My last wedding post! So sad. The last ten weeks seemed to fly by like, well, weeks. Along with my fellow bridal blogger Erin, I started checking the weather forecast as soon as I could and was gutted by the prospect of rain right up until two days before the wedding. I should’ve trusted more in two people: my bikini waxer, Lidia, who assured me with complete certainty that it “will not rain,” and my editor Garrett, who says that it rains only in the afternoon in Washington. Both were right.
I can describe our day only as perfect. There were a few minor snags, but they really only served to make me laugh. My two brothers walked me down the aisle, meaning that there was some confusion over where they’d both stand, and for the duration of the ceremony I was distracted by the lily-pollen mark on John’s face—he had helped transport the flowers earlier. But the ceremony, the weather, the location, and the brunch were absolutely perfect and just what we’d wanted and imagined when we’d first thought about getting married, which is really all that matters.
When my friend Liz said she wanted to throw me a bachelorette party, I had a few qualms. For one thing, I worked for years in a London restaurant known for its private party rooms, so I’ve experienced more “hen” parties than anybody should ever have to. They’re always cheesy and gross, and the idea of wearing a mock veil while going around kissing strangers was unappealing. Also, I still have flashbacks to the stripper my friend Luda had at her party—he looked like a skinnier version of Gollum. So I told Liz I’d love a quiet dinner with just a few family members and good friends. No trips to Camelot. No men in jockstraps. No shots.
Okay, I’m actually genuinely stressed now. Not because things are going wrong, but just because there’s so much to do! I spent a whole two hours on Sunday trying to find a nice place where my mom and I could get pre-wedding manicures and pedicures at the same time. In a major metropolitan area, I figured this wouldn’t be a problem. But I called Bliss Spa, and although its manicures are wonderful, only one nail technician works on Friday, meaning my mom and I wouldn’t be able to sit and chat about the wedding and spend some time together. And neither would my sister and stepmother. Ditto with Aveda salon in Georgetown. I thought about taking everyone to the nail place I frequent by Dupont Circle, but it’s not the most salubrious of places, even though it’s cheap and efficient. Coming from two years in New York City, where I got used to an abundance of beautiful, luxurious, cheap nail bars, DC is kind of a bust. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.
Sophie has covered quite a bit here, and, fortunately, we haven’t run into many snags. I don’t have horror stories or planning tips. But in hoping that this blog is making its way to a few guys, I’ve got something for the grooms.
Sophie outed me a few posts ago. It’s true—I’m fussy about clothes. I’m especially concerned with fit—I hate clothes that are too big. So, as you can well imagine, I’m daily offended by the sartorial horror show that is Capitol Hill. It seems that guys here find a suit that fits and then buy it two sizes larger. Do they expect to grow into it?
A few years ago, I received a beautiful Brooks Brothers tuxedo as a gift. I’ve lost a little weight since then, and it was important to me that the tux not look like I had borrowed it from my dad. The first tailor failed. And, yes, I guess I pouted a little. (Though, in truth, it was more of a manly tirade.) I insisted on finding another, which I did, and I’m confident they’ll get it right. With that sorted out, I started thinking about shoes.
There comes a point in every shotgun wedding when you start to panic. For me, that was this weekend. Until then, I was a model of serenity, blithely making decisions about cards and people and food and dresses without batting an eyelid. People kept asking, “Are you stressed?” “You must be so stressed.” “Is it a nightmare?” “Are you so, so busy?” To which I’d respond, “Actually, it hasn’t been that bad.” Sure, we’ve been busy. But we’ve managed to keep it pretty cool. Laid-back, even.
That is, until I tried on my dress Friday night and flipped out. It doesn’t fit. Well, it does, but either my underarms have put on weight or my dress is too tight, because all I could see was fat. In addition, the multiple pairs of shoes I’d ordered were all wrong. One pair was too high, so I towered over John like Attack of the Sixty Foot Bride. The other pair was too dark, so they didn’t match the dress or the jewelry. I still didn’t know who—if anyone—would be doing my hair, we didn’t have a florist booked or a cake or a marriage license. I was five pounds over my target weight. John was going to look nicer than me. Everyone was going to look nicer than me. I was going to be the ugliest bride in the history of weddings, and it was all because I hadn’t spent enough time planning my outfit properly, choosing instead to occupy my time with things like work and CSI and perfecting my whistle. And the wedding is in two weeks, so I don’t have much time now to compensate. Oops.
How can I put this politely? No. Although I’m flattered to be considered a contender, I’m not spending my spare time studying citizenship tests or practicing my trans-Atlantic, Catherine Zeta-Jones-esque drawl. For starters, it takes something like ten years of residency to become an American citizen, and also, I don’t really want to. I like my burgundy passport. I like my allegiance to a tiny, regal lady with immaculate taste in brooches and an unbelievable talent for small talk. I like it when John says “tomahto” by accident. I like America, too, obviously, or I wouldn’t live here. But just as I don’t plan to give up my name, I have no plans to give up my nationality. For one thing, my American accent is horrible and I hate, hate, hate American football, so I’d be pretty useless all round.
My colleague Erin and I decided a while ago that there should be an exchange system between Britain and America whereby willing participants in similar fields could swap countries without adversely affecting employment rates. Every time I see one of those ads on TV complaining about 14 million immigrants a year stealing American jobs, I feel a pang of guilt. “That’s me,” I think. “A job-stealing (albeit tax-paying) immigrant.” But at least I speak the language (kinda).
Despite what these ads may have you believe, getting an American visa is no mean feat. When John and I get married, I can apply for a green card, which means that after I submit myself to drug tests, communicable-disease tests, reflex tests, and background checks, and after John and I go to an interview and provide proof that we really are in love and he didn’t order me from a Russian catalog, and after I give lawyers and Homeland Security many thousands of dollars, I’ll be granted the status of “permanent resident.” And no longer will I have to stand in line for three hours every time we leave the country and watch the “Welcome to America” videos on an endless loop, which will be a blessed relief.
I’m joking about the Journey band. I had never heard a Journey song in my life until I moved to New York and was able to hit karaoke bars every night, where I soon realized how popular the band’s oeuvre is. But as fun as it can be when you’re drinking sake bombs and someone who can’t sing is yelling something about not stopping believing, there’s a distinct lack of elegance to it—especially over brunch. So it’s safe to say that there won’t be any ’80s music at our wedding, which leaves us with two choices: a string quartet or the reunion of my brother and his emo band, Ignorance of a Rival.
Not surprisingly, we chose the string quartet. And during the course of his research, John stumbled across a Washingtonian-endorsed group who does covers! I might have to rethink my walking-down-the-aisle tune—last week a friend who read this blog said that she’d been to a wedding last month where the bride chose “Can’t Help Falling in Love” as her intro song, and there’s nothing I hate more than unoriginality. If you have any brilliant ideas that aren’t total clichés, (such as Pachelbel’s Canon in D, “I Do,” “Here Comes the Bride, Thirty Miles Wide,” and that kind of thing), I’d love to see them in the comments!
I guess weddings invariably involve a lot of excitement about what to wear, especially for women. I currently have two potential dresses. Both are beautiful. I’m leaning toward one at the moment because the other looks slightly maternity-like, and with a shotgun wedding like ours, we don’t need any more rumors swirling. Popular opinion (read: my friends and my mom) is split down the middle, which means on Friday, October 2, I’ll probably be spending the evening pouting into a mirror while they hash it out.
John and I, who might kindly be described as “secular,” have no local church that we attend and are both lapsed Catholics. In England, you can get married in a church or a registry office, and that’s it (most people opt for churches, and therefore priests are generally more forgiving to sinners like us). In the United States—where you can get married anywhere from a Waffle House to the underpass by South Capitol Street—the options are slightly more complicated.
Luckily, we’re not wedding-y people. I’ve been to plenty of weddings—my godmother’s, my friend Sara’s, both my parents—and while they’re very charming (and you get to drink a lot), I always suspected I lacked the wedding gene. I never, ever dreamed of getting married until I met John. My idea of long-term happiness was retiring to Miami with a bunch of girlfriends and becoming The Golden Girls. I even tried on a $4,000 wedding dress at a Washingtonian Bride & Groom shoot this year, hoping to stimulate some nascent bridal urge, but all it did was make me feel like a sequinned cloud. Weddings? Bah humbug.
That said, I had three things I absolutely wanted for ours: