Friday, April 11, 2014

Murphy's In-Law: The Importance of Wedding Planners and Dress Rehearsals

On February 15th of this year, my sister Tammy, having become dissatisfied with the swinging life of the single divorcĂ©e, rejoined the ranks of the happily married. A year ago, her boyfriend Larry asked her to be his wife. Her first marriage was a roller coaster ride of badness, so here's for hoping the next go round will be all of the good and none of the suck. I, personally, think she's onto a good thing as Larry is a pretty decent guy. He has a job, probably doesn't have a police record, and isn't the kind of guy to get physically or verbally abusive unless his Sims characters do shit he doesn't want them to do. Even then he'll only yell passive aggressively at the computer screen.

Shut your damn pie hole, Horned-Emo-Potter-Sim, and go make me a sandwich!

Larry is a Kuk Sool Won instructor with a black belt and has a degree in English and Philosophy. He has a weakness for computer games, his comic book collection, and women with type A personalities sporting stilettos. He's often been described as the male version of me. Or he would be, if I had ever finished college. And I'm pretty sure he can punch through a wooden board without breaking every bone in his hand. And I like men. Men who wear comfortable shoes. Other than that, we could totally be twins.

Larry, preparing to shoot the arrow of love straight for my sister's heart...or one of the targets at the Do Jang. Can't really tell from this angle.

When she told me he had popped the question, I was ecstatic. Then she asked me to be her maid of honor whereupon I jumped up and down squealing like a moron and accepted. I felt honored and more than a little excited. Later, when it occurred to me that I had no idea what a maid of honor was supposed to do, excitement turned to trepidation. But I brushed those feelings aside as first time jitters and made up my mind to be the best maid of honor ever by steadfastly researching my new role as the bride's go-to girl. I mean, seriously, how hard could it be?

What the hell have I gotten myself into?
Let me rephrase that last question: How hard can it be for an indecisive, overworked bride and her procrastinating first time maid of honor to plan a wedding? You want to know how hard? Oh, let me tell you. I will so tell you.

Tammy wanted a big wedding. At first. The kind held at one of those lavish plantation houses. She wanted a horse drawn carriage for the bride and groom. She wanted her bridesmaids to wear bona fide bridesmaid type dresses. You know the kind. Overly expensive and ugly as hell. She wanted to have a store bought dress for herself as opposed to borrowing one like she did for her first wedding. I was all behind that. I wasn't too keen on playing dress up and wearing heels, but what the hell? It was her wedding. Only the best for my sister.

A few months down the line, my boyfriend asks, "So, how's the wedding planning coming along? It's only a few months away now. Better get on that, don't you think?" The amused look on his face said he thought I had forgotten all about my duties which was totally unfair and not true at all. I hadn't forgotten. I just...lost track of time...or something. I got in touch with Tammy to remind her zero hour was hurtling towards us fast and asked her how far along in the planning had she come. Did she have a place reserved for the wedding? Did she have a place reserved for the reception? That plantation place, had she already reserved a date for that because the longer we waited, the harder it was going to be to reserve it in the future. And shouldn't we get together to discuss bridesmaids dresses? What about her own dress? Did she have something picked out? And by the way...

"What the hell am I supposed to be doing right now?" I whined.

"I think you're supposed to be in charge of the bachelorette party," she told me after I had asked for the hundredth time about my duties.

"Fuck yeah!"

"No Strippers."

"Awww!"

"I'm too old for that foolishness. No strippers," she said and gave me the evil eye. "I mean it."

It is a measure of how much I love the woman that I acquiesced to her demand. But it turned out all right in the end. We didn't have a stripper, but by God, we did have Brad!

As for the other stuff, she had changed her mind about the plantation house, having found a reception hall she could use for free for both the reception and the wedding. There would also be no horse drawn carriage. She was still undecided about her dress but figured the bridesmaids could just wear whatever they wanted as long as the dresses were red and not as pretty as her dress. Anything that didn't require me to try on a gown was a-okay by me. And bonus: I wasn't required to wear heels! I was totally loving this wedding already.

Fast forward a little over a month before the wedding and where should I find myself but standing in the middle of David's Bridal trying on a bridesmaid dress. Tammy had already picked out hers. The lucky bitch found the perfect dress first try. Her bridal crew were not so lucky. Either they had the dress in the right color but not the right size, or vice versa. We would have to wait for the store to order them. Tammy paid extra for the order to be rushed. Everyone I spoke to about David's Bridal warned me that they were notorious for botched orders and late deliveries, and here she was rushing an order that was scheduled for delivery a week before the wedding. If these dresses didn't come in on time, we'd be standing in our jeans and t-shirts for the ceremony. I'm not going to tell you that I prayed for a late delivery, but...

Proof that God is amused by my struggles.

The dresses, alas, were delivered on time. Unfortunately, mine was too long. I had neither the time nor the money and certainly not the patience to get the thing altered. I accepted the fact that I would have to wear heels or risk tripping down the aisle. Had I bothered to try it on in heels, I would have discovered before the ceremony that, yes, I would be tripping down the aisle not only in a gown made for someone way taller than me, but also in six inch heels that killed my feet. Upon discovering this unpleasant fact, I would have found the time, stolen the money, and kidnapped a seamstress to fix the blasted thing instead of trying to hike up my skirt while simultaneously attempting to hold a rose in one hand while clasping onto the arm of my ill-fated groomsman with the other.

