Thursday, June 7, 2012
This has been a heck of a week. I'm sitting in the Prytania Oaks Hotel in our room, typing in the semi-darkness while Grey sleeps in for the first time this week. Everyone should sleep in on their honeymoon and I got a good night's rest last night. I'm also the early riser between us and got up at 7 to go get coffee, juice, bagels and yogurt for breakfast. Still sleeping. It'll wait since none of it is on fire. The wedding... wow. The wedding was awesome. I have never been the kind of person to be comfortable with highly traditional sorts of ceremonies. They feel wooden and sometimes contrived. I know other people really enjoy the time-honored traditions and I'm not bashing that. I have seen some gorgeous weddings with pomp and circumstance and lots of tradition. It's just not me. And I guess that it's just not Grey either because we agreed right away to do things a little different. To begin, we shopped for my dress together. We met my friend Cathy at a shop and I picked up a spaghetti strap ankle-length gown with tulle and a fitted bodice. It fit perfectly. Yes, first dress. We bought it. And so right off, the groom saw the bride in her dress before the wedding. Somewhere, an etiquette maven is sighing. We were going to run off and get married at a justice of the peace, but to be honest, Grey wanted his mom to be there. To be more honest, I think that having an actual wedding with people we invited and care about is more meaningful than going to a JOP. Again, just my experience. I have never been to a JOP. Grey's mom said that she would be happy to fly out to wherever we were getting married and then leave but I am glad that it didn't work out that way. The way it worked out was pretty darn grand. We booked the train depot in Norman, Oklahoma. There isn't a whole lot of room for a bunch of people so we kept our guest list to mainly family and a few close friends. Forty people and that included children, the photographer and minister. My sister Patti (who shall forever after be named Saint Patti) and my mom both flew in for the occasion. My cousin Christian was there as well. For much of the affair, that was the end of my involvement. My friends Cathy and Charlotte had been waiting for years for me to get married and they contrived to put on the whole she-bang. It was quite a production, with magnets with out picture on them, sparkling wine and white linen tablecloths. Charlotte loaned me her Mikimoto pearl necklace and earrings. There was even green punch and gorgeous wedding cake. Grey picked out the cake. It was the tres leches cake from Whole Foods. It's delicious, has fruit on it and has no hydrogenated oils. And it was gone before it had a chance to make it home from the party. Seriously good cake. It looks festive but not like a wedding cake. I loved it and so did everyone else. We did marriage counseling with my friend Anna, who is also the minister. Anna is a UCC minister, graduate student, theatre patron and performer, musician and all around jack (jane?) of all trades. I like her. We met with her together and individually and she pronounced us ready to get married. On the day of the wedding, once I had hair, make up and groom together, we went to the train depot and did all of the finishing touches. Grey's sister brought purple nail polish to paint my toenails. My other sister sent a 1973 penny for my shoe and a garter, birdseed wrapped in tulle and bouquet holders. Cathy made the bouquets. By hand! Holy crap! That girl can work. Anyway, just before the ceremony, Grey's mom pulled me aside. She gave me a book of poems that her husband had given her on their wedding day, with the date on the inside cover. It was a tiny thing and didn't take much room so I thanked her, sucked up the sweetest tear in the history of crying for joy and went forth. I carried the book of poems in the bodice of my gown. Veronica calls it the indian purse. I'm good with that. Instead of a traditional guest book, I bought ink, pens and a poster board with a tree on it. Each guest put their thumb in the ink and pressed it into the poster board on the tree, making a leaf. Then their signed their names by it. It was pretty cool. Grey and I seated our own guests. Yes, that's right. We were our own ushers. It was his idea. We figured out the room configuration and had the seats made up that way. As each person walked to their seats with us, we held their hands, or arms or whatever seemed appropriate. It was Grey's idea and I loved it. It seems that once the confusion abided, the idea was well accepted. I sat my mom, my Charlotte, Patricia and Carter and my little flower girl- who was so cranky that her mom took her out as soon as the ceremony ended. Then Grey and his brother Tate made their way to the front and waited. Saint Patti went on up and then Christian escorted me in. I hugged him and thanked him and met that groom in front of God and everyone and Anna holding the sacred Kindle. Grey looked a picture. It was an afternoon wedding so he chose a dark suit rather than a tuxedo. Nice tie. Boutinier. And a big smile that matched mine. I know that Anna said some stuff. We had rehearsed. Grey didn't particularly love the first paragraph of the ceremony so he rewrote it and Anna liked it just fine- well enough to keep it for use in other weddings. It was beautiful and meaningful and was written just for us. After that first paragraph I stopped listening and just stared at Grey who was staring right back at me. For a few froze moments there was nothing else. No audience, no minister, no sister standing ready to hold onto a bouquet. Just this look on my face and a contemplation of spending the rest of my life attached to someone I really like, care for, love having sex with and who I am pretty certain won't let me down when I need him. And someone I won't let down either. I did not cry. I did not cry. I did not cry. Somewhere in there, Cathy read a Shakespearean poem for us. Fortunately, she had that one memorized. Yeah, she's pretty great like that. I love English teachers. Then Anna said: You may kiss. We had practiced this moment. Grey and I leaned in towards one another and he wrapped his arm around my waist. We kissed and turned at the same time so that he dipped me in front of the crowd. I dropped my arm dramatically. We had practiced well. There was genuine smiling and applause. And off we went to the party. But first we snuck in the back and kissed awhile longer. Best moment of the day. Pictures, kissing, toasts, cake and visiting. It was fun. I had painted a bunch of birdhouses for the occasion and the guests took them home. And we had pictures with Jon Inglett, who introduced us in the first place. I got to visit with Chelle, his wife, whom I had not seen in too many years. Ok, two years. But that's a long time. Finally, it was time to go. We went home and that was kind of it. We took an extra day before traveling to New Orleans and relaxed, ate cake and barbecue potato chips and eventually got to drink some of the sparkling wine. Now, there were things I didn't get to do. Charlotte wanted a chocolate fountain pretty bad. Grey did not. I'm not sure she will ever forgive him. I wanted to have my dog there. And as open-minded as my husband is, he nixed the idea of a dog or even Eleanor at the wedding. Party pooper. As much as we did not follow etiquette or even many of the time-accepted moors of wedding ceremonies or receptions, we did have a wonderful time and we did get married in our own fashion. It felt sincere and genuine. It was not stressful and I had no fear that we were doing things wrong. It was, for the first time in my life, a fun wedding. Eventually, we left on our honeymoon. Cathy (once again to the rescue) is watching Big Dogg and Eleanor and watering the plants in our absence. And New Orleans might not be the same once we leave.