Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Most - Unexpectedly - Perfect Parts of My Wedding

I got married on Saturday. I had the time of my life.  

Of course, the best part was getting to marry my favorite person. But there were so many other awesome surprises that caught me off guard. Whether goofy, sweet, or downright dumb, these are some of the moments that helped make the day an epic event that I will never, ever forget.

(in no particular order…) 

My Bridesmaids and “The Titscrepancy”
Thanks to my amazing friend Chris, I had the wedding dress of my dreams. It was perfect in every way and it fit me like a glove. But I should have taken it off and put it back on again when I realized that my bosom wasn’t exactly lined up with the dress’s bosom. Instead, I didn’t.

When I shimmied into my dress, I was way too excited to notice that anything was wrong. I just wanted to bolt down the aisle and see my groom. It took all of my restraint to stand still for a photo, let alone get undressed and dressed all over again.

So, my bridesmaids spent the rest of the day sweetly hovering around me and squishing my chest into place — a problem that my Maid of Honor hilariously named “The Titscrepancy.” It was a perfect metaphor for my giddiness about the day and the loving attention my girls Madge, Jessica, and Leigh Ann payed me.

And I felt awesome in that dress. 

When My New Husband and I Sang into Each Other’s Faces

My husband Billy and I love each other effortlessly. But, it seemed like the ordeal of the wedding was going to be a bit of an effort for him.

So I was surprised when he told me wanted to have a couple’s dance. The idea of it made me nervous … I couldn’t imagine dancing — on display — while everyone watched us.

But the whole room dissolved when the music started. I didn’t even notice that anyone else was there.

Billy and I danced to Pearl Jam’s “Future Days,” and to my delirious delight, he sang the words to me while we twirled around. And, like I do every time Pearl Jam songs play, I belted out the lyrics right along with him. So we spun, laughed, and sang right into each other’s grinning faces: 

“All my stolen missing parts
I've no need for anymore
I believe
And I believe cause I can see
Our future days
Days of you and me.”

It was exhilarating. And perfect.

No price tags on these vases!
When He Scraped The Price Tags Off All The Vases

But back to the pressure. I didn’t really get many pre-wedding jitters, but Billy did. However, I knew I was marrying the right man when, two days before the wedding, he stayed up late to scrape price tags off the bottoms of at least 50 vases.

Even after he convinced me that no one was going to pick the vases up, turn them over, and see the offending price tags, he kept on scraping. For me.

I love him. 

Watching My Parents Have Fun

My parents are the kindest people you’ll ever meet. They’re thoughtful, gentle, and unassuming people. And they’re not really into weddings, which was nice for me because they never butted into my wedding planning — not once.

I expected my parents to have a nice time at my wedding, but I didn’t expect to see them have a blast. And I think they did. I’ll never forget dancing to The Von Bondies with my mom. She rocks!

When My Maid of Honor Drove My Car
When we left the salon the morning of the wedding, Madge sensed that I was way too hyped up to safely drive my car. So she took the wheel. Then she took me to my wedding, chatting happily about what it’s like to love and live with a creature so wonderfully baffling as a man.

Also, her fabulous coif was so tall, it kept bumping my Camry's ceiling!

When it Smelled Like Teen Spirit
I wanted our wedding to rock. I think it did, thanks to our carefree approach to the day, our awesome DJ Ray, and the fact that our friends let loose and had so much fun with us.

Two of my MOST favorite parts of the wedding were:

When Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” burst out onto the playlist, and our friends flooded the dance floor and bounced up and down to it, mosh-pit style!

And when Pearl Jam’s “Black” started, except it wasn’t Pearl Jam. It was a startlingly authentic rendition by Ten: A Tribute to Pearl Jam, one of my favorite bands long before I married their guitar player. The members of Ten and their beautiful wives joined us on the dance floor, and we swayed and grinned and danced to an utterly perfect moment.

Two people did tell me that our wedding was too loud. 

I replied, “That’s how I wanted it.” 

We Messed Up the Ceremony (a little) 
Okay so we had some minor mistakes. I don't even know why I'm standing on what is traditionally the groom's side.

