So it’s been over a month since I’ve written. I know, TERRIBLE. But I really do have some great excuses this time.
Firstly, I’ve been doing some paid writing work. Which is amazing and clearly takes precedence over the writing that I do for fun.
There was a wedding to plan.
The bride–Kelsey–has been a close friend of mine since high school. So when she told me a few months ago that she’d met the guy she wanted to be with forever, I was really excited for her.
Then things started to get complicated.
The groom was, at the time, in basic training. Upon completion of basic, the army was sending him to Germany. This kind of put a cramp in Kelsey and Derek’s plans to build a life together. So they decided to get married and go to Germany together.
A courthouse wedding was quickly overruled by family and something bigger was dreamed up. They had six weeks in which to get it all done. This is where I came in.
I’ll skip over the hours of sketching flower arrangements and looking up venues and thinking about colours and dresses and slowly developing a twitch in my left eye. I made lists of lists and worried about people’s feelings and generally lost my mind. Time moved both agonisingly slowly and waaaay too quickly in that weird way that it only ever does when you’re excited-slash-nervous about something. Almost before I knew it, it was the Friday before Memorial Day weekend and I was heading to the suburbs laden down with ten tonnes of wedding stuff like ye olde sexy pack mule.
And let me tell you: the lists of lists thing? Not a lie. The night before I went back to Naperville, I was in an absolute panic that I’d forget something that I needed. This ate at me. It caused me to lose sleep. What does this say about me when cancer is just something I deal with, BUT WHAT IF I FORGET MY HAIRSPRAY?!
Anyway. I didn’t forget anything on the day of, and I still have pages in my moleskin with titles like “STILL TO PACK” and “LISTS STILL TO MAKE.” Because I’m totally normal like that.
Oh, but I digress. It was Saturday, the day of the wedding. And we’re getting this show on the road.
Unfortunately my nerves woke me up at 4:30 in the morning.
I was predictably psyched about this.
In order to clear the three hours of sleep-fog out of my head, I made the mistake of drinking two cups of my mother’s coffee before 7am. I do drink coffee as a social thing, but NEVER that much and NEVER that strong. Seriously, my mother drinks coffee that’s so strong it will peel a layer off your stomach. I was buzzing around all morning while I did my hair and sending text messages that said “Please bring me un-coffee.” Poor Cait. The un-coffee thing was too much for her.
Cait and I beat the bride to the country club, which was awesome because we’d both underestimated how long it would take us to do our hair. I had no makeup on and barely jammed contacts into my eyes, but hey, my bangs were looking perfect. While we waited for Kelsey we drank our giant coffees, popped some champagne and got gorgeous. And then she arrived.
I was enlisted to do Kels’ makeup. This was a bit of an emotional moment, because I vividly remember doing her makeup for prom. And now here we are, on her wedding day. Sniffle.
Here is the finished product. Kelsey is my favourite person in the world to do makeup for because she does EXACTLY what I say and she NEVER blinks when I’m doing her eyes. I could probably poke her in the pupil and she wouldn’t freak out. That hypothesis is untested, by the way.
Anyway. Meet the other bridesmaids!
The bride’s sister, Natalie. She’s so grown up now and so gorgeous, I just can’t believe it. Where’s the little girl I used to know?
And Cait, of course. Between the two of us we used like six cans of hairspray. Goodbye, ozone layer.
This will do for a picture of me. The amount of caffeine in my body was approaching critical levels by 10am, and so I started drinking champagne to slow my roll. It only sort of worked.
Kelsey’s mum Bonita helping her into her wedding dress. Kelsey’s dress–and all of the bridesmaids dresses–came from J.Crew Bridal. I am not being paid to say this but dudes, J.Crew was awesome. Because we had a wedding in six weeks rather than a year in the future, there was no bridal store in the Chicago area that could help us–unless we wanted to buy floor samples, which frankly wasn’t going to work. Enter J.Crew. The prices were right, their team at the Bloomingdale’s location was superhelpful and we all had our dresses in a week.
