The DIY (Do It Yourself) Bride – My Wife tells our Wedding Story

Where do I even start to begin. As I sift through the photos of just another thing for me to fix up making things look better in photo editor, I go back to even before this weekend. I think the first biggest memory in the process of the wedding planning was the excitement of finding THE gown. My mother was on the east coast and was only able to come to one of my fittings when she met with my husband’s parents, so my mother in law came with me to pick my gown out at Miosa Bridal. It was a blessing to feel like a princess amidst all the (I am a planner) helping with a supporting the bills income with two properties at the time undergoing all the inspections, trying to keep up with all the readings of insurance, legalities, trying to get our ministry up and running, learning about one another in the midst of it all, planning the wedding decor.

Yes indeed my hands were full. It may have driven my very simple (non detailed) husband a bit crazy, but somehow we managed to meet with all the vendors: the florist, the fittings, (did i mention we helped move his folks up here during the time too??) the cake tasting, etc etc. I am blessed to have had him find the Morgan Creek Country Club. I had originally found a far location across town which was too far (by my mothers estimation) for guests, so we kept looking. One reception place showed us a room that wouldn’t even be available to us, another said lets see what we can do then no its out of season, we reject your offer, others still never even bothered to call back, etc etc. I wanted a garden party so badly. As an artist, i had all the meaningful decor in mind. I broke down and started crying and my wonderful husband got online and encouraged me. We both started looking together and he found a wonderful golf club. I thought over it and more and more it grew on me because it had parking, it was green and garden like and most important to me and meaningful is/was this: about a year prior, we had lost the back bone of my mothers family, my grandfather Hahn. He loved to golf (was a part of the Bel Air Golf Club in Los Angeles for many years) and it had made me sad he could not be there and yet, through golf being at a golf club, especially for my mothers family who could come, it was something extra special to us as he was there in spirit.

As I went shopping for the decor (I had wanted games for people to be relaxed, enjoy and play as entertainment) I saw scrabble boards one could purchase for near to 300-1000$. I went in my mind: “THAT IS CRAZY. I WILL MAKE IT MYSELF.” And with help from my father in law, I did. It took me some weeks. I first got a deal from an Etsy artisan for the letter pieces set of 100 pieces and bought the boards and paint from Home Depot plus the stamps and Ink pads from Michael’s, which was a challenge to my introvert hubby being out so often and so long which was a challenge to my introvert hubby being out so often and so long to save time driving rather than me taking the bus routes. But it saved us time and money and he, as he saw me working on it, voiced his admiration at all the work I took on: retouching the letters to be legible, etc.

Thirty days to the wedding, we finally get hold of the florist. Having supposed to meet with her to finalize on the floral arrangements, we find an empty shop followed by a call letting us know the deposit will be reimbursed but her husband had a kidney transplant coming up the same day as our wedding. So, praying over her husband’s surgery, it was multiple trips back to Michael’s, Hobby Lobby and Home Depot to make by hand, the rustic vases, choose what flowers, how many, additional last minute ones for the groomsmen since there was some uncertainty (as with how many centerpieces since only half our invites RSVP’d) was needed, not knowing if more people would show or not.

As another little tidbit Amber’s dress (supposed to be German style) was even an adventure! The first one I found online the designer told me they sold out that day and they did not have anymore and even they could not make just one special or check if any other ones might be her size were returned. Then I found the second possibility at another online site who assured me it would arrive in time. A week before the wedding, indeed a few days prior it still hadn’t arrived. As blessing would have it, ROSS where she worked had something similar and on top of that, just icing on the cake both my girls had brought the same color pearl earrings. God totally worked in that which I hadn’t even thought of.

The weekend before the wedding was the tux shopping with me and my organized grooms box in tow with all the ties and boutonnieres to match the colors. How we zipped through that I will never know, just like I will never perhaps know how we found our rings. We went to the mall and though iI have done the same with things in the past, I watch my love zip from store to store half an hour till closing and he found one that he liked. I, however, wasn’t so sure and at a different day had to go back to the mall myself and thankfully found the perfect one that was me for a outstanding deal that got my hubby’s approval and was silver colored to match his, which made me very, very happy. I had looked at a gooooood amount of rings online as well. So, the week and a half before we had to figure out the best deal for a limo and with the timing of the day. I thought: “I cant ask everyone to set up and take down but don’t want the price of a wedding planner” (being 1000+) so I was so relieved to find Morning Star Entertainment to help set up the reception place better even than I had had in my head. The week before I busied myself in getting the scrabble board finished and clear coated, finishing up all the floral, getting my final gown fitting two weeks prior as well, and also having to return the original tiara was golden but the Etsy seller (BLESS HER HEART) accepted the gold one and made me the silver at no extra charge.

