Sunday, April 29, 2012

Wedding Aftermath (Monday)

I woke up promptly at 8 after three short hours of sleep. There was still time for me to get back to the Oxford House, eat another delicious breakfast, pack up all the things I had left there the day before and then get back to help Dan pack up and get out of his room at Friend HQ.

So by 11:00, Dan and the dogs (along with 95% of our family and friends) were on their way home, prepared to sit in labor day traffic on route 16. I, on the other hand, was headed up up to the fairgrounds with my parents, my new in-laws and my grandparents to clean everything up.

The benches that had been moved for our guests to sit on at the ceremony needed to be transported back to their original spot. All the presents and cards had to get packed up along with EVERYTHING  ELSE.

All of a sudden I realized why people rent things like lanterns and cake stands. So the following things were removed from the building: 6 strings of lights, 15 centerpieces, 5 bar table centerpieces, the drink dispensers and all of the alcohol and drink mixers we purchased. All of the mason jars that people didn't take home, 40 or so cupcakes, lobster lollipops that people didn't eat, 30 lanterns from the ceremony, programs, scrapbooks, a photobooth and all of the props that were inside it. Leftover snack packs, table runners, 50 origami stars, all of the old wedding paraphernalia from my relatives and in-laws, about 120 "napkins" that were actually grill towels, a huge cupcake stand, all of the plants we had purchased to "beautify" along with about 30 birch tree limbs we had tied up to the posts. The cake that was about 95% un-touched, the table signs and the ceramic cups that held them, the patio furniture and tent that went completely unused, all the gifts and cards... and 120 place settings consisting of a dinner, and salad plate, soup bowl, saucer and tea cup.

Oh yah, all of those 120 settings had to be washed first... by hand, with a hose.

So while the men took truckloads back and forth to the farmhouse, my Mom, Nana, great Aunt Jean, new mother-in-law and I washed dishes in rubbermaid bins outside the resource center. Luckily the weather was fair enough for us to get through it. Though admittedly, after about 80 settings I had to sit down on the ground and dry the dishes to re-pack them so my friend Amy could use them at her wedding in September, 2012. I was exhausted and started to get a bit cranky. When I thought about Dan driving home after having done almost no clean up, I got mad... only to be calmed by the fact that he was definitely sitting in bumper to bumper traffic. 

Though the work wasn't quick, eventually it all got done, and everything that had been transported to Maine in the numerous weekend trips leading up to the wedding was all back in my grandparent's barn. My new father-in-law swept the floor and with that, we were out and it was all over.

Back the house, we found that Texas (my grandparents black lab) had eaten our wedding cake... all of it. We didn't really want to eat frozen year old cake anyway! We all sat down for a drink and after a little while my in-laws started to head for Connecticut, hoping that they had missed most of the traffic. 

At the farmhouse, my Mom and Dad, my sister, Nana and Papa, Aunt Jean and I sat on the porch watching the rain roll in. All was quiet and calm, signaling that yes, it really was all over. My Mom made everyone dinner (not sure where she conjured the energy, but God bless her soul for it!) and we looked at the photobooth pictures on my netbook. 

When the rain cleared, my sister helped me pack up the jeep with as much as I could fit in it to take home. I couldn't even believe the amount of stuff that all had to be transported back to Connecticut eventually. (As of April 29, 2012 there are still items in the barn).

By about 8:00 p.m. I was fast asleep on a twin size bed with my sister in the twin beside me and my parents in the full-size bed across the room. My new husband was 250 miles away with our dogs at our house in Manchester. Not your average "day after the wedding" sleeping scenario, but as tired as I was, I didn't care.

The next day I would go back with my sister and spend a week at home before Dan and I went on our epic 20-day honeymoon. My Bride days were over - and I was actually quite pleased to be settling back into a normal lifestyle that I had so enjoyed before all of the wedding madness.

Oh yah, we're obviously living happily ever after. 

