The final seven days: Bride’s diary of the wedding home stretch
It’s almost here! Catch up on all the adventures of yesterday, before we dish up the dirt on everything that happened the day before the wedding…
T – 1 day… Friday
It’s the day before the wedding! This morning I must get up early (well, earlier than I’d have liked to) for some pre-big day beauty appointments, and don’t even have time to really come to grips with the fact that the wedding is tomorrow. TOMORROW! I wake up tired and with a croaky voice; I regret staying so late at the welcome drinks the night before, but also thank my lucky stars that we didn’t host the event the night before the wedding. A crackly smoker voice would not go well with wedding speeches! The beautician arrives at my parents’ house for my spray-tan and manicure, and we chat about her plans for my and the bridesmaids’ make-up tomorrow.
My fiancé is a bit hungover after his performance at welcome drinks, and isn’t up until the beautician is ready to leave. Afterwards, I wander around the house impatiently for a while, waiting for my manicure to properly dry… since I can’t type, text or even pick anything up until it’s good to go. But, but, I have wedding tasks to do!
Once I’m cleared for action, I call the photographer, hairdresser and bridal party transport to confirm which number hotel room we girls will be getting ready in tomorrow. The groom and I start packing our suitcases for checking into our wedding venue resort in the afternoon – apparently starting the tasks a bit early, as my nail polish soon chips in three places. We also prepare bags of stationery and decorations to come to the reception room for setup. My aunt and uncle do indeed stop by for lunch, but I leave my parents to entertain them while the Reflective Groom and I dart back and forth making calls and getting things packed! (A real shame, as I haven’t seen my aunt in 20 years.)
This afternoon will be busy: we have a meeting with a friend helping us coordinate the ceremony at 1pm, lunch with the bridal party at 2pm, hotel check-in from 3pm, and after that we have to prepare the reception room. (We hadn’t wanted the day to be so busy, but today is the first day the ceremony coordinator and all of the bridal party is in town.) Our plan is to completely pack the car so that we can go straight from lunch to our hotel, but I am uneasy leaving my wedding dress in the car in case of break-in or theft, and my fiancé is just as worried about his expensive suit. We decide to pack only the suitcases in the car, and to come back to my parents’ house in between to pack the valuables.
Our plan is to meet the ceremony helper and bridal party in the same café, on main street halfway between our beachside ceremony site and the reception venue resort. As it’s school holidays and expected to be busy by the beach, we drive early to allow time for traffic and carpark hunting. We get there, main street is packed! We search for a car space for 10 minutes, before our ceremony coordinator telephones and says she has been looking for one… for 20 minutes. We decide to give up and meet at a café in another part of town, and to just talk quickly over a snack so that the Reflective Groom and I can meet the bridal party afterwards as planned. We all together discuss the tasks of the ceremony coordinator: my friend’s main roles are giving us peace of mind (phone-chasing any suppliers who are late to arrive, and sending us a text when everything is in place) and helping to decorate the area (putting names on reserved chairs and setting up the refreshments table). All is well, and it is really awesome to see her again!
After we finish chatting, she suggests that the Reflective Couple leave our car there while she drops us on main street for our next appointment, and then we’ll get a taxi back to our car later. Hurrah, achievement unlocked! The Reflective Groom and I are the last to arrive at the lunch. Our intention was for this to simply be a casual social gathering to introduce everyone (ahead of spending the big day together), but different suppliers have sent us so many instructions for the bridal party that it sadly becomes administrative updates. I feel a bit frazzled. The lunch is great though, as one of the bridesmaids brings along her newborn, who I had not met before, so it’s great to fit in some cuddles!
After the lunch, one of the bridesmaids gives us a lift back to our car on the other side of town, and from there we return to my parents’ house, to finish packing and schlep ourselves over to the resort for check-in. Just before we leave the house, I ask my sister if she can call the bakery that we’re ordering extra cake buffet delights from, to confirm our order. On the drive to the hotel, she calls me to say the bakery does not have our order at all. I ask her to SMS me the phone number so that I can lay the smackdown on them. While waiting for her, I freak out and grumble to my groom that this kind of stuff always seems to be happening, and wonder why our suppliers are all so unreliable and why everyone can’t just do their jobs properly. My groom tries to calm me down. After almost 10 minutes, I finally get the SMS from my sister, who for some reason wrote a really long SMS with the bakery’s phone number, address and opening hours. I call them, but before I can raise hell they tell me that they’ve found the order and everything is indeed fine for our cake pick-up tomorrow. I feel deflated. I’m glad everything is sorted, but annoyed that I just wasted my time and energy on stressing over it (and made my groom grumpy in the process), and frustrated with both the bakery and my sister for not staying on the line longer until things were sorted out. Sigh.
We check-in at the hotel, and our room is fantastic. Unfortunately, we don’t have any time to enjoy it now, as we have to get over to the reception room to set up all the name cards, table numbers and welcome table decorations. My fiancé’s family is joining to help things go faster. Our reception room looks amazing, and our professional decoration agency has done well with the centerpieces, ceiling fairy lights and chair sashes. The dancefloor is all set up. We merrily scatter extra petals on the table, and discover that the venue has printed menus for each guest free of charge. Huzzah! There are a few snags though: my computer crashes so we can’t view the table chart of who is sitting where, so we have to wait a while for a re-boot before setting out name cards; one of the photo frames for the table numbers has a broken stand, so my father-in-law-to-be has to use brute force to fix it; and we realize the venue’s tables are larger than thought, so our welcome table looks completely empty. The venue has also set up the tables incorrectly, so that we have to move extra place settings to another table, and we see that they’ve completely missed one guest – which means no place setting, chair, or chair cover and sash. I make a desperate call to the decorator, but my fiancé’s brother finds a chair in another room, and also discovers a spare cover and sash that the decorator must have placed there when they couldn’t find the final chair. Sounds trivial, but we spent a solid half an hour re-counting all those chairs, trying to reach the decorator, and looking for all the bits. I am a stressed little monkey.
After decorating, my groom’s family head off, so that he and I have time for a run-through of our first dance on the actual dancefloor we’ll use on the day. Because my computer crashed, I’ve lost the music file, and can’t figure out how to access the internet from the reception room. Repeated questions to staff and three different browsers don’t resolve it. Why is everything going wrong and taking so much time to fix? I have a brainwave to check my temporary files folder, and I find a version there. The first dance goes well, and afterwards we try to take a few minutes just for us, to calm down and take things in. Once zen, we step outside to have dinner at the hotel restaurant, as we’re too exhausted to head down to main street to the café where we planned to have dinner. We enjoy our meal, toast with champagne, and also inform the wait staff about our missing place setting so they can pass the information to the events manager. The Reflective Groom and I head back to our room, exhausted and a little frazzled, but relieved that all the set up is done.
Back in the room, we go online to check the weather in an hour-by-hour forecast. Now it says sunny all day, with afternoon clouds and rain from 6pm. That’s when our (very much indoor) reception kicks off, so we are definitely fine with that! We start receiving on Facebook messages of congratulations from family and friends. Feeling more relaxed, we toddle off to bed for chatting, cuddles and last-minute checklists. Tomorrow is the big day! After a 17-month engagement, loads of planning, loads of discussion and occasional stress, the wedding is at last happening! Really happening! Tomorrow, we’ll be married!
Tune in next week for the Reflective Bride’s diary of the wedding day!