Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Wedding Story

The Wedding Story.

In August 2006, I got married to my Prince Charming. Life was bliss (and still is..) . We went on vacations, we went to movies, gardens, dinner, church choir, and took lots of photos for most of these outings. We were invited to a lot of functions.

One of these functions was Thanksgiving dinner. The hostess told me “I am having Thanksgiving dinner at my place. I will order it in. It will have Turkey and all the trimmings, and pumpkin pie for dessert. I need you to invite the people. Just invite the usual suspects.” So I did just that and some of the not so usual people. One of them was my brother-in-law. He is older than my husband, but younger than me. He works in an executive position, travelling all over the world, and also had quite a few extra curricular activities, but didn’t really seem to have much of a social life. He met a girl there that he took a liking to. And started to nag me for the photos that I took that day. 2 weeks later, my church group was having a Halloween costume party. He asked me if she would be there. I happened to run into her while on the bus and confirmed that she would be there. He was happy to hear it. The next day, she left for a mission trip to Vietnam. That was when the phone calls began. After her return, they were pretty much inseparable. Hubby and I were told that the wedding was planned for the end of June.

This, of course, was a source of concern for some church friends and myself. I have taken many courses related to relationships and marital theory and counseling, hence I have been made aware of the various dynamics that can affect a relationship. I have heard from my patients of the whirlwind romances that resulted in decades long marriages, but I have also heard of the unions that resulted in tragic endings because the persons involved were not mature enough, or had not considered all of the factors. My husband and I were asked to be in the wedding. I had reservations about this and told the bride that I didn’t want to be in the wedding if it was due to family obligations (because I was married to the groom’s brother). So then I wasn’t an official member of the wedding party. I was ok with this, as that meant I would be able to wear a hat. ( I was going to have to find a fabulous hat for this function and was looking forward to the hunt.) After a few months, the tension began to build. My husband said to me that his brother sensed that I was not happy with the wedding date and that it seemed that I did not approve of this union. So, as difficult as it was, I bit the bullet and went over to his apartment where both the bride and groom were. We called to arrange a time that would work, and we brought things for them. In the end, I said. “This is not actually a social visit. We came for a reason.” Then I paused. I had no idea WHAT to say. “Um.. it has come to my attention that you think that I don’t approve of this wedding.” All the while I am turning red, which is something I do when making speeches or when I worry about what the listeners are thinking (i.e. am I out of turn?) “It’s not that I don’t approve. I do have my concerns which I am sure you have heard from others. Such as the cultural differences.” They nodded. “If you have been given that impression, please know that this is my issue, and has nothing to do with you. I guess I’m hear to tell you” I turn and look at my husband, “that I am here to give you my blessing?” At that my brother-in-law said thank you and crossed the room to hug me. The bride followed.

That was a hard thing to do. I had actually lost sleep over it, knowing that I was to do this the next day. I told them this too. After this was over, we went back to giving advice based on our experience with our own wedding. I suggested that perhaps the bride might wish to have a girl, me or someone else, with her when the photos are being done. When I had my photos in the park, it was me, hubby, brother-in-law, and the 2 photographers. Men who do not think about things like hair, makeup touch up, or dress fixing. The bride jumped at this, and thought it was a great idea.

Shortly after this meeting, the bride emailed to ask that I be in the wedding again. I agreed but at this point there was only 5 weeks left to the wedding date. Where/When was I going to get a dress in only 5 weeks??! She said that she would have a “western-style dress” made for me. Her mother was coming in 6 days and would bring it with her. (The bride’s aunt is a wedding dress maker/owns a bridal boutique and had made her dress.) So I was measured and the info sent to Vietnam. A week later, I get a call from the groom telling me that there had been an error. Two dresses were made, one pink and the other red. The colors for the wedding was red, so pink? I tried on the dress and found it was too big. Not to worry, we know a seamtress. She will alter it. I got there and put on the dress a week later. It needed to be taken in at the sides and hemmed. The streamstress took one look and said there was no way. The dress was not made well. The bride also agreed but added that I had lost too much weight since the measuring and the fitting. So I have no idea what to tell the bride. Streamstress says she will call. I figure I should go hunt for a dress and see what is there. The wedding is 16 days and I have NO dress. So I go home and hunt on the internet. The place were I bought my wedding dress is no longer selling wedding attire so I would have to go to the bridal/wedding district of town and hunt there. I call a few places and ask if they sell off the rack. I need a red, floor-length gown in size 16 or greater. I go to one of the shops. There is only one dress matching this description, but it is too.. “much”. Not expensive, but too much fabric, too fancy and not really the right style. While I am in this dress, my husband calls his brother to explain. In the end, it is decided that I should show up in red floor-length, whatever style that I am comfortable with. So.. the hunt is on. One stipulation, the dress should match the fabric as close as possible. The dress that I tried on in Bryan’s Brides matched perfectly… but I wanted to try something else.