Want to catch up? You can read about the honeymoon here. Or check up on my new blog here.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Wedding Part V: Let's do this thing! (Sunday)

When the music started, the processional began and I felt anxious, excited, and oddly scheduled. I knew that My Dad and I walked in right at a certain part of the song; I had rehearsed it in my head over and over, each time swelling with tears as I pictured Dan waiting for me.

“They don’t know how long it takes… waiting for a love like this” was the line in the song, but when we started walking, I could barely hear anything. I tried so hard to pause the moment, but I couldn’t. And when I finally was able to see Dan waiting for me, I was smiling from ear to ear. No tears, just a big toothy smile from a girl too excited to keep pace with the song. For those steps down the aisle, I honestly felt like I was walking alone straight to him, and I didn’t look at anyone else.

In retrospect, I wish I did look at some of the other people there, because I would have liked to see the expression on their faces, but at the time it didn’t really enter my thoughts.

I know our ceremony was beautiful, people told me… but I can’t remember a thing. Next thing I knew, we had taken the group picture and the photographer was asking me if I still wanted to do the long list of photos I had asked for.

But it was so hot, and I was dying in my dress, so I could only imagine how the guests felt after having waited outside for me for a very long time. So I said no, that we would just get pictures with our grandparents and of the wedding party. Another HUGE mistake. When all was said and done (picture wise) we didn’t even have a picture with each of our families, and I totally regret that.

Dan and I took some pictures around the fairgrounds, and then we went back to the house to get a picture with our dogs, which was #1 on my list. It was so nice to see them, and I only wish that they were well enough behaved that we could have had them at the ceremony with us. But I guess that’s pretty hard for a pair of 2 year old dogs to do… you know, behave. So we snapped our pictures at my Grandparents house and returned to the fairgrounds to make our grand entrance into the reception. This was all very funny because I was driving us around, and it was difficult to get in and out of the jeep with this huge dress I was wearing.

As we stood in the half of the Resource Center that was shut off from guests, we talked to the DJ about what songs he should play as each couple came walking out. I made the decision right then and there for our first dance to be “Then” by Brad Paisley, and based on Dan’s plea not to dance alone the whole time, I also asked him to invite others to the floor after the first chorus. Dan decided that when we walked in, we should do a spin and next thing I knew, we were on the dance floor with everyone staring at us. I can’t remember walking in, or people cheering (which they surely did). I can’t remember what song he played for our entrance or the twirl.

But I remember our dance.

I hated that everyone was staring at us, so I was glad when people followed the DJ’s advice and joined us on the floor. There was a moment when I thought Dan was crying, which caused me to choke up as well, so I buried my head in his shoulder and thought about our first kiss and when he asked me to marry him… with the song we chose, it was impossible not to think of those things. At that moment, the photographer snapped one of my favorite pictures of the entire wedding.

After our dance we rushed into the speeches, starting with my sister who had determined that she would “wing it”. Well she definitely got me laughing when she mentioned some old Windham References. Next was Joey’s best man speech which was also hilarious and heartfelt. He kicked off by saying, “fornication… For an occasion such as this…” and I think it got everyone’s attention.

But far and away the most surprisingly amazing thing that happened was Brian’s song. Dan’s cousin Brian had asked me if he could sing at the wedding. I was really into personalized weddings so I said, “why not” unsure of whether or not he could actually carry a tune. That was about a month or so after we got engaged. Gradually I learned some small details about the song, including that it was to the tune of Barry Manilow’s “Mandy”. I was excited to hear it, but I didn’t know just how much effort he really put into it. He re-wrote the entire song to be about us, and it was pure genius. He really brought the house down!

