Getting Ready

Jetta knew the occassion called for his bow-tie.

(I realize how ridiculously long this is taking to update. I’ve been married over a month and I’m still writing about it. This is what has become of my blog writing prowess. Sigh.)

I woke up Saturday around 5:30 a.m., because that’s perfectly reasonable and normal. My friends got up a few hours later, and we spent the morning eating bagels and discussing the awesomeness of Neil Patrick Harris and the Kia dancing hamsters. (Seriously – Kia – best advertising move ever.) The rest of the bridesmaids came in around 10:30 a.m. Due to a lack of money, we didn’t hire a hairdresser to come in, instead my friend Jess stopped by. She’s a genius when it comes to hair, so she, along with my matron of honor, helped all the girls. Of course, they looked absolutely lovely.I actually liked how that turned out better because we were already so comfortable with one another, it’s weird adding a stranger into the mix.

Around noon I left to get my hair and makeup done, which was a…process. Megan, my matron of honor, and my mom came with me. You must understand one thing – my mom’s a talker. A complainer. And opinionated person. The girl doing my hair knew to only listen to Megan when taking critiques. It’s not that my mom’s bad, she just cares so much about how things look, that she sometimes forgets feelings. Anu, Samir’s sister, and my cousin met us there, as they were arriving later. Both were impressed with the amount my mom and I could lovingly fight.

Around 3:30 we got back to my parents’ house. The photographer was there. (We hired a friend who’s also a phenomenal photographer. You’ll see.) The girls looked stunning, which calmed me down. (I’d explain more about how I was feeling at this time, but I really wasn’t feeling much. I was like a zombie, going through the motions of the day. I was excited, definitely, but I just wanted to get to the science center. I wanted to get to the moment. So, I mechanically flew through the rest of the day.)

Bridesmaids! (Also pictured: iPhones!)

I put on my dress, and there was the moment of aww and ahh and wow and yay. I’d tried on the dress so many times prior, but it wasn’t until then that I actually felt like a bride. With the shoes and the jewelry and the hair. (Fun fact: The shoes were from the sale section of Macys, the earrings were purchased with a coupon from Macys, and the bracelet was a Lauren Conrad design from Kohls. I know how to shop!) It was an amazing feeling, truly.

My dad didn’t cry, but he got a bit red. We took some pictures with Jetta (of course) and then left. It was – crazy.

When we got to the science center, people were still leaving. (It closes at 5, when we got there; the wedding wasn’t until 6). We got a few glances, of course. A few congratulations. But my favorite was, “oh, what’s going on?” me: “Um, i’m getting married.” “oh, that’s nice.” Thanks?

The first person I saw inside was…Joe, a good high school/college friend, as well as our videographer. I saw moments before his wedding ceremony, so it was only right for him to see me. Good luck, I suppose. He was there early, checking out the venue. We went upstairs to our room and just…relaxed for a few minutes. But we didn’t relax. We were jittery, excited. Our energy was so palpable that a champagne bottle magically opened on it’s own.

I’m  not kidding.

We drank it anyway, out of paper cups, using twisty straws so our makeup wasn’t ruined. It was adorable. My cousin, who was doing a reading, joined us, as well as the photographer. We got some group and individual photos and waited waited waited.

It reminded me of the moments prior to performing, be in circus or theatre. When you’re in the wing, waiting to go on. Hearth thumping. Palms sweating. Inevitably having to use the restroom. Deep breaths. I live for that moment.

Finally, we left. We went through the reception area first, so I could see it. And it was…amazing. I mean, amazing. Everything came together perfectly. I almost cried seeing the table settings. I know, not that important, but after a year of planning and decisions and revisions, seeing everything together, finished and perfect, made me so happy.

The ceremony was on a balcony on the fourth floor. The balcony overlooks the Orlando skyline (which I love). As I watched my bridesmaids leave me one by one, I stood with my parents, knowing that the next few steps would be some of the most memorable of my life.

All photos by Catherine White.

Rehearsal Dinner

Samir and I in our finest.

That Friday morning, I woke up early, eager for the day to start. A friend from London stayed overnight, as his hotel wouldn’t be ready until that day. Since it was his first time in Florida, we made him a big ol’ Southern breakfast, with eggs and bacon and biscuits and gravy. It was delicious, and really, a great way to start a very crazy weekend.

I went to get my nails done with Sarah, another lovely bridesmaid. (I needed to get them done as close to the wedding as possible, to lessen the inevitable chances of me ruining them.) We then grabbed another Florida staple for Tom and Samir – Jimmy Johns. Delicious.

