It feels both completely crazy and completely ordinary that one year ago, I had been on about two dates with my husband Randy. The year went by in the best kind of blur. Our engagement included. I remember two weeks before our wedding day. I didn’t have any work projects on the go and my wedding planning was finished. (Type A Bride, I know, I know.) I didn’t know what to do with myself? I watched TV in the middle of the day. Read two books in a week. Made it to the gym enough to feel good about myself. ;) I wasn’t in a rush for the wedding day to come. I promised myself I wouldn’t be that bride. The one who’s halfway through the engagement thinking, “Let’s just get it done already. I want to be married.” No, I did my best to be very intentional. Everything has a season and this is a good season. (A Good/emotional/stressful/overwhelming/everything-in-my-life-is-changing/moving-out-for-the-first-time/living-with-a-man season.)
Wedding week arrived soon enough and I was calm… and happy. Content. (Plus, now that wedding week was here, there was more tasks I could do so that made me happy and feel like less of a loser for watching TV in the middle of the day.) On Tuesday, my Mom and I went for pedicures and I spent the afternoon organizing our new place. More gifts arrived at the house, and my favourite kind of gift – dish sets! I am in love with our dishes and receiving 10 sets pre-wedding meant I could officially do the kitchen swap-out. (Goodbye Randy’s dishes, hello new ones!) I quietly puttered around in our new home (I don’t remember where Randy was) and managed to fit, oh about HALF, of my clothes in Randy’s closet.
(All of my bridesmaids gifts lined up and ready to go, a few days before the wedding. I had so much fun writing all of our thank you cards.)
On Wednesday, two days before our wedding, my Mom and I went for shellac manicures. I chose red because really, safe is boring. (Correction, when it comes to colour choice, safe is boring. I’m still not letting Randy buy a motorcycle.) I was really looking forward to Thursday, the day before our wedding. Set-up day and rehearsal day. I couldn’t wait to see all of our bridesmaids and groomsmen and family in one place.
Randy and Mom at Langley Party Rentals Wednesday afternoon.
Our new, organized gifts!
This is all Randy. While I was at home, selfishly organizing my closet, Randy was out shopping. He came home with chocolate and water bottles for our guests, including a few little toys for Rowdy, Kristen and Caleb’s baby. He makes me look bad. But now we are one. So. I guess, before marriage he made me look bad, now he just makes me look awesome.
Soaking up the last few minutes of silence and calm with green tea in my new house.
My maid of honour Kristen arrived with her husband Caleb and our photographer Lydia late late late on Wednesday night. (4am in the morning on Thursday. That’s commitment.) Leading up to the wedding day, Kristen felt terrible she couldn’t attend any wedding events. “I’m a maid of honour! I’m supposed to do things! I want to do things!! Can I throw you a breakfast on Thursday with all the bridesmaids?” I didn’t know what I’d “feel” like the day before my wedding. Would I want to be alone? Surrounded by people? Would I want to wake up early? Not set an alarm? I pondered and decided, “I want to have coffee with you, Kristen. Just you.”
That’s what we did. Kristen, Caleb and their baby Rowdy arrived at my house Thursday morning (yes, after 4 hours of sleep?) and Kristen and I went off in search of coffee and breakfast. I am so happy we did that. It was incredible to stop and pause. To talk for an hour about ordinary things and wedding things alike. Following breakfast, it was back to my parent’s house. We had instructed willing bridal party and family members to meet us for truck load-up at noon. Hugs were abundant and new faces appeared every few minutes.
I remember that moment so well. The piles and piles of boxes in our garage, carefully loaded into Randy’s truck and trailer, my Dad’s truck and a couple of other cars. In went the cupcakes, the chalkboard, the frame (from our proposal), the ten boxes of table decor, the altar backdrop, the flower boxes, the two wood tables, the chairs, the clipboards: everything I had brainstormed and dreamed up and worked on together with Randy over the last four months. This was happening.