The one thing I did get right-or so I thought-was taking both the day before and the day of the wedding off from work, assuming I would need the 14th off for the wedding rehearsal. When I asked what time that was going to be, I was told there wouldn't be one. We were going to play it by ear, to which I replied, "Um, okay, but how am I supposed to know where to stand?" I mean, I was pretty sure it was somewhere in the vicinity of the bride, but there my knowledge ended. I was informed that we would work out the details while we all set up the reception hall the night before the ceremony. The place was free, but we had to decorate ourselves. My sister, the other two bridesmaids, and myself would all meet at the place, set up, and chillax later that night, hopefully with a nice bottle of Moscato. A nice little reward for a job well done.

No. If you've read the title of this post, you know my dreams of wine and chilling were not to be. Tammy and I arrived at the place around 6:30 PM with bundles of stuff we thought we might need, including a set of chafing dishes she had borrowed. Someone else would be delivering the food the next day. And hopefully a bartender. When asked who that lucky jerk might be, Tammy gave me a panicked look for all of five seconds before mumbling something about finding someone to do the job. I would have offered to take the job myself, but I had other duties. Just as well. There would have been a mysterious liquor shortage long before the wedding began.

Tracy, bridesmaid number one, arrive shortly after us, and Lori, bridesmaid number two, arrived later that night with both her kids in tow, one of whom is a toddler with a hold me/don't hold me complex. You want to know how hard it is getting anything done with a kid running around screaming and grunting and begging someone, anyone, to hold them one second only to squirm out of that person's grasp the next? I gained a new appreciation for mothers everywhere that night. I truly did.

Lori's child, moments before the inevitable sugar induced mayhem.

The reception hall was filled with long tables and metal folding chairs-of which, we were not sure there would be enough-and we spent most of the night trying to figure out the best way to place the darned things. When we finally moved onto decorating, it turned out the tablecloths weren't long enough to fit on the tables. We would have to make a trip to Party City to pick up some more. Not that night because, by then, the place was closed. So much for getting things done the night before.

The next day was a flurry of frantic activity as we all rushed to get ourselves and the place ready for wedding hour. There was the reception hall to finish. Tammy had to get her hair and makeup done around two and I had my own hair appointment at one, so there wasn't a lot of time. By the grace of God, by the power of Grayskull, somehow, we got shit done. I even had time to give Larry the sister-in-law pre-wedding speech about all the things I would do to him if he broke my sister's heart. He laughed good naturally, safe in the knowledge that he could probably take me out with his little pinky. I laughed too, knowing full well martial artists can't dodge bullets.


Well, damn.

Around seven o'clock, the time the ceremony was supposed to start, we came upon a major hitch. Most of the guests had arrived by then. All but my mother and younger sister, Kelli. The thing you have to know about my mom is that she rarely leaves her house. She's warned us in the past that if a big storm hits Louisiana again, she plans to ride it out and take her chances. The woman would rather risk death than walk past her own threshold. So, it meant more than words could possibly convey when she promised Tammy she would do her best to make the wedding, which is why she decided to hold up the proceedings until they arrived.

The reception hall was located behind a big ass flood wall on Peter's Road and was notoriously hard to find, so it was assumed they had gotten lost but would eventually find the place. Ten minutes rolled by. Fifteen. Tammy started to get panicky. Someone handed her a glass of wine to calm her down. Neither my mother nor Kelli own a cell phone because they are Amish. Not really, but some of the guests must have speculated as such. We called the house to see if they had gone back there, but my cousin answered and said they hadn't returned. We started the ceremony at 7:30, Tammy close to tears.

I made it down the aisle without falling on my backside and took my place next to my sister. Meanwhile, Lori is whispering in my ear, "You gotta fix her train," and "The bouquet! Take the bouquet," before irritatingly doing all these things that I should have known to do before the ceremony began. Outwardly, I was glowering at her with a look on my face that must have read, "You wanna stand here? Huh? Do you, bitch?" Inwardly, I was all like, "No, seriously. You seem to know what you're doing here. So...you know...wanna switch?"

Just as Tammy and Larry were finishing up their I do's, who walks through the door, but my mother and little sister, looking out of breath but relieved to at least have made it there in time for the big kiss. Tammy spotted them, and there was much rejoicing in the land.

While dancing with my man after the ceremony, I got to thinking about my own nuptials. I learned many important lessons during my time as maid of honor, the least of which is to never hold your wedding in a building out in the boondocks behind a floodwall. Oh, and wedding rehearsals are probably a good idea. Regardless of that, it's my belief that nothing ever goes according to plan, even when you have one. I think I'll hire a wedding planner for mine, all the same.

And the bridesmaids dresses will be practical and easy to walk in. I promise.

Heh! Evil.

5 comments:

  1. I'm having a massage today for the first time in 5 years. I googled advice from massage therapists and found your blog. You are hilarious!

    I'm commenting on this particular post because I am a wedding consultant and I feel your pain. Weddings are stressful and more people should hire planners or consultants. :)

    I would write more, but I'm going to take a bath and shave. I want to be squeaky clean and early for my appointment.

    You rock! I really like your blog.

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    1. Thanks for the support and I hope you enjoy your massage!

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    2. You're welcome. Unfortunately I did not enjoy my massage. Going to continue to find the right therapist. We don't have many around here.

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    3. So sorry to hear that, Mlvlatina. Sometimes it's hard to find the right massage therapist, but once you do find them, you pray like hell they never move out of town. If you still have trouble finding the right one, try searching your state's licensing website. The Louisiana Massage Therapy Board has a link to find every licensed MT in the state. Perhaps yours will have the same. Here's the one for Louisiana: https://www.labmt.org/site.php

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  2. Thank you for the suggestion and link. I feel that way about my doctor. If she ever moves, I'm going with her!

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