The rehearsal went as all wedding rehearsals do. We milled around in a small and slightly confused group until the wedding coordinator ordered us to our various spots (she came by her nickname of ‘the wedding Nazi’ honestly, although I’m not so sure she would have found the same humor in the moniker as the rest of us). The flower girl freaked at the accumulation of strangers, combined with being in a huge and strange place, and refused to rehearse. My mom (the ‘official officiate who will be officiating at the wedding’ – title courtesy of the perky woman who was the site coordinator) slapped sticky notes with hastily scribbled reminders all over the ceremony in her little notebook. We bridesmaids did our best to take things as non-seriously as possible and skipped down the aisle during the second practice round. In other words, everything went as expected for a wedding rehearsal – especially one early in the morning when not everyone had had their coffee first.
Afterwards people trickled back to Richard’s parents’ house over the next few hours for the rehearsal lunch until the house was full of wedding party members and their respective families. There was talking and there was eating and there was mingling for hours and hours.
There was non-wedding stuff during the rehearsal lunch as well. Richard and I got to drive his aunt’s shiny new red Prius – which is just like the one we want to get (well, either red or blue), and fell even further in like with the car. The entire family took turns entertaining Richard’s cousin’s little girl (that would be his first cousin once removed, for those of you who actually comprehend that part of the family tree concept), and she, in turn, charmed every single one of us until we would all have cheerfully done anything just to get her to laugh once more. She’s a fairy-like child, with one of those little pixie faces and a mop of red curls and we all agreed she would not look at all out of place sporting wings and taking part in a Midsummer Night’s Dream.
At one point Richard’s mom and I drove over to the Almost Twin’s house, so I could see their newest cats (they have huge cats – the type that are almost wildcat – huge ears and long, lean bodies, and they slink with wildcat grace. Such a distinct difference than our motley crew of mix-breed pound kitties. But lovely as they are, I prefer our cats to theirs). Later that night a smaller group of us piled into a car and had a late dinner at a Japanese restaurant. For doing nothing more strenuous than mingling for hours with family and friends, it was an exhausting day.
Yesterday all we had to do was get to the site and rehearse. Today started far earlier. I pretty much insisted that we stop by Starbucks on the way to the site because I needed coffee and food, in that order, and Richard was feeling the same way. We retired to our respective rooms – bridesmaids and brides in a little conference room on one side of the hall and the groomsmen and usher on the other side. It didn’t take us long to get dressed so we had plenty of time to keep the Almost Twin calm and peer out the windows at all the arriving guests. There was a brief exodus to the front of the club to take pictures and then it was back to the room to pace and wait and check each other’s lipstick for the umpteenth time before it was time.
It was a lovely wedding, as all weddings are. No one slipped on the tile floor. The flower girl forgot to drop her petals until she reached the front and then remembered, flinging them with great concentration onto the floor in front of her because we’d told her how happy the bride would be to have the floor made so pretty. During the ceremony I could see one of the groomsmen turning a bit red in the face from trying not to cry and the groom himself was sweating nervously. The flowers were beautiful and the arboretum provided the perfect backdrop. One of the screens fell during the ceremony, but it happened so quickly after the wedding kiss that it gave us all something to tease them about later.
There was applause and then there were more pictures. There was food and dancing. There was sun directly in the eyes of all of us sitting at the head table, until we all abandoned our assigned seating and took over empty chairs at other tables with less of a glare. There was cake and hugs and noisy laughter and little girls holding hands spinning as fast as they could go so their skirts would swirl in great circles around them, and then there were hugs and kisses and good-byes, and welcomes to the family.
And it was perfect, as all weddings are perfect. But it was especially perfect because it was theirs.