Murphy’s Wedding (#57)

Sometimes, the bride feels like anything BUT a princess.
Sometimes, the bride feels like anything BUT a princess.

I couldn’t figure out why my wedding was so stressful until I compared it to making a movie.

If a wedding were a Hollywood movie, the bride would be the director, the producer, and the writer. She’s the costume designer, the casting director, and the location scout.

The bride is also the star.

The bride is so screwed.

In Hollywood, no one person does all those things. Well, no sane person. Woody Allen tried and gave up and, really, does anyone want to emulate his life choices?

When you consider all the tasks the bride has to handle, hiring a wedding coordinator makes perfect sense.

So of course I didn’t do that. I didn’t have a mom to help, and my maid of honor lived in another state. Which makes me extra special stupid.

Alone, I coped with:

5 recalcitrant bridesmaids,

4,000 miles of long distance planning,

3 groomsmen bailing,

Repeated tux measurements changing,

2 flower girl dresses missing,

And a groom who might as well have been in a pear tree.

Yes, Andy’s mostly great, but he’s not an event planner.  After the initial meetings with the tux shop, the cake lady, and the Lake Nowhere Inn in New Hampshire, it was up to me.

Which might have been why, a week before the wedding, I found myself facedown in the mint green carpet of our guest bedroom. I sobbed and pounded on the floor with my fist.

My wedding shoes were missing.

Missing shoes don’t seem that bad, right? All five guys reading this are like, “Women are crazy. Go hit the damned mall instead of the carpet. Buy some more shoes.”

If only. These were dance shoes, necessary for the sweeping “first dance” performance my family had insisted upon. Cream ballroom shoes in size 11, that matched my wedding dress, with a low heel, aren’t easy to find.  Not even the great and powerful Amazon.com can produce them with two-day shipping. So, no, I couldn’t go to the damned mall. For spinning (sometimes on one foot) while wearing twenty pounds of crinoline and silk, you need a strong core, good balance, and dance shoes with a suede sole. Otherwise, the likelihood of landing on your face increases approximately 70%.

And, no, the shoes weren’t missing because I had ordered them at the last-minute. I’d had the shoes for months. Every week, I wore them around the house. I’m a planner, and I didn’t plan on blisters on my wedding day.

Of course, I hadn’t planned on stepping in cat puke two weeks before the wedding, either. If Commando Cat had just puked on the green carpet as usual, I’d have seen it and cleaned it up while delivering my standard useless lecture to him: “Why?” I’d ask, on my hands and knees with the carpet cleaner yet again. “Why can’t you puke on the bathroom tiles or the nasty brown linoleum in the kitchen?”

Commando Cat was not a smart cat. He always ate too fast. Then he’d throw up. He’d immediately forget he puked, realize his stomach was empty, go back to the food bowl, reload, and hurl once more. His record was five piles of vomit in under two hours.

For all that he was an idiot, Commando Cat was also a sweet, obliging kitty. He proved it by finally doing exactly as I asked. He puked on the linoleum up in the kitchen while I was downstairs, putting on my wedding shoes on Saturday morning, two weeks out from the wedding.

I cha-cha-ed my way up the stairs, Chassed across the living room, and spun into the kitchen. My lovely open-toed, creamy, crisscrossed ankle-strappy shoes came down directly in Commando Cat’s vomit.

I slid. I cursed. I landed on my butt in more vomit.

I got up and tried to clean my beautiful shoes. They were stained.  They stank.

I told Commando Cat I was going to adopt a pit bull and went to the dry cleaners.

No problem, they said. We’ll get the stains out and you’ll have them back in a week.

A week passed. I went back to the dry cleaners.

They couldn’t find my shoes.

I threatened them with my future pit pull.

They still couldn’t find my shoes. This was Saturday. Our flight to New Hampshire left on Tuesday. I went home, hunted online, called local dance stores, and came up empty. I tried the one dance store in Manchester, NH, as well as several in Boston. The soonest anyone could get shoes to me would be a week.  And it wasn’t guaranteed.

At which point I threw the phone at the wall and myself on the floor.  I sobbed into the carpet.  But it wasn’t just over the shoes. Those shoes were merely the suede-covered straw that broke this bride’s back. There were so many things to do, and not near enough time to do them. The hairdresser, the flower girl dresses, the centerpieces, the guest favors, special gifts for children coming, packing for autumn in New Hampshire and the honeymoon in Mexico, the groomsmen gifts, picking up the bridesmaids’ jewelry, the last dress fitting, shipping the dress to New Hampshire, the bachelorette party that night, etc.

And now I had no goddamned shoes.

Andy came in and patted my back. “Maybe they’ll find your shoes.”

I sobbed harder. “They won’t! Bad shit just keeps happening.”

Andy: “It’s not that bad. I don’t know why you are stressing out over everything—”

My tears stopped. I sat up. “Go away before I set my pit bull on you.”

Andy backed up. “You don’t have a pit bull.” But he looked around warily, as if my unhinged behavior just might have magically conjured one up.