The food began to arrive as my Dad took the mic to toast us. He welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming, but quickly got on with the “congrats” to us. I don’t remember his whole speech, and I think it’s because his voice was continuously cracking and I just kept sitting on the edge of my chair thinking, “ok, what will I do if he cries?” as if the man had never been allowed to show emotion in public or something. As he drew to the end, he mentioned all of the work that went into the wedding in the field that never happened. He talked about us having to compromise because of Mother Nature, and then he said, “To my daughter Mandy, and my new son-in-law Dan, I hope you never have to settle for anything ever again.” I rushed out of my chair to hug him nervous that he or I might start crying at that very sentence – that very thought, that he was my Dad and he was pissed off that I had to settle for Plan B. I tear up every time I think about it.

With the last toast complete, I finished my one and only drink that night – a glass of champagne. I asked the servers to bring our food last, so that Dan and I could get around to the tables to say hello while everyone else was eating.

But they didn’t.

Our food came first so I picked at my chicken and ate a few rolls. Again, for some ungodly reason being a bride = not ever being hungry. I guess the gallons of water I was drinking to keep from overheating probably curbed my hunger as well. So I started to go to the tables… I got through 2 tables before Dan reminded me that we had to feed the dogs.

Back in the Jeep we piled, and sped off to the farmhouse with Paul in tow to feed Marty. I dropped them and drove to the Oxford House to pick up the checks for the vendors that I had foolishly left in my car. Note to brides: pay ahead of time to save yourself the trouble. It must have been quite a site for the dinner crowd at the Oxford House that night as a Bride came storming through the door in her gown and then left just as quickly.

 When we arrived back at the fairgrounds the photographer was reminding me that we still had a lot of stuff to do and not a lot of time left for them to hang around. So we started with the cake cutting… again, I can barely remember these things! But I do recall telling Dan to be sure he picked a really small piece to give me, and he had better not stuff it in my face because that was trashy. He didn't, by the way, but he did a whole lot of pretending like he was going to! As I gave him his piece nicely, he didn't stop at the cake, but decided to put my fingers in his mouth as well. Enter obscene faces in the photos.

The piece of cake we cut was the smallest slice ever known to man, I think. I could barely taste it, but I figured we could always have more later.

Immediately after the cake, we did the father-daughter dance. I had picked Randy Travis, “Deeper than the Holler”  a song that my Dad and I had spent many days singing together at our house in Willimantic, seated by the old record and tape player we had that was a wedding gift to my parents. In the weeks leading up to the wedding, I played the song a few times and would choke up as I sang along, “this is just another way of sayin’ the same thing… my love is deeper than the holler, stronger than the river, higher than the mountains growing tall up on the hill…” I think the words do a pretty good job of describing the kind of love that exists in a family. But the beat… the beat is half way between a slow dance and a fast-dance so we kind of slow danced for a few seconds before Ya-Ya (my Uncle’s 3-year old foster daughter) decided she wanted to dance with us.

Once she joined the party, I called for my Mom and sister and brother to join in on the dance circle as well. A circle does not make for good pictures… but it was a more accurate presentation of our family – there to interrupt, crowd in and laugh together, no one being more important than any other. I’m glad the photographer did get one picture of my Dad and me dancing, even if I looked a little bit sweaty in it.

Right after our dance it was Dan and Diana’s turn. She had picked out what I thought was a pretty sappy song about a mother’s relationship with her son, but the words were fairly true to form. I admit that I didn’t get to watch this because the photographer had pulled me aside to get pictures with each of my bridesmaids. But I heard it was a nice dance, and I’m sure Diana loved it.

People had already started to leave at this point in the night, which made me sad but I guess that’s how some people do things. Not everyone is a party ‘til dawn kind of person. We wrapped up our list of “to-do’s” by conducting the garter and boquet toss in that order.

Every wedding album has a picture of a bride sitting in a chair while her newly minted husband stands with his hands on his knees looking her in the eye. We have that photo too, and now I know why everyone else does: it’s the point in the reception when the bride knows that the groom has likely had a few drinks and needs some guidance on how to get the right garter. There are two garters, in case you didn’t know: one for tossing, and one for keeping. The buzzed groom has to make sure he takes the right one.

