Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wedding Wednesdays: Wedding Week Insanity

As Carrie has already told you, we did all of our on-site planning in short bursts in the months leading up to the wedding. We tried to do as much as we could ahead of time, but there were still lots of projects that ended up needing to be done at the last minute. Looking through our to-do list now, I'm a bit overwhelmed by how much we (with the help of many family members!) were able to accomplish in that time.

Our wedding was on a Saturday. We flew in on Wednesday afternoon. (Note to future brides planning from afar: if you can spare the vacation time, give yourself more time than this.) Our first stop was to pick up the rental car, which led to semi-awkward interaction with the rental car guy while Carrie filled out the paperwork:

Rental Car Guy: So what brings you to town?
Carrie: Um, our wedding.
RCG: Oh....blah blah blah try to upsell rental car crap...would you like to add a second driver for $$$ per day?
Me: I thought your company's policy is that spouses and domestic partners are free? (Yes, I had a printout from company's website if needed.)
RCG: Wait, are you already married?
Me: Yes.
RCG: Oh, okay then. Well if she (looking at Carrie) trusts you...

We then went on our merry way to pile our stuff into the tiniest, cheapest rental car ever--I had no idea that factories are still making cars without power locks and windows. But fear not, we had Sirius satellite radio!
Seriously, the window has a crank? Seriously?
The airport timing worked out such that Carrie's grandmother was arriving around the same time, so we picked her up a few minutes later and were off. Carrie and I still had a bunch of errands to run, so we made a quick stop at her parents' house and then headed out to buy last-minute supplies. One of the projects still TBD was the card box. Our plan was to pick up something at Michaels that we could decorate, but that plan failed when Michaels didn't have a single box of an appropriate size. Fortunately, a helpful employee directed us to the nearby HomeGoods store, where we settled on a black leather box that needed some alterations but would do. I am terrified of hot glue guns, so this entire project became a bonding moment for Carrie and my mom (with a bit of help from Carrie's dad). Sadly, it appears that despite their painstaking efforts, we don't have any pictures of the process or the finished product. This is actually sort of a theme from those few days--apparently running around like crazy people does not inspire one to meticulously photodocument the experience. We did have a relaxing dinner that evening at a Mongolian BBQ restaurant that was one of Carrie's favorite restaurants back in the day. It's hard to go wrong with DIY stirfry assembly.

In those few days, we had lots of last-minute paper projects to tackle--table signs, other random signs, and what would quickly become my nemesis: place cards. We had everything all set up ahead of time. The formatting was done, the mail merge was done, so it was just a matter of feeding the sheets into the printer and then hand stamping them. It turned out that the stamping was the least frustrating part of this process. The first few sheets printed fine, and then suddenly we had all sorts of problems. There was weird gray fringing. There was smudged printing. There were parts missing of some letters. We played with the printer settings, we shook the toner cartridge, we put in a new toner cartridge, and the gray smudginess was still there. At this point we were out of blank place cards despite having bought twice as many as we needed, and I was Freaking. Out. My mom went off on a trip to Staples, which involved her talking to a couple managers and going to multiple locations around the Twin Cities metro area before she found the cards in stock. And while she did that, Sean took apart the printer a bit and cleaned some parts so that once my mom finally returned victorious from Staples, we were able to print the rest. Oh yeah, and all of this involved me running laps back and forth between the computer that had Publisher on it and the printer in a different room. I think that may have been the only exercise I got that week, so it was probably good for me.
Me at the printer. I think the expression on my face is "Carrie, why are you taking my picture? Can't you see that I am freaking out here?"
Fortunately, Thursday evening also involved a wonderful treat: dinner at Lindey's Steak House. It's a very old-school steak place that Carrie's family occasionally visits for special occasions, and apparently wedding preparation was a noteworthy occasion. Stuffing ourselves with steak and potatoes seemed like a good antidote to the earlier stresses.

Friday, of course, brought more stress. We had planned for mani/pedis for us, our moms, and whomever of our bridesmaids were around and interested. Despite the fact that we'd scheduled an appointment for all of us, the nail salon was rather understaffed, and we ended up being there for several hours.

All of us pretending to read magazines while I'm trying really hard to suppress a giggle.

Under the dryers
We all had fun, but it was time we hadn't really budgeted for, so the rest of the day got rather hectic. Basically, we got home from the nail salon at around the time that we were supposed to be dropping off favors, place cards, etc. at the reception venue. But not only were we not ready, there were still a few random signs that needed to be made and the kids' favor bags needed to be assembled. Oh yeah, and as of this point, we hadn't even started putting together our photo slideshow; the photos had been scanned but still needed to be sorted, put in order, and set to music. And we needed to be at the rehearsal in just a couple of hours, and not only did we all need to get ready for that, but I needed to pack for the next couple of days because I was spending that night at the hotel (yeah, we're traditional like that). Carrie started the slideshow, Jen worked on the kids' bags, and I ran around like a crazy person. I'm not even sure if I was doing anything useful--I may just have been flapping my arms and making scared noises.

At one point I definitely started hyperventilating because the menu sign wasn't sized to fit right with a double matte in the frame we'd bought for it. Yes, the menu sign was where I finally lost it. The menu sign. People had already picked their meals ahead of time--this was just a courtesy at the entrance to tell them what the sides would be, etc. In other words, it was totally unnecessary, but I couldn't see that at the moment, nor could I think calmly enough to be able to handle fractions and recalculate the size. Fortunately, at this point Sean jumped in. It turns out that geeky guys are perfectly suited for measuring and aligning a beautifully double-matted menu sign. And while he did that, I finished off our list for the venue and started loading all of our paraphernalia into the car.

Carrie and I pretty much showed up at the venue in a whirlwind, dropped the bubbles, favors, place cards, signs, and whatever else happened to be in the car (I'm surprised we didn't leave them the spare tire). We were hyper-organized (and mildly paranoid about the idea of something not going perfectly as planned), so we had a list for them of everything we'd brought and where it should go, as well as a diagram of the venue with table names, high chair placement, and labels for where all our stuff should be. We talked through that list at about 90 miles a minute, then ran out the door and back to Carrie's parents' house to get ready for the rehearsal, which it was quite clear that we were going to be late for. I know that this is somewhat to be expected at weddings--lots of things don't start on time. But I really hate inconveniencing people, so I was having all kinds of stress thinking about our nearest and dearest sitting at the church waiting for us. Apparently though, these things don't start without the brides, so they were all mingling happily when we arrived.

This post has already gone on far too long, so you'll have to wait until next time to hear what happens next (I know, crazy suspense, right?) But what I couldn't really capture here was A. what a blur this whole time was, and B. how much of it we couldn't have done without our families. There were all sorts of other things happening that I haven't written about here, in part because I don't even remember who did them, but they got done. Dresses were taken to the cleaner to be steamed, lunches were made, the church was set up, and all sorts of other things that I wasn't involved in. Oh, and in case this wasn't enough insanity, there were two toddlers running around the whole time. It was certainly not a calm, quiet way to go into a wedding, but does that ever happen? I may not have reached a point of pre-wedding bliss, but we spent those days surrounded by family and friends who were willing to join us in the frantic frenzy that was necessary to make our wedding happen.
One of the little men, being as helpful as he could be. I think we all wanted to join him in that nap.


  1. Mongolian BBQ is delicious!

    This kind of reassures me. Thanks for sharing the story!

  2. can't wait to hear the rest of the story! I loved the line about being frenzied but that being okay because you were with loved ones.

    also, my husband's car has a hand crank! ha ha

  3. It was the hit party of the season! Lots fun.