Sunday, January 11, 2009
This is going to be a lengthy post. I thought I'd share my wedding journal with you. Hope you enjoy!
Sinus Headaches, Itchy Skin, Wax Spills, Rain ~ it was perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing!
January 1, 2009
This is the date that I’ll start with for our Wedding journal entry. The morning of the New Year, Greg and I went to Café Latte Da. It was Greg’s idea ~ how romantic to go there, the place of our first date and the place where he proposed. To be there ~ First day of the New Year for when we are to be married. It felt right. We were given congratulations and smiles from the staff at the café; they knew our engagement story and asked about our plans.
When we came home, I received an email stating I was awarded “Poet of the Month” by a website I regard as my muse’s home. Greg was as happy for me, if not more so than I was. He beamed with pride and made me feel wonderful.
That afternoon, Greg and I went to his parents’ home to celebrate the New Year with a lunch of “health, wealth and happiness” (i.e. black eye peas, cabbage and ham). I think it’s more of a Southern tradition. It was then that Mary Ann showed us Cammie’s dress she found a few days before. Cammie (Jr. Bridesmaid) looked so pretty and I was thrilled! Cammie and Collin (Jerry’s children, Greg’s niece and nephew) stood as our Jr. Bridesmaid and Ring Bearer.
It seemed the year was off to a great start. We even stopped at my parents’ home late that afternoon to move some furniture around in preparation for the wedding.
January 2, 2009 – not so good. How emotions or the body can change in one day, it’s strange, isn’t it? The weather was crazy, going from hot to cold. The night before had been cold, but this day – hot and muggy. I call it “Doctor Weather.” Here we were in the upper 70’s in January!
It didn’t help that the last two nights I was up late. Yes, Greg had his Bachelor party. No strippers, I was happy to learn. They went to Danny’s condo (Danny is our best man), where Danny had it catered by Messina’s restaurant. Then they went to Harrah’s Casino. Greg never played Craps before, so Danny instructed, “Follow our lead.” When Greg said he was on his way home, he told me he won 500 dollars! Woo Hoo!
Only, he didn’t get home until 2:30am (nope, wasn’t even drunk! I’m glad Greg isn’t the type to drink), which meant I didn’t get to sleep until the wee hours and then I woke up on Jan 2nd to a sinus drip at 6am! Not good. The sinus pressure was giving me a massive headache and I started to lose my voice. I kept thinking, “How on earth am I going to say my vows if I can’t speak?”
I’m sure it was the combination of back and forth weather and staying up late. I took medicine to help with the sinus pressure, a couple of different medicines, which most likely wasn’t wise. By the time I got to my parents’ home to start the decorations and felt a wave of “it doesn’t look like a place we’re about to get married at” and in fact, so much had to be done, the nerves hit…. I don’t know if I had an allergic reaction to the medicines or it was nerves. It started with my hands; they started to itch. I didn’t have hives or anything, just itchy hands, which started to turn red. Then it went up my arms and up my neck. Soon, anywhere I had clothes or something touched me, I itched!
When I showed Mom this, she gave me a Benadryl, saying, “If this doesn’t work, we might have to take you to the hospital.” Oh No! I couldn’t believe this was happening the day before our wedding. The Benadryl was starting to make me sleepy. I felt physically horrible and emotionally sad too, because here ~ a crowd of friends and family had gathered to help decorate and I couldn’t participate! Everyone told me to go lie down, but when I did, the cleaning people had put chemicals on the floors and it (chemical smell) was so strong… I had to leave.
Greg came by to pick me up and I think he was glad I went home to rest.
I fell asleep for five hours. When I woke up, it was to hear Greg saying that the decorating crew (cousins from Maryland, friends and immediate family members) had finished with the house and they said it looked good. Greg wanted me to go there and look it over. I knew he was worried about me, but he kept his thoughts quiet. He didn’t have to say anything; I could feel his gentle nature and loved him all the more, if that’s possible.
Mary Ann called to see how I was doing and my voice had semi returned. She told me how she said prayers for me. That meant a lot! (Thank you, Mom!)
When we arrived at our wedding site, I was shocked. It was…. Unbelievably transformed. Every room and every place from inside to outside was wedding enhanced, decorations from bells to flowers to candles to lace. The archway was beautiful with the shiny blue material Kim found and the flower garlands going along it (Holly and her family worked to put this together). The tent walls came down and enclosed my parents’ side garden inside the tent, giving it a place with the decorations. Every table inside had some type of blue and silver and white decoration, the theme flowing from one room to another and even outside to the back patio by the pool.
