This could be a long one…

Well I’m married! The last few weeks have been crazy busy and in the middle of it all, we pulled off a wedding. We pulled off a memorial service. And we are now enjoying wedded bliss. So, I looked at the last post and it was July 13 — almost two months ago. I kept thinking I’d write again before the wedding, but apparently, I got too busy. I am trying to remember what was going on to keep me from my laptop. Oh yeah! Stuff!

When I last wrote, I was heading into the final stretch before “the big day.” I had sent off the pants to my mom and she was preparing to come up to the Portland area for her extended stay. I had one last thing to do for work — I was scheduled for training on July 19-21. And I was getting over a horrendous allergy attack (not COVID). I had a list of things to do and kept on adding to it and crossing things off. I finished McKenna’s dress and was very pleased with the results. So was she! I also purchased a basket and embellished it with ribbon to match her dress and some cute little bees I purchased on Etsy.

On July 22, my daughter asked me if I’d like a facial and some hair removal. I was busy with projects around the house, but said that would be fine. So she came over with a bagful of bottles and solutions to the moustache I wasn’t aware I even had. Afterwards, my face felt like someone had taken sandpaper to my face, which was not very comfortable. It was an improvement though. I had a few days to recover. About five minutes after she left, she called me in tears. She had been in a car accident. I dropped what I was doing and drove to the scene. A woman in a suburban pulled out in front of her and she hit her. My daughter was driving her car, a Toyota Yaris. I guess you can imagine what happened — it was as if she hit a tree. She wasn’t injured, but shaken up. Anyway, that put a little damper on things. She was scared to drive her car, even though it was drivable. So I drove her car to our house and then drove her home. I kept telling her it wasn’t her fault.

My mom arrived in town the next day, not without its own set of craziness. She lives in the Palm Springs area and had ordered a Lyft to drive her to the airport. She isn’t tremendously mobile, but the airport in Palm Springs is small. She was on a flight to Seattle, then another flight to Portland. I talked to her about 9:00 or so and she was planning to order the Lyft to get to the airport in plenty of time for her flight. About an hour and a half before her flight, she called me in hysterics! I asked her what was going on and she said she couldn’t get a Lyft to the airport. I told her I would take care of it. I got onto my Uber app and ordered a car to pick her up. I then sent a message to the driver explaining what had happened and told her the urgency of the situation. The driver was awesome and told me she would get her there and not to worry. She got onto her flight and arrived in Portland as scheduled.

The next day, my brother called and asked if we wanted to go to breakfast. I thought that sounded fine. The problem was, we couldn’t get a hold of my mom. She was staying at a hotel about a mile from our house. Finally, she called me and said, “I have some really bad news. Please don’t scream.” I thought the worst and held my breath as she told me she forgot her pants. “Is that all?” I asked. The funny thing was, I’d been at the fabric store a few days before and found some fabric that I liked even better than the fabric I had purchased for her outfit. I wasn’t worried at all about making her another pantsuit. It would be easy! If that was the only thing to go wrong, we were going to be fine.

That night I had a wedding to go to. My reception coordinator, Brenda, and I played bunco (before COVID) with a gal who got engaged a couple weeks before we did. She was getting married and we were excited to go. It was a warmup of things to come. Brenda was taking notes and I was just enjoying the evening! We had a great time! The bride, Jaime, was absolutely radiant! She looked beautiful and so happy! It made me look forward to our day. My photos don’t do justice, but here are a couple:

This is Jaime with her son

Sunday morning I went to the fabric store and purchased the fabric for Mom’s second pantsuit. I knew how to make it so I figured it would be pretty easy to put together. I had some other errands to run that day and didn’t touch the fabric again until Monday morning.

On Monday, I began the construction of a new pantsuit! I had an appointment at 10:00 or so (I cannot for the life of me remember what it was) and was finished with the pants, except for hemming them, by then. I finished the jacket later that day. It actually worked out better than the first round of sewing a pantsuit. I’d done some things on the first jacket that I regretted and tried to fix. At any rate, I finished the second one at a record pace. My mom felt terrible for leaving the pants on the end of her bed! I didn’t want her feeling terrible and she, in turn, didn’t want me feeling terrible! So everyone was happy with the outcome.

On Tuesday, my mom got her first haircut since before COVID began. She got color too. I’d made an appointment with Jessi, the gal that does my hair. I wanted a color touch-up as well. Jessi transformed us. We finalized our arrangements for Sunday morning at o-dark-thirty when we would be getting up with the early bird for our wedding hair!

