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Archive for August, 2012

One year later.

A year ago today, in the middle of a hurricane, I married a man who makes me laugh, makes me think, makes me feel safe, and best of all, makes me happy. It doesn’t feel like a whole year has passed already — partly because, well, time flies, especially when you’re busy buying a house and getting ready for a baby, but also because I remember that day so clearly, and we talk about it and look at the pictures so often, that it doesn’t seem very far away at all.

I’ve tried to write about our wedding before, but it’s difficult to capture exactly what that day (and the time leading up to it) meant to me. This is bound to be a bit of a ramble, but I want to write about it now, on our first anniversary. In two months, we’ll have our first baby, and everything will change again forever, but for now, Aug. 27, 2011, remains the best day of our lives.

It was the best day of our lives in large part because the people we love most were there to share it with us. My family came for the whole week beforehand — they rented a house on the lake where we held the wedding — and it was so wonderful to have everyone under one roof. They were such a huge help, with wedding tasks and with keeping me sane and grounded. My sister-in-law smiled through every crafty task I handed her. My brothers wholeheartedly embraced their job of preparing sangrias and a Bloody Mary bar and were more than willing to fetch me a glass of wine whenever I needed one. My mom was somehow always awake to talk to me when I couldn’t sleep in the middle of the night. My dad took me on an emergency Michael’s and pharmacy run that ended up being a highlight of the week for both of us. My grandma was, well, she was amazing. My grandma is always amazing.

Chris’ family was incredible as well. I don’t even know the half of what they did, because I spent most of the week across the lake with my family but also because they went about helping in a wonderfully quiet way, identifying things that needed to happen and making them happen without ever bothering me about them. I do know that our wedding could not have happened without them, and not just because we got married in a place of deep personal significance to them. They were the behind-the-scenes orchestrators of so many important details that I otherwise might have overlooked. They just knew what to do, and it was such a comfort to know that any holes in my plans they would be there to fill in. Not to be ignored, they (and some of their friends) also took charge of next-day cleanup, an amazing wedding gift indeed.

In spite of all that support and help, it was a very stressful time. The stress, combined with all the sleepless nights, took an intense physical toll, and by 3 a.m. Thursday night/Friday morning, I found myself curled up on Chris’ parents’ bathroom floor in a ball of fever and nausea, unable to get myself back to bed. I’d had the foresight to bring my phone with me, and I called my soon-to-be husband upstairs, who came to fetch me. The next morning, he dropped me back off at my parents’ cabin and told my mom, “I’m so worried about Rebecca.” It was a very tender moment for my mother, to see how badly Chris wanted to take care of me, the way she and my father always have.

Friday was a bit better, despite the devastating news that several people would not be able to attend the wedding due to Hurricane Irene. (Silver lining: This led to my discovery that crying while in a lake is much better than crying outside of a lake.) That evening, my in-laws hosted a beautiful rehearsal dinner, the perfect prelude to our wedding the next day. Wisely, I put myself to bed early, and I slept better than I had all week.

By Saturday morning, miraculously, I was bright-eyed and worry-free. I suspect a good part of my recovery had to do with the rest of my bridesmaids’ arriving on Friday. I also know that various other people, including Chris, took care of the stressful day-of things for me, and I am so, so grateful to them for it. I got to spend Saturday with my bridesmaids and family (including, of course, my handsome bridesbrothers), getting ready at my own pace, and even though I was late to the ceremony, and even though there was that hurricane, being surrounded by my people and their love kept me calm.

Despite Irene, we even managed to get married outside, as planned. It was beautiful. In pictures, you can see the raindrops hitting the lake behind us. My brilliant mother-in-law had had the foresight to order a slew of blue and white umbrellas, and she’d called in a favor from a friend, who took pictures of our umbrella’d guests from a canoe out on the lake.

I can’t talk about my wedding day without talking about how difficult the decision to get married was for me. Chris and I started talking seriously about marriage long before we actually got engaged, and that delay was  due mostly to my fear of this huge, overwhelming commitment. I was all too aware of how important a step it was. By the time I’d decided I was ready — which I indicated to Chris in a pseudo-proposal of my own with an engagement watch (“It’s time!”) — he was so ready to go that it took him only a few weeks to buy a ring and plan his own proposal, which was so sweet and intimate and perfect. His faith in us, and his willingness to wait for me, gave me so much strength. I don’t know if I could have taken that leap without his patient confidence guiding me.

All of this only made our wedding day even more incredible because — and I never imagined this could happen — when it finally arrived, I felt no hesitation at all. I was so sure of what I was doing. I knew without a doubt that this was where I wanted to be, that Chris was the man I wanted to marry.

In planning our wedding, I wasn’t overly concerned with a lot of the details. Some were very important — for example, we painstakingly selected a personalized book for each guest to use as table assignments and favors, which took several trips to various used bookstores in the city — but others, like flowers, I was happy to leave to other people. (Lucky I did, too — Chris’ mother and her friends created the most amazing flower arrangements and bouquets, more lovely than anything I ever could have dreamed up myself.)

The one thing I knew for sure that I wanted to do was to throw an amazing party. The weddings of my closest friends counted among the best days of my life, and I wanted to try as hard as possible to give that gift back to my friends and family. I can’t say for sure how our guests felt (they did seem to be enjoying themselves in photos), but I absolutely loved the party we threw.  I didn’t want it to end. I mourned the day for weeks afterwards, because when will I ever recapture that incredible feeling of being surrounded by people who love me and love Chris, who want to celebrate our happiness? Listening to the incredible toasts of our friends and family (I sincerely and without any bias at all believe we had the best rehearsal dinner and wedding toasts ever in the history of toasts), I was completely overwhelmed (thanks to our photographer for capturing so many pictures of my face contorted in various stages of crying-for-joy). I am so blessed that these are the people I’ve gotten to go through life with.

Because I have to give credit where credit is due, a huge reason why our wedding was so darn fun was because Chris and his buddies were the live entertainment. These is no wedding band better than one made up of your own friends.

And so I dragged my dress back and forth through the mud, danced myself silly, and went swimming in the wee hours of the morning, surrounded by friends and darkness and sideways-falling rain. (Also, I served nachos at the after party — the kind you get at the movies or ballpark. Did you know you you can rent nacho cheese machines? That’s another example of one of the details that I did take very seriously.)

All things considered, the hurricane barely got in our way (though I’m sure the person who cleaned my wedding dress would disagree). It did mean several last-minute cancellations, and many of our guests couldn’t attend the brunch the next day due to fallen trees and power lines. I know it also posed challenges to guests traveling home on Sunday and even caused some to leave the reception early. But it did not ruin our wedding. Not even close. (And today, one year later, it rained. Of course it did!)

Oh, and did I mention that my rock star husband serenaded me at our reception? I didn’t know he was going to do that, and I thought it was terribly sweet and brave and romantic.

I’ve left out so many details. Perhaps I’ll come back and fill them in later — I do want to have a record of everything if ever the memories start to fade (that seems impossible now). For now, I’ll just end with our vows, which we wrote together as we were falling asleep a few nights before the wedding. I read them over every now and then, and I love how true they still are.

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