Actually, I do. It's because I was SO EXCITED, I ran down the stairs and clasped Billy's hands without another thought. I didn't even wait for my dad to catch up! I'd waited my whole life to marry Billy, and I couldn't wait another second.  

And I think the first rule in being a rock & roll bride is not giving a crap about the small stuff. :)

This is no big D!

“This is Not an Issue.”
Our venue, the Hyeholde, was over-the-top perfect. It looks like a castle, nestled into the woods, and the service was amazing. 

This helped when I had my one-and-only bridal meltdown. I woke up in the middle of the night before the wedding, literally trembling, I was so worried about our wedding cookies and making sure no one's contributions would be left out of the spread.

I called and emailed the event manager, worried sick. 

He calmly replied, “Thank you, Jolene. This is not an issue.”

Um. Yup.

It wasn’t.

The Best Compliment I Got All Day
It sure was fun floating around while people told me I was pretty. I got a HUGE kick out of it. (I’m so grateful to my friend Nichole for doing my makeup and making me feel prettier than I’d ever felt in my life!)

But my dear friend Suaz gave me the most meaningful compliment of the day. I only got to spend a moment with her that day. She used our time together to tell me, “You look like you’re really present.” 

It had been my biggest fear that I would glaze over and miss the day in an anxious blur. But I didn’t, and Suaz helped me appreciate that. I can honestly say I relished each and every blissful second of that day. 

All the Love in the Room
This part sounds a little sappy, but it's true.
Our budget  played a part in every single decision we made about the wedding, including the number of guests we could invite. In the end, Billy and I each identified 20 couples, no more, that we could invite.

Although I would have loved to have even more loved ones join us, our number ended up being a pleasantly manageable one. I can honestly say I loved everyone in the room. I never got whisked away to meet my mom's college roommate or other stranger. Every person in that room was special to us, and I swear -- you could feel it.

The Be-All End-All Cookie Table
Okay, so, the first thing you need to know is that cookies are my favorite food. I am madly in love with cookies. The second thing you need to know is that the Cookie Table is a (genius, if you ask me!) Pittsburgh wedding tradition. When a woman gets married in Pittsburgh, her family comes together to make an absurd amount of cookies. The cookies are served at the wedding. It’s also customary to put out bags or boxes so the guests can take home as many cookies as they can carry.

I felt like I’d waited my whole life for a cookie table! But I was worried, because I don’t have a big family and I didn’t know who was going to make enough cookies for 40 couples.

But guess what happened. The wonderful women in my life rallied. Cookies came from far and wide — caramel cups, ladyfingers, peanut butter blossoms, truffles dipped in purple chocolate, little chocolate nests cradling M&M eggs, snowballs, pineapple squares, flaky wafers with lavender icing, mocha cookies, buttery shortbreads, Megan’s mom’s legendary baklava, apricot twists, and so much more. And to my utter shock, our impressive cookie table spilled over, covering an entire baby grand piano, too! Our guests stuffed plates and loaded bags from the most epic cookie table I have ever seen.

My friend Line remarked, “You didn’t have a cookie table. You had a cookie room!”

It was glorious. And to everyone who baked for us, I thank you from my bottom of my heart!

Christy, Kim, Krista, me!, Jessica, and Megan
When it Was Time to Clean Up
I didn’t want the night to end, but I finally agreed that the DJ should play our final song — the same song Pearl Jam closes every show with — “YellowLedbetter.”

As the lights came on and the room emptied out, I looked over and saw my loyal group of girlfriends – the Wolfpack – getting ready to work. Even though their feet ached and they were, let’s face it, plenty drunk, they weren’t about to leave until every last centerpiece was packed up.

Once again, my heart practically burst. I’ll never forget that moment.

I just realized that I could go on and on and on. When my new sister-in-law put my veil in my hair. When my husband and I ate dinner at our sweetheart table, and he had me laughing as usual. When my aunt came into the bridal suite to see my dress. When we kicked off the reception with Joan Jett's "I Love Rock & Roll." I don’t want to forget any of these moments, or any of the people who shared them with me.

My heart bursts. To everyone who made our day so beautiful, thank you.

I love you.