14 June 2011

Wedding week, day two: the where, then when, the who

When we were planning our wedding, I had one absolute diva bridezilla dealbreaker: our wedding must be at our church here in Nashville. It’s the church Mr. P invited me to attend with him back in 2006, the church we had attended and still attend together every Sunday, the church with the priest that I absolutely adore, and the church I was already in the process of joining.

It’s a gorgeous church:

We wanted a summer wedding, as Mr. P's a teacher and our families would have to travel. The problem? Lots of couples get married in the summer. And our church, as you can see, is gorgeous. And therefore, it is popular.

I worried that we would not get a date in June, especially since I was being a little picky and preferred any week other than the second week in June. That’s CMApocolypse week in Nashville and everything, especially hotel rooms, costs twice as much for visitors. I got nervous as the other June dates at our church started to fill up (over a year in advance!). I worried we’d have to get married in July or August, when it’s a bazillion degrees out. Sentimental reasons aside, I’d also wanted to get married at our church so we could take photos in the lovely grotto next to the church.

But, fortunately, thank goodness, we got our June date, at the one place that was most important to me in ALL of wedding planning. From there on out? Just details.

Another reason the scheduling was stressing me out had to do with our priest, Father D. He is a marathon runner and world traveler and it could have been that on the one remaining date in June, he would decide to pound the pavement in, I dunno, Vienna or Sydney or something.

Fortunately, Father D would be in town on that date in June we’d been spying. I was so glad that our Nuptial Mass would be presided over by same thoughtful spiritual guide who presided over mass with us every Sunday.

We decided to have our reception at our church too, in the parish hall. I had a couple reasons for that: one, church policy meant our wedding was late in the day and I didn’t want to waste reception time traveling; two, I think it’s a bit easier on guests when they don’t have to drive through an unfamiliar city to the reception; and three, cost. Sorry. I’m just being honest here. So when I told our families that our reception would be in the parish hall, I am pretty sure they had visions of windowless cinderblock walls and linoleum floors and maybe some Sunday School art projects, a la church basements in the 1960s. But they were all pleasantly surprised to learn that our church’s parish hall is actually super nice:

And the extra bonus? Chairs and tables were provided by the church which helped keep the cost down. Sure, the chairs were blue, which wasn’t exactly in the color palette. But did you immediately think “Oh my gaahhhh look at those blue chairs” when you saw that photo? I didn’t think so. Although if you did perhaps you should consider a career as an event planner for those with large budgets for things like chair covers.

So now that we had the where and the when, it was time to pick the who. Not The Who. But I bet you have the CSI theme song in your head now, don’t you?

No, I mean picking those that would stand up with Mr. P and me. You already saw our “little people” yesterday. Mr. P and I are fortunate to be close to exactly one appropriately aged boy (my stepsister’s son) and exactly one appropriately aged girl (our friend’s oldest daughter) whose moms were both in the wedding. Perfect.

Choosing the rest of the wedding party was easy for the most part. Mr. P has three close guy friends, and he picked a best man with his first gut reaction. I also have three girlfriends with whom I feel particularly close – one from grade school, one from college, and one from grad school. Only one was unmarried so she was the maid of honor. Done!

The only tricky factor was that I also have a stepsister, and Mr. P has two sisters as well. I didn’t really want a big or asymmetric wedding party (I always feel bad for the women who have to enter and exit alone), but I also wanted to include them. So instead we asked them all to have a part in the service reading the scriptures and leading the prayers. I worried a little that they’d be offended by not technically being in the wedding party, but one of Mr. P’s sisters said “I’m glad I get to wear what I want!” So I guess it turned out okay.

Then again, the bridesmaids also got to wear what they wanted, with some guidelines. As bossy as I am, I simply could not tell other women what to wear. I’d already worn few bridesmaids’ dresses and while I never had to wear a bad dress, the independent curmudgeon in me never liked being told what to wear. Anytime the bride settled on the bridesmaids’ dresses I’d automatically revert back to age seven when I learned to dress myself and pitched a fit when my mom told me what to wear even if it was completely lovely and would have chosen it myself except I didn't. Of course, it was my problem and not theirs, and I always wore the chosen dresses happily and graciously, but that just means that technically? I was lying.

So I told the girls to pick their own long black dress… and shoes, and hair, and jewelry. I didn’t totally cop out on responsibility, because I sent them photos of dresses I would have picked if I were actually telling them what to wear. The fact that none of them actually chose those exact dresses validated my decision, but still, I probably caused a bit of extra work and stress on their part, and for that I’m sorry. But by the big day they all looked absolutely gorgeous so hopefully it was worth it.

Women in their late twenties just know best how to make themselves look good, don’t they? At least my gorgeous friends do. Just look at them! I could not have picked out anything that would have made each of them look more beautiful than they did.

Mr. P and his guys were different, in that he mostly chose what they wore… with a little bit of my opinion thrown in on the details he didn’t care about. And they all looked absolutely dashing, as well. So handsome, each of them!

Even Mr. P’s friend with the long hair didn’t wear a chip clip to hold his hair back like usual. At least not until the reception. You think I am joking but I’m not.

And what about what I wore? Well, like I said above, when I knew we would get married at our church, the rest was just details. And even before that, I was never really the sort to fantasize about wedding dresses or look at bridal magazines, either. So I wasn’t as excited about picking out my dress as I guess most women are. I just bought the only dress that I liked and was relatively inexpensive (it was from David’s Bridal). I never had a “magic moment” when I put on my dress where I gushed and teared up and got excited about “My Special Day”, but I wouldn’t have had that with any dress. So I wore the dress that felt right.

After over a year of planning, on the morning of our wedding, I told my mom that the only plans I had for that day were to get married and wear my white dress. If those things happened, everything else would be just fine. And I was exactly right!


Tina said...

Beautiful - all over again!