I took a break from writing about the wedding weekend, but I’m ready to close the series with the last few posts. Connect with the other posts starting HERE.
The morning of the Red Wedding I opened my eyes and stared at the ceiling thinking, “Today’s the day I’m getting married.” But it didn’t feel like it. I was surprised at how un-nervous (if I can make up a word) I was for the day to proceed. Even getting dressed in the red sari, and arriving at the temple, and meeting the guests, and sitting up on the altar under the mandap, I didn’t really feel nervous, more anxious, maybe, that everything goes well, and that people enjoy themselves, and perhaps curious of how everything would happen, but I wasn’t really nervous about getting married.
At the end of the night our Irish friend RH said, “That was a fun day, but it didn’t feel like a real wedding. I know it was, just not the kind we are used to, but I’m glad you are doing both, I think tomorrow will feel really different.”
And it did. Maybe not right away… I didn’t really feel it when I woke up that second morning. But as the day progressed, I could feel it, a bit of nerves, a bit of excitement, a feeling of, wow it’s finally here. I was really appreciative that we did two ceremonies. I was so happy to experience the Nepali way of getting married, but I was also very happy to have my own way as well, something I didn’t expect until it actually happened.
I got out of bed and snuck downstairs to eat something for breakfast. The hotel lobby was full of wedding guests. I spent a little while chatting with different groups of people, while trying to chew a few bites of a plan bagel (without much success.) I rounded up my mother and sisters so that we could get to the hair appointments (there was a misunderstanding and the hair people scheduled us really early for our afternoon wedding) and I loaded up the car with all the white wedding stuff.
Again my “control freak” nature took over, and I couldn’t sit down and breathe until I knew everything was good to go, that everything that had to be at the wedding venue was there, and that all the pieces were in place. I finally achieved that status around lunch time and could sit for a little while. I took my turn in the hairdresser’s chair, and my sisters bought some raw veggies and dip to snack on while we got ready and waited for the wedding to begin.
P and I had found a wedding venue about twenty minutes from where we live in MA where we could get married outside and have the reception in a tent behind the reception hall. The place was a family owned dairy farm, which had been converted into a reception venue when the farmer and his wife (a caterer) wanted to retire from the daily grind of farm life. The old dairy barn was beautifully reworked into a great hall space, and the family run catering kitchen continued to use many of their farm grown produce in the catering dishes. The barn was situated on top of a large hill with a view of rolling forested hills in all directions. It was a quiet, peaceful and picturesque spot.
Across the parking lot from the barn/reception hall was the farmer’s old house, which was converted into a hair salon/spa and bridal suite. My mom, bridesmaids, and I got our hair done on premises, and hung out in the bridal suite before the ceremony, and P and I were planning to spend our first night at the suite that evening.
Perhaps it was because during all the previous days I had been going, going, going, but when I finally had time to sit on my own and breathe, that’s when I started to feel a ball of nerves in the pit of my stomach. At first I actually thought that the veggies and dip had upset my stomach, but then I realized that it was excitement, and nerves, and energy. All this pent up emotion from planning, and thinking about it, and now we were only an hour or so away.
Several of our female friends dropped in—Indian, Nepali, Senegalese—much to my mother’s chagrin. She’s not really used to others inviting themselves over and being part of a “moment” that she expected to be private. The girls were also getting ready, putting make up on, making conversation. However as the last hour before the ceremony approached my mother insisted that these extra friends head out. “Sorry girls,” she kept saying, “But it is an American tradition that no one sees the bride after she puts her dress on until she walks down the aisle, so I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
R, AS, K and M helped each other with their final bridesmaid touches while my mom and I headed across the parking lot to the barn to sit in the “private waiting area” until the time to walk in began. Unfortunately many of my relatives were walking in at the same time and started to say, “Oh how pretty!” so I started frantically saying, “Please close your eyes, close your eyes! You’ll see everything soon.” I hurried to the waiting room only to find the door locked.
The venue coordinator looked perplexed, “The guys aren’t in there. I don’t know why it is locked.” I knocked on the door and said, “Please open up!” and a female voice came back saying, “I’m changing! I can’t.” so I banged on the door and responded, “Please, open up right now!”
“But I’m nearly naked!” the person inside said.
“I don’t care, open the door now!”
And the person came to open the door. It wound up being two of our friend’s from our time in New York when P was doing his master’s degree. They had decided to get dressed at the venue, and found an available room. One girl said, “I’m sorry C! I didn’t know it was you or I would have opened the door right away!”
“Normally it would be okay, but everyone was outside. I wanted to keep hidden,” I said. They quickly finished getting ready so they could take their seats. My mom and I sat in the room on our own waiting for the venue coordinator to come back and get us.
My mom started to get a bit emotional. I think the wedding had finally had a chance to hit her as well, and sitting there with me reminded her of when she was sitting and waiting to walk down the aisle with my father, a relationship that didn’t last. She got a bit teary eyed and said, “I thought when we got married it would be forever. I hope this is forever for you.”
“Mom, please. If you start getting emotional now, then I will to, and we will be a wreck walking down the aisle.”
So we took a few breaths and got ourselves together.
Then the knock came from the venue coordinator. It was 4pm. Time to walk down the aisle.