went to my grandparent's house to check on the flower arrangement process that my mom had set up in the basement. My Aunt Stella, Uncle Bill, and my Dad arrived a little later for a dinner of homemade breaded porkchops. During a walk after dinner, my Uncle Bill relayed a humorous story about how one of the family friends got so drunk at my parent's wedding that she was trying to climb up light poles. My parents and I then traveled to Lackawanna where I experienced my first futile attempt at sleeping.
Friday: Day Before the Wedding
Friday morning, my mom and got up just before 8am so we could get in one final workout session at Curves before the wedding. Afterwards, my mom shot off for Cheektowaga to continue working on floral arrangements for the wedding. I eventually joined them for lunch and then helped load a bunch of stuff into the car to take to the Reception Hall. After dropping off table arrangements and setting up the seating cards, the ladies all went to get our nails done down the road. My mom and I opted for pedicures as well, which turned out to be one of the most relaxing spa features I've ever experienced. The chairs you sat in had a massage feature that didn't just vibrate, but kneaded your entire back, neck and shoulders.
Afterwards, we separated while different people went to check into hotels and I went back to my grandparent's to wait for Matt to arrive. Anne, my Maid of Honor, and her boyfriend/my friend Sean showed up a little later and we began eating some snacks before going to the church. Mid-bite through a piece of cantaloupe, I realized that I accidentally took all the cds I had burned for the wedding day to the reception hall, which was now locked up. This included the copy of the processional and recessional music that we needed to listen to and practice with at the church. Fortunately, Sean had a copy of Elgar's Enigma Variations with him, and even though it was a slower version, we knew it would ultimately work as a substitute. The wedding rehearsal went well and we trooped off to La Bella Sicilia's for dinner. Matt and I toasted and thanked everyone before we all shoveled massive amounts of Italian goodness into our stomachs. I kissed him good-bye and went to my grandparent's house to sleep.
I wasn't sleepy so I spent some time setting out all my jewelry, make-up, under-dress garments, and packing up what I didn't need. I settled in to sleep again, but panicked when I realized I needed to set some alarms in order to wake myself up in time to shower and partially dress before Donna came to do my hair. I set a dubious looking clock next to the bed and my cell phone before settling once more into bed. I couldn't sleep. I'm pretty sure I got an hour or two, but not much more.
Saturday: The Big Day
Since I was already awake, I got up about a half hour earlier than planned and got into the shower. Realizing I forgot to bring a robe or button shirt that I could easily take off after my hair was done, I rummaged through one of the closets until I found a housecoat to borrow. My grandfather, who is not a morning person, shuffled bleary-eyed into the kitchen to start making some eggs. My grandparents and I sat quietly around the table, sipping tea,and munching on toast while I waited for Donna and her mom to show up to do my hair.
Just as I was about to brush my teeth, Donna pulled in the driveway with hot rollers, curling irons, brushes, and bottles of hair spray in hand. For the next three and a half hours, she moved between gluing my hair in place to fixing both Anne and Heidi's hair.
Then my dad called. He couldn't get into the hall to retrieve the music for the ceremony. My mom told him to call the Hall Manager and try again. My mom took off for the church to put up decorations and then Matt called to tell me that he couldn't get into the reception hall, which was supposed to be open by this point (1 PM) to drop off our wedding cake, a fake decorative one since tiramisu doesn't stack well. I told him to try calling the hall again and if he couldn't get in to just take it to the church and store it in the basement during the ceremony. I anxiously checked my watch. Then my cousin, Joe, who was videotaping the day as his wedding present to us arrived, soon followed by our two photographers. I was still not dressed in the gown since I was waiting for my mom to come back. My bridesmaids seemed to be missing too. Finally, at about 1:45pm, my mom pulled in the driveway. She exclaimed that the church hadn't been open and that she had to leave all the decorations with my Aunt Ginny, who was going to take them back to the church with our friend, Ellen, and hopefully be able to start to decorate before people arrived.
My mom helped me into my dress, train, veil, and some of my jewelry. I stopped to give her a big hug. Picture taking commenced. My dad arrived and informed me that he had the music for the ceremony. I immediately relaxed. We left at 2:30 for the church, arriving just as I saw Matt carrying the wedding cake from his car. I made my dad drive slowly around to the far end of the parking lot and tell one of the guests to make sure Matt stayed in the church out of sight from me.
