All right, I couldn't resist throwing a few pictures in here. These are not the ones that were taken by our photographers (our friends Chiaroscuro and ViSuaLLy MiNDed) because they have so many pictures and haven't had the time to go through them. Those pictures will eventually end up on our wedding wesbite. But these are for those of you who are like me, and can't wait that long.
Also, apologies to the photographers of the photos I have used here - I have taken great liberties with your photos by cropping, cloning, and adjusting the lighting and contrast in Photoshop! While having the ceremony set against the backdrop of the Hudson River was very pretty, it certainly made for some really difficult lighting with bright sun blasting off the water and casting all of us into shadow. So I've tried to adjust the photos to bring back as much detail as I could.
They're also resized, and now I think they're too small, but I don't want to go through and resize and upload them all again... Hopefully the version you get when you click on the pictures will be large enough. I'll probably post larger versions of these on our wedding website.
And apologies also for the length of this post. This is more for the people who weren't able to come than for the people who were there!
Saturday, May 26, 2006
If you can get someone else to do your hair and makeup on your wedding day, I highly recommend doing it. Yes, I know it's pretty much a given that you will get it done, but I considered doing it myself to save money and hopefully end up with a more natural look. But then I came to my senses. And even though my makeup was less natural than I would have liked and my hair was a little too overdone, I think it was better than the understated look I'm sure I would have done for myself and I didn't have to think about it at all. I didn't have to retouch anything, play with the curls, put the flowers in my hair differently - when it was done, it was done, and we were ready to go. Highly valuable when you're indecisive and prone to lateness, like me.
In fact, even with going to the salon we ended up running late. The salon simply didn't have enough people to get us in and out of there fast enough, and we didn't help matters by getting lost on the way there. (My parents live way out in the middle of the woods and my sister's navigation system and cell phone couldn't find service, so once we were lost we were pretty much on our own. Though, bringing a map other than the vague one we printed out from Mapquest might have helped.)
Because we were running so late, and because the wedding site didn't provide anywhere for me (or anyone else) to change, we arrived at the wedding site with everyone else in their dresses and tuxes, and me still in my jeans. When we pulled into the parking lot, my mom waved frantically for us to come park over by where they were all waiting for us, seeming to think we simply couldn't see her and so that's why we were driving across the mostly empty parking lot to park on the other side. But no, our plan was to park behind the tallest car we could find (thank you Jeep) so that I could quickly change into my dress before anyone could see me. As fast as I could I peeled off my regular clothes, while my sister tried to help me into my dress without letting too much of it drag on the ground. I'm sure it was quite a ridiculous looking scene, but thankfully no one but my sister and I were there. (I think my photographers were disappointed to miss that moment, but they had gone ahead of me to scout out the site.)
It wasn't until hours later that I realized why I felt so unsure of how I looked in my dress with hair and makeup. It's because I never saw myself before heading out for pictures and all the rest of it! It strikes me as kind of crazy now that I didn't even slip into the bathroom on the site to check myself out, but everyone told me everything looked right and I just decided to believe them. What was I going to do about it anyway? :)
It wasn't until I arrived on site that I heard that J's brother hadn't come. He'd been awake when I left, but apparently was feeling even worse than the night before with a high fever and vomiting. Talk about the worst timing ever to get sick. So unfortunately we had to go on without him there.
My sister, who was in Maid of Honor mode from the moment she woke up, spent the next hour or so directing me around, keeping me from saying hi to the people who are already arriving and forcing me to eat a peanut butter sandwich. She knows me well and knows that I would simply wander around, oblivious of the time and forgetting to eat!
We managed to get a few pictures in, but people were starting to get restless, so we decided to cut the pictures short and move along with the ceremony. And suddenly I was nervous and felt rushed because we hadn't actually walked through it! (When we "rehearsed" the night before, it only consisted of me pushing people around my parents' living room and telling them when they were going to walk and where they were going to stand, and that was it.) I was nervous about the ceremony we had written that I hadn't heard out loud, other than talking it out with J. I was nervous to have everyone's eyes on us as we said our vows to each other, even though that was the whole point of this shindig! And worst of all, J was not there when it was time to go because he was already stationed up front with Colliculus (our officiant) waiting for the rest of us to walk down the aisle towards them.