That was Thrusday evening. The following day, I go to Hastings, what I consider one of the bridal districts of Vancouver. I explain my dilemma. “Ah yes,” says the man. “You were the one that called.” He shows me 5 dresses. I put them all on and this time I have the swatch with me. I pick the one that matched the fabric exactly. Based on the style of the first dress, it is also a better match for the “theme” than the other dress that I loved. Could I come the next day for the fitting? All that needed to be done is to have it taken in at the sides. No hemming was necessary. The alterations will be finished the 8 days before the wedding. The bride still had yet to see it. I had to call and ask what her dress looked so that I didn’t pick one that was too much.

I still had no idea when to show up on the day of the wedding. The plans/schedule were not exactly finalized. I made an appointment for a facial the week before the wedding. (I had learned from the movie “Legally Blond 2” that facials and major makeup sessions don’t work.) Booked a hair appointment for the day of the wedding. Considering that the weather was going to be warm, I knew I would not be able to control my curls. They would likely go flat. The day after my appointment was made, I was asked to show up at the groom’s apartment where both bride and groom would prepare. The friend of the bride was a professional hair dresser and would all of our hair. I declined as most hair dressers SAY that they understand naturally curly hair but don’t.
In laws showed up on Wednesday, 4 days before the wedding. Hubby still hadn’t tried on his outfit yet. (Men have it sooo easy eh? Whereas we women are more likely to obsess about what we look like.) 4 days til the wedding. We still have no idea if the Matron of Honor is going to show up. She lived in another country and was in the process of moving house, so it was hard to track her down. 3 days before the wedding, the MOH is located and is coming to the wedding. No idea if the dress fits her. No idea what style she will wear. Never met her before. But she is coming, another stressor off the list.

The wedding is at a church in town, the reception is about 40 minute drive outside of town, depending on traffic. The rehearsal is 4 days before the wedding. Only both sets of parents, bride and groom, flower/ring kids (and their parents), my hubby and me are present. It is another minister performing the wedding due to the rift in the Anglican congregation over same-sex blessings. So .. a lot of things that are different. MOH is not there, nor is my escort down the aisle. Some people will have to learn on the fly. (During the service, I was discretely explaining what will be next to the absentees.)

The day of the wedding, there are a few glitches. But then what wedding isn’t complete without glitches eh? The hairdresser that supposed to do the bride’s hair backed out, so she got up at 5:30 a.m. to get her hair and makeup done for that she would be ready for the photos beginning at 10:30 a.m. I met the bride and groom, and hubby, the driver, at 11:30 a.m. when my makeup and hair was finished. The photographer wasn’t at the studio at 10:30 as arranged and so they were heading to venue #2, Stanley Park for photos. From there, the day went well. I got a little burnt while holding things, fixing hair and dress of bride, but didn’t notice until I got to the church at 2 p.m. to put on my dress. After all the people were ready, parents of groom, bride, groom, flower girl, ring boy.. it was 3 p.m. and we don’t know where the parents of the bride were. They still had to be picked up!! And the wedding was supposed to start. Then we realize that the MOH is still missing. Is she coming? I call the place where she is staying and they tell me that she left a few minutes ago. I look for her and 10 minutes after the wedding was to start, I spot her and take to the bride’s room.

After everything is sorted out the wedding proceeded without a hitch. We went to the reception hall after a few photos on the church lawn. Half way through, the bride and groom left the room to change in to “traditional Vietnamese outfits”. When it was time for the toast and cutting of the cake, Hubby and I went to the mike to toast the couple together. I began by telling people how they met.
On October 16, 2007 a choir member told me that she wanted to host thanksgiving dinner at her place. She would provide the food. She was ordering in turkey with the trimmings, complete with pumpkin pie for dessert. Guests would be asked to pay $10 or so. I was to find the guests. The Bride was one of the usual suspects and the groom was invited as well. I explained to the wedding guests that he works long hours, travels extensively on business and had a few extracurricular activities that seemed to take up a lot of time. I thought that he needed to meet some people other than work and music related. He took to her and 2 weeks later, they spent their time at our church group’s Halloween party. He drove her to the airport the following day. The bride went to Vietnam on a mission trip for 2 months. I finished by saying that God’s plan doesn’t always go the way we think it should. It probably wasn’t easy seeing his younger brother get married first, but in the end, I think that was part of God’s plan. Without us getting married, there would have been no invitation to dinner and they wouldn’t have met and we would be here today… cheers..

After all of this, we were exhausted. Can’t wait to see photos from the photographer.

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