“I’m gonna get one after the honeymoon. And I’m gonna train it to chase Commando Cat away from his food dish every time the cat tries to overeat. Then I’m gonna train it to eat the dry cleaners, and then I’m going to set it on YOU if you EVER, EVER imply that my stressing out is unjustified. You aren’t the one dealing with ANY of the wedding problems!”

“Honey, they’re just shoes—”

“Easy for you to say! You already have your black Cuban heels to match your black tux pants! You’re going to be fine! Me, I have a choice of looking stupid wearing casual black dance shoes with my fancy Renaissance white wedding dress or falling on my ass during the dance that we’ve SPENT FIVE MONTHS PRACTICING!”

“I’m sure no one will notice or care –”

“GET OUT!”

Andy went. I got myself together, ordered the only white dance shoes I could find – which were a size too small, of course – and had them shipped to NH. I crossed my fingers that they would arrive in time, and packed my own canvas Cuban heels in case they didn’t.

On Monday, before I went to the hairstylist, I handed Andy my phone and my wedding binder.

“Why?” he asked.

“I won’t be able to handle anything,” I explained. “My head will be coated in goo for an hour and then she’ll be shampooing, conditioning, cutting, and blowing it dry. I can’t answer the phone, so if something happens, you’re going to have to deal with it.”

“No problem,” said Andy.

Twenty minutes after I left, Andy’s mother called. Her dress for the wedding was missing. Talbots said it had been delivered.  Sunny insisted it hadn’t. Sunny had a day before they left Hawaii for the East Coast. Andy had to find the Inn’s address in New Hampshire and convince Talbot’s to send another dress there. Except they couldn’t find another dress in Sunny’s size, and they wanted Sunny to pay for it, and Sunny was having none of that.

In the midst of Sunny v. Talbots, the wedding florist called because the shipment of orange roses was half-wilted.

The Inn needed final numbers for the revised seating chart and an okay on the wine list, since one of the wines we picked was not available in the necessary quantity. (My family drinks a lot of wine.)

The steamboat for our pre-wedding party needed final numbers.

Two of the bridesmaids called to report that their dresses had sleeves that were sewn on backwards. Another wanted to know if she could wear a specific type of lingerie underneath her dress.

The accompanist didn’t like my choice of processional and wanted to know if I was SURE I wanted to walk down the aisle to “Pathetique.”

When I got back from the salon, I found Andy on the computer, binder open, using my phone for texting and the landline for talking. His hair, normally carefully combed and held in place with product, was teased out into an Afro-Asian-Einstennian rat’s nest. Sweat beaded on his forehead.

He greeted my entrance with palpable relief. “Please, Baby Singing Sister needs to know something about a minimizer. I don’t even want to know what that is and she’s trying to explain it to me! And M wants to know if she should get her sleeves fixed in Colorado or is there a place in New Hampshire? And can we substitute pink for orange roses? And is a Chardonnay okay of there’s not enough Pinot Grigio? And the Inn is full, are there any Bed & Breakfasts you’d recommend?”

Andy held out both phones, beseechingly.

I tucked the landline under my chin and told the Inn that the Chardonnay was fine while answering the open texts from my sister and M. When I hung up, I was fully prepared to blast Andy with a snarky, “I don’t know why you’re so upset, it’s only a wedding.”

I didn’t have to. The poor man tapped a few keys. Then he put his head down on the desk. His hands pulled at his hair, and he moaned, “Oh, my God, this is so stressful!”

I patted him on the back. “I know, babe. I know.”

He sat up. “But, honey, good news! The dry cleaners called and they found your shoes!”

We cheered and hugged. Then my phone rang. The landline rang. Andy bolted. He called out over his shoulder, “I’ll go get your shoes! Gotta hurry, they close soon!”

The dry cleaner was open till midnight, but I didn’t call Andy on his retreat from the wedding fray. The point had been made.

Sometimes, a man’s just gotta walk a mile in the bride’s vomit-covered shoes.

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Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

31 thoughts on “Murphy’s Wedding (#57)”

  1. I knew planning a wedding was stressful, but now you convinced me, Autumn: I will never get married!!!

    Or, I will hire a wedding planner. Are they very expensive? I am a cheap ass and I think all wedding related things are ridiculously overpriced.

    PS. What is a minimizer?

    1. I think wedding planners come in all shapes and sizes! Some charge a lot, but some venues also come with wedding planners.

      Also, if you are a perfectionist, wedding planning is extra specially awful. Those brides who care less generally seem less stressed. 🙂

      A minimizer is sometimes used by very well-endowed women to “minimize” their cleavage. Which is why Andy was flipping out when Baby Sister was explaining it.

    2. Wait, I just realized — if you guys get married in China or Taiwan or Hong Kong, doesn’t the groom’s family have to do everything and you just show up? So that would be minimal stress — you just have to figure out your dress and makeup!

      And shoes, of course. Never forget the shoes.

