Tag Archives: wedding

Epilogue to a Wedding, Prelude to Autumn

Part of my hesitation to write, I have to admit, has been because my trip back to the “rebel” country hasn’t been as rosy as expected. To begin with, I woke up with a sore throat the day after arriving, which progressed to probably full-blown bronchitis and is still lingering. That’s a diagnosis brought to you by Dr. WebMD; even though I have some sort of international health care card, I don’t think an actual doctor could have done anything for me.

I got well enough in time for the wedding, and got through the day with smiles and a hefty dose of cold pills. Any way I phrase this will sound terrible, but I have to be honest: there’s a lot of pressure for the big day to be this wonderful, magical event. Months of over-planning and over-scrutinizing are supposed to lead to a carefree, effortlessly elegant day where it hits you that you’re a Mrs. now, and have a Mr. for life, and you celebrate that with your nearest and dearest.

Don’t get me wrong– it was a wonderful day. And it feels fantastic to be married to my favorite person. But from a rushed morning to a delayed ceremony start, to worrying that no one could hear us from that picturesque gazebo on the top of that hill in Chickies Rock Park, to accidentally leaving in that bit about gay marriage that might piss off some relatives, to feeling rushed while setting up the food for hungry guests and not having any idea where to put all of the stuff, to spilling barbecue sauce on my dress on three separate occasions and making the mistake of using a burgundy-colored napkin to blot it out (not my smartest decision), to…just knowing that we didn’t really devote more than 2 minutes to anyone in particular, it just wasn’t all that Martha and David (that’s Stewart and the Bridal mogul to the uninitiated) promised.

I expected that, to some degree. But I still wish I could have done it perfectly, because that’s how I am. On my wedding night, we stayed at John’s mom’s house, and the groom eventually passed out around midnight while I was up until 4 or 5 because I couldn’t stop my brain from flashing images of the day (greeting guests, blotting stains, searching for extra guacamole and tin foil) in front of my eyes.

The icing on the cake (possibly the only item of which there was no leftovers) was that throughout the day, and even a week later, people are still telling me what a great time they had and how relaxed and happy I looked. The pictures will show that, too. So that’s how I will choose to remember it. Still, I felt the need to give you a sneak peek of the “man behind the curtain,” to reinforce that– appropriately, like a marriage itself– things are never perfect. They’re messy and a little chaotic and the key to happiness is learning to embrace all of it.

And then there’s the aftermath. Now that a week has gone by, I can laugh about taking all of the tupperware into the back yard, along with a sponge and a gallon of dish soap, and hosing everything down. And pawning off bags of roasted garlic baguettes, pickled red onions and tortellini salad onto anyone who entered the house. These tasks kept my mind occupied, which I needed. My amazing, genuine and brilliant (to borrow the British slang) mother-in-law isn’t doing well, and I just don’t know how to deal with illness and…well, hopelessness, on my part. I want to make things better, and when I can’t, I either shut down or find a way to distract myself.

One of the distractions, of course, has been sugar. They call it emotional eating for a reason. I suppose there could be worse coping mechanisms, so I’ll give myself a break, but I do look forward to getting back on my bike and off the addictive white substance back in Oxford.

And yet, I’ll really miss it here. I loved spending time with my family (and new family!) I’m leaving just as my favorite season hits. The fine line between summer and fall. The few days where the air has a crisp edge to it, but the leaves haven’t lost their summer luster. The days where we introduce scarves and layers to our wardrobe. Not to mention the pumpkin spice everything.

I’ll miss you, Pennsylvania. But it’s time to go home, and start the next chapter of my life: experiencing my first autumn in Oxford. Oh, and learning how to be a nagging wife to my darling “hubby.”*

*I promise to never use this term seriously.

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in 14 days

I’ve been putting my spreadsheet skills to use the past few days, flying between tabs in a massive Google Docs file, to finalize all of this “wedding stuff.” As the big day approaches, I continue to fight the good fight against the wedding industrial complex, with all of its shouldsmusts, and have you considered?’s

But even after brushing aside all of the unnecessary tulle, pomanders, and intricate invitations (I’ve seen envelopes within envelopes, not joking), there’s still a lot of essential stuff. It’s not just a matter of inviting a few friends over for pizza and a movie (my specialty). There are checklists to check, food and containers and utensils to buy, playlists to plan, and, oh yeah, I should probably make an effort to find some shoes to wear.

In moments where it all starts to become too much and I find myself turning into exactly what I wanted to avoid, I stop to remind myself of the following key points. They’re worth reiterating, because repetition takes the impossibility out of “easier said than done,” turning it into “Said. Done.” Consider it a wedding planning mantra, of sorts.

In 14 days:

1. It won’t matter whether or not I remembered to add my favorite Spice GIrls songs to my playlist. In fact, guests will probably prefer the omission.

2. I won’t be panicking over whether x pounds of meat was enough for x people, or whether the tomato slices suggested my knife sills leave much to be improved, or whether the cake was just a little bit too dry or too sweet. I will have realized that our guests have traveled to see us get married, not to eat a 5-course, 5-star meal (though tummies will be happy and satisfied, since our dishes will be made with love and minimal food poisoning risk).

3. Additional note on the former: I will look back on my crazy Google Docs tabs and say yes, it was worth it to self-cater, because I wanted that personal touch, and I can’t deny my innate nitpicking toward vendor-made meals (I can’t count the number of times I’ve tasted something and went, “I could have done this better.” Food snobbery at its finest).

4. I won’t be worrying about potential breakouts, scrutinizing what I’m eating out of the irrational fear that a few extra spoonfuls will suddenly bulge out of my dress, or whether the bruises on my leg (note: I bruise very, very easily, because I’m a dainty flower) detracted from those powerhorses that propelled me through Oxford on my bike.

5. It won’t matter whether the guestbook was set up this way or that way; whether we skipped the galvanized steel drink buckets, or how my handwriting on some signs turned out.

In 14 days, I will be married to my best friend, my soulmate, as much as I want to cringe and roll my eyes at that term. I’ve just gotten to a point where it’s no longer enough to live with John and talk about “when we’re married;” I’ve gotten to the point where I feel incomplete without him, and confident that no matter what craziness spouts out of my mouth on any given day, he will be there to support me and encourage me, and I want to do the same for him. It’s what makes me happy (among other things, like the cats and bacon).

In 14 days, we’ll both be wearing shiny matching rings, ready to take on the world as a new family. Things won’t ever be perfect, and I wouldn’t want them to be, but I think we will both feel that things have just…shifted, a bit. Nudged us closer together– something that’s been happening all along, even when I think it’s impossible to keep going and growing.

And in 14 days, I can put aside the spreadsheets and get back to real life, with my husband.

Last weekend, I got pulled over, twice.

By two different “cops.” For two different bicycle violations. Apparently, you’re not supposed to go through red lights, even when the coast is clear for miles. Who knew? I pulled my best “I’m from Philly, we don’t have rules,” and the officer (who took his job far too seriously, I might add) told me, “I appreciate where you’re from, but blah blah normally a £30 fine.” Cue the smiling, nodding, and apologizing. Then he told me, “If I see you again…” and I had to try really hard not to laugh. But I guess Oxford is a pretty small town, and unfortunately, he probably will see me again at some point. At least next time, I’ll know there’s nothing more urgent for the police to attend to around here, and I should probably stop at a red light.

The second offense was for riding through a “pedestrianized” zone (10 am – 6 pm). But I was just following that guy! (pointing to the biker who, by now, is at least a block away). And the second “cop” was the same one who helped me register my bike earlier that day (in case of theft, probably the only crime in Oxford worth worrying about).

In other news, it’s been a month since we went to Germany, and I already feel like I need another vacation. It’ll be time to go home soon for the wedding, but I want to sneak in a long weekend somewhere before then– to anywhere, really. But train prices are ridiculous, and flights…well, those countless hours spent getting to Stansted and waiting around make the train prices a little easier to swallow. Anyway, I’ll keep you posted on where we go next.

Hmm, what else. You want wedding updates? Sorry, won’t do it. Before we embarked upon this whole thing (from picking an official date, and onward), John and I outlined our vision of a low-key, low-stress, more like a party than an actual wedding, small guest list, don’t-even-know-if-I’ll-wear-a-white-dress event. There were no complaints at that time, and I thought we might actually get away with it. Of course, now the time is approaching, and everyone has something to say. Something critical.

I landed on that word because it has various definitions, and in this case, several apply:

“Having a decisive or crucial importance in the success or failure of something.”

“Expressing adverse or disapproving comments or judgments.”

Thanks for offering advice, but detail X is simply not critical at this moment (or in the future, if I’m being honest). Also, the concept of “advice” itself is often nothing more than thinly-veiled criticism.

I do appreciate offers of support, but what I want more than anything else is just for people to show up and have a good time. I’m a detail-oriented person, and I’ve got plenty of nerdy spreadsheets to help me throughout this process. Because it is a process, no matter how “low-key” it ends up. The difference is, I know which details are important and which are not.

In the end, it’s one day, one party. Things never go as we plan, so why stress? It’s more about enjoying the beginning of something new. Becoming husband and wife and all of that sentimental crap. So please, no advice, unless it entails procuring sedatives.

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