I felt as though a weight had been lifted. For so many months, I bought and made stuff for the wedding, but the day to bring it all together, this day, I felt…. Lost.. Me, lost, the person who organizes things by nature. And from that lost feeling, the nerves had kicked in and sinuses made it worse. Yet, everything worked out; we left the decorating in such capable and caring hands, those of family and friends. They made everything romantic and lovely.
I thought, “Maybe God didn’t want me to be there to decorate, knowing I had to trust in others to be there for us and in Him. So, whatever the weather is on our wedding day (the next concern of mine), well, I accept whatever God offers, because it’s all going to work out.” It’s strange to say it, but a calm feeling washed over me.
Holly came to our home that afternoon and laughed, “There were three points of view about how to decorate – mine, Kim’s and your Mom’s. We were able to share various opinions and work through them. It’s actually good that you weren’t there, because you would have been forced to pick which of the three you agree with and naturally that would leave someone you didn’t pick and possible hurt feelings or at the least an uncomfortable situation. This way, it was all done for you and everyone worked it out amongst ourselves.”
(Mary Ann told us upon our return that Kim was the “go to person” and how she organized everything. I’m so glad Kim was there and took the reigns!)
Thank you, God, because that’s the truth! And thanks to Holly, Mom, Mary Ann, Kim, Gwen, Rocky, Willa, Erin, Roda, Deanna, April, Michael – am I missing anyone? For they all came through for Greg and I to create our romantic wedding setting. I couldn’t have asked for more.
January 3, 2009 ~ Our Wedding Day
Tradition requires the groom not see the bride on the wedding day. But I didn’t want Greg to leave the night before. I asked him to stay, but we slept in different room, with his door closed, so I could leave in the morning without him seeing me. I felt so much better that he was there with me. Greg has the ability to make the worries of the world disappear. All he has to do is hold me.
That morning, I couldn’t ask for a hug, but I was able to tell Greg I loved him and heard his voice on the other side of the door in reply. The sinus pressure was still there, but nothing like the day before and no itchy skin and no nervousness and I could speak!
I picked up Mom and Roda to get our hair done. Roda got in the car and said, “I’m more nervous today than when I was for my own wedding!” We laughed and I replied, “OK, you be nervous for both of us, because I’m not nervous right now.” Roda was so cute! She was nervous, as she honored us by being one of the Readers for our wedding.
My “something borrowed” and “something old enough” (as Holly coined it), was the borrowed tiara comb from Roda that she wore for her wedding. She was sweet to lend it to me. It didn’t take long for us to get our hair done. (My dress was the "something blue and something new.")
On the drive back to my parents’ house, Greg called me to say that he spoke to Gambino’s bakery and the cake was on the way. Then he asked, “Did your Dad tell you what I did to him this morning?” Greg explained, “I bought the roses to the house. It was twenty white roses. I figured we could take two of the roses out to give to our Moms during the ceremony. When I came into the house, I gave your Dad the roses and said, “Tell Aleta I can’t go through with it.” Your Dad’s eyes stopped for a second, then he looked up at me and could tell I was joking.. He said, “Why…You…” and I think there was a curse word as well, but all in good humor.” Oh my gosh, ONLY Greg would do this and only I would laugh on the other end of the phone as my fiancé talks of his practical joke to not get married! That’s my Love for you.
I was able to snap a few pictures before having to get ready. Soon though, wedding guests started to arrive. I got dressed and Mom helped put the penny “for luck” in my shoe. The shoes that Greg calls my “Silver Slippers.”
When Mom said Greg was at their house, I was quarantined to my parents’ bedroom. I could see the guests walking by if I peered through the lacy curtains on the French doors. The excitement was in the air, the joyful kind, the happy feelings. From time to time, Greg would walk by and knock on the French doors. It was his way to say he was there and was thinking of me ~ just melt my heart some more.
Holly came in to take some pictures as I was putting on the necklace I made with seed beads and Swarvorski crystals. It took two weeks to make and I was so worried I wouldn't have it finished in time. As Holly took pictures, waiting for the time to pass… I picked up one of the Fleur de Lis candles Kim and I made. The candle was lit and little did I realize the hot, melted wax was at the brim. Barely did it move when it cascaded over the edge and onto the skirt of my wedding dress!
