So the partying has begun.
We greeted my brother Jimmy this morning, and then our friend Debby who flew in from Philadelphia. And then in the evening the partying began in earnest when Chris’s parents, brother, sister-in-law, and the Ruggiero clan from New York all descended upon the Wong-Dicken household.
It was a short evening–we started at 5:30 and kicked everyone out by 9:30. But it was SO MUCH FUN! How often in life do you get to get different family members and friends from so many different parts of your life together in once place? By my reckoning, this type of convergence happens at going-away parties, at your wedding, and at your funeral. And for the latter–everyone will be enjoying it except for you.
But not only were they interacting, they were also enjoying each others’ company, getting to know one another, and forming new friendships. And much of it without any of our help. We even had a small cake that we cut as if it was our wedding cake (actually, it was our wedding cake because we’re not having one on Friday!).
For me, even if this small party at our house tonight was the entire wedding “event”, I would be wholly satisfied. And tomorrow is going to be amazing…it will be the same thing as tonight but 10 times bigger (well, 6.21 times bigger, but who’s counting?)–and 100 times more fun!
I received these wise words this morning from my pal Lorraine:
“Remember, you’re not throwing a party – this is your wedding (the only one you’ll have), so keep in mind that we’ll all have a great time anyway just being there to celebrate with you, and all you need to do is relax and enjoy the moment. Simple!”
That is definitely what I needed to hear. Tomorrow isn’t about making sure everyone has a nice time (that will almost certainly happen anyway) It’s about being present in the moment and not thinking about the next thing, and trusting the team will get it all done.
I’m really rather looking forward to it.
In other news, Jimmy has arrived and is just exploring the neighbourhood with Donny, and Debby should be knocking on my door any minute. Fabulous!
So after a much-needed lie-in, today was just check-list after check-list of things to finish. I set up an old iPhone which will be used for playing back our wedding disco music at the pub and finalised speeches while Chris attended to some much needed cleaning in the flat and also set up the bag of thank-you cards and other goodies that we will need to bring on the day.
I finally got my haircut as well, so all I have left to do is to finish my vows and to clean our fishtank (which is currently experiencing an algal bloom). It was nice to have a day off of work, and definitely needed since night-time was the only other time I had available to do any wedding things.
After some shopping, we stopped off at the pub to double check a couple of details with the bar manager Darren, and to meet with 4 of our helpers for the day, whose job it will be to queue some music and to also usher people around. Everything seems to be running smoothly so far. Hmm…perhaps complacency is a dangerous place to be but so far, so good.
I did wake up with yet another anxiety dream (this time, I was in an epic Bourne Ultimatum-like movie where I was being hunted). So it will be interesting to see what may come tomorrow morning. But one thing for sure–there will be no opportunity for a lie-in tomorrow morning. My brother’s flight gets into Heathrow at 7AM and if all goes smoothly, he’ll be knocking at our door at 9:30AM or earlier. And so it all begins…
Today was our last day of wedding admin. We put together the ‘Magic Bag’ (a bag containing everything we will need on the day), did a bit of last minute shopping and also got the house ready for a party tomorrow evening where family and jet-lagged Americans will enjoy pizza and bubbly together in our garden. Then this evening we got together with our ushers to go through the planning for the day, and also have a lovely meal out together – which is the closest thing we’ll have to a stag night before the wedding.
Actually, I reckon the evening in the pub will serve well as our stag night. We will have a gang of friends together, in a pub, with a drag queen. What’s not to like? Why celebrate a ‘last night of freedom’ when it’s much more exciting to celebrate ‘a first night of partnership’.
As I write, Donny’s brother – Jimmy – is currently on a plane somewhere above Canada and he is heading our way. This wedding deal has just shifted gear from ‘planning and preparation’ to ‘oh my goodness this is actually happening’.Tomorrow morning we welcome Jimmy and also Debby (our friend from the US) straight off their planes and into our home and the whole wedding experience will officially begin. I hope I’ll have a chance to blog but if not – see you on the other side!
So my tactic for dealing with the stress of the upcoming nuptials is to try to have as normal of a routine as possible. This means going to the office for a couple of days of work. This way my head stays clear during the day.
However, the problem arises when I get home because this is when I can start doing the bulk of what is on my task list for the wedding…and that can be overwhelming when there are last minute work deadlines to deal with, client calls, and then in the limited hours before sleep, trying to cram in some work for the wedding.
Anyways, as I sit right now in my office done with the few things that were on my to-do list for Tuesday (3 client conference calls, interviewing a job candidate, an editorial deadline for a review article, and a deadline for a research survey), I can finally take a deep breath. And that is when a mix of joy and panic sets in. I’m taking the days on either side of the wedding off, so this is my last day in the office without a ring on my finger. In fact, THIS IS MY LAST DAY IN THE OFFICE WITHOUT A RING ON MY FINGER!!! OMG, I’M GETTING MARRIED. IN THREE DAYS! And then the extra panic starts to set in–the “festivities” actually start on Thursday when the out-of-town guests start arriving in the morning. And THIS IS IN JUST TWO DAYS!!
And suddenly, everything that I had been procrastinating on because of work (haircut, ironing, food shopping, cleaning the fishtank, doing the windows, sweeping the patio, making a wedding disco playlist, WRITING VOWS, etc.) needs to get done in THE ONE DAY WE HAVE LEFT before the out-of-town family arrive en masse at the flat. ARRGH!
In between obsessively looking at the weather forecast (in not one or two, but on three different sources), I have found some moments of peace by taking time out to obsessively troll Gumtree ads for cute puppies for sale. These darlings below are two of our favorites so far.
So advice or anyone planning a wedding: Every time you get too stressed out from all the wedding work, just take a puppy break.
I’ve just spent a very pleasant morning working on signage for the venues. Nothing gets you into a more romantic mood than creating signs to tell people which toilet to use.
I’ve also been working on speeches for the day. Donny and I will be attempting to do two speeches together – which could be either end up an almighty mess or else be the best comedic double act since Morcambe & Wise (and I love that Donny will have no idea who they are). Speeches are actually my favourite part of being involved with a wedding. I’ve always loved public speaking and a best man’s speech is a brilliant opportunity to show off a bit. The grooms’ speech is generally just a long list of thankyous (which we are doing as there are so many people to thank) but we are also doing our own personal little spin. Again – could be brilliant, could be terrible. Either way – there’s wine to drink.
Like Donny, the stress and activity of the last few weeks is starting to take its toll a bit physically and I’ve been having real problems sleeping recently. It’s not that I’m dreading it, it’s just that there are so many details whirring round my head it’s really hard to switch off. Still, I’m off work this week so it’s an opportunity to chill out and reflect a little on the important things about getting married – such as the fact that I have forgotten to make the seat reservation signs…