It all started with the cat screaming in my face shortly before 8 a.m.
No matter how many times I pet her or pushed her away, she would not leave me alone. Seriously cat, I have another hour I can sleep.
When my alarm did go off at 9, I got up and checked my phone. One new text message from my sister and one missed call from my mom. I knew it already.
Honestly, I knew it the night before, watching Tiff at dinner. She looked more uncomfortable and on edge than I had ever seen her before. And I’m sure climbing the stairs at the rehearsal didn’t really help matters.
I looked at the text first. Baby Calvin was here. My heart skipped a beat with joy and twinged at the confirmation that my sister would be missing today. I called my mom back. No answer. Expecting no answer, I called my sister. And she answered. I think we were both feeling the same excitement and sorrow that we weren’t going to be together today. But her new life as a mother couldn’t have started on a better day. She told me that her son had been born shortly before 8 o’clock and was doing well. And she was too.
We hung up & I tried to stay focused. My phone was blowing up with texts and twitter notifications. Mom called me back and she told me about how she had only gotten a couple hours of sleep. We juggled schedules around so that she could spend her time with me and hopefully getting a nap or at least relaxing a little.
Time was getting away from me. I had spent the past hour drinking coffee, thinking about getting in the shower and looking at my phone. Brandon was anxiously trying to figure out how much this baby had disrupted his perfect schedule. I was trying to figure out the quickest possible way to see my new nephew. I remember at one point realizing I needed to get my act together and keep Brandon and the wedding as my priority, and as much as part of me wanted to be with my sister, my new life was also starting today as a wife.
I took the longest shower ever, helped Brandon get organized for all the running around he would be doing while I was getting ready, and headed over to my dad’s for breakfast.
When Brandon & I got there, Jessie and Marc were already there, and dear Abby & Jeff were cooking up a storm. The food was great (muffins, toast, fresh fruit, bacon & sausage, juices, coffee, etc.) and I was trying to ignore my nerves and keep eating since it would be many hours before I got the chance again. The photographer came and took pictures of all of us sitting together as friends and family, and I tried to get mentally accustomed to the snapping and flashing that would be going on for the next 11 hours. I was still spinning a little, but the food helped and shortly after, we were off to the salon.
Mom got there just after us, and my dear Jessie cracked open the margaritas she had thoughtfully packed. I delicately refrained from gulping them down, and floated around between Jessie, Mom & Steve… trying to be photogenic all the while. Mom & Steve left to go rescue Brandon from trying to arrange flowers by himself and Jessie and I chatted about nothing in particular while I tried to keep breathing.
I remember presenting myself as calm and chill, but I think I was a little bit in denial. I was so excited, and I kept thinking about Tiff, and holding my breath for the ‘big one’… that one mistake/accident/major flub that I had to get over & not let ruin my wedding day. It wasn’t until later that Brandon reminded me that Tiff not making it was kind of major, and somehow I held it together with grace.
Before I knew it, my hair was all done and we were heading up to the museum. When we got there, all our family and the rest of the bridal party was arriving as well. I took a deep breath and took everything in. It looked amazing. All that hard work had come together elegantly and I didn’t have to worry about any other details except myself.
It was starting to get late and I knew we had to start pictures soon, so Jessie & I disappeared to start makeup and getting dressed. Again, Jessie was amazing in toting around her photography lights for me to do my makeup by (thank you!!). It seemed to take longer than usual, and I could feel time slipping by as I tried to keep steady hands. Mom finally reappeared just as I was starting to panic about not being in my dress yet, and we quickly got me in it and final touches done. And then the photographer left to check on the boys and coordinate the first look.
I paced for what felt like an hour, but it was probably five minutes. I was wondering if Brandon would think I looked ok, if my dress fit right, if I had forgotten any little thing. And then the photographer came back, and we were off.
I remember walking through the museum and seeing my family standing there with mouths agape. I realized how I must look, and somehow reminded them to get out of the photographer’s shot, and crept up behind Brandon to get the final approval.
I don’t remember what I said, or what he said to me, but I remember the tearful joy he held me with when he saw me in that moment. I held tightly on to him as cameras flashed frantically all around us. We were getting married!
Eventually the moment passed, and it was time to take all the formal photographs. I tried to keep my cool, and lost it a few times as random people started wandering in. I don’t remember who finally got things under control, but pictures were taken, and we split up to make our entrances.
I headed upstairs with my Dad, Chuck and Jessie to wait for our cue. We had twenty minutes.
I listened to Dad & Jessie talk a bit of ‘shop’, Chuck contemplated all the mischief that would later ensue, and I couldn’t stop smiling. I knew Brandon was downstairs, that he loved me and thought I looked beautiful. I was no longer nervous, not even about falling down the stairs. (Which was probably a good thing, since my Dad later told me that his feet were killing him already and he could barely walk himself, and I had been the steady hand to him. Oh irony.)
They came to tell us that it was starting and to get ready to come down the stairs. My heart pounded as I listened to the music and waited for our the moment that we were finally take that walk. I felt like I was floating as we reached the top of the stairs and cameras were flashing and I heard gasps from the crowd below. We descended and I was handed off to Brandon, with love. The minister began speaking with a resonating voice and I was in a room with just Brandon and him. Well, except for the moment when I saw one of Brandon’s friends making goofy grins at me over his shoulder. I listened to the reading from the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision allowing gay marriage, and I knew that our union was truly a civil right that everyone deserved to partake in. And as Brandon recited his vows to me, I knew how deeply I wanted to repeat mine to him. And then there were rings and a sweet kiss and we were married!
Music began playing and we all but ran off to the room where we would do the paperwork to make it official.
There was frantic dress bustling (some of which would later come undone in a flurry of dancing), signing of papers (none by me and Brandon, which I thought was weird), and then more waiting as people filed through to get their seats. At some point I realized there was still a lot of things left to do at the reception. I don’t know how that hadn’t occurred to me before. We had agreed on a short, sweet ceremony and then time to party. And party we did.