And so, in an effort to be humorous, Dan stuffed his whole head under my dress and began searching around for the garter while everyone laughed uproariously. Under my dress he realized I was wearing shorts and laughed at me for being so ridiculous. He then took off the garter and waved it around in the air as he danced along with the music. My bouquet toss wasn’t as hilarious… I gave it what I thought was a decent throw over my head backwards, but it came about 5 feet short of where all the girls were standing.

One thing is for sure, there was equal competition for both the garter and the bouquet. Ronnie broke his brother’s glasses in the hunt, and Alexis actually grabbed the arm of another girl on her mad quest to grab the flowers. Both Ronnie and Alexis held up their prizes over their heads once victory was theirs. Ronnie gave a thumbs-up to the camera as the photographer shot her last photo of the evening.

Once all of the to-do’s were out of the way, I relaxed quite a bit and went around dancing and talking and taking pictures with the guests in our photo booth. This part of the night flashed by just as fast as the others, but it felt less rushed. I tried my best to talk to the people who were still there, but many had left without my having a chance to say thanks for coming. So I took the chance to say “thank you” to everyone in a little speech. It was off the cuff, but it went something like this:

“Thank you all for coming up here, I know it’s a very long drive to make, especially on a holiday weekend where you can be stuck in traffic for hours. I hope that you’re all having a good time.”

And then I took a deep breath and launched into the things I really wanted to cover.

“When Dan and I decided that we wanted to get married in Maine at my Grandparents house, it was  because this is a place that is very special to my family, and I have really enjoyed being able to share that with Dan. The field that we were supposed to get married in is really beautiful, and I will be forever disappointed that we didn’t end up using it. A lot of work went into getting stuff ready for this wedding…”

I thanked all the people who had put so much effort into trying to give me the wedding I had pictured in my head. It’s hard to convey just how much work was really done, but I think people got the idea.

“I had thought that the beauty was really important, and a key reason why I wanted to get married here so badly. But as it turns out ‘Maine’ as we always called it, isn’t really about the scenic overviews. We love this place and cherish it so much because of our experiences here with our family and friends. That’s really why we all love it so much. When things started to go wrong this weekend, and it was made obvious that I wouldn’t get the wedding I had planned, people just started showing up. Friends, family, everyone just showed up and started helping us to make this place look decent. So I think you all really get what Maine is about, you get why I wanted to be married here even if this is not the location I had planned on. And I am so happy to have the love and support of all of you today, and going forward in our lives together.”
It wasn’t the speech I had planned. I didn’t mention every single thing that went wrong, because they didn’t really matter anymore. Everyone was having a great time, and so was I – that was all that really counted in the end… you don’t want people to drive 5 hours and not have fun.

So we all toasted each other and continued dancing, laughing, using the photo booth and having a ruckus of a time (some more than others). Months after the wedding my sister called it the best day of her life. And you can’t complain about that. Though it probably wasn’t the best day of my life or even Dan’s, it was up there pretty damn high.

As the DJ began to wind it all down, I could hardly believe it was all over. In December, 2009 Dan had asked me to be his wife. He said that if all he ever had was me and the dogs from now until the end of time, then he would be a happy man. Here it was nearly 2 years later, and we had everything a couple could want out of their wedding day: happy family and friends, music to dance to, pictures to relive every moment and an excess of leftover cupcakes and booze.

Our friends and some family members all stayed late to help us collapse the tables and pack up the chairs. The tyrannical rental company that had ruined everything by coming too early, wanted to pick everything back up by noon the next day, so we had to break it all down in quick fashion. Finally I saw the bonus of having so many male friends!  By midnight, we were all out of the Natural Resource Center and headed back to the Saco River Motor Lodge (Friend HQ) for the after party.

Well, almost everyone. I still had to check out of my hotel and take off the dress that had kept me sweating all night by trapping the heat underneath the skirt. “Heat tent” is what my bridesmaid Amy had called it, and boy was that accurate. In addition, something was pressing hard into my waist, and I couldn’t tell what it was, but I was anxious to get it off!

