Sunday, August 14, 2011

Counting Down the Hours: Frantic Friday

Friday morning of the Wedding Weekend dawned. We knew that Saturday (wedding day) would be extremely busy and stressful, but we figured Friday would be more of a laid-back type of day.  Little did we know...

My younger daughter packed up and headed out ahead of us in her own car because the bride and bridesmaids were having a Pamper Day at a spa in Waco with a catered lunch, instead of a Bachelorette and Bridesmaids lunch.

My husband and I loaded up our car to almost overflowing, and made the drive in fairly heavy thunderstorms. We arrived around lunch time, and we had a nice lunch at a restaurant near our hotel with my sister and her husband. We went back to the hotel to check in, but were told our room was not quite ready -- neither were the other rooms we had reserved for the bride and bridesmaids.

No matter, we thought. Our daughter the bride had texted us on the drive down to Waco and asked if we could run a quick errand for her, since she would be tied up with the Pamper Day activities with her maids until almost time for the Rehearsal at the church that evening.  We had planned to display one of her formal bridal portraits prominently at the reception, in the true Southern wedding tradition. So, she had ordered an enlarged gallery-sized print at a local camera shop, and asked us to pick it up for her. She had purchased a large frame for it on sale at Kirklands, and we were to pick that up at her apartment and take it with us to have the camera shop people put the portrait into the frame. We figured we would run that errand and be back in an hour, and our rooms would be ready-- the official checkin time was 2:00 anyway. That would give us plenty of time to relax a little and change clothes for the wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

Well...we hit our first big Wedding Weekend snag. When we got to the camera store, they had the print ready all right, but they said they did not have a big enough cutting board to trim it off. So, they could not frame it for us. They suggested we take the photo and the frame to a Hobby Lobby or Michaels. Bear in mind, we are not familiar with this town at all. They tried to give us directions to Hobby Lobby but it went in one ear and out the other, and we do not have any GPS unit or apps on our phones. We called my daughter and she basically talked us to the street that Hobby Lobby was on. I spied a Michaels on the way, so we decided to just pull in there.

The framing assistant at Michael's was helpful but very slow-moving. He just did not pick up on the time constraints we were under. He suggested that we actually would need a thicker mat to make the portrait look nicer in the frame than the flimsy one that the Kirkland's frame had come with. We agreed that he had a point, so he selected several types and colors of mats and leisurely tried them all out against the portrait and the frame to find the best "look". Finally we all decided on one. Well, he said, he did not have a big enough mat of that particular material and color in stock, but he could order it and it could be here in 3 to 5 days! My husband and I just looked at him, probably wild-eyed, and said, "We need it done today! The wedding is at noon tomorrow!"  

So, the framing guy disappeared in the back and eventually re-emerged with several large mats that he had in stock. Once again my hubby and I tried to remain patient while he tried them all out. We finally decided on one and placed the order, with the understanding that we would be back before closing time that evening to pick it up. By the time we left the store, it was pushing 3 pm. The rehearsal was scheduled at 5 pm, and we had to get back to the hotel, change, and make the 20 minute drive to the church.

Then we hit Snag Number 2. We pulled up to the hotel entrance and my husband suggested to save time, he would go get us checked in if I would start unloading the car. I figured he would be gone 5 or 10 minutes max. I located a wheeled cart, and started the unloading. Well after 20 minutes, I basically had the car completely unloaded and still no sign of my husband. I waited another 5 minutes, and could wait no more. I just left all our stuff at the curb and ran inside to see what was going on. He was standing at the desk, with a frown on his face. Our room was still not ready, although most of the other rooms were. He handed me the keys to the bridesmaid's rooms and I went back outside to wait with our things.

The bridesmaids pulled up about then, all fresh and relaxed from their spa day. I handed them their keys, then waited, waited, and waited some more in the hotel's driveway on that muggy, warm Texas afternoon. We did not get into our room until after 4 pm! I was so angry I could have screamed. We had to rush around getting changed, and we were definitely feeling sweaty and disheveled. I also quickly had to figure out what things I would need to re-pack in the car to take to the church with us, in order to hand them over to the wedding coordinator. We arrived 10 minutes late to the rehearsal. (Would you believe we still beat those bridesmaids there, even after they got into their rooms a good half hour before we did?)

The rehearsal went off without too many glitches (other than a slight disagreement between the pastor and the wedding coordinator about some ceremony details and positions of the bridal party.) I honestly do not remember much about it. While we were there, a typical Texas late afternoon spring storm blew up and we could hear the thunder booming outside and rain pouring down torrentially. It had stopped raining by the time we left the church and made our way to the restaurant for the Rehearsal Dinner, but the streets were still wet and halfway flooded, some traffic lights were flashing off and on, and the Friday evening traffic was horrendous.

The ceremony rehearsal
The groom's family had booked a family-style Italian restaurant close to the church for the dinner. The food was good and plentiful, but the evening wore on a bit because the groom's grandparents (from out of town) were late arriving due to the storms, traffic, and the conditions of the streets, and then we only had one waiter working the entire party of 25 people or so. The evening was very informal -- there were no slide shows or speeches or toasts, just visiting amongst the guests and eating the dinner. In the back of our minds my husband and I knew we still had to go back to Michael's to pick up the bridal portrait before it closed, and as the time drew nearer to closing time for the store, we ended up having to leave the party rather abruptly.

We got a bit lost and barely made it to Michaels 10 minutes before it closed. Our framing guy had even begun counting his cash and closing out his register when we got there, so we all had to traipse across the store to the main registers to check out. The portrait did look very nice, although we were pretty stressed and perturbed after literally having to run around town all afternoon and evening long, for an errand that should have taken no more than an hour if the camera store had just had the right equipment!

We made it back to the hotel, changed to casual clothes again, and relaxed just a little, but I knew we still had some work to do downstairs in the ballroom. Denise, our wedding coordinator still had to finish up the bouquets and floral arrangements for tomorrow, and I knew she would not be down there, but I wanted to see what, if any progress had been made on the reception space setup. The cake-ball stand had been damaged a bit in the car trip, and we had to repair it and put the tiers back together and deliver it to the ballroom too. We had run into the groom's parents in the lobby downstairs, and they had brought the cupcake stand with them, and had already dropped it off in the ballroom.

We had to track down a hotel security guard with a key, but we finally got into the ballroom around 10:30 pm. I felt some pleasant relief then...the room was looking very nice already. The tables were all set with the linens on them, and the dance floor was in place. My husband and I re-organized the dessert table and got the stands put together and in place. For the first time, I could see it all starting to come together! This wedding was really going to happen, and even though I was exhausted and stressed out to the max, I was also getting pretty excited to see if it all turned out the way we had envisioned it during the last year of wedding planning!  At this point, I thought, "It is what it is..." and just had to let it go and trust that all the planning would pay off.

Here is the infamous framed bridal portrait, displayed at the reception!

No comments:

Post a Comment