- Through the eyes of a Bridesmaid -
1:30 am - Finally crawl in bed. Tired and happy after the last few days of crazy business and a truly marvelous evening together for the rehearsal dinner.
6:30 am - Woke up early, before the alarm went off...bolted out of the cabin in my pjs to check the sky. Was met by gray drizzly rain.
7:00 am - Running around, doing last minute things, haul all the flowers outside and line them up. Fiddle with the bouquets one last time. Minta and I got to put them together. So much fun. Boss people around. Forget to eat breakfast. etc. etc. etc.
8:00 - Realization begins to set in that it's not going to clear up. Decision is made to set up the reception inside instead of out.
9:00 - Race down the muddy hill to our cabin to get dress, shoes, make-up curling iron. Need to be ready in 1 hour.
10:00 - Meet up at Brides cabin. Bride getting her hair done. And elaborate and intricate work of art, perfected by the ever so amazing and talented, Minta. Miscellaneous group of friends and cousins, people taking pictures and bridesmaids, and the mother of the bride all coming and going from the brides cabin. We giggle and chat. I am giddy. Bride does a really good job of keeping her head still while her hair is braided and twisted and piled and a dozen other complicated things. A sweet friend was thoughtful enough to remember to bring a big jar of Skittles. The brides favoritecandy , since she was a little girl. I curl my hair and do my makeup in between feeding the bride skittles. Yes, I am a eternal optimist. I suppose I had in mind that the curl would hold as long as the rain stopped. The mood is hurried, somewhat subdued, except for me giving out annoying pep talks about embracing the rain...not letting it ruin the day, yadda, yadda, yadda . The bride seems perfectly calm and collected and happy. The flower girl ( Annabelle ) comes in to say hello and of course, eat Skittles. Best man (my David) comes in to say we have 15 min. before we need to have the Bride down at the dock on the lake for pictures. Finds the bride in all her "splendour. Is struck by her elegance and beauty. Must have a picture. And says in mock reverence, " I like your socks. "
With Mom's help the Bride slips into her dress and looks positively radiant.
10:30- Getting the bride and her yards and yards of wedding dress into the car safely, so we can drive her down to the Lake. The mud was a serious threat.
Squishing in next to her. Cousin Lily jumps in the the passenger side, armed with the all important umbrella. As Daniel ( the one holding the umbrella over her head ) drove us down to the dock he remembered when he first met the Groom, 7 plus years ago, that he would sing this one line from a song , " it's like rain...on your wedding day." Just that one line, over and over. How ironic. As we are riding down the wine glasses in the back of the Jeep that were full of sand and tea lights, to set on the dock, for visual effect, start to shatter. Crack.....crack....crack...The bride looks at me with wide eyes. I look at her. I bust up. Laughter ensues. I remind her of an old motto, " If you don't laugh, you'll cry. "
10:45 - Once we get there we realize we have got to get Anna hidden in the woods, before the David's arrive. " Daniel, you are going to have to carry her. " He is more than a gentleman and happy to oblige, Anna starts to giggle. Lily holds the umbrella over her, I hold her dress out of the mud. We get her all situated. She groans. It's really coming down. I tell her... " Anna, in all your life, you have never let the rain stop you from doing anything. You swim in the rain, you play in the rain. Why not get married in it." She starts to laugh. The photographer announces that the Groom is almost ready, just getting some last minute advice from his best man. I start to cry, imaging what David must be telling him, realizing that this is all for real and finally, after years of hopes and prayers for them, actually happening. The Bride begs, " Chelle don't cry"... I blubber, " it's only because I am so happy for you. " She reaches out to hug me. I scream and jump away..." no, you'll get mascara all over your dress!" We dissolve into laughter. Then he's ready to come get his bride. I hurry away with Daniel. Lily is the last one to leave with the umbrella and briefly sees David's face as he first glimpses his gorgeous bride, all tucked away in the woods for him.
To quote Lily " He is normally a pretty serious looking guy. But his grin when he saw her, couldn't have been bigger. I have never seen him like that before. "
Daniel and I get in the car, we sit there for a while, silent, staring out the window at the rain, then we look at each other, he says " they've waited a long time for this." We both tear up. He takes us back up. I madly rush to get my outfit on and find my daughter, so thankful that her Auntie Deb and Minta had gotten her all ready.
11:00 - Deb and I head back down to the Lake with the Jesse and Annabelle for pictures of the wedding party, driven by dear friend who was amazing help with the kids that weekend. We get down there to find a soaking wet wedding party. Amazingly, the rain did not in the least dampen the beauty of the Bride. I on, the other hand, looked and felt very much like a drowned rat. Come to find out, the brides bustle came out and she couldn't move until someone ran up to get her a safety pin and we could put it back up, so her skirt wouldn't drag in the mud. So the Birde, poor thing stood there for over an half hour waiting for the safety pin and was chilled to the bone. She was afraid the camera would pick up all her goose bumps. Meanwhile we waited with the kids in the car and they both started to cry. When we got out of the car to take pictures, they started to cry, even harder. Annabelle covered her face with her hands and refused to look at the photographer. So I was pleasantly surprised to see that he got one even as good as this.
12:00 - We are done with pictures , we head back up to the cabin, poor Jesse had a very sad little meltdown on the way up. It was so pitiful and clear at that point that the little ones had had enough. We try and put Annabelle and the twins down for a nap. Only Jesse falls asleep.
( Bride with Mom and kids still at home: from l. to r. John, Daniel, Anna, Hildi (Mom), Mark, Greta and Tommy )
While the entire family is off getting pictures, a good friend of Anna's brother Daniel and who at that point had just met most of the rest of the family, decided to save the day by moving the tents from the reception area down to the ceremony site. So 12 guys pick up the two entirely put together tents and moved them. Now the guests will be somewhat out of the rain. And then there was cousin Deb, who was the coordinator. I really have no idea how many hundreds of things she made happen and disasters that were averted, because of her. She was amazing. We would often say to each other, worst case scenario...well worst case scenario is what we ended up with, weather-wise and I still cannot imagine a better day. There was so much joy and help and people were so gracious.
12:30 Shouting hello to people, getting lots of hugs as the guests arrived. Grabbing last minute things...Umbrellas, bouquets, running to make sure David has the rings, etc. It was crazy how much came together in those last few minutes. Poor Annabelle was not a happy camper, at that point and I guess she would fall apart every time I would run out the door. Poor baby. They took a picture, to prove it.
1:15 - We got the word, " ready to start."
Will try and not leave you hanging to long before I get to Part 2.