I wake up the morning of the wedding feeling both characteristically like myself (giddy over the big pile of tulle hanging in the closet) but also, in other, shocking ways, most definitely not like myself (absence of hunger.) The big pile of tulle, aka my dress, gets flung over my shoulder and carried upstairs to the little penthouse space of the hotel, where I am the first to arrive.
It’s the perfect backdrop for getting ready. Slowly, my closest girlfriends, a few female family members and the people we’ve hired to make us beautiful arrive.
Surrounded by all of my favorite girls, fielding a few poignant emails from friends detained in Africa or Michigan and wishing us well, I’m pretty content. For about two hours. Then I start to get extremely antsy. Everyone else is getting their locks curled or giggling over mimosas while I, slated last for hair and makeup and equipped with my newfound disdain for food, am just kind of sitting there, very ready to get this show on the road.
Suddenly, in a flash, everything starts happening. The four-course lunch my mother and I planned, while under the delusion that either of us would be capable of eating roasted tomato soup and smoked salmon sandwiches, arrives. The florist is here, carrying big boxes of blooms. And it’s finally time for the professionals to have at my face and hair.
In the midst of this flurry of activity, the elevator doors open and my dad’s childhood friend emerges. Apparently unaware that this is a ladies only zone, he parks it and starts gabbing with my mother. He’s eating a big green apple. Loudly. The photographers think he’s my father and start snapping away. I start to lose my shit.
Sensing trouble, my friend Courtney starts administering sips of champagne as the hair dresser and makeup artist step it into high gear and double team me. The girls also force feed me mini muffins, ignoring my insistence that I’ve evolved into some sort of superhuman creature that doesn’t require sustenance. Somewhere in there, the baby’s breath headband that the florist designed to look just like the one my mother wore on her wedding day gets pinned in my hair.
The maids of honor throw their mint green dresses on and Megan and I each take a second to contemplate our appearance. I’m not completely enthused but decide just to go with it.
We’re running 15 minutes behind schedule now, which sends That Girl Who’s Always 15 Minutes Early into a tailspin. I throw off my clothing in the bathroom and stomp out into the windowed room in my underwear, ready to confront my dress.
I am intent on getting this party started immediately.
My mother helps me put on my grandmother’s watch and starts to cry a bit. It is very delicate and very beautiful and a reminder of all the people who aren’t here.
We move on to my other jewels (all borrowed, with my mother’s reluctant blessing) and are confronted with a knot emergency. My dad – my real dad! – is summoned up from the suite where the boys are getting ready to help. He is highly photogenic. The photographers start snapping away with purpose now.
Downstairs, my brothers are in need of backup from my father too. Much more comfortable in climbing harnesses than tuxedos, they require some assistance getting dressed. Dave is looking happy and confident, though he tells me later that both him and my dad ordered the egg white frittata at breakfast, a sure sign that they’re affected by the same No Food Necessary bug I seem to have caught.
Dave gets downstairs first. Waiting patiently for his bride, he runs into our good friend who promptly launches into a story about a post-rehearsal dinner hookup that took place the evening before.
And that is exactly the information that Dave is relaying to me when we see each other for the first time in our wedding garb.
I’m vaguely aware that the lobby is filled with dozens of our guests. As soon as I hear my aunt with the loving yet extremely screechy voice call my name, I decide it’s time to book it.