I called out, “Oh no! Holly, I spilled wax on my dress!” As Holly grabbed a towel, she exclaimed, “This is Major! This is Major!” She tried to wipe it off, but the wax stain wouldn’t budge. I asked, “What can we do?” Mom heard us and said, “Don’t look at it. Just don’t look at the stain.” They both continued, “It’s on the skirt. Nobody will notice. It won’t show up in pictures, because it looks like a shadow and pictures are the memories of this day. Don’t think about it.”
I took their thoughts and went with it. No tears were shed, no big drama and the way I figured, “What will be, will be.” Thankfully, my nerves didn’t go into hyper drive and I didn’t turn into a Bridezilla. (In fact, at the end of the wedding, Holly remarked, “This is the first wedding I’ve been to where nothing went wrong.” I reminded her of the wax spill and she replied, “Yes, there was the wax, but Aleta… you really handled that well.”)
Ok, I don’t want to seem corny or mushy, well, you know that’s going to happen anyway, but I truly believe God’s presence found peace within me, knowing the only thing that truly mattered was our marriage.
Kim came in to say everyone was seated and the music was starting. (Greg later shared how, since we didn’t have a rehearsal the night before, it wasn’t determined who would walk when and to what music. Greg asked Kim to organize this and, as Greg said, “She was on it!” Kim was an integral part of the wedding plans from start to finish!)
One funny thing occurred, Kim left the room with instructions for the DJ to start playing. Cammie and Collin were to walk the aisle first. Holly turned to me and said, “I think I have enough time to go to the bathroom.” Kim came back in and asked where Holly was and I said, “She’s in the bathroom.” Kim said, “Right now?” and then she stamped her foot and called out, “Holly! Put a shake on it!” We had to giggle.
Holly took her place to walk into the tent and Dad came to me. Dad did NOT give me the speech of the past, “If you don’t want to do this, you don’t have to.” I think Greg will be happy to know this ~ my parents and friends all knew this was right. As we started towards the tent, light rain started to fall and I smiled.
From my parents’ bedroom, I couldn’t tell what guests where there. All I was told was, “Everyone is here!” And wow ~ what an amazing sight to see so many friends and family to share in our special day. All the chairs were filled, as well as people standing, packed in. They smiled and I looked for Greg.
As the rain continued, Father Ken (Greg’s childhood friend) began the ceremony with our Mother’s lighting the candles to represent both families. Father Ken explained that after our vows were given, Greg and I would take the Mother’s Candles and use them to light our Unity candle. This would represent the merging of our families with our marriage. (What I didn’t know was that nobody had a match and Greg had to borrow Kristen’s lighter. Sometimes it’s good when you have a friend that smokes!)
The wedding ceremony was beautiful and special, just as I had hoped. We had three readings:
Kim read Genesis 1:26-28 I was so happy that she was a reader for us considering all that she helped me with planning for months.
Roda read Psalm 67 She did a beautiful job, there was no need for her to be nervous.
Madelyn read Colossians 3:12-17 She spoke calmly and the words had such meaning I wanted to cry at that point.
Father Ken’s reading was from the Gospel of John (15:9-12) and his Homily was filled with faith and humor. He spoke of how long he has known Greg and how he knows we have a good sense of humor. Father Ken added, “I thought Aleta and Greg would appreciate this…” He read what children of various ages defined love to be. It was absolutely precious and we all laughed, though, there was a lot of truth to it too. Many guests commented to us later how much they enjoyed Father Ken’s homily, how caring and thoughtful he was, as well as funny. It was the perfect combination of friendship, faith, love and laughter.
(Edited to add the homily. I emailed Father Ken to ask for the quotes that he gave during the homily and he sent me the following. I hope you enjoy!)
"Alan, aged 10, was asked “How do you decide who to marry?” He answered:
You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.
Kristen, also aged 10, answered the question in this way:
No person really decides before they grow up who they're going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you're stuck with.
Derrick, aged 8, was asked “How can a stranger tell if two people are married?” He answered: You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.
Anita, aged 9, was asked “Is it better to be single or married?” She answered:
It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them.
Kelvin, aged 8 was asked “How would the world be different if people didn't get married?” He answered: There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn't there?
Father Ken continued with, "All kidding aside, you see, different folks perceive marriage in different ways, don't they? You can get opinions and advice... But what is most important, Greg and Aleta, is not, of course, what others or you THINK marriage should be, but rather what you truly MAKE your marriage to be for each other. A successful marriage will ultimately be determined by what you are to and for each other.
But I beg license to share just a few pieces of guidance, that is, my own two cents...
