We arrived in Mexico on Wednesday and waited for all our family to arrive at the Hacienda. Even though Brad and I promised each other that we would always be right there, present in the moment, there was so much excitement and anticipation that, at times, it was hard to keep that promise. It's like I couldn't take it all in. I found myself running around trying to take care of everyone and everything and not being on vacation like everyone else. Welcome to being the bride. It is true that the bride's experience of the whole wedding event is completely different than what everyone else experiences. It's like you automatically take on this "I'll do it" role and are constantly thinking, "What do I have to do next?" The wedding wasn't till Saturday and there really wasn't a ton I had to do. I didn't mention this in the below post but we had been talking with our wedding coordinator for months now and although Brad wanted to fire her several times for what he considered to be general incompetence, I convinced him she would come through and everything would be fine. See, in Todos Santos where we were getting married, there was no wedding anything (planners, caterers, vendors, etc.) so you had to contract with people from Cabo which is about an hour away. Finding information on wedding vendors in Mexico isn't the easiest thing. Contacting them is even more difficult. There are only a handful of verifiable ones and they were booked. So we settled on a woman who is an American expat and runs a wedding planning business with her husband. She was an older lady, super sweet (at first) and I thought we were in pretty good hands. Instead of listing all the things that drove us mad about this woman, I'll just say that it is extremely frustrating to have covered everything you want on your wedding with your wedding planner in clear instruction and with detailed photographs in the initial week of contract, and then proceed over the course of several months to reiterate the exact same plan every time she calls or emails with her personal suggestions or her pictures or her questions of issues I thought were long ago settled. You know those cheesy beach weddings with sand-filled vases, a plethora of seashells and metallic teal tablecloths? It was like she was insisting we have one of those. Even though it was frustrating having to go around and around with her about the same things, I wasn't worried about how things would shake out for the wedding. We did luck out and get the best caterers in Cabo so we knew we'd have delicious food, which was important to both of us.
Come the day of the wedding, I was just a wreck. I don't know what came over me. I hadn't slept well the night before because I was thinking so much. I wasn't worried or anything but I was just thinking about everything. Where I was, what I was doing, what marriage means, that this is a huge deal, that I really need to write my vows... I had so many thoughts but at the same time, that whole day I felt blank. I couldn't make sense of things. I was so tired and I couldn't rest. I looked in the mirror but I couldn't see myself.
Brad was out surfing and I was up on the balcony praying for peace and calmness of spirit. I'd writted my vows 12 times at this point but every time I went to recite them I couldn't recall a thing. By this time the vendors were there setting up and decorating was in full swing. I was running around tending to last minute details and greeting friends as they came by to say hi.
My sisters finally intercepted me and told everyone, "I'm sorry, she needs to sleep." They saw I was delirious and emotionally drained and they took me to one of their rooms. Brad's Mom came in and we had a good talk, a good prayer and a good cry. My sisters helped me do my nails, laid me down, put a face mask on me, turned off the lights and shut the door. They left orders for me to please sleep. Meanwhile, they went upstairs to clean my room, steam my dress and veil, set out all my things (including all 120 pieces of jewelry I packed), make the rose petal cones, find a leaf for my ring pillow and just basically be the best sisters in the world. After a quick nap, we started to get ready and I slowly started to feel normal again...
I was still jittery and nervous and not sure why, but I kept stuffing pineapple in my face thinking it must be my blood sugar. My hair wasn't working at all - Mexico humidity is a beast - and then guess who comes up to the room to show me the bouquets? The coordinator shows up with the florist and the flowers and asks, "Aren't they beautiful?" "Yes", I said, "they are. But they're white." See, I had sent her a picture of the kind of flowers I wanted about 18 times. Same picture, same description. Large open bloomed roses in all different colors - orange, red, fuchsia, yellow, light pink... no white. Then she looked at the florist and said, "I told you." Huh? Obviously you didn't tell the florist or else you wouldn't be holding a bouquet of white and light pink under-bloomed roses! She had a habit of blaming everything on everyone else and it had become a bit tiring. She said she would see what she could do and left. I laughed with my sisters and said, do you see what we have been dealing with? It didn't matter at that point that the flowers were all wrong, I was over it and having fun with my everyone. Besides I still had to do my makeup.
As I was starting to feel better, Brad's nerves were apparently setting in. The guys told me later that he was standing there in front of the mirror holding his razor and asked them, "What do I do? How do I do this?" He had forgotten out to shave. I love that because all day I was a wreck thinking Brad is just cool as a cucumber. Turns out, before the wedding, he was walking around feeling like he was in an alternate universe too.
When the veil was on, the hair was as good as it was going to get and the recent burn mark on the side of my face was adequately covered, the photographers called for me and said we are ready for the first look!
And as soon as I saw Brad I was back inside my body, I felt like me again and everything was 100% right. Nerves were gone.
I can't say the same for Brad though;) The ceremony was lovely, hilarious actually (will post pics soon). The reception was an insane party - can't wait to show pics of that too! But things were not picture perfect in terms of planned details. So what if the one of the palm trees in the courtyard where we got married was lit up with blue string lights instead of white, the cake was completely wrong, they started playing some awful Kelly Clarkson song as we began to eat dinner and the coordinator who was forbade from speaking at all kept grabbing the microphone to announce ridiculous things... Okay, I say "so what" but I was initially pissed. My sister took care of the music and fixed the cake for me and then said, "Okay, that's it, eat and start drinking." And with that, Brad shoved a glass of champagne in my hand and the rest of the night is well documented history.
I really thought this wedding thing would be a piece of cake, but it was a lot harder and more emotionally taxing than I thought. That being said, I want to do it all over again! It is just such an exciting and wonderful time in your life... To any of you planning right now, enjoy every minute. Every tear, every fight, every frustration, it's all to celebrate the unique and beautiful love you share with your fiancé. It's not about perfection or trendy photo-ops, it's about you two and the embarkation of a lifelong adventure. Happy planning:)
And our video from this crazy wedding day is up at Michael Reed Films!