Of all the many overwhelming aspects of the WIC (Wedding Industrial Complex), perhaps the most mentally crushing is the control factor.
Monogrammed napkins, matchbooks, champagne flutes, gift boxes of Jordan almonds for your guests (boxes AND almonds). Perfect toasts, ceremony, dances with nary a misstep. Breakfast with your family and a massage under the sun, perfect hair and unchipped nails, enough time to enjoy it all but each tiny, minute, insane detail organized and expected. A movie montage, frankly. Or, from my planning process, the suggestion from a magazine of beautiful nosegays at each dinner plate... of lily of the valley... which is $12 a stem.
Hmm. OK. Yes. We know what this is about. These wedding things.
So, I decided to put my trust in other people. I didn't want to be the director of the wedding... mouthing memorized lines behind the camera, jumping before the flare goes off, conducting the orchestra and hearing the symphony in my head. I wanted to feel In The Moment above all things... and to do this, for me, some things just HAD to be surprises, so I could get snapped back to the moment, like with a meditation gong. Or a rubber band on the wrist.
The success came from sagely choosing people who have continually been to me and John reliable, loving, appropriate to any situation. What came of these choices was...
1. Our perfect officiant, an old friend of mine, wrote a ceremony with the vows we'd written, but with an introduction commentary and closing benediction that we heard for the first time along with our guests. It was laugh out loud funny. It was poignant, moving, tender. It was serious by turns. He brought his gravitas and his dry wit. He set the tone and was an utter delight.
2. Our readers, John's friend and my mom, spoke with confidence and love. They spoke slowly and clearly... they both valued the texts I lovingly picked out. My mother blessed us with the only mention of "God" in the ceremony, as the person in our life with the deepest and most compassionate relationship with him/her. D brought a childlike exuberance to his reading, in a way no other person there could have.
3. The cake was imagined over emails and phone calls with Bill, and it was perfect. I didn't see it till around 5 PM, never tasted it till my first bite, and I clapped my hands and squee'd. Perfect! It handily beat cakes I tasted elsewhere, and whether that's because he's such a damn fine baker, or because we were all so in love with love, or because he baked it with affection for us, we'll never know. But it is wrapped in two layers of saran, two of foil, and patiently sitting in the freezer for May 24 2010. Related to this was the joy of seeing the cake topper for the first time the night before... made by my cousin, it was awesome. It was us! It was like cartoon Emmy and John, in our wedding finery, and it got him a gig making one for someone else... THAT damn good.
4. I didn't even know who was giving toasts till ten minutes before. Yay for In The Moment!
5. Serendipity ensued. Jennifer's handpainted champagne flutes could not have better matched the cake and roses if she'd mixed the paint herself. I marveled and marveled at the matchy-matchy-ness, which warmed my little domestic heart.
6. Things that easily could have caused a freak out... flower errors, table assignment misplacement, forgotten boutonnieres, kidney crushing Spanx... I dismissed. Choosing to dismiss something is HARD, but worth it. And lo and behold, no one else noticed them. No one else noticed anything I thought might be A Problem.
Clearly, many things must be decided to plan a wedding. But no one complimented the sage green chair sashes or, yes, the monogrammed matchboxes I ordered. Because no one cared about them; it was not the focus of the night since instead and luckily, an exuberant celebration of love, compassion and commitment was. And I, amazingly, felt totally with them... delighted and surprised by the dances, songs, comments, cheers, and general happenings. Fun!