On Wednesday, my first cousin, once removed (Pat) arrived in town. Also, our son Adam flew in from Norfolk where he is in the Navy. Things were getting real! That night Mike, Adam, and I went to dinner at a local place and talked about the next few days. I knew Thursday would be busy with relatives arriving from all over and errands needing to be done. It would be the calm before the wedding storm!

On Thursday, Adam helped me around the house and we ran some errands. We also planned to go to dinner at a favorite restaurant, Chez Jose, for excellent Mexican food. Mike’s best man (his brother Gary) and family were arriving from San Antonio and we’d hoped they’d join us, but unfortunately, they were exhausted from traveling all day and wanted to settle into the house they were renting. After dinner with Mike’s mom, Sam (her partner), my mom, Pat, and Uncle Ron, we were tired and came home and crashed!

Friday morning, we got up early to prepare for the busiest day of the week. The rental company was going to be delivering chairs, tables, and other things for the wedding; we would be rehearsing the wedding program at our house later as well as the rehearsal dinner; we had family and friends arriving from all over the country; Matthew, our other son, would be arriving; I’d ordered yellow calla lilies from Trader Joe’s and needed to pick them up; an errand to an office supply store for card stock after we printed wedding programs with incorrect information. We were also expecting 150 roses from Costco to be delivered, as well as a box of greenery for flower arrangements, etc. Needless to say, we were in high gear all day.

The rehearsal dinner was great! We ran through the program twice and I was getting excited about Sunday! Not that I wasn’t excited before. We had a some friends from New York come and that was wonderful. The downside was that it was about 95 degrees and overcast and even rained for a bit. I cannot remember it being more humid in the Portland area. Still, it didn’t rain on my parade! It was a very fun evening. We had pre-ordered pizza from our local pizza restaurant, Portland Avenue Pizza Company in Gladstone. It was just great fun! I only wish someone would have taken photos. I haven’t seen one picture of that night, except for the selfie I took with Sam. I’m terrible at taking selfies. I’d post it here, but I”m not particularly crazy about the picture!

The next morning we realized that there wasn’t a whole lot to do. We had finished a lot of stuff the day before and didn’t have anything on the schedule until later — bachelor party and bachelorette party (basically apps and beverages at a local restaurant). We had determined a while before that it didn’t make adult sense at our age to go out the night before our wedding and whoop it up! I did have flowers to work on so I began that project. Truly, it didn’t take long. I planned to have a smallish bouquet and I was making several boutonnieres for the guys. I was finished with everything, except Meagan’s bouquet. I talked to her and asked if she wanted me to make it since she had indicated that she might like to put it together. She said she wouldn’t mind if I did it. I put it together and she told me she wanted something bigger. I told her mine was slightly larger than hers, so she was satisfied with her bouquet. Then we went to the restaurant. A few friends came with and we sat outside and enjoyed a nice breeze that blew the humidity completely away! My last night of being single — and the eve of the wedding.

It is hard to create an accurate description of our wedding day since we were both inside our own picture of the events and how they transpired. My version follows, but be aware that I was on cloud nine and the reflection may appear altered in some respects! At any rate, I woke up with very little sleep at 5:00 a.m. My alarm jolted me awake and when I stepped into my shapewear, it was with the realization that I’d be wearing it for a very long time. I also realized there was no need to put on makeup or even run a comb through my hair. I did run a comb through my hair! And I ran out the door with a mental checklist of what would happen throughout the day. I needed to pick up Meagan, and head over to Jessi’s.

Remarkably, there were no other cars on the road. I also realized how quick a drive it is when there are no other cars on the road. Well, it was Sunday morning, after all. More than anything, I wanted to be in the moment and savor the day as much as possible. We drove out to Opal Salon for our early-morning appointment with Jessi. She began work immediately on my hair, which I had wanted pulled into a curly low knot with embellishments, which I had brought with me. They were actually bobby pins with fake pearls and jewels on them. When they finished with me, my brother brought Mom and McKenna and immediately left for a Starbucks run. Mom’s hair was still longish, and Jessi pulled it back into a little knot. I’ve never seen my mom with any sort of an up-do and she looked great! McKenna’s beautiful long hair was curled and let loose. Meagan wanted her hair left long and straight with a small ponytail. We all looked wedding ready (except for makeup).

