Last week was a flurry of activity. The stress level was heightened for me as I balanced getting ready for my summer job that starts next week, working out kinks in kids worship training, rescheduling worship practice, making an inventory of the children's books I have, start typing up kindergarten orientation letters to be mailed to the parents, work on my kindergarten supply order form, had a bridesmaid luncheon, a wedding rehearsal, and rehearsal dinner before the big day. On Wednesday, I picked up my bridesmaid dress, nervous for the moment of truth when I tried it on to see if I managed to keep the weight off since I last tried it on before alterations. I slipped into it--a perfect, snug fit. I wanted it tight because it was strapless. The last thing I wanted to worry about was pulling up my dress all day at the wedding, and especially when dancing. I committed to continued exercise and healthy eating for the next two days.
On Thursday, I collected my dress, shoes, curling iron, and ribbon bouquets. I also packed my emergency kit--apparently the MOH is in charge of having everything just in case. My kit included white and clear nail polish, flossers, a mini sewing kit, a granola bar, almonds, bobby pins, antibiotic ointment, bandaids, boutonniere pins, ibuprofin, feminine products, Q-tips, earring backs, lotion, superglue, cough drops, sunscreen, heat relief pad, hand sanitizer, tissues, hem tape, nail clippers, nail file, tweezers, and who knows what else!
On Friday, I was excited to sleep in but ended up waking up an hour earlier than I needed to. It gave me an excuse to walk the dog for a quick paced 30 minute jaunt. I then got showered and dressed in what I was wearing to the rehearsal and gave myself my manicure and pedicure. I headed over to Nicole and Josh's new apartment that is soooooo adorable! It's the perfect size for the two of them and is quite comfortable. We had a lovely lunch at Nicole's house with all her cute, new dishes. Then we got down to business. Brittany and I went to Nicole's parent's house to pick up laundry, luggage, and some gifts. We arrived back and the girls gave themselves brightly colored pedicures, Nicole wrote thank you cards, I put away laundry, and packed Nicole's suitcase for the honeymoon. I also busted out the sewing supplies to keep her clothes lasting longer. ;) Time flew and soon we were off to rehearsal.
Rehearsal was a lot longer than I expected it to be based on the times given for dinner afterwards. We stood in our spots, practiced our move around the gazebo, and then did one full run-through from the top. It went smoothly. I only got misty-eyed when I saw Nicole appear on her dad's arm. I was worried that my lack of tears throughout the past few months and the close approaching day was just leading to a build-up from the wedding. I sure hoped not. We finished up there and dashed off to dinner, on the way to which I got lost due to faulty GPS and never having been to the restaurant before. The stress was building having been around a lot of people at rehearsal and knowing I was about to go to dinner with a lot of people too. I cried a little during my frustration of not having an exit on the freeway for 7 miles so I could turn around. I made decent timing regardless and sat down in great relief. As I was sitting with the other bridesmaids, we noticed that Nicole and Josh's table had room for 2 more people. We started wondering if I was supposed to sit with them. Shortly after, the best man came over and asked if I wanted to sit there with N&J. So I popped over. It was so nice being able to sit next to Nicole. It was fun sharing little smiles and chatting about different things happening. The only thing I didn't like about the evening was how full I felt after the delicious food! Also that I had previously made sure I didn't have to say any speeches that night and then got called by name asking if I wanted to give one, to which I pulled out my "no" card again. If I had known I needed to, then I would have prepared something. As it was, I didn't, and I don't give speeches under those conditions. I said I'd be speaking tomorrow, thank you very much. For that, I was prepared.
I headed home at 10ish and plunked into bed. Naturally, my head spun for a good hour before I could fall asleep--seems to be my latest thing these days. I woke up Saturday morning to my 7:30am alarm and could barely roll myself out of bed. I felt so sick, it took all my effort to pull myself up from the floor after turning off my alarm and stumble to the bathroom. Let's just say, it was not an enjoyable morning. I drank peppermint tea, had a piece of toast, and took some medicine to settle my stomach. I was pretty sure it would wear off by the afternoon, but concerned as to how I was going to make it through hair and make-up and being around people that morning during the getting ready phase. At Amy's house, the hair and make-up was behind schedule so I had a lot of waiting around time. I drank more tea and tried to chill. I cut and sewed Nicole's wedding veil that had some extra fabric on it until it was my turn. I got my make-up done, waited for Nicole's mom to get her make-up done, then got my hair done. I rushed off to the wedding site where I was supposed to help Nicole get ready, but was running behind. Naturally, I forgot my curling iron behind, and by the time I remembered the girls had already left too. I'm afraid I won't get it back anytime soon. Lucky for me, Nicole's petticoat hadn't been in the correct closet so they were behind on getting her ready too. I was able to be there for helping her into her dress and putting on her veil and the garter. It was fun to be a part of. She stood on one side of the door and held Josh's hand as he stood on the other side of the door. They had yet to see each other, but it was the sweetest picture moment.
We had expected a June gloom day, but the sun burst forth bright and clear for the day. It was perfect and so beautiful. I was glad to be in a little dress with my sandals even though I couldn't breathe deeply in my dress. Haha. I didn't mind. I did all my last minute breathing before I zipped myself up and was ready to go.