The first bit of guidance is about the very reason that you have prepared for this wedding through the church, and why a priest is witnessing your vows. You make your vows this day in the presence of God and His church and you ask for God to bless your union... Know that this sacrament that you celebrate and that YOU effect today is a grace that God gives to you. The sign that we can all see are your vows to each other, but God is giving you grace for your marriage. And from this day forward, Greg and Aleta, you will be the sign of that grace for each other.
Second, Marraige is not 50-50. A good marriage must be 100-100! Give all of yourself to it.
Last, Love each other more than yesterday, and less than tomorrow. And don't imagine another day of your life without the other in it!
Greg and Aleta, know that all of us here today congratulate you and we also offer you our love, prayers and support.
God bless you both and may He bless your union that you now make.
It was beautiful!
I can’t describe the look in Greg’s eyes when he said his vows. But I loved his look, as if he was letting me right into his soul as he spoke. If the words for the vows weren’t enough, the look in his eyes said it all. From time to time during the ceremony, Greg would give me that special wink or gently squeeze my hand or mouth the words, “I love you.” At one point he whispered that I looked beautiful. I didn’t cry or get nervous with my vows, though I know I didn’t speak loud enough for most people to hear.
(One of the ladies from my beading group told me, “Aleta, I knew you loved Greg from the way that you talked about him at the beading meetings. I couldn’t hear your vows, but the way that you looked at each other made everyone feel as if your love was tangible. We felt touched by the love between the two of you.” I think she said it perfectly.)
When it came time to exchange rings, my oppsy was to take Greg’s right hand instead of his left hand. (Greg told me on our honeymoon, “I was thinking, she has the wrong hand. Maybe it’s different for the guy and the guy’s ring goes on the right hand?” ) Greg gave me a funny look right before I moved the ring onto his finger and he whispered, “Wrong hand.” (He thought, “I sure hope I’m right.”) I laughed, whoops.. Then, Greg had to announce it loudly to the audience, “She was putting the ring on the wrong hand!” Everyone laughed. We had two videographers at the wedding. I wonder if they caught me sticking my tongue out to the audience! Ah well, you have to laugh at yourself.
The wind was starting to kick up pretty good outside and just as I said the words to Greg, “This is my solemn vow” wind rushed in, made the tent walls look as though it was breathing. The wind was so strong, one of the Ficus trees started to blow over, but Danny (Best Man) made a great save and caught it in time. Father Ken looked at the guests and said, “Did you see the Holy Spirit move?” His comment was met with chuckles, but honestly, yes, I think it was a sign and I smiled. (My Dad later said, “The minister was really good. I liked him.”)
(I want to share what other people were thinking at this moment. I could see it in their eyes and truth be told, it flashed for a second in my thoughts as well. “Afraid that the wind would push the tent walls so hard that it would knock over the unity candle, the candle would catch the cloth on fire, the wind would knock down the tent and rain would come pouring down and catch us in it and that the number of people along the side of the house where there is a plastic porch of sorts, the weight of the people would cave under them.” After that thought, I followed mine with, “Well, if it happens, at least there are videographers to catch it on tape so we can laugh about it afterwards.” Again, not a real fear to me, because there was calm in the air for me. And none of those thoughts came to fruition.)
Greg told me, “I was so glad that you weren’t nervous. I was worried the weather would make you nervous.” See, that’s the man I married, for him to be worried about my thoughts and emotions; he senses how I’m feeling. I love Greg, have I said that lately?
Greg and I knelt for Father Ken to give us the Solemn Blessing of our Marriage. The wind continued to move and I felt the water from outside touch the skirt of my dress. It didn’t upset me. It felt as though we were kissed by nature, part of everything around us. As one of my good friends, Kristen, said, “When it rains on your wedding day, it means the angels in heaven are crying for their joy.”
I know I was smiling pure joy when Father Ken pronounced us Husband and Wife and presented to our guests, “Mr. and Mrs. O’Brien.”
There are so many blessings to count, from our loved ones taking their time to make it a beautiful home, to my parents having it at their home so soon after my brother’s and Roda’s wedding, to our guests ~ Friends and Family ~ a lovely crowd of 130 people. Father Ken, a childhood friend of Greg’s, was our Officiant and delivered a beautiful ceremony. Another good friend of Greg’s, Chad, was our videographer.
Greg’s best friend, Danny, stood in our wedding and honored us with an endearing toast. Danny said, “I’ve known Greg for a long time and you know what it means to have a friendship for that long, there aren’t many friends you can count as close friends. (Guests nodded their heads in agreement.) Today, I feel as if Greg has found another friend like that in marrying Aleta.” Holly, our Matron of Honor, for her toast said, “I’ve known Aleta all my life and I can honestly say that I’ve never seen her as happy as she is today.”
