Blythe's Wedding Diary, Part VII

Our own Blythe Copeland is getting married and she is keeping a diary of her experiences, right up until she walks down the aisle.

With five days until the wedding, I’m starting to think I may have taken on a bit too much. I planned to move from Boston to New York on the Sunday before the wedding, but a classic Boston snowstorm put a glitch in that plan. Now I’m driving from Boston to Philadelphia, where the wedding will be held in my parents’ neighborhood, on the Monday before the wedding, losing an entire day I’d expected to have for Christmas shopping and wedding details. It’s cold, and a windstorm the day before has left my parents without power for 36 hours already. The power company says it could last indefinitely. “Who gets married in the winter?” I keep asking myself. “Who gets married the Saturday before Christmas!” If I’d had that beach wedding I wouldn’t be obsessively checking the weather, wondering if I’ll need a fancy warm coat for pictures, or big umbrellas to keep the bridesmaids dry between the car and the church, or closed-toe shoes.

I have my third dress fitting Monday night, and it doesn’t go well: the sides are still gapping, the gathered waist has created some weird, unflattering creases in the skirt, and there’s a hole in the lace train. The dress shop swears they’ll be finished by Wednesday, which was when I was scheduled to pick it up anyway. I’m nervous.

Without power at my parents’ house it’s 42 degrees inside and pitch dark. We spend the evening at a family friend’s house where I try to finish the program and the seating chart and the place cards. Their Microsoft Word isn’t compatible with mine. Nothing gets done. I’m exhausted.

When we wake up on Tuesday, it’s a wedding miracle: the power’s back on! They’d said 5 p.m. that day at the earliest. I proofread the programs one last time—we included bios of everyone in our wedding party, and I’m picky about every single word. The copy store down the street charges me $25 extra for ivory paper instead of white without telling me. I don’t even care. That night, I forget all about the wedding—or try to—while my maid of honor distracts me with a cookie-baking extravaganza. We make 10 dozen Christmas cookies and talk about her upcoming wedding. I ignore all phone calls from my vendors (every bride should do this four days before her wedding. Seriously. Just for two hours—it all goes on without you).

On Wednesday I go for my final dress fitting. It’s another wedding miracle: they’ve fixed everything. The only things they can’t make better are the tan lines from my halter top bathing suit, a memory of my Caribbean vacation eight weeks before the wedding. (I recommend a pre-wedding vacation, but be extra diligent about sunscreen). I’m too nervous to go tanning three days before the wedding (blotchy! Orange! Burned!) so I try to ignore it and hope our photographer can Photoshop the portraits. Then my brother and I spend five hours Christmas shopping—and get only part of it finished. (Who gets married the Saturday before Christmas? Am I insane?)

Thursday and Friday are a blur. We finish the programs and make the guest book. We tie red ribbons around 200 favor boxes, pick up my dress, get the veil steamed. Mike comes down from New York, we listen to our first dance song for the first time and stumble around my kitchen, praying we can find the beat come Saturday. We find a seat for the last two couples and cross our fingers that they’ll get along with 10 other people they don’t know at their reception table. My neighbor tells a story of a wedding she went to where the guests were so disappointed by the absence of pigs-in-a-blanket on the hors d’oeuvre trays they nearly made the bride start crying. I call the caterer and they add pigs-in-a-blanket to the cocktail hour. Five of my bridesmaids and my mom and I go to a tiny little nail salon in a strip mall and get the best, most fun manicures and pedicures of our lives. One bridesmaid brings mimosas in a travel cup and we pretend we’re at a fancy salon. Then, suddenly, it’s the rehearsal dinner, and our family and friends are all there, and 16 months of planning have all come down to pigs-in-blankets and photos starting at 1 p.m., and I’m still exhausted, but I’m no longer nervous. I just can’t wait for Saturday.