Wednesday I was so excited because my best friend from first grade was flying across country for the first time to come see me at my wedding and meet my family and Brandon. I got all excited after having packed all the decor (with a last minute trip for lanterns that week thrown in there). I made an itinerary list for the day of coordinator, plus a copy for myself of what was in each box. My friend arrived Thursday dealing with motion sickness from the plane and jet-lag but was so grateful (as was I) that she could attend because she had to have a major surgery before December for insurance reasons and her jaw needed to be broken and reset. My other bridesmaid drove 2 plus hours to be here with her fiance and 2 and half year old. Not an easy drive. Going back to the last two months, we were not sure if my love would have any groomsmen, but it worked out wonderfully and his train as well came up via long drives and his half brother even gave up part of his vacation for his wife and he to be there. We were both very touched at the great lengths people went to be at our special day.

Thursday night saw me at the hotel catching up with my mother and my friend, whilst white-outing one mistake I had found on the program I had went to great lengths to type verbatim from the book the engagement class required by the church had given us as we had not finalized the communion hymn (no call back from the organist then yet, so I left a message.) It was a miracle too we got into that engagement class because originally the church had said classes (plural), but we took the natural family planning class. However, the engagement class helped a lot. BUT, the church didn’t tell us it was only certain times of year and we had the option it seemed at first of having to travel to mid California or some where far. Since we couldn’t for a few reasons, it seemed like we would have to reschedule our wedding date. Oy vey!

Thursday night, I am looking at these lovely programs with the fall leaves on it matching perfectly the fall decor for the pews and the orange bows I made for the occasion to contrast with my white wintry silver dress as a change of seasons in life, which people had to set up beforehand due to timing of setting up the reception. These lovely programs with the autumn leaves and the 2 plus hours spent with my mother in law at office max having to reformat things to the pages and proof check each page quickly under tiredness and all, led around to a wonderful day Friday with my two bridesmaids as I showed Old Town Sacramento to Keziah and Amber and we all got our nails done. This took longer than we thought and since my hubby got me a new phone that week, I was still learning and Amber had to have the written step by step instruction of how to get to the church in the dark and my hubby had slipped in the mud getting the DJ what was needed for the next day and we all pretty much show up later than expected (us girls an hour late because I could not find the voice activated GPS on my new phone).

Then came the interesting rehearsal where apparently the communion hymn was not the only place I had goofed. I had LEFT OUT part of the I do section (which had said either or). But, instead of being kind or seeking to whatever, the priest continued to harp at how what we have typed in the lovely programs is invalid and we cannot be married if we have just that. Only later after a debate/misunderstanding clears to find that he continued to shove the misunderstanding/mistake in my face we find a semi-solution to how things would happen in the service because many people I knew had never been to a mass and didn’t know when to say amen or follow along.

Oh, then there was also a third mistake. I had not written in the program that there would be an exchange of rings, only the blessing of the rings. Hmm. Well, if there is a blessing of the rings, is it not a given there are rings to be exchanged and blessed? Sigh. So after probably one of the most interesting wedding rehearsals known, it became an inside joke about the rings. My bridesmaid Amber on the drive back toward the hotels said that she had been thinking I would give my Gollum impression and had been sitting there thinking “Don’t you dare say ‘my prrreecccioussss'”. (For those who are familiar with Tollkien’s Hobbit and Lord of the Rings). Hahaha.

Needless to say I could barely sleep that night wondering if the priest was merely going to read the beatitudes or what kind of homily sermon he would present. Would it reflect Brandon and I, since he obviously didn’t know us as AT ALL,the new priest to that parish and just… everything. I forced myself to rest, though I wanted to pace the hotel room and find something to do, a growing sense of helplessness magnified by the 10 pm phone call to Brandon with the apartment we have a tenant for having major, major unseen water damage from the apartment above whose water heater burst, resulting in a phone call scrambling with carpet cleaners, plumbers and trying to find the owner’s contact of the above leased property.

The big day arrives, I get everything all organized, what goes with whom,… I get in the car with my bridesmaid Amber to get our hair done since my other bridesmaid does her hair herself, jet back, have my make up done, miss out on a photo of my mother putting on my wedding shoes (taking us back to when I first started learning to put on shoes nearly 25 or so years ago) and get a phone call from Amber that dropped temporarily in a zone, reiterated mistakenly from my mother that because she had to get her fiance and two year old, Amber might not be at the ceremony, which nearly caused me to have a heart attack and break into tears. As it happens I called back and she said she WAS coming to the ceremony just going to be later at the reception. Huge sigh of relief. So, Keziah and I hopped in the 12 (not 14 passenger limo) who only did 4 hour blocks despite their advertised hourly rate, get to the church, and I watch from inside the tinted windows of the limo so, so blessed