Friday, March 27, 2009

The Shower

I had been reassured countless times by my family and friends that “you’ll be fine,” and “you’re going to have so much fun.” Nonetheless, I arrived at my bridal shower last Saturday feeling extremely tense, having allowed my nervousness to slowly build in the week leading up to the day itself.

Marie, my maid of honor, and my bridesmaids had planned an afternoon tea party for me, to be held at my aunt and uncle’s house not far from where I live. Between thirty and thirty-five of my family and friends were there (female only, of course), as well as Daniel’s mom, one of his sisters, and his niece. It was a good-sized group, and a good-sized pile of presents waited for me in the great room.

When I arrived about ten minutes late, since I assumed people would be scrambling to finish things up at the last minute, guests were standing around in groups in the kitchen and great room, and Marie and my friend Laura (another bridesmaid) were in the living room assembling something that I was not supposed to see. No one told me what door to come in, though, and I walked in the front door from where Marie and Laura and what they were making were perfectly visible—had they not yelled at me to go away the moment I said hello. I quickly turned away and yelled back that I was sorry as I walked through the foyer and into the kitchen.

My grandma on my mom’s side was immediately there to greet me with a hug, but everyone else remained in the conversations they had already been having. I said, “Hi, everyone,” to anyone who could hear me, then stood uncomfortably for a moment before deciding that I should be greeting everyone individually. So I proceeded to go around hugging every woman and girl in the house, just because it gave me something to do. I had to be doing something. They were all there for me, after all. It was horribly awkward; at least it seemed so to me.

Once all had been hugged, I perched myself on the couch in the great room near where a group of my college girlfriends were chatting. Thank goodness, Laura came out of the living room where she had been secretively working and sat next to me. After what I’m sure was less than one minute, someone asked me if I was ready to eat, and I wholeheartedly replied that I was. I fixed myself a cup of tea in one of the pretty teacups that Marie was borrowing from my grandma (it was a tea party after all), and Maria (my roommate from freshman year of college, whom I’ve mentioned before) offered to fill a plate for me. The food looked delicious, and in this case, looks were not deceiving! My wonderful bridesmaids did a wonderful job. I only wish I hadn’t been so nervous—maybe then I could have eaten more than half of what was on my plate. Still, the fare did a fairly good job of relaxing me. I no longer felt as tense as I had upon first arriving.

When a little while later attention was turned to the mountain of gifts, I was sent to the great room and told to sit in a chair in front of everyone else. Many people even sat on the floor, accentuating my “guest of honor”-ness. I felt like a reluctant queen.

The discomfort I felt at having a roomful of people watch me open my gifts one by one was not enough to stifle the inevitable enjoyment and excitement of receiving a whole bunch of new things for Daniel’s and my life together beginning in May. It’s impossible to avoid the thoughts of, “this clock will sit on the mantle next to our wedding picture,” or “this is the griddle that I’ll use to make pancakes for my kids on Saturday mornings.” Who knows, really, if this griddle will still be working by then… but like I said, the thought is inescapable. Finally, regarding certain other traditional bridal shower gifts, I am told that I did not blush at all!

All in all, (surprise surprise) I did have a fun time last Saturday. And all of my friends assured me that they would feel the same nerves and awkwardness when their own bridal showers come along. I’m just glad to hear that for the most part, I did not appear awkward. See, there was nothing to worry about after all!

Friday, March 20, 2009

58 Days Left

“Time is making fools of us again.” To those who are Harry Potter fans like myself, you may know that I quote that incredibly wise old wizard, Albus Dumbledore. I tend to be quite impressed with the words that J.K. Rowling puts in this particular character’s mouth. In any event, I find this quote coming to mind quite often lately.

Time does, indeed, seem to be making a fool of me. It’s this crazy blend of the time-slowing phenomenon of waiting for something very exciting to happen and the time-accelerating one of having very much to do in a rather short amount of time. Each hour of each day seems to drag on endlessly, but by the time it is Thursday and I realize another whole week between now and the wedding has disappeared, I feel like time is flying.

We ordered the cake last weekend when we went for our cake tasting. Every flavor was delicious! We ended up choosing basic yellow cake with butter cream frosting and filling, though—anything fancy, like white chocolate mousse filling (which was amazing) or spice cake with cinnamon frosting really raised the price. The design is three tiers, white frosting with tiny yellow Swiss dots, and yellow ribbon tied around the top of each tier. We’re going to use yellow roses to decorate the cake, too, rather than use a cake topper.

We also ended up picking out invitations from the craft store, put them on hold, and went back to buy them (with coupons) on Monday night. They are beautiful, too. We were originally going to have Marie design and make them herself, but we liked these so much and figured we could save her a lot of time and trouble if we did it this way. They come in kits, and we’ll just have to have them printed and put together.

This week Daniel has been on spring break, so we have been able to spend time together every night after work—which means that we have been able to get some wedding stuff done that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to do together during the week. So far this has included address-compiling, liturgy-planning, and the already mentioned invitation-purchasing. Tonight we are going to Staples to see if we can have them print the invitations for us.