Dan and I stopped at my Nana and Papa’s house to have her help me out of the dress with her crochet hook. The glitzy buttons I had spent so much extra money on were real live buttons, and they had to be unhooked individually with a crochet hook.




One by one the buttons slowly came undone until finally, I was able to nearly jump out of that dress with excitement. I could breathe again! And as it turned out, the thing pressing into me was a bead that had fallen off of my necklace. It got indented in my stomach and actually created a bruise. On top of that, my stupid strapless bra was really killing me. I had big red marks from where it had squished my sides all night. Finally it was off, and I was able to change into some normal clothes before heading back to the hotel.

When Dan and I arrived at Friend HQ, it was to a big applause, which was awesome. We spent the next 2 hours drinking and relaxing as one friend after another hit the hay. I was so thrilled that we had forced everyone to come up to Maine, creating this kind of opportunity every night for 3 nights in a row. All of the work we had done in the fields was worth it just to be able to have these two hours after the wedding where everyone was telling us what a great time they had, how good the food was, and that they loved the goodie bags at the end of the night packed with my Dad’s pepper relish.

Around 3:30, Dan and I finally went to our apartment style hotel. Joey, Courtney and JD were in the other bedrooms and Brendan was on the pull-out couch. It was definitely an odd bridal suite, but it did allow for our dogs to be with us, which was perhaps the most normal thing about the entire weekend.

At 5:00 a.m. I was still wide awake and unable to come down from the wedding adrenaline. I must have fallen asleep for a little bit, because at 8:00 a.m. I woke up as Mrs. Daniel Sadlon.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Wedding Part IV: Before the Ceremony (Sunday)

The Ambien kept me asleep through the night, but it made for an awful morning. At 7:00 a.m. I was so dizzy I could barely stand up. I didn’t want to eat and thought for sure, I might never get the energy to do anything.

Maid of Honor to the rescue with 2 big quarts of Gatorade and a package of saltines! By 8:30 I was ready to get up to the fairgrounds, finish all the work that still needed to be done and get married. It’s always the young ones that know how to cure hangovers…. whatever kind they might be.

Following another delicious breakfast at the Oxford House, I walked into the Resource Center for the last time as Amanda Sanborn and got to work on many things: hanging the stars, creating the photo booth, packing the snack packs I had planned for late night hunger. We set out an example table for the caterer and got rid of all the boxes and bags that we brought everything to the building in. It was another great wave of helpers that allowed us to get things done: my Aunts, cousins, girlfriends it was spectacular. All of the women who could have been at their hotels making themselves beautiful were right there every stride, helping me pull it all together.

At 11:00, I was banished from the building and sent back to the hotel to get ready with my girls. But I wanted to make sure they had nourishment, so I headed up to Jockey Cap once again to get some grinders for us to share.

How hard is it to make 3 grinders, I ask? It became apparent to me that it was damn near impossible… so I sat in Jockey Cap for half an hour just waiting. I had so many things to do, and I needed to be ready by the time the photographer arrived or else the whole day would be messed up. And as I sat waiting, thinking about things getting messed up, the shuttle company called.

There was confusion about the schedule I developed. They didn’t understand what I had wanted and so they thought I was not charged enough.

Ok, now picture this: Bride sitting in a general store 3 hours before her wedding waiting for some teenager to get it together and make 3 simple grinders. The wedding of her dreams somewhat vanished due to a freak hurricane and a terrible vendor. Not to mention, it was hot and humid… way more hot and humid that it had any business being in Maine in September. Then, you tell her you didn’t charge her enough?

Not smart.

So I did my best to remain calm and basically told them that they had agreed to a price and they should honor it. I had sent them a description of exactly what I wanted… in writing. They had confirmed, and so they had no choice but to just make it happen. The nerve….

At that point, my Mom strolled into Jockey Cap and told me to get back to the hotel and start getting ready… she would wait for the sandwiches.

