Friday, April 24, 2009

Holding On to Our Senses

“She appears to have taken leave of her senses.”

The above phrase would typically be taken to mean that “she,” whoever she might be, has gone crazy or is displaying irrational behavior in some way or another. However, it could also take on a rather different meaning. It seems to be a common expectation that when a woman gets married she seems to “take leave of” her own five senses for an entire day, or at least significant portions of it.

Left and right Daniel and I keep hearing things like, “You’d better enjoy that cake now, because you won’t taste it on your wedding day;” or “Pay close attention to the music this time around—you won’t hear it that morning.” I guess that is why so many newlyweds (and I only say “so many” because it is what I keep hearing) say that they hardly remember large parts of their wedding day, or that it is “all a blur.”

Truly, though, this is one day of my life about which I want to remember everything—every beautiful, special detail. I want to get goose bumps when I hear the organ begin to play Henry Purcell’s “Trumpet Tune” as the procession begins. I want to clearly see my family and friends’ smiling faces in the pews as I walk up the aisle. I want to smell that beautiful scent of incense that means something holy is happening, and the fragrance of the flowers beside the altar. I want to feel the warmth of Daniel’s fingers interlaced with mine, which I suspect will be freezing as a result of nerves. I want to taste the wine that will have become the Blood of Christ. And when we get to the reception, I want to taste the cake, too! I love cake!

It is sensory data and emotions that are the building blocks of memory, and obviously emotions are very much affected by the information our brains receive through our five senses. We all know, for example, that a movie that is meant to be emotional is usually nothing without a powerful score. I want to fully experience everything that happens on May 16, and I want to remember it all down the road—the next day, next year, and fifty years from now in case our grandchildren ever happen to ask us about our wedding day. This means that I want my God-given senses to be fully present.

If I am going to be “floating on a cloud” all day like people keep telling me, let it be because of how incredibly happy I am, not because a thick fog is surrounding me and dulling my senses. That is my prayer. Even if that means that I am forced to feel the weight of the nervousness surrounding such a huge day in my life rather than look at it from a distance. I think it will be worth it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

"A Month Hardly Counts for Anything, Right?"

As I am writing this on Thursday, there is exactly one month left until the wedding. Thirty days. Four weeks and one day, plus about twenty hours. Daniel and I got engaged on April 20, 2007. That was 108 weeks, one day, and about eighteen hours before our wedding.

Of course, we didn’t know that then—we didn’t decide on a date until about a month after the engagement. But I can remember standing in line with Daniel and my sister Annie for the Monster Plantation ride at Six Flags over Georgia that summer. Trying to be optimistic about the “long time” before we would be married, we talked about how two months had already gone by. And two months out of twenty-five wasn’t so bad, right? We were almost one twelfth of the way there! Eleven more of the length of time that had already passed, and there would be only one month left until the wedding. And one month hardly counted as any length of time, right? (ha!).

We seriously had a twenty-minute conversation about this as we did the math in our heads (alright, on our fingers). I’m sure eight-year-old Annie was relieved when we got to the end of the line and had to switch to a new topic of conversation as the ride began. We were, too, for that matter—it was a really hot day to be standing in a long line in the Deep South (if Atlanta counts as the Deep South, which I’m not really sure about.)

I really haven’t done much wedding planning since last week’s blog, which is very bad considering the mere four weekends I have left to get stuff done! Hopefully this weekend will be more productive. We need to finalize our music choices and send them to the organist and our cantor and then start designing a program.

This Saturday night, Daniel and I will be learning the Viennese waltz with another couple (my bridesmaid Michelle and her fiancĂ©). Hopefully we will be able to apply something of what we learn during our first dance at the reception and not trip all over ourselves in front of all our guests! And it just occurred to me that I don’t think I told you what song we are dancing to. It’s “We Will Dance” by Steven Curtis Chapman. Beautiful song. Wish us luck, so that we don’t make fools of ourselves at the dance lesson.

And I hope you all enjoy your weekends, it’s supposed to be gorgeous here in the D.C. area.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dressing for the Occasion

The response cards are coming in, filling my parents’ mailbox, and I have been diligently marking people off on my invitation address spreadsheet as they come. And there are only five weeks left!

Our friends’ wedding last weekend really made me all the more excited for mine. The whole evening was lovely, and the bride and groom were absolutely glowing. I wouldn’t be surprised if the muscles in their cheeks stayed stuck in those smiles for quite some time. That’s going to be Daniel and me in just a little over a month! I’m sure you’re probably tired of hearing me marvel at how fast time is going, but you’ll just have to put up with it—because I really can’t believe it!

We finished deciding on our readings and other Mass parts last weekend, which means that as soon as we can finally decide on our favorites for music (we currently like too many songs), we can start putting together a program. All of my bridesmaids’ dresses—plus the one female groomsman’s dress—have come in now and I’m pretty sure all of Daniel’s groomsmen have been fitted for their tuxes. My sisters Rose and Jane, my bridesmaidens, got their dresses the other day. So did my sister Annie, flower girl. The ring bearer, my brother Paul, will be having his First Holy Communion in June. So my mom bought him a suit that can pull double-duty. Very convenient.

Incidentally, my sixteen-year-old sister Rose’s dress will be pulling double-duty also, if all goes well. We couldn’t find yellow dresses that we liked for Rose and Jane, but my mom found very cute white eyelet dresses for them. Rose will wear hers white for her Confirmation (the weekend after Easter), then my mom will buy yellow fabric dye and try to dye her dress. If it looks good, she will dye Jane’s dress too. And if it doesn’t, at least Rose will already have gotten to wear it once! Then we’ll just have to figure something else out for their dresses… I hope it works.

I’m so glad that Daniel and I will be getting married in the Easter season; it seems so appropriately joyful. May the joy of the risen Christ be in all of your hearts.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Another Lesson Learned

The invitations are out! Daniel and I joked as we drove away from the post office that we really have to get married now. Everyone’s going to show up—it’s official. I spent all of my free time last week printing, punching out, and assembling invitations, response cards, and reception cards, as well as searching for addresses I had not yet found and addressing all of the envelopes in pseudo-calligraphy (cursive with a calligraphy pen).

Laura came over on Thursday night to help me put together the invitations themselves after I printed them, and on Friday night Laura, Daniel, and I all worked together. They look lovely. Just our style. We bought stamps on Saturday, put everything together, and sealed the envelopes. Finally, on Saturday night, Daniel and I drove to the post office and dropped them into the mail box one by one to get one final count so as to be extra extra sure that we didn’t leave any behind. And when we drove away, we thought we were done.

So here’s a lesson learned from which I hope someone reading this will benefit, since I’ll never have to do this again: always go to the post office when it is open and have your invitations weighed. My mom called me at work on Monday to tell me that a lady at the post office called her (since my parents’ house was the return address). Apparently my envelopes were .10 of an ounce over the one ounce weight limit, and of course we had only purchased 42 cent wedding stamps.

Rather than mark all of our envelopes, which were very clearly wedding invitations, with “Return to sender,” this very nice woman called my mom instead. So my mom went into the post office to purchase gorgeous 17 cent stamps (they were a picture of a ram-yikes) to add to the postage. If we had just gone in to have them weighed before dropping them in the box, the pretty wedding stamps we bought came in 69 cents, too! Regardless, the invitations are out and we don’t have to worry about them anymore. Depending on how quick people are to respond, we could start getting response cards any day now!

This weekend Daniel and I are going to the wedding of some friends of ours from college, which we are very excited about. It’s the first wedding we’ll have ever attended together, and incidentally it’s taking place in the same chapel we’ll find ourselves in almost exactly six weeks from now… six weeks!