After lunch, we strolled up to my florist’s shop to drop off the final payment. While I should have done it earlier, and was slightly frustrated with myself for forgetting, it was actually a blessing. He was in the process of creating our bouquets and centerpieces, so we all got to see an sneak preview. I’d never been so happy to see flowers. The centerpieces were perfect, and the bouquets gorgeous.

My original directions to him were: “I wanted everything to look Autumny, so oranges, reds, and yellows. Also, make it cheap, but not cheap looking. Also, it better be pretty.” Somehow, our florist translated my ramblings. The central flower was a circus rose (get it?) – a yellow rose that, when in bloom, has red tips. Perfect, no? Then, he mixed in carnations (because, despite their bad reputation, I love them), mini calla lillies, and a few other flowers. I was so happy.

At that moment, I experienced the amazing feeling of knowing everything was done. If a task wasn’t complete, it wasn’t going to be in the end. I didn’t have anything else to do. The wedding was on.

The family

We got ready for the rehearsal dinner (with Samir and Tom both giving me honest opinions on my wardrobe, makeup, and hair), and then stopped by the Science Center for the rehearsal.

It was an amazing feeling seeing everyone together at last. Every bridesmaid, groomsman. The officiant. My parents. Us. It was…so neat. Thankfully, our ceremony, which we wrote with the help of our non-denominational officiant (more on that later), was quite short, so we really only ran through everything twice. Also, it was so hot out.

We broke off after that, some going back to their hotel rooms to get ready, some going to a bar, some staying there. I participated in the latter. A new bug exhibit was opening the following day downstairs, so our contact at the center let us get a sneak peek. We drank bug juice (green lemonade), ate creatures (gummy worms), and took pictures with (cardboard cutout) grasshoppers. Actually, two of the guys actually ate fried critters. It was gross.

The rehearsal dinner was across town, so we left about an hour prior, to ensure we weren’t stuck in traffic. To get every cultural element in, we had it at an Indian restaurant. And it worked. If I was floored earlier when I saw all of our friends mingling, the feeling was only magnified when both of our families and all of the significant others were added to the equation. To see my cousin hanging out with Samir’s childhood best friend; or Samir’s aunt talking to my college roommate…amazing. It was all amazing. It was what we were most looking forward to.

The food was delicious, and the company was even better. We had a brief slideshow (I’ll post it later), which showcased more than enough embarrassing pictures of almost everyone there. Then, Samir’s cousins, sister, and her fiance performed a little musical for us. (In Indian tradition, it’s customary to perform something for the bride and groom.) Using songs from Hairspray and Glee (they know me too well!), they reenacted my and Samir’s first meeting, our courtship, our move to Orlando, and finally, our engagement. The entire performance culminated with our entire bridal party joining them for the final number. We were floored. And crying. And laughing. And totally just…humbled. Truly, we were in love with everyone.

AHHHHH

There were more laughs and more tears (from happiness) as the night went on. As the doors closed, Samir went off with his family, and I with mine. Three of my bridesmaids accompanied me and spent the night. We giggled until it was almost light out, and then fell asleep. But we didn’t sleep long.

Because, you know, the next day I was getting married and all.

Friendship!

All photos by Colure Caulfield

Pre-Wedding Events

Here are a few of my favorite events that happened before the wedding:

Bachelorette Party – 

When I was in college, I played Alice in a play adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Since then, I’ve had a great fascination and admiration for the character. I adore her innocence, and how it evolves and almost disappears by the end of the two-book series. I love her initial stubbornness, that later transforms to sheer passion and drive. That said, my bridesmaid Katie took my interest and turned it into the bachelorette party theme. She and my other bridesmaid Shannon planned it, and honestly, it couldn’t have gone better.

We stayed downtown in a super nice hotel suite for all five of us. There was red, black, and white confetti on the tables, next to “Eat Me” cupcakes and “Drink Me” beverages. Stirrers and napkins had the familiar playing card patterns. Even their gifts for me – which I shall not reveal – were red, black, and white (however, that wasn’t intentional).

We ate dinner at a tapas restaurant I’d wanted to go to called Ceviche. It was both fun and incredibly delicious. Then, we visited the clubs and bars downtown until the doors were shutting and our eyes couldn’t stay open any longer. We learned something important, though: even as a bachelorette party, when going to the fancier clubs, you’re just a statistic, nothing special. Yet, when going to the more hole-in-the-wall places, you’re royalty. We payed for one drink the entire night.  (Incidentally, I’ve always been one to prefer the hole-in-the-wall places, and not just for that reason. They’re more comfortable to me.) The next morning we had breakfast and left happy (albeit, slightly hung over).