What seemed like 3 days later Mom finally got our sandwiches and brought them back to the Oxford House to share with the girls.  I wasn’t hungry at all, but knew that if I didn’t eat I would probably get sick again. I also finished up the Gatorade that my sister had brought me earlier in the day. Another deep breath and I tried to push pause. Nothing was slowing down and if I didn’t take a second to soak it in, I would forget it forever. So for that brief minute… I sat with my girls chatting and eating like it was any other day.
But it wasn’t, and I was off schedule. The photographer arrived long before my sister even started to do my hair and I knew that in the end, we would be late. All the crap I had given Dan about getting to the ceremony on time, and I was going to be the one who showed up late. I should have known that it would be that way… I’m always rushing around at the last minute, even when he does make us late for things.

So Katie curled my hair and gave me an updo. It wasn’t exactly what I had wanted, but it was pretty and I was late… so when she asked, “do you like it? Because if not I can change it” I simply smiled and said it looked great. It did, it just wasn’t what I originally pictured.

Dan kept calling my parents and me, asking when we would finally be there and my photographer could sense that I was rushing around like an idiot, so she said to me, “I know you’re a bit late and that you want to get up there and get married… but you won’t get another chance to take these pictures.”

She knew me too well… and she knew that I would stop my whirlwind for an awesome picture. So it continued to get later and we just kept pausing for photos. I’m glad I did, but you can tell my Dad wasn’t so pleased about being late. He isn’t smiling in any of the “before” pictures.

At 3:50, My Dad, Mom and I all piled into my Uncle Rob’s car and started driving to the fairgrounds. It’s not a long drive, probably a grand total of 3 minutes, but it was the only part of the entire weekend where minutes were minutes, not seconds. As we passed my Grandparent’s house, I got a little choked up: there I was, on my way to get married to the man I loved, and everyone we cared about was there to watch it all happen.

Dad made some cranky comment about how late we were and found himself the subject of my outburst “It’s my (curse) wedding! We’re not late, they are early. It does not start until I get there, so it’s impossible for us to be late. Calm Down!” What could have been a bad bridezilla moment ended up making us laugh and ultimately, relax.

forced smile
I’m sure the guests who had been waiting for us in the ridiculous heat were relieved to see a car pull in, so they all moved towards the benches and got ready for the big show.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Wedding Part III: Saturday

When 6:00 a.m. rolled around, I figured it was worthless to try and sleep in half-hour intervals, so I sat up in bed, alone in my big hotel suite and posted on Facebook, “turning into one of those people who can’t sleep in hotels.” It wasn’t more than 5 minutes before my friend Amy responded, “I am awake!” So I drove down to Friend HQ and picked her up. I paid for a bed and breakfast for 2 people, so 2 people would have breakfast!

It was a nice way to start the day as we sat in the breakfast room at the Oxford House, chatting about the day to come and keeping a wary eye on the weather. It was a fairly chilly morning for Labor Day weekend, and clouds dominated the sky. I was really nervous about how the weenie roast and canoe trip would go if it was cold and cloudy, but the weather in Maine is ever-changing, so I just kept my fingers crossed.
The Canoers were supposed to meet at 10:00 sharp at Saco Bound. But at 9:50, I was in Amy’s bathroom at Friend HQ plucking my eyebrows and cursing myself for being so forgetful about my own appearance.  After the group of about 30 signed all of the proper paperwork, got themselves over to the canoe drop point and finally got in the river, it was probably 11:15.

Meanwhile, my Mom was running around the grocery store with 2 carts in tow, trying to pick up everything we needed for the next 2 days. Dad and the Uncles were at the weenie roast site, making some last minute preparations. Additionally, non-canoers who wanted to attend the roast were showing up at the Farmhouse, trying to figure out how to get down to the site.

