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:
4,000 miles of long distance planning,
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 –”
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.