Cait’s Blair Waldorf-esque dress–which is navy blue, btw, as were all of ours–was awesome and had POCKETS. I am not wearing my dress in this picture, clearly; I am wearing a silk bathrobe. Which I also wore all around the country club pre-wedding AND into a suburban Starbucks. Whatever, dude. It’s been documented that I have no shame. And I’m pretty sure that mere proximity has beaten it out of Cait as well.
The flowers were calla lilies. It really made me squeal to see the bouquets (Kelsey’s pictured) because they looked exactly like what I had drawn. And yeah, I know that’s the point but there’s still something amazing about seeing an idea become reality.
The ceremony was beautiful. Nobody tripped, everyone was happy and smiling and I only dropped the ring once (on carpet, and I caught it). Kelsey’s uncle officiated and it was just simple and lovely. The only problem was that even at eleven in the morning, IT WAS HOTTER THAN BALLS OUTSIDE. Every single one of us in the wedding party was sweating bullets, especially the groomsmen, who had done some serious partying the night before. The underneath of my hair got totally curly, I was sweating so much. Luckily you can’t tell any of that in the pictures. Kelsey was really pleased with the dress that she picked, because it was lightweight but not so lightweight that it required restrictive undergarments. Still, it’s better than being freezing cold (but only just) and it wasn’t raining. And like I said, the pictures look great. We’ll take it.
After the ceremony and the pictures, we ran back up to the bridal suite to fix our hair (Cait), our fake eyelashes (me) and our sashes (Kelsey).
Then it was time for the reception. Ignoring the bride’s suggestion that we enter the party “fistpumping like a champ,” the best man and I did an impromptu Pulp Fiction style dance for the guests instead. “You can tell this is going to be a fun wedding,’ said the DJ.
The bride and groom enetered to “Hey Ya.” A better wedding song has never been chosen.
Place settings at the head table. Again, exactly as I’d drawn them. Again, kind of crazy. Probably because I’m really used to the real world not matching up with the world in my head, so to see it RIGHT THERE and PERFECT was a trip.
The groom Derek and Matt, the best man. Matt’s wedding toast began with a story about explosive diarrhea. Not even kidding. Kelsey was sitting next to me going “Oh my god. This isn’t happening. He did not just talk about my husband pooping” and I was thinking “I have to follow this? How am I going to follow this?”
It worked out perfectly, of course. Matt’s speech got sweet, and my speech knocked ’em dead. Kels was crying and laughing, and I only said “balls” once. Victory in our time.
The bride still liked me enough to pose for this picture, which caused me to yell “OH MY GOD, TITS AHOY!” immediately after. (Cait’s response was perfect: “That’s why they call it the Serena dress!”) I love you, Kelsey. Thankyou for letting me be a part of your day and taking the risk of giving me a microphone.
It was also great to see so many old friends. Zak, Jenn, John, Andy, Becca, Mark…Biiiiig hugs! And remember the last wedding that I went to? Wonder how that’s going?
The answer is, pretty well.
Also, I’ve been trying to figure out my favourite Dannette moment of the wedding. It’s a toss up between her stopping mid-sentence to stare at me super intently, eventually saying “Your pupils are really dilated. I can hardly see any colour around them” and her jiggling her belly repeatedly while scolding the baby. “C’mon! Kick! KICK!”
Anyway. Cait and I got kind of drunk and crashed a couple sweet moments on the dance floor. I maintain that we didn’t ruin them, we made them better. Right? RIGHT?
It was 4pm when we stripped off our dresses and breathed a massive sigh of relief. And then we found a half-full bottle of champagne. And then…well, THIS happened.
Including our low-grade fuckery, the day that we all worked so hard on and stressed out so much about had gone perfectly. Except that somehow the bridesmaids missed out on cake.
No big deal, we got icecream on the way home. The bathrobe took another spin in public again as Cait and I relived our favourite wedding moments. And, of course, got a little stupid.
And then I got home and collapsed into a coma for four hours.
All in all, a wonderful wedding. Congratulations, Kelsey and Derek! It’s been a crazy ride but one that I’ve been honoured to take with you. Good luck starting your new life together in Germany.