      1. I guess I will need to have two weddings, one in China and one in Spain. I don’t really see my MIL planning a wedding for me… but anyway, weddings in China are very simple, it’s only a meal in a restaurant and that’s it. I will need to worry about the one in Spain though.

  2. How can a dry cleaner loose a pair of wedding shoes, HOW???? They should be legally prosecuted for something like this. I can’t believe these things still happen in 2015.

    On a more positive note, your shoes look lovely. I bet you looked gorgeous (or will look? I haven’t understood if the wedding happened already or not. If it did, congratulations!!!) in your wedding dress.

    For some reason I picture you having red hair. I imagine a beautiful redhead bride wearing a romantic white dress and dancing with her Asian-American groom in the night 🙂

    1. I know! To this day, no idea where those shoes went. But at least I got them back.

      Yes, the wedding did already happen. And yes! My hair was indeed red (all the grey covered up!), and the dress was cream-colored, so close enough to white as makes no difference.

      So your imagination was right on. And our dance, well, I have a whole post to write about that. Coming soon!

  3. So much stress. As Marta said, now I don’t think I’ll ever get married 😀 Unless, of course, there are less than 50 people in attendance and that I think will be manageable…

    I think if you had come home one minute later, Andy would have lost it and the whole house would have come crashing down 😀

    1. Hahahaha, I think it more likely that Andy would have thrown down the phones and run screaming from the house.

      But it was thoroughly gratifying to see how stressed out he got!

      Yes, weddings are pretty stressful. Even if you think you’ve got everything covered, stuff goes wrong. Like I said, brides who are less care less about the details and roll with the punches seem to be happier.

      Also brides with smaller families.

  4. I was very into your wedding drama, picturing someone dancing gleefully by herself before slipping into… animal vomit. Hah! I’m so glad the shoes worked out, I’m sure everything else will too. =]

  5. Poor Andy, sounds like he wandered into quite the verbal minefield. Let me give some advice, either just commiserate with the wife’s complaint, or offer to be the solution, never minimize the issue. Thankfully I have learned to either bite my tongue/give a big hug, or remember the above rules(also sometimes running away is the best option).

    However, I do understand the impulse to try to ‘minimize the issue’ is very strong and difficult to suppress in stress situations, I still run into mines myself on occasion. You would think pain would be an excellent teacher, but those darn mines keep getting in my way, even after years of marriage.

  6. Awe! So stressful!! Yes I remember the stress. Mine was right here, tho and not nearly as complicated! So glad you had the right shoes in the end!! Did Sunny get the dress?

    1. I think there are weddings that go smoothly. Like, if you are an orphan marrying an orphan. And you each have one really good friend as a witness and you get married at a town hall.

  7. I would say that I was about 25% better than Andy, but only because of the following: I don’t like making phone calls to strangers. Never have. I find it very stressful. Years ago, my then employer did one of those programs for improving “employee morale,” by which I mean profits, and asked everyone how they contributed to making Company a better place. My answer was, “by not talking to clients, customers, or the public in any way.”

    Someone else hates talking to strangers on the phone even more than I do, though… and here’s the kicker: someone else’s Type A, wedding planner baby sister ALSO hates talking to strangers on the phone even more. Bully my family to the point of tears to get pictures taken (for the record, my family deserved it), A-OK. Talk to someone on the phone, no way. So I did get (have?) to help more than I otherwise would have.

    1. Your family cried during wedding pictures? That is one tough baby sister wedding planner. She clearly kicks ass.

      I once witnessed a hapless wedding coordinator unable to convince a stubborn Mother-of-the-Groom to walk down the aisle when the accompanist failed to play the processional. The music, hilariously, was “Concerning Hobbits.” Maybe the rather diminutive Mother-of-the-Goom wouldn’t have been so stubborn if she had known the name of the music?

      Anyway, it’s too bad your baby sister wedding planner wasn’t available to kick some ass in that wedding ceremony. 🙂 That would have been fun.

      I had to get over my dislike of talking to strangers on the phone as soon as I became an executive assistant. I swear, all I did was talk to strange people — many in foreign countries — and ask them for favors, information, etc. Rent to pay, cats to feed…

      1. I exaggerate, but only because many of my extended family members have no feelings to hurt. Wedding planner baby sister totally does kick ass!

  8. It’s been ages since I’ve read about your wedding and Commando Cat! Brilliant! I laughed so much at all these adventures.
    Are the shoes the ones in the picture? (To me, they look kinda uncomfortable. But then again, I rarely wear heels, since I suck at walking in them. And they kill my feet.)
    How about Sunny and her dress? What happened to that?

    1. We wound up with two dresses for Sunny, since her dress arrived before they left Hawaii, and a second one was delivered after dress #1 arrived. I think we sold it at a garage sale.

      Those shoes would have been a little tight, but they are very comfy for dance shoes. 🙂 And I’ve still never worn them.

      1. Something like “I lost my patience, I need another dress. Oh, now what do I do? I got two.”
        That’s good. Do you still have them? If so, you should wear them at least once, if they fit (thought I read they were a little smaller).

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