When the last tailgate was closed, I hopped in the passenger seat of Randy’s truck, with Kristen and Caleb and Rowdy in the back. We stopped at Booster Juice for smoothies (one of my favourite things) and we were on the highway headed an hour east to Agassiz. It was fun to be together again. The last time the four of us were together (also the first time!) was in Oklahoma back in October, six weeks before our engagement. When we arrived at Fraser River Lodge (our dream of a venue!) our friends were already inside with boxes piled in the corner of the hall. It was set-up time! I was ridiculously meticulous with my packing of decor and also my lists of what needed to get done on Thursday afternoon so everything went off without a hitch.
Our friends were so, so helpful. It blessed my heart to see everyone working together! We had more than enough hands. Every half hour or so, I would remind myself to stop and look around at the room coming together in front of my eyes. This was happening. It was a gorgeously sunny day and we were all hopeful for the weather on Friday, despite the 90% chance of precipitation… 35mm of precipitation! My mom had packed lunch for all of the helpers so we took a break mid-afternoon. I sat outside on the deck with Randy and his family, enjoying my goat cheese and crackers (another one of my favourite snacks) and strawberries. (That’s genuinely my memory of lunch. I think that’s all I had.)
After lunch, we had a few more tasks to finish. The most memorable of said tasks was without a doubt, hanging the string lights across the room. Randy’s groomsmen Brent was up on a ladder in charge of this job, with Randy’s sister holding the other end of the strand. My back was turned to them when all of a sudden it sounded like firecrackers went off in the room. PopPOPPOPpopPoppop PoppopPoppop. A previously hung strand of lights had come off the hook and crashed to the ground, only to land on the hardwood floor. And on top of the already-set-up 150 white ceremony chairs. The best part of it all was #1) Gina, Randy’s sister’s face, because Brent immediately yelled “GINA” and she genuinely thought it was her fault for a second. #2) My reaction. I looked at the smashed bulbs and thought “Hm. Funny. Good thing we have enough.” And went back to my task. How’s that for calm?! Thank you, thank you.
Caleb, Rowdy, Randy & Mark, making sure all of my thirty clipboards were exactly level. There were scraps of paper, pencil markings and numbers flying, I walked by and thought, “This delegation thing is a dream.”
Our officiant (and friend, the Pastor from Randy’s church in his hometown) arrived for the rehearsal and that was our cue to change. I went to the bathroom with my bridesmaids and we changed into pretty dresses with pretty heels. Hearing my processional song was the best. I loved seeing our bridal party lined up ready to go, loved everything. It was so fun. I was so calm. I walked down the aisle arm in arm beside my dad and smiled the biggest smile as I looked into Randy’s eyes. If you ask me what I felt in that moment – I couldn’t nail down much more for you besides “Happy. Ready.” But Randy told me later that night, “That moment hit me. This was happening. This is a big deal. And a really good deal for me.”
The rehearsal was a wrap and now the only thing left was dinner! But first, photos! Ever since I photographed Kristen and Caleb (when they were just dating) I have waited Kristen to capture me and my guy someday. But. It was too much pressure before an engagement ring and seeing as the last time we were together was pre-ring, post-rehearsal was the perfect time. I am ecstatic to have these beautiful images to remember that evening by. Thank you, Kristen.
In Abbotsford, thirty people gathered to eat and relax after a full day and Randy and I sat near our parents. It was Randy’s mom’s birthday, so we sang her happy birthday, got her a gift and really enjoyed having that time to enjoy her company. We also gave my parents a thank-you gift and handed out our bridal party gifts. (Gray Victoria Secret robes for the girls! Socks and ties for the men!)
We drove home together, dropping Kristen and Caleb and Rowdy off at Randy’s (now “our place” – but I’m not sure how to write that in past tense unless I call it Randy’s) before Randy heading for the direction of my parent’s house. This would be the very last night Randy would drop me off after an evening out. We drove quietly, holding hands in the dark across the truck console. It was all about to happen…!
(To Be Continued.)