And finally… my bridal shower is this Saturday! I am really excited, but also somewhat nervous. I’m not sure how I feel about being the center of attention in a large group of people. I suppose this is something I’ll have to get used to, since May 16 will bring an even larger crowd! Speaking of May 16: less than two months! I can’t believe it. “Time is making fools of us again.”

Friday, March 13, 2009

Moving Right Along

This Saturday is going to be all wedding planning all day. Daniel and I will be driving up to look at the chapel and reception site with my mom and my sisters Rose and Jane. This is so that we can start thinking more about what we need in the way of decorations for both places.

While we are up that direction, we are also going to go shopping at the outlets to look for “bridesmaiden” dresses for Rose and Jane (ages sixteen and fourteen). “Bridesmaiden” is the name I invented to use instead of “junior bridesmaid” since these teenage sisters of mine found the usual title offensive. Rose, especially, did not want to be a “junior” anything. Finally, we will also have a cake tasting appointment scheduled for Saturday morning—in fact, we will be doing that first, as nine o’clock was the only time slot the bakery had available that day.

Once we make it back home, my sister and maid of honor Marie and I (and maybe Daniel, if he can come) will go to the craft store to look for invitation kits. Marie is a graphic design major and an amazing artist, and she is helping me to design our invitations; we’ll just need blank invitations so that she can use them to work her magic.

I suppose we could just buy our own paper and cut it down to size the way we want it, but then we would also have to worry about response cards and envelopes as well as reception cards and the outer envelope. Wedding invitations are complicated like that. I’m not sure what we’ll end up doing. All I know is that my goal is to get the invitations out by Monday March 30, which is almost seven weeks before the wedding. I really don’t want it to be much later than that. I am currently in the process of gathering up addresses for everyone on our guest list, which I will hopefully finish this weekend.

Last weekend, Daniel and I started looking more seriously at choosing music for the wedding liturgy and we started reading through all the options for the readings and their commentary in the liturgy planning book Father Rick gave us a while ago. I love that we get to choose our own readings for the Mass, and I love reading them with Daniel as we try to find our favorites, but I have a feeling that it will be hard to actually make a final decision. We like quite a few of them. While we have not so far decided on our readings, we have chosen who we want our readers to be (although we haven’t asked them yet, so I won’t tell you who they are).

I have an aunt who is a florist, and I got around at last—it’s taken me a while—to e-mailing her about wedding flowers. I did not have much of a clue what I wanted or what I could afford before I talked to her, but she is so excited to help and gave me some ideas. It looks like my bouquet will be white roses and yellow freesia with ivy or some other greenery and a few blue flowers thrown in (maybe irises) so that I have both of our wedding colors in there. Obviously there are still more things to figure out flower-wise, but I feel so much better now that I’ve started talking to her about it!

With just a few days over two months left until the wedding, I’m finally starting to feel like things are coming together! I just hope I’m not being lulled into a false sense of security. Have a good weekend, everyone!

Friday, March 6, 2009

To Know by Heart

I, Sarah, take you, Daniel, to be my husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.

Come to think of it, when the Rite of Marriage says “I, N., take you, N., to be…” it could be that we are supposed to insert full names (first, middle, and last) where it says “N.” I’ll have to look into that. Anyways, I’m practicing.

I’m also doing my homework. Daniel and I met with Father Rick, who will be presiding at our wedding, this past weekend over lunch. We gave him our baptismal certificates, marriage prep completion certificate, and marriage certificate since those things are all taken care of. Among other things, he told us that he wants us to memorize our vows. This is not only to make the vows more authentic/genuine during the wedding itself, but also so that between now and then we can each be seriously thinking about what it is we are promising when we stand up in front of God, our family, and friends and say those words.

It is interesting that people—kids especially, I think—use the words “by heart” when explaining that they have something memorized. For example, I can remember boasting as a little girl about my favorite movie (The Little Mermaid at the time), saying: “I’ve watched it so many times, I know all the words by heart.” Obviously it was not my heart, either literally or figuratively, that knew everything Ariel, Sebastian, or Grimsby was going to say before they said it. That would be my brain (look at that awesome higher education being put to work!). I suppose it was, though, the “love” I felt in my heart for The Little Mermaid that allowed memorization of the lines of the movie to come naturally and easily to me as a result of the countless number of times that VHS tape was played and rewound.

My point is that I think it would be appropriate for Daniel and me to think of what we have to do as “learning our vows by heart” rather than simply “memorizing” the words. “Memorizing” is what I did with that passage from A Midsummer Night’s Dream in AP Lit senior year of high school or the Preamble of the Constitution in eighth grade. No more than a few of those words stayed with me for long, and I’m still young! But I assure you that I can still recite the lines of every character in The Little Mermaid before they’re spoken.

Of course, my “love” for that Disney movie from my childhood can hardly be comparable to my love for Daniel… imagine then the power of these few but meaningful words when they are carved into our hearts and recalled over the course of our lifetime together: “I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.” These words are something that we can recall with every argument, every baby born, every bend in the road, every uphill climb, every wrinkle slowly created. Add to that the grace of the sacrament of marriage, and I’d say we’ve got something pretty indestructible.