When we got back to the house, everything was bustling and busy. I went upstairs and changed out of the dress I wore to Jessi’s shop and put on a bathrobe, especially for the occasion. I was due downstairs for makeup. We decided the simplest thing to do would be makeup outside since the wedding was going to be outside. We set up a patio barstool and the makeup artist went to work. Everyone was working around us. I mostly had my eyes shut, so could only imagine what was happening. It seemed like a whirlwind and I was the calm in the middle! When I was finished, except for mascara, Meagan hopped into the chair and I went upstairs to finish my makeup. Except I couldn’t even find my mascara. Or my eyelash curler. I was slowly going into panic mode. What could’ve happened to my mascara and eyelash curler. I kept thinking, “I knew I should’ve gotten my eyelashes done when Meagan suggested it.” When Meagan came upstairs, she could see my panic. She suggested Lydia could run to Walgreens and pick up an eyelash curler. I agreed. Lydia was off and I started to prepare for the next big job… getting dressed. Meagan was a rockstar. She was calm to my panic and helped center me. I mean, it’s a dang eyelash curler. That was my concern. Who cared about the mascara; I have probably four or five mascaras to choose from and who cared that the one I couldn’t find (that was with my curler) was my favorite?

When I finally had mascara on, I was ready to roll. At that point, our wonderful photographer, Brianna Morrison, had taken a bunch of photos outside and was ready for some “getting ready” shots inside. Meagan helped me get into my dress. And then the hard part — buttoning the 2nd layer (the outer-dress). We got some photos. I was very calm at that point and ready to go. In fact, after the mascara fiasco, nothing else really phased me. By the way, I found my mascara and curler after the festivities, in Cheddar Bob’s room. It was just sitting on the dresser, minding its own business.

To backtrack some, I did not want Mike to see me in my dress until I marched up the aisle. In retrospect, it was not my best move. I’m pretty sure Briana would have successfully pulled off a reveal, had I actually been agreeable to allowing it, but I stubbornly decided this was MY day and that’s how I wanted it. If I had to do it over… I might have done it differently.

I wasn’t real clear on how the whole wedding ceremony was going to play out. I figured Mike would be standing on the deck waiting for my arrival. I now see how that didn’t happen quite the way I imagined. He was outside by the side of the house and walked up the aisle. I came downstairs and waited inside until given the word to go out the front door and around the house where I waited at the gate to march in with my brother. During that time, I looked at the street in front of our house and it was packed with cars. We had let the neighbors know we were going to be married in our backyard on August 1, so they probably weren’t as surprised as I was. I mean, the reception wasn’t supposed to start until 2:00. Where was everyone else supposed to park?! Not my concern at that moment. I was giddy with excitement! Finally, we got the cue to go. I was happy, excited, thrilled, every wonderful emotion, and didn’t shed a single tear! This was the moment. I entered the backyard as Wagner’s Bridal March was being played by David Wilson, a high school friend of mine, and new friend of Mike’s. He said he lost count of how many weddings he’d been a part of! Thousands possibly. He is close to my age (59) and his first wedding performance was when he was 11.

When we got to the steps leading up to the mini-stage where I met Mike, I barely remember walking — I was floating, I guess! At least I didn’t trip while I was floating. Or step on the front of my dress. I made it and our officiant, Reverend Lannie (as he is known now after getting his ordination), began his talk. I barely remember it too, except somehow, someway, he ended up skipping over my song and heading straight into Mike’s top-secret song, Extreme’s When I First Kissed You. My song was Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud (and it wasn’t top-secret). No matter. I loved the fact that the Rev was so amped up and excited about our story that he didn’t follow his own script. I LOVED THE STORY. At any rate, he mixed up the vows and the rings and we kissed and that was it! Suddenly, we were married in front of friends and family. Best. Wedding. Ever.

After we left the “stage,” it was mayhem. I don’t remember much. We ended up doing pictures then and there was a list I made. It was a long time. And Mike and I were hungry. Fortunately, Brenda made sure we ate. If you need someone to plan your next event, I can hook you up. She is the best!!! She asked me to reserve judgement until after the wedding. Well, my judgement is… SHE IS THE BEST!!!!

The rest of the afternoon was a blur. All told, after 144 people RSVP’d, 98 people showed up. Our backyard could have never handled 144, but that was okay. Including us, we had 100 people! Awesome. Also, we avoided a pandemic super-spreader event. COVID cases were down and the Delta Variant hadn’t surfaced yet so we dodged a bullet. Thankfully. I loved my wedding and our day and everything about it.

After everything, Mike and I sat outside in the warm August air and just basked in our love and the aftermath of a really wonderful day. This is our happily ever after and we did it!!! We are married! YAY!

Unbelievably, I wrote that last line about 2 months ago. I had meant to post pictures and a bunch of “aftermath” but did not. I’m going to write more, but I honestly am not up to it at the moment since so much has happened after that wonderful day. None of it is bad, in fact, so much is good. We got pictures. We got video. We got each other! I’ll start with posting this today and begin writing the next chapter.

Published by saidyestomakingthedress

I'm a full-time teacher, a part-time writer, and a some-time optimist.

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