Anne, Heidi, and me then went to hang out in the library while we waited for everything to start. We congratulated ourselves on figuring out how they were supposed to carry their bouquets. Joe came in with his video camera and asked, "Are you nervous?" I replied the same way I had for the past couple weeks, "Nope!" Nearly everyone had commented that I was the most calm bride they had ever met. I exclaimed, "Oh good! I can hear them playing the song I originally wanted the bridesmaids to walk down the aisle to!" as strains of "Marble Halls" on the piano filtered into the library. A little while later, my dad came in the library. With the door open, I could hear what sounded like the processional music.
I asked my dad, "Did you light the family candles already??" He answered, "No! I don't know what's going on." "Well, this is the processional. We have to go!," I replied. Herding Anne and Heidi out into the hall, I caught a quick glimpse of the congregation. As the clarinet solo in "Nimrod" began, I asked if the bridesmaids had gone out yet. The woman helping us at the church said the groomsmen had just finished walking out. I nearly yelled, "They need to go! Send them out now!" Off they went and I told my dad that we had to go out there just after the clarinet solo ended. We hooked our arms together and went to our starting places. As we began walking in, the first person I saw was our friend, Lynda, from Jamestown. I looked at her and then realized I needed to look at Matt. My eyes found him and the smile that people said seemed to plaster both our faces all day lit up.
The ceremony went without a hitch and was quite beautiful. I had insisted that lyrics be provided in our programs so everyone could sing along, including us. The song list, including processional and recessional was:
- Processional: Edward Elgar's Enigma Variation - Nimrod
- We Gather Together
- The Lord of The Dance
- Panis Angelicus - solo by Holly Corcoran
- The Canticle of the Sun
- Recessional : Ashley MacIsaac - Chorus Jig/King's Reel
After a few detours due to construction, we made it to the reception hall and conversed with the DJ so that our entrance music of "Beautiful Day" by U2 that Matt had edited down played just right. We entered with much applause and immediately "cut" the cake, which involved just posing with a knife since the cake was fake. Dave, the best man and Matt's brother, made a short, sentimental toast that had some of the family nearly in tears. My Great-Great Aunt Adele did the bread and salt presentation to ensure that we never went hungry and we all then consumed mass quantities of breaded pork chops, baked chicken, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, green beans, a broccoli/cauliflower mix, and salad. Just about everyone raved about the tiramisu that we had served for dessert.
Before we went out for our first dance as husband and wife, Matt and I stole away to a side room to do some quick practicing together since we never had the chance to practice dancing to the song we had picked. Two minutes later, we emerged to our DJ's relief. We floated across the dance floor, twirling from time to time to Sting's "Until". My dad and I danced to The Temptation's "My Girl". As we moved around the floor, my dad told me that he had wanted to spin me round and round during the part of the song where the tempo picked up, but because the floors were so slippery, he decided against it. Matt and his mom made a pretty picture for Frank Sinatra's "All The Way" and the bridal party seemed happy with our choice of REM's "Nightswimming" before our families navigated onto the dance floor for the oczepiny.
Now, this Polish tradition is not familiar to most people, much less most of our guests that were at the reception. It's basically a combination of an unveiling and fertility rite. My veil comes off and is put on an unmarried bridesmaid (Anne) and a funny looking hat that is adorned with fruit, nuts, aspirin packs, and balloons is put on Matt's head. While this is going on, everyone sings an endless song called "The Twelve Angels" song. After this, Anne, wearing my veil, danced a short dance with Sean. We then all crowded onto the dance floor for much dancing and frivolity. Anne and Heidi did a sort of roast involving a Girl Scout handbook and we did the wedding bouquet/garter toss that unsurprisingly went to Sean and Anne. I have to admit that they did a great job playing along with the whole set-up.
Much more dancing, including The Smith's "How Soon Is Now", went on into the night, ending with The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star." We got the various drunk friends into sober people's cars or shuttle vans, and then headed back to our hotel, exhausted. I didn't sleep too well that night either, but that was more due to Matt's snoring. All in all though, it was a perfect day in the end. We had a superb time with our family and friends, and we're told that a lot of people considered this one of the best times they had at a wedding. So much happiness abound!