I was able to witness the sweet moment that Josh got to see Nicole for the first time. I will forever hold that in my memory. He was turned away from her, Dylan taking pictures as Nicole made the long walk on the porch towards her soon to be husband and gently put her hand on his shoulder. He turned and beheld his beautiful bride. It must be torturous to be in that moment and not be allowed to kiss. Haha. As the bridal party arrived, we tromped through the dirt and dust, holding up Nicole's dress to go take pictures. It was fun. I hope they turned out well. The flowers were so bright and perky to lighten up our navy dresses.
The wedding was perfect. We hid away in the back room until it was time for the wedding to start, doing tai chi or something like that where we held invisible watermelons, cut them in half, gave "some for me and some for you," and threw them away. Haha, it was the calm before the storm.
My smile was reeeeeally shaky as I walked down the aisle--not sure why, maybe because I knew everyone was looking at me, maybe because that aisle felt longer with each step, maybe because I couldn't see the photographer to know when the picture was going to be taken and I needed to hold it for as long as possible, maybe because I was nervous. I loved being right next to Nicole as she and Josh stood together--to look at the secret smiles they were sharing with each other as they held hands while Pastor Bill spoke about their story, about Nicole's purity ring, about God's love, and about their commitment. We walked around the gazebo as Nicole and Josh took communion together and poured sand. I think it was the first time I'd seen Josh initiate praying. What a precious thing to witness since on that day, Josh was committing to be a spiritual leader in their marriage, and he was doing that very thing for everyone to see. My eyes teared up a little during the ceremony, when Nicole walked down the aisle with her Dad and when I looked over at the guys to see one of her brothers fighting back tears. I was able to wipe them away when everyone was bowed in prayer.
The ceremony finished and we got into the back room where Nicole and Josh were passed from one friend to the next with hugs and excited exclamations. I woefully saw Nicole's train getting stepped on as she went from one pair of arms to the next, and I swooped in and put it up quick as a wink. I surprised myself at the maneuver because she was moving and hugging while I tried to pull the pearl back from the dress to reveal the button-hole. I primped and preened to make Nicole look perfect for her pictures. Then I chased everyone out to go mingle.
It was quite overwhelming having so many people there. There were several people I had not seen in a long time that I wanted to talk to, but I was too busy. I did enjoy seeing some old friends from high school that I hadn't seen in a while. :)
The reception was a little crazy because we never talked about the schedule of it at rehearsal the night before. Suddenly, the bridal party was about to be introduced and we were told that we had to go out and dance. A small room full of 18 people talking over each other about what we were doing, if we danced down the aisle, or if we danced when we got to the dance floor, or if we waited till everyone got there to dance. Someone thankfully knew how to whistle and I got everyone's attention to tell them, "Walk down the aisle and wait. When we're all there, we'll dance." Then right before we went out, we scratched that plan and decided to form a tunnel with our hands for Nicole and Josh to run through. I felt like things like that with the schedule and order of things happened a lot during the reception. Note to self: when planning my wedding, include order and expectations of everyone for the reception during rehearsal for the wedding so we're all on the same page.
The other thing that happened was where I had been told to stand for my speech was different from where he was setting up the microphone. So I made him fix it. Lol. There was also some confusion about being introduced. I needed things to be like the way I expected them to be. I was freaking out enough. But I said everything clearly. Everyone laughed at the funny parts. It was short and sweet. I made the best man go second because I didn't want to have to follow whatever he was going to bring. He had more stories and reminiscings of when Nicole entered their lives, which made sense since he was family. He saw the two of them together a lot more than I did. Most of my experiences were one-sided. Then we all sang "Take Me Out to the Wedding," with lyrics about Josh and Nicole. That was a last-minute addition too. It was tough because I couldn't find the key, and I couldn't really hear anybody else singing. It was all super cheesy. Whatever, at least I sang off-mic. Lol.
The dancing wasn't as horrible as I anticipated--since I'm not known for my freestyle dancing skills. The DJ didn't play any swing, which was a bitter disappointment to me since I had requested it, and I know Nicole gave him the list. We ran out of time to have a lot of dancing because there were so many people for Nicole and Josh to go around and talk to. Everything got pushed back, and before we knew it, it was 7pm and we had to start cleaning up so we could be out by 8pm when the park closed.
It was exciting to sign the marriage license as a witness. I felt very important. :)
Then they left, and I promptly went over to my mom and burst into tears. Just like that, my best friend was gone, and things would never be the same. Friends come and go. Hopefully God has someone else to fill the blank spots next year--not that Nicole will be completely gone, but I think it's important for her to learn how to be married and settle into that new role while I'm working on settling into my new teaching role. Our lives are even more different than they already were.
After the wedding was over, I donned an apron and helped clean up. Then I headed back home with one of my friends whom I hadn't seen in a while, and I collapsed from exhaustion as we caught up with each other. It was a nice end to the day. I was glad it was over, even though it was fun tending to Nicole's every need during the wedding while wearing a pretty dress and seeing my friends.
All in all, it was a beautiful wedding.