Monday, November 1, 2010
The wedding: part one
It couldn't have come at a better time, talking about one of the best days of my life. I'll need to remember how great our wedding was, because life conspires to be the exact opposite of that on a daily basis.
You may or may not remember this - that particular day's weather was particularly insane. The days leading up to it and following it were equally beautiful, but October 2nd was a mess of high winds, rain, and even hail. The only beautiful sight when I woke up was the view from our penthouse room of Chicago, and of course my future wife still asleep next to me.
I awoke early, and - try as I might - there was no way to fall back asleep. So many things to remember - my vows, the prank tie I was going to put in Kevin's tuxedo bag, the lyrics to "Kiss", etc. Meg awoke with me and pretty soon I was going on a coffee run to Starbucks.
An aside: I walked past three Starbucks to get to my old store from when I worked in the city. Such a surreal moment: being in a place where - in a different time - I was a different person on a completely different path.
We did things a little unconventionally, staying in the same room while Meg got her hair and makeup done and I took care of whatever needed taking care of. And there was a lot - we were informed early on that there was no way to erect the tents that we needed for the event. That was several phone calls, and - unfortunately - the biggest thing I remember about the morning. Wondering if my girl's day was ruined, if we were going to have 150 people crammed in an area that was already cozy when we had two massive tents. Wondering if the weather was going to go one step worse and ruin things altogether.
I try to be optimistic. It's something I need to remember even now, when so much less is at stake. I went downstairs in my tux, and hung out with my guys and my parents, while waiting for my "first look." This would be one of the rare moments when we were all together and nothing was really happening. So of course, we drank and clowned around. Kevin gave me the present that Meg got me: Beardo cufflinks. Amazing. I put the boutonnieres on everyone, and the corsage on my mother.
Gina and Tony informed me that she was coming down with her entourage, and I ducked into the bar adjacent to the lobby. A bride comes down and looks...not at all like Meg. Because it wasn't her, it was some other bridal party! Another one of our plans foiled! Would this spoil the moment, would it bother Meg? My optimism tested yet again!
Gina and Tony were smart enough to suggest a plan B. They walked me outside, down the sidewalk, and had me standing with my back to the hotel. All the things that had already gone wrong that day, and I didn't know if Meg was okay with that or not, what with all the planning she had done for this. I'd finally cracked a bit, and the waterworks kicked in. Then they tell me, "here she comes."
It seemed like forever, not having any information except the clicking of heels behind me. But a hand came on my shoulder, and I turned around to see my beautiful Meg, smiling without a care in the world. And dammit, I was already emotional, so I couldn't help letting a few more tears loose. But this time, I was totally happy. As long as she was okay, I was just fine.
After that, the rest of the day is literally a blur. But I can walk you through some of it. The shuttle brought us to a blustery parking lot, and the hike across Lake Shore Drive was even longer with 40mph winds, lake spray and hail hitting us left and right. Kate was leading the battle to keep Meg together, holding her dress and walking alongside. My hair was more like some manga character, all pointing in some weird direction aimed crookedly at the sky. I remember most of us laughing despite it, and Meg's hair staying perfectly in place amidst a monsoon. Inside the Point, the table place cards were all blown about. Chris gave me a swig or three of his flask, and Jason's hair was still magnificently wild. We were running behind schedule because we left the cermonial wine at the hotel, and we were waiting for Eileen's Stu to bring it and save us. Deuce was told he'd have to play 10 to 15 minutes of instrumental music, he ended playing a half hour. The other members of the Walk-Ins started texting him random suggestions meant to make me laugh. I heard some Metallica thrown in there at one point. Laugh accomplished.
Suddenly us guys are walking down the side aisle, and it's on! Everyone suggested that if you're going to cry, look up and to the right. This works pretty well. When I saw Lou bring Meg down the aisle, I figured that if seeing her earlier got me in tears, this would bring down the house. But I think I kept it in as best as I could, up-and-to-the-right style.
Her vows and mine were both a blur. I know I spent most of my time looking at Meg and doing my best to remember what I wanted to say. At some point we drank some ceremonial wine, Uncle Den and Meg's Grandmother read passages, and I know I saw all the bridesmaid's faces and our parents, but hardly saw the rest of the crowd or my groomsmen behind me. I do remember looking back at Kevin at one point. Honestly, I don't even remember walking back down the aisle after I kissed Meg, but I know we did it because there's a picture to prove it! In hindsight, I am so glad we had a videographer added to the documentarians, to help with all of this. I recommend this to anyone getting married, if you can.
I DO remember getting to the end of that aisle, hugging and kissing her, and having a ton of our favorite people cheering us on. Such a dramatic moment, heightened even more with good old Mother Nature whistling beyond the windows. And those awesome bartenders, especially the female one, congratulating us and preparing for their assault on our collective livers.
Tomorrow, reception time.