The beers flowed freely on the River, as they always do, and I was having a great time. Dan, the dogs and I were kicking back in our canoe checking out the scenery along the river, and noting how Irene had changed it all. Like an idiot, I forgot my waterproof camera, so I don’t have any pictures from the canoe portion of the day, but it was shaping up nicely.

We did have to paddle a bit, because in my head there was a very strict timeline and I wanted to be sure that I didn’t miss anything. Pulling into the beach and the roast site was wild; I could hardly believe the amount of work that had been done in such a short period of time. Aside from the tire marks, and the silt on everything, it looked damn good! The men had cut up the fallen trees to make seats out of stumps and placed them around the firepit. Tablecloths were on the tables making it seem festive and fun, the bean bag game was anxiously awaiting players, and my Uncles had already started cooking.

Then we hit a little speed bump.

A lot more people showed up than RSVP-ed, and my Mom only bought enough hot dogs for everyone to have one, so we quickly ran out. Add in the fact that there were a lot of drinkers who were hungry (and probably had more than 1 dog) and you get a few people who went without. Luckily, there were chips and pickles and watermelon, not to mention s’mores, so when it was all said and done, people had SOMETHING to eat. Guess that is a quick lesson in being sure to RSVP or, being more aggressive about getting your food if you did RSVP.

Like the night before, I tried to get around and say hi to everyone and see if they were enjoying themselves. I assume they all did, but with my scurrying around, it was hard for me to relax like they all were!

Hurricane Irene damage
By the time 3:00 rolled around, the canoers had to be on their way towards Pig Farm to get picked up. My Dad and Grandfather said that if I went the long way down river I might not make it in time for the pickup, so we took a short-cut (through Leach Island) and arrived at Pig’s Farm about 10 minutes later, abruptly ending the trip. Fortunately; Paul, Ian and Kasey managed to flip their canoe in about a foot of water… at least there was entertainment.

When all canoes were out of the water, we waited for the bus that would bring us back. We waited for a very long time!

I can’t remember much between that and the rehearsal, except for the fact that it was a whirlwind, and once again, I didn’t have time to get pretty like I wanted to. So I showed up to the rehearsal late, with wet hair.
Things went pretty well during that part of the night. We figured out timing for walking to the music that I had picked out for my cousins to sing and play. We practiced readings and seemed to get everything down pat. It was going well… too well you might say, so on the way to the rehearsal dinner, I did us all a favor and got sick so I could be the one thing that went wrong that day.

Someone should have told me not to drink during the canoe trip. I should have known better. Oh wait, someone did tell me not to drink, it was Dan – and he knew me better than I did. But like I frequently do, I ignored his warnings and spent too much time in the sun drinking alcohol.

Queue me in and out of the bathroom during our rehearsal dinner feeling very sick. I didn’t eat a thing (which I’m sure, didn’t help the situation) and couldn’t seem to get the waiter to bring me a damn ginger ale! You would think that the waiter would remember to bring the BRIDE her drink at her own dinner. This is without a doubt my biggest regret of the wedding, because I essentially missed it. My future mother-in-law gave a great toast welcoming me to the family, everyone was having a great time and from what I heard, the food was excellent… but I couldn’t enjoy it because I kept thinking I was going to throw up.

I guess it was a trade-off: drink and party during the day with friends, or drink and party at night with the family. In retrospect, I should have chosen the latter, but alas, I’m not always the sharpest tool in the shed.
By the time it was over, I had dropped off Dan (at what became wild party HQ that night) and headed back to the farmhouse to pick up my wedding dress. Luckily I was finally feeling better (likely due to the gallons of water I drank instead of eating my dinner). I sat and chatted with my Nana and Uncle Rob late into the night discussing my sleep issues the night before. Uncle Rob shared an Ambien with me and said I would wake up refreshed instead of groggy like I do when I take Benadryl as a sleep-aid.

So then at the Oxford House that night before I went to sleep, I swallowed the Ambien and drifted off to sleep on my stiff mattress. Tomorrow was to be the big day, and I needed that full night’s rest.