We took pictures upon pictures and I can’t wait to see them from the professional photographer, but he said they won’t be ready until 2 months. In the meantime, we hope friends and family can share what they have. Holly’s son, Michael, was an apprentice photographer, as he was everywhere that the professional one was. We’re excited to see how they come out!
Capdeboscq Catering served for our wedding as well. The food options were different, as I wanted to try other options on their menu and trust me, we were not disappointed. Bruce, Greg’s friend, said, “Everything I tried was delicious! Everything!” The catering company even packed two boxes for us to take on the flight out. One box had “cold items” – such as sandwiches and wedding cake and the other was a “hot box” which included stuffed bell peppers, lasagna, pecan chicken, and pasta jambalaya. It was delicious and great for us when we had a layover for a flight.
Our first dance was the same as Rob and Roda’s, “At Last.” We invited family to join us with dancing. We tried to mingle, but it was a sea of faces. All those wonderful people there to congratulate us. Mom and Dad said they only heard good things about the wedding, how much people enjoyed it, that the food was good, that everything was beautiful. It tickles us to know our wedding was enjoyed!
Greg had a group dance with Holly and Mike’s kids and later Danny and Greg danced (that was hilarious – but honestly – they danced pretty good together! Hehe. Hmmmm.. I wonder now if there was some dancing going on at the Bachelor party? Nahhhh…)
In the rush of 130 friends and family, one person introduced himself, “You don’t know me, but I’m Alvin.” I stopped right there and said, “I have to give you a hug.” I introduced him to Greg and my parents. Mom went to get the gift I bought for Alvin; it was a small angel pin (which he put on his tie) as a “Thank You.” Alvin and his wife seemed genuine and caring, much as the voice of Hope from the day of Greg’s car accident. Alvin said, “I put my phone number on the wedding card. Maybe sometime we can do lunch or supper.” I thought this was so sweet! I could see Alvin’s wife had teary eyes, seeing how much we appreciated him being there for us.
So many blessings to count on our wedding day ~ the most important is the love we shared and that we were blessed with family and friends to share our special day.
After we cut the cake (and no, we didn’t shove the cake into each other’s faces, though Greg said later he thought I might do so.. hehe. I just dabbed his nose with a touch of icing!)… it wasn’t long before we had to change into our going away outfits.
The limousine was on the scene and our bags were packed! We had to dash between thrown rice and bird seeds (compliments of Mary Lou’s great idea) and bubbles.
We were actually inside of the limo when Mom realized I didn’t throw the bouquet. She asked someone to quickly get the bouquet and I had it in my hands within seconds. Greg told me, “I bet you can’t throw it past the sidewalk!” (We were in the limo and I was throwing it from the window.) I thought I did a great throw and yes, past the sidewalk, and into Deanna’s clutch! She was happy to catch it!
Oh and I have to share this as well. Roda told me when the people said, “Single girls – gather around for the Bouquet Toss” that she went to stand with the single girls until her sister said, “Roda! You’re married!” That was too cute!
(Not only did we have goodies from the catering company, but also honeymoon goodies from Kristen, who decorated our vehicle with signs, Fleur de Lis confetti and ummm... fun stuff!)
On the drive to the airport, I asked Greg to help me take out the pins in my hair that held the tiara, because I was worried the airport security would be set off with the pins. As we took down the curls, bird seed and rice splattered over the limo seats and we laughed. I won’t say where else the rice and seeds landed, but I know there’s still some in the corners of my purse!
We called my parents to let them know we landed safely and heard my uncle Sonny’s words, “Aleta, you brought the family together, from California to Maryland.” I smiled, because the family came together for us, so many friends and family on both our sides of the family.
It was remarked how during the ceremony there was the wind and rain. But immediately afterwards, it stopped raining and no more wind. Everyone could enjoy the reception. Also, we left in good timing, because by the time our flight took off for our honeymoon, it was raining again, only this time, cats and dogs type of rain! God’s perfect timing.
From wax stains (which Greg coins as the “blue dress with a stain”) to rain, I thought it was beautiful. No nervousness, it was right. Greg is and will always be my Love and now ~ my Husband. I’m sure someone could count the non-perfect things that happened, but even those things, I will treasure, because it is part of our wedding day memories.
And I wouldn’t change a thing.
* As I wrote early, we don't have many pictures of our wedding. As I get more, I'll add them to my Picasa site. Click here to see the few that we do have.
Posted by Aleta at 10:19 PM