(Photo by Lisa)
But the music started and we were off. The best man walked my grandmother down the aisle to her seat, and then came back and walked my mother down the aisle to her seat. My sister (and Maid of Honor) walked next, followed by my ten-year-old cousin as our "Ring Girl". (She preferred "Ring Girl" to "Ring Bearer" and made sure to correct her younger sister every time she called her by the wrong title.) Next up was the flower girl, who carried a basket of petals and when she reached the back line of seats, started thrusting them out in front of her to scatter them around. It wasn't delicate, but it was certainly adorable. And then my dad and I walked up and I was glad we didn't have a huge guest list because the walk turned out to be quite brief. Within a few seconds I was standing up at the front, worrying about the hair that was being blown into my face and sticking to my lip gloss. (Isn't it funny the things you can be thinking about at a time of otherwise seriousness?)
So here we are. (Photos by my uncle Dale.)
I relaxed as Colliculus started to read the ceremony. We knew he would have the perfect gravitas to pull it off well, and he did. And when he stumbled over words (probably typos I left in the script), he just laughed them off and everyone laughed with him. The ceremony started out with a funny story, which got people laughing and then moved on to more serious talk about family and love which started to really get me feeling emotional. My sister did a reading for us that was very, very nice and then it was time for the vows.
Colliculus handed us our written vows, and in that moment (because we hadn't decided this ahead of time) I was chosen (or did I chose?) to go first. It struck me as best because I thought if I had to hear J's vows first I would choke up. I figured that going first would allow me to get through mine. But no dice. I got two sentences in before I choked up and could not go on. I am very interested to see the video of the ceremony to see if it really happened as I remember it - I remember what felt like the longest pause ever as I flailed my arms and felt unable to speak. I thrust my vows at J and managed to get out, "you go." He laughed and said he wasn't reading mine, and I noticed that the guests suddenly seemed as choked up as I was. It was kind of funny and emotional and embarrassing and totally fine all at the same time. So J made a joke about that being just a preview, and then read his vows to me. He managed to get through them rather well, and then I read mine. I think I still choked on the last line, but I did get through them.
J makes a joke
(Photo by Dale)
J reads his vows
(Photo by Lisa)
(Photo by Jenny)
Next up was the exchange of rings. When J held out his hand, I just repeated what Colliculus asked us to say. Notice anything wrong with this picture?
I didn't. But the rest of our guests did and started waving frantically to J. Yep, moments after Colliculus explained the tradition of wearing wedding rings on the left hand, I had placed J's ring on his right hand. (In my defense, his right hand is on my left side! And that was the hand that he had held out to me. Not that that is much of a defense...) Well, after the crying through the vows, a light moment was called for, and this seemed to do the trick. (And of course, Jenny was taking pictures through the whole thing!)
Well, all's well that end's well, right? And the ceremony definitely ended well.
After the ceremony, in spite of our having planned not to do a receiving line, one formed anyway because we kept saying hi and hugging the people who were coming up to us. It was kind of nice actually because we got to greet all of our guests before everyone spread out during the cocktail hour.
A few minutes later, J's brother showed up! His fever had broken and he had taken the last car at the house to drive himself to the wedding. We were sorry he missed the ceremony, but thrilled that he was able to make it. I could tell he still wasn't feeling well, but over the next few hours we could see him coming back to life. When he could, he talked and ate... not sure he danced though. And when he was tired, he sat at the DJ table and helped coordinate what was playing when, which was great because I didn't give a second thought to the music. (That was J's job.)
And then there was much dancing, drinking, and eating for the rest of the night... Our first dance was to "Meant to Be" by the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Our first course was a sake cured salmon gravlax that was extremely good. We took pictures on the steps of the mansion on the site as the sun was setting. We had a fabulous buffet dinner that I only ate bites of and later regretted missing! We got five speeches: a short introduction by my mom, a loooooong story by my dad detailing how all the wedding planning had gone, even talking about how he went shoe shopping for hours with me and my sister, an impromptu speech by J's brother (this time it was his turn to get choked up), and two wonderful speeches by my sister and the best man. We had a dessert buffet with a chocolate fountain and fereeny (an Afghan dessert), and I was so hungry at this point that I treated myself to two plates of dessert.
It was a beautiful night that went exactly as we had hoped. I had been a little worried that it would seem pointless since we were already officially married, but it really was a completely different event than when we signed the paperwork in Japan back in Nov '04. Having everyone come to celebrate this with us and witness our vows to each other was very meaningful, and we are thankful to all the family and friends who were able to come. (And of course we wish that J's whole family could have joined us, but we understand why they couldn't. I know that some of you are reading this, and we appreciate your love and support. We were certainly thinking of you!)
(Photo by Dale)
Next up is a name change, a trip to Europe, finishing our dissertations, and a move to Philly... my head spins just thinking about it all...