*Christine, Insurance Broker & Curtis, IT Consultant*
I got partway through today’s wedding graduate post and screamed. It turns out (surprise!) that this is the Christine & Curtis who contributed their budget to that section of The APW Book, and now we get to see how their wedding played out. As it almost always goes, their actual wedding story is infinitely more complicated, and ultimately more wonderful, than any of us ever would have guessed from the planning. It is a must read (and then obviously go check the book for their budget story).
Our wedding was a hot mess, and I mean that quite literally. Really, I think it was just the universe sending me a message about control on my wedding day, but I will get back to that later.
I’m a planner. A serious planner who loves to plan everything. There is comfort in details to me, and I’m cool with that. Thankfully (for me) so is my husband, or at least he puts up with it, which is all I can ask I suppose. I revelled in the planning process and thoroughly enjoyed it all. My whole focus was on making our guests feel special and spoiled because really, these are the people in our lives. We wanted to use the day to show our love and appreciation for them. Don’t get me wrong, there were times it was overwhelming and I needed a break, but for the most part I truly enjoyed worrying about things like when the sun would be setting on September 4th and whether or not it would be shining in my guests face during the ceremony.
We went a different route for our wedding than most. When we were first engaged, my then-fiancé’s only request was that it not be a “traditional” wedding. When I pushed into what he really meant by this, he tied it all back into money. If the average wedding is 5 hours and costs about $25,000 then that equates to $5,000 an hour and plainly, he felt that he just couldn’t have $5,000 worth of fun in an hour. That’s a hard argument to disagree with. Obviously weddings can be done for much less than this but I’ll be honest, we had zero interest in a budget wedding. It’s just not us. We’re good consumers. Maybe too good. It wasn’t the total amount that we would be spending that bothered us; we just wanted to feel like we were getting value for our money.
We ended up renting a luxury ski lodge on the side of a mountain in Maine. It was stunning and had incredible amenities. We rented it for a week and hosted a weekend of events over Labor Day Weekend, and then we finished out the week in the house as part of our honeymoon. We invited only sixty people, which included about fifteen children. They were incredibly adorable and so well behaved. I couldn’t have imagined the day without them there. We spent the weekend eating lobster, toasting marshmallows, and hanging out in hot tubs. It was spectacular to be able to share this quality time with all our guests prior to the wedding.
We live four hours away from our wedding location and we used solely local vendors. Little did we know that this would be one of the best wedding decisions we made. September in Maine tends to be beautiful. Crisp sunny days with chilly nights. We had an abnormally warm week, but it was still pleasant weather until the big day. About an hour before the ceremony was set to start, an apocalyptic rainstorm appeared out of nowhere with seriously zero warning. The deck overlooking the mountains had been set with cocktail tables and a full bar. The wind sent our tables sailing across the deck, crashing them into pieces. Our bar, complete with glassware and alcohol, started to blow over.
Our wedding planner, caterer, and her staff stood in the pouring rain and held down our bar. They were pelted with hail and lightning was striking maybe twenty feet behind where they were standing. They never moved. Not until the rain ended. They were dripping wet but it didn’t slow them down one bit. By the time the first guest arrived, the linens were dry and the tables were put back together. Our bar was salvaged and ready to serve. They were still damp but greeted our guests with enormous welcoming smiles. I am eternally grateful for their selfless act and am still in awe at the lengths they went to in order to save our
After the rain passed, it got steamy. Like really hot and humid steamy. The AC in our stunning home was broken thanks to Hurricane Irene that had passed through the week before; it had blown a relay switch with the power outage. The rainstorm had dislodged most of my precious plans and there were things scattered everywhere. Decorations were tangled from the rain and some items never made it out of their boxes. I guess you can plan all you want but Mother Nature will do what she feels like.
I had to change out of my dress just after dinner because it was just too hot to keep it on. Once I changed, many of our guests changed too into whatever they had handy. We laughed and danced and sweated with our friends and family. It was so not the night I had planned. But it was perfectly wonderful in its own right.
I will not go as far to say that I wouldn’t change things if I had the chance—of course I would. I am still bummed to this day that I had to take my dress off. I had waited 37 years to rock that dress and I barely got to wear it. But honestly, that night was the most magical night of my life. I was tired, exhausted, and grossly sweaty, but I heard over and over how I was the happiest bride anyone had ever seen. I did not stop smiling for one second. Never in my life have I felt more surrounded by love, both from our guests and from our vendors who suffered through the heat with us and seriously busted their asses so we would have a wonderful night.
When the storm hit and chaos ensued, I laughed. It really did not matter. The ceremony was able to start on time, and while we were inside (and really, really hot) we were all sitting on dry seats. The rain brought in so much fog we lost our gorgeous mountain backdrop at the house, but the sky was clear for our pre-ceremony pictures and we have some beautiful shots. I am so grateful for these little things. Besides, I married the best man I have ever met in front of the people that mean the most to me. In that way, the day went exactly as planned. I guess it’s all about perspective.
I think my mother-in-law put it best when she said to me that our wedding day was a lot like marriage. We had highs, lows, sunshine, and stormy patches that came out of nowhere. We had disappointment and celebration, and we were supported through both by the love of our family and friends. There were things we wish we could change, but in the end everything turned out how it was meant to be and we are stronger as a unit because of it. It was one hell of a rollercoaster ride that I would do over and over again if I could. Sure, it was chaos, but it was our chaos.
For the record, I do want to note that the sun did come out after the rainstorm, right in the middle of our vows actually. And wouldn’t you know that it didn’t shine in any of my guests’ faces at all. Just mine. The irony of this was not lost on us, and we ended up laughing and giggling our way through our vows. While this was so not what I planned, I couldn’t imagine it any other way.