Before: 2 Days to Go

22 Oct

The final seven days: Bride’s diary of the wedding home stretch

The wedding festivities begin! It’s rehearsal day!

It’s getting closer! Check out what happened on the Wednesday before the wedding, and then get your butt right back here for:

T – 2 days… Thursday
Today is the day things start getting real! The wedding festivities begin this afternoon, kicking off with the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner and welcome drinks. My fiancé and I hit the beach in the morning, and on the way back deposit cheques we’ve received as wedding gifts, get cash out for suppliers, and hand out welcome letters to local guests not staying in hotels. On the way home to my parents’ place, our wedding DJ at last calls us back! He’s alive! ALIVE! Despite our fears that he was lying in a gutter somewhere, the DJ has indeed seen our musical instructions for the night and confirmed that everything is clear. What a relief!

When we get home, a new email from our reception venue resort says there is a charge for handing out the guest letters we dropped off the day before. I argue that we discussed this with the conference manager long ago and there was no mention of a fee… and then commence worrying that we’ll have to go pick up all the letters my father gave to them yesterday. The weather forecast for our Saturday 3pm wedding no longer predicts rain all day, but simply afternoon showers – still a problem for our beachside ceremony. We crack down on our bad-weather back-up plans: making a phone tree for notifying guests and suppliers of any venue change, and arranging for our decorator to bring a just-in-case marquee. The tricky thing is that skies could be clear in the morning and we decide to go for Plan A, but what if it suddenly clouds over and starts raining at 2:30pm? Or what if it’s pouring in the morning and we make the decision to go with Plan B, but then it’s all sunshine and lollipops after lunch? My father offers to pay to have all the decorations set up in both places so that we can decide last minute (well, until I tell him what all the equipment costs). Beautiful though our beachside ceremony site is, and as special as it will be for all our foreign visitors, I begin to regret our outdoor ceremony. It’s just so much time to make the contingency plans, which might not get enacted anyway.

Rain, rain, go away…

After lunch (yes, I’m eating properly again now!) the Reflective Groom and I drop off the after-party refreshments with the best man, who is co-hosting the shindig. We get frustrated when he takes almost 10 minutes to answer the door (conveniently showering), and even more frustrated when my fiancé receives an SMS from one out-of-town guest asking, “I just arrived in the town center, how do I get to the hotel from here?” When he suggests a taxi, she SMSes, “How much will the taxi cost?” Guh! And also grrr! We’re shocked people are bother- ing us with stuff like this so close to the wedding. Haven’t people looked at our (very extensive) website, or taken the initiative to check the details themselves? The Reflective Groom and I sigh, and conclude again that it’s definitely other people who make wedding preparations so stressful… it’s rarely us causing the drama!

The groom and I return to my parents’ house to get ready for the ceremony rehearsal. I ditch the horror dress that caused the stress meltdown at Tuesday’s photo shoot. Half an hour before we’re due to start the run-through my brides- maid SMSes in a panic, because she’s found that our ceremony and rehearsal site is at that very moment being used for an actual wedding. I roll my eyes; we communicated in the rehearsal invitation that the site might be booked, and that’s why we should all meet in the carpark nearby. Does no one read things?!

We all eventually find each other, and once the officiate arrives we get rehearsing in the empty ceremony site next door. I am so glad we decided to do a rehearsal, as I discover a lot of parts where I’m not sure what to do, where it would have stressed me out to suddenly stumble over them on the day. (Which side of my dad do I stand on? Do I wait until all the bridesmaids are in place at the front before I make my entrance?) The rehearsal is also good for getting the nerves out of my system… I giggle the whole way through the practice run, and also mess up the words in my vows. Let’s hope I get that out my system, too!

From there we all head to the rehearsal dinner at a gourmet pizza restaurant. It’s only walking distance, but my father wants to move his car closer, and I accompany him so that I can fetch nametags from the car. All the others head off on foot, so I arrive first at our dinner venue. I debate waiting outside for the others or checking if everything is good to go. The “just in case” intuition wins out – luckily, because inside I see that the corner area we booked for 18 people is already filled up. Yikes! I frantically look about and there are no other areas that could fit so many. I rush over to the bar, and tell the staff that we’ve booked a big table for a wedding rehearsal dinner starting in 5 minutes. The manager calmly says that they don’t take reservations. What the?! I stand firm and declare “Well, we booked it, and confirmed it in person last week.” He checks the books and sees that I’m in the right, and explains that – because they “don’t take reservations”, no one checks the books for them. (My question: Why then do you have books?!) I regret not calling that day to confirm. The manager says it’s entirely their fault, and starts moving others diners around to accommodate. One elderly couple is particularly unimpressed! Once shifted, there’s just enough space for our group. I thank my lucky stars that we are starting the rehearsal dinner at 5:30pm before the dinner rush; if we’d got there any later, there would have been more people and they would not have been able to fit us at all! The tables are re-arranged just as the other guests arrive; they would have been none the wiser if, in my stress, I hadn’t regaled them all with the story of the mix-up. I get even more frazzled when we find out that there is no table service at the restaurant, and that guests have to order their meals and drinks one by one at the bar. Grrr again! On the manager’s advice, my fiancé and I order 10 different pizzas for the table and open a bar tab for drinks. Things calm down again after that, and ordering all the different pizzas turns out to be a great choice: it forces everyone to socialize over passing down pizzas and recommending different pies to each other. Everyone is chatting and enjoying the great food, and the restaurant fills up completely by the end of dinner!

We soon walk over to our welcome drinks bar, where 20 more friends will join us. On the way I worry that I didn’t call this venue today either to confirm our booking, but am immediately put at ease when the manager warmly greets me and asks if we need anything. Phew! My fiancé and I start handing out sticky tags to everyone there, with their name and a short description of how they know the bride and groom. We were worried it might seem geeky, but several people tell us the nametags are a fantastic help, and also what a wonderful idea the welcome drinks is for introducing everyone and how much they’re enjoying it. Yay, Reflective Couple! I feel more at ease, now that it’s just mingling and people ordering drinks as they go. I get to see a lot of people for the first time during the wedding festivities, and it’s great to catch up (albeit briefly). I’m really glad we had this day of activities to bring everyone together!

We return to my parents’ house at about 11pm, with 10 or so guests still continuing on at the welcome drinks after we left. We find an email from our reception venue that they’ve decided not to charge us a fee for our welcome letters, huzzah! Friday is a big day with lots of last-minute tasks to do, so it’s time to get a good night’s sleep!

Catch you tomorrow for THE DAY BEFORE THE WEDDING HOLY FRIGGING CRAP (as the day came to be known :P).

(Photo 1 from Elizabeth Ann Designs, Photo 2 from Little White Dress Bridal Shop, Photo 4 from Team Barstools Blog.)

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