Saturday, June 26, 2010

Remembering Our Wedding Day

My husband and I have four weddings to attend this year. As our two year wedding anniversary approaches, we have been reminiscing about our wedding day. It truly was the best day of my life. The days leading up to the wedding, the two week honeymoon, everything was almost perfect.

My husband and I had planned plenty of activities for the days before the wedding. That gave us the opportunity to spend time with our friends and family without having them sitting in our living room for 4 days. Everyone got along. The weather cooperated. Everything really was fabulous. But there were some hiccups...

My husband and I were hoping that each of our families would contribute to the wedding budget. We expected to spend about $15,000 and were hoping to get about $5,000 of that from my mom and his aunt and uncle. She had talked about contributing to the budget 18 months before the wedding when we got engaged but my mother has never been a saver and since my father died she has never been able to manage her money well. My mother was completely strapped financially and was living paycheck to paycheck by the time the wedding around. It was all she could do to scrape up enough money for the hotel, dress and 4 days of spending money. She paid for her and I to get our hair done as her wedding gift to us.

My husband's aunt and uncle are very comfortable financially and have bailed out all of my husband's siblings at various times throughout their lives. They never had to bail my husband out and he never asked for anything so we thought a check was probably coming our way. A couple months before the wedding we realized that no money was coming and that our $15,000 wedding was actually going to be a little over $18,000. So we took out a personal loan with a really high interest rate and maxed out our credit cards. We ended up getting about $2,500 in cash from wedding gifts (most of that coming from my husband's aunt and uncle) and were able to pay down our debt. We just paid off the personal loan this week and don't regret anything.

The violinist we hired to play for the ceremony was a diva who complained about how cold it was on our wedding day and how that was bad for his strings and his fingers. We live in upstate New York, we got married in the fall, you are a member of a symphony orchestra who has concerts outside through Thanksgiving. Shut up!!! But he played beautifully and everyone complimented us on the amazing atmosphere that it provided for our outdoor ceremony.

The hair salon where my mother and I were getting our hair done forgot about our appointments. We spent 30 minutes sitting in the parking lot waiting for the owner to arrive and then spent the better part of the next 4 hours listening to people gossip and handle their personal business. Our hair styles took about an hour but the styling time was split over the 4 hours that we were there. They didn't take credit cards so I had to walk to a sketchy convenience store around the corner to withdrawal money from an ATM machine that charged $3 for each of the 2 transactions that I made because they limited the amount of money that you could take out a time to $50. Why is it that all the best black hair salons are in the ghetto and that the stylists act like extras in a Tyler Perry movie that are doing you a favor rather than professionals? We missed our manicure/pedicure appointments with the rest of the bridal party (who were all white or Hispanic and had their hair done at a nice salon). Luckily the hair salon had nail polish remover and a nail file so we were at least able to make our nails look presentable. We rushed from the salon and went through a McDonald's drive through on our way to the ceremony. The look on the ladies face as I paid, full bridal up-do and veil in place, was priceless.

The bakery misunderstood our instructions and our cake looked like it was for a kids birthday party and not a wedding. At least they got the flavors right. I picked the cakes up on my way to McDonald's so obviously there was no time to argue. Once again, another great look from a cashier as I paid and then rushed out the door with my veil blowing in the wind.

Our wedding planner didn't set up the room that I had picked for the bridal party to get dressed in so we all crammed into a public restroom at the state park where the ceremony was. The wedding planner did an awesome job saving us money and setting things up for us. But the hours of A Wedding Story and Whose Wedding is it Anyway? had told me that my wedding planner was going to be my best friend, my right hand man, my go-to-gal and she definitely wasn't any of those. She was actually kind of cold and not overly helpful with anything that we didn't ask her to do directly.

For example, all she would have had to do was tape paper on the windows at the park lodge and my bridal party would have had a nice space to get dressed in and store our belongings but when one of my bridesmaid's asked her about this she indicated that I was going to do that when I got there. Right, after rushing from the salon and picking up the cake I was going to buy a roll of paper and tape it up. Like I said, she did her job, but she didn't overextend herself. If you've watched any of these wedding shows you see the wedding planners adding little touches to the wedding from their personal arsenal of bridal accessories and going out of their way to make sure everything is taken care of so the bride and the groom don't have anything to worry about except for getting married. My husband and I paid everyone, planned and booked all the activities outside of the wedding, bought all of the decorations and put together the favors ourselves. We couldn't have gotten married without our planner but she could have definitely taken more of the responsibility on herself to earn the 10% of our budget that she charged.

I forgot the marriage license so a friend had to go back to my house to pick it up. It only delayed the ceremony for about 30 minutes but I felt like such a jerk since I pride myself on being super organized and always on time.

Then there are always the family things: having the rehearsal dinner at our house stressed out me and the pets and cost more money than a sit down dinner at restaurant would have cost, my mother's family had never seen the house before so they invited themselves over the afternoon before the rehearsal dinner and lead to us spending additional $ on a family meal from KFC to feed them all, the bridal party hung out at my house for 4 hours on the day before the wedding instead of leaving after breakfast while the men went out to play golf- we watched TV and stared at the walls while I should have been going to the florist and the caterer and making final arrangements for the wedding, my husband ended up handling these errands while I prepared the house for the rehearsal dinner.

Looking back on things now, I should have spoke up and told my family they couldn't come to the house the day before the wedding and asked the bridesmaids to leave the house because I had errands to run. But really, these things aggravated me for a a very short amount of time. I was floating on air for much of that month and loved every minute of it. Our wedding is often talked about as the best wedding any one's every been to and I love that. My husband and I have discussed renewing our vows or having a big anniversary party every 10 years because a party that good shouldn't only happen once in a life time.

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