Taco Night –

Due to work, my bachelorette party was the Saturday before my wedding. Many friends weren’t able to come, considering they lived out of state. To remedy this, the Wednesday night prior to the wedding (the same night Samir had his bachelor party), we had a mini girls night out. Eleven of us met at my favorite cheap Mexican restaurant near my apartment and – quite simply – caught up. Friends from high school and college met one another and got along as if they were old friends. It was easy and relaxed. After, we went back to my apartment and continued to the night. It wasn’t big and crazy, it was cozy and fun. It was exactly what I wanted. It gave me a moment to relax and actually catch up with some people before the real craziness began.

Work Party –

The following day, that Thursday, was my last day of work. Remember, I’m still new there, barely two months in, so it was incredibly nice of them to hire me knowing i’d need a decent amount of time off for the wedding and honeymoon. To me, that was all I could ask for. But they did even more. I came to to see raised eyebrows and hidden smiles from my co-workers. Confused, I walked to my door to find a giant balloon display. It was amazing! They also left me a card and gift certificate. I felt so…loved. And included.

Since the majority of our friends were in town by then, many decided to stop by. First were my bridesmaids Shannon and Sarah, who sat in my office for a bit to chat. It was so nice having them there, considering the three of us hadn’t been reunited in quite some time. (We were roommates in college, as well as fellow circus performers.) Then, Samir came by with three of the groomsmen. They’d been caught in a quick Florida down poor, so for the rest of the day, my office smelled like wet boy. Still, it was great seeing them. We had some hilarious conversations, and I was (for the most part) filled in on the bachelor party. (Samir and I had the luxury that we were friends with our entire bridal party. That is, I was close with his guys as well as he with my girls. It was so much better that way.)

I was let off work early that day (surprise!), so I walked across campus (with the balloons) excited to start my wedding weekend. At home, we played “Keep the balloon up” for about an hour with the groomsmen.

Running Charades –

There are no pictures of this night, and I’ll be forever sad about the fact. Samir had to go to the airport to pick up his sister, her fiance, and his friend from London, so I “babysat” the three groomsmen. Two friends in town, as well as two other bridesmaids decided to join us, and we went out for pizza at Mellow Mushroom. There, everyone got to know one another (as many hadn’t met the groomsmen before), and joked about the upcoming days. After dinner, we had two options: go out to a bar to hang out, or go back to my place to play running charades (a game we loved in college – I’ll explain later). Tom answered for all of us: “So, we’ll hit up Publix [supermarket] first to get drinks for the night first?” And so, our plan was made.

Back at our apartment, we hung out for a bit, and then engaged in the Best Game Ever. One person, the list-maker, is in charge, while everyone else breaks into two groups. The list-maker creates a charades list, usually with a theme (for instance, Lane’s first list featured jokes from that night). The two groups going to into two separate rooms. One person from each team goes to the list-maker to get the first clue, then runs back to his/her group to charade. Whoever from the team gets the answer, runs out to get the next clue and so on until the list is complete and one team is the winner. There’s a lot of running, and a lot of yelling (albeit quietly).

Samir and co. eventually joined us, adding a THIRD Tom to the mix (not confusing at all). Lists included “things from Lauren and Samir’s apartment,” “Things I think are awesome,” “Things from the 90s,” “Things from London.” Now, are clues aren’t as simple as “Puppies!” Oh no, they’re full-on sentences sometimes, or words you’d never heard of before. That’s what makes it more fun.

We got to bed around 2 a.m., with Tom #3 on our couch. It was, hands down, one of the most fun nights I’d had in a while. Samir and I fell asleep smiling, confident in the fact that the next few days would be epic.

Not one Uggo

By the way, our bridal party? AMAZING. Just look at them. Helpful, hilarious, wonderful. They all became great friends by the end of the wedding, regardless that only a few knew one another prior.

And as one bridesmaid, Shannon, pointed out – there wasn’t one uggo to be found.

(In regards to the photo, yes, we had dinosaurs at the wedding. And a lot of T-Rex arms.)

In leu of my wedding recap (for a bit, at least), here’s what people have been saying about us. (I feel like a celebrity!)

Our groomsman, Ernest, wrote an endearing and funny piece: Challah and Naan.

And our bridesmaid (and bestest friend), Katie, wrote the sweetest thing I’ve ever read. Ever.: It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.

Married!

And so – I’m married!

You know, I heard it all. I heard you don’t eat a lot the day of. I heard it goes by faster than a blink. I heard you remember some of it, and then slowly the rest comes back, such as a distant dream. And I heard that your wedding day is absolutely amazing. And you know what?

It’s all true.

If I could go back and change anything from that day, I wouldn’t alter a thing. Everything was just…perfect. And we’re just so happy.

I’ll write more on it later, as there’s so much to say. But for now – just know…it may be scary, it may be stressful, and it may be overwhelming. But a wedding – and even more, a marriage – is totally worth it.