Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Coffee, Champagne and New Hyde Park

While it's all well and good to have sunshine and cool breezes for post-wedding photos I have to say there's something "off" about an afternoon wedding.

First of all there's the getting up at an ungodly hour to get your hair done. Which, I suppose, only applies if you are a member of the wedding party. One with hair, that requires hairspray. And perhaps a curling iron. Or bobby pins. Definitely bobby pins.

In any event, 6 am is really just too early to even contemplate drinking. So, you start with coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. If your stomach isn't already doing jumping jacks you may attempt to eat breakfast but while outward appearances intimate a calm, cool, collectedness chances are good you're really just TOTALLY FREAKING OUT.

Although you would never admit it. In a voice above a whisper. That was directed mostly at your uneaten bagel.

But it's not a wedding without hairdresser. So, there you are with a stomach full of butterflies and coffee, sitting in the chair while she pulls and pokes and blows and sprays your hair into place.

It seemed, when you were being woken up with the sun, that the day stretched out long before you. But once your hair is in place there's really not much time because believe me, having someone else do your hair is the least of the preparations. The next thing you know, the limo is pulling up outside and you're struggling to shove all of the important tools of beauty into bags to bring with you. You can't forget anything. It's all important. But you forget your toothbrush anyway. It doesn't really matter because even those who remember their brushes will probably forget to brush anyway.

There's traffic. There's always traffic. You're on the L.I.E. It's a beautiful Saturday morning in the middle of August. Half the population of the boroughs is on the road, trying to get out of the city. But who caaaaares? You're in a limo. Hanging out with your best friends. It's better than the prom! You don't have to worry about putting out for your date and you know the food is going to be good.

And then BAM, there you are. Rolling up to the Inn at New Hyde Park. It's dope! Very swank. Sure, you were there for the rehearsal two days before but now it is in all of its finery. Flowers and half-columns. Everyone is dressed up, from the cater-waiters to the maitre-d's. And everyone is being really nice.

You go upstairs to the "bridal suite" where there is a crazy breakfast spread laid out. Bagels, muffins, fresh fruit, donuts (mmh, donuts.) Juices and coffee and champagne. And there's a nice lady who keeps pouring you mimosas.

"You want another?"

Sure! Why not.

There's only the walking in the heels, and the making of the speech. Why not have another? And, even before all of that there is the application of the make-up. It's a complex ritual involving many tools and processes. Careful attention to detail and a refined knowledge of the luscher color test are vital to this ritual. It's not only how the colors make you look, it's how they make you feel. Because you should feel beautiful. You should feel like the most beautiful woman in the world. Or, the second most beautiful if you aren't the actual bride.
Cause, you know, that would be wrong.

It's not exactly a short process either. Not when there are four of you. When hands are shaking from nerves and over-caffeination. That's why the mimosas sound like such a good idea. You need something to even you out. You didn't get much sleep last night (who could?) and now you're a wreck. Plus, you deserve some champagne drinks. This is an important day and so far, everyone has made through alive and nothing has been broken. A little bit of shiny eyeshadow and champagne go a long way.

People start arriving, the photographer keeps interrupting to take those endearing, yet annoying, candid shots of The Bride And Her Attendants Getting Ready. You struggle to ensure that the various states of undress are not captured on film.

"More mimosa?"


Face painted, feet shoved into shoes and bodices straightened it's pretty much time to go. Time to get this girl married! Stand here, hold your flowers thusly, wait here, walk now. Now!

This is the other side of the mirror here folks. I'm usually the one telling people where to stand. Honestly, there's certain simplistic joy to taking orders. Especially when you are all dressed up and expected to parade yourself infront of a room full of people. I really liked that part. I'm going to have to remember that for later. The walk is not as sweat inducing as I had anticipated. It's possible all of the coffee and mimosas had dehydrated all of the sweat out of me.

And then you're done. All of that preparation, all of the fears and anticipation and now you're a part of the backdrop as the bride makes her own march down the aisle. And she's beautiful, the most beautiful. And she's laughing. Because that's what she does. And you try not cry. And you try not to giggle at the maid of honor crying. And you try to actively listen to what the judge is saying but you get distracted by your admiration for the groom who needs no prompting to recite his memorized vows. And you're keeping an eye on the flower girl who may make a fast-break for her sisters sitting in the first row at any time.

And then they are man and wife and it's time to ...take pictures.

Which is fine and uneventful, after the walk around the block to the backyard garden they built especially for this event (and the other weddings that are taking place before their permanent gardens are built out.) And there's MORE champagne. And hors d'oeuvres and you take off your fancy gold shoes because you keep sinking into the lawn and all of the little girls practice their dancing while the photographers pose the parents of the bride.

But it's still full on daylight when you are done and headed into the reception. It's not even cocktail hour when someone is asking you to order you dinner and there's no way you're going to get enough drinks in you to get on the dance floor. And you feel guilty, because you want to dance but it's too early to drink. And there's no way you're going out there without more drinks.
So you watch from your table, it's right on the dance floor, because you're a VIP. Or, because someone expected you to dance.

Either way, the food is good, the company at the table is great and being a spectator ensues that you wont miss the mother of the bride singing along to Love Shack, or the groom dancing in a circle with his nieces-in-law. And, it's all for the best because as a bridesmaid, you vowed to yourself that you wouldn't get yourself into the sweaty mess that you did at the last wedding you attended, last week. In Ohio.

But that's a whole other entry.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Other Peoples' Wedding Madness

The dog days of summer are upon us.
I've got 2 nights between weddings to make a brief update here.

There will, I promise you, more written about the weddings I've been to this year. I just need some time to catch my breath.

Maybe, like, I'll have my thoughts together by October?

Two days ago we attended the wedding of one of the original "Undateables," and my favorite Blues Brother. Quite possibly the only thing that could make Ohio interesting are the nuptial rituals of the DD.

And I'm not talking about a cup size kids.

Although, side note (and boys, you may want to avert you gaze here for a moment.) It is no joke shopping for a bra to go on under a special occasion dress when you are rockin' these kind of bodacious ta-tas. Gah, seriously. I am exhausted from the dressing room trips alone. And I haven't even gotten to the rehearsal dinner yet.

Two days from now I embark upon my first foray into actual inclusion in a wedding party. That's right. I have gotten this far in life (and never you mind how far that is, thank you very much) and this is the first time I am going to be a bridesmaid.

I couldn't possibly be more excited about standing up for darling Kristabeth. And, I am happy to report, she has chosen a lovely dress. For me. I really don't know what her wedding gown looks like.

Sure, I've stage managed more weddings than anyone should probably ever attend in their lives but I've never been expected to, you know, stand there with a bouquet and look pretty. I've always been in the back, bossing people around. Occasionally weeping quietly. A lot of the time laughing at things (Bryan.) There are going to be official pictures of me now. I can't let my makeup run this time!

I have purchased every tool known to women to ensure "prettiness" for this wedding. This, of course, means a lot of squeezing and molding of body parts. Lots of painting and tweezing and exfoliating. And, in my case, a lot of slathering on of fakeo-tan-in-a-tube.

That's right Krista, only for you will I subject myself to self-tanner, lest I blind wedding guests with the sad, Midwestern, whiteness of my exposed skin.

Curse this place and it's lack of proper beaches!

But it doesn't matter. Because it's not about me.

A wedding is a beast I completely understand. A bunch of folks get together to make two people look absolutely fantastic and create a beautiful event to honor them. Everyone else is just scenery. Granted, fabulous looking scenery, but scenery none the less. Everyone pitches in and makes it all come together for the bride and groom.

You may have to travel thousands of miles. You may have to endure the strip-mall mecca that is Boardman (Boredom) Ohio. You may have to spend money you'd rather put towards purchasing an HD TV. And you may have to spend a night sleeping on the floor of a hotel room. But, you do it out of love. You do it because when you commit to a wedding, either as a guest or as a member of the party, or even as a well meaning friend with a knack for moving people around, you're there out of love. And that should surpass any mild discomforts (spanx) or random acts of chaos (rehearsal.) It's a little bit of selflessness on your part. Making this thing that is a wedding happen for your friends, or your family. Or, in my case, my friends who are my family.

I know it sounds slightly insane but I wouldn't trade a moment of the sweating, stair climbing, being snipped at by cranky old ladies or last minute runs for decorating supplies that I've gone through as a part of the weddings I have helped organize for anything in the world. In the end you don't remember the food, or the DJ, or how much traffic you sat in to get there and back again. You remember the love. You remember the earnestness with which vows were exchanged. You remember the faltering of the best man's voice as he gave his speech and the hug that you got from the bride when she finally got around to greeting your table.

You will occasionally remember the after party. But, not if it was a good one.

One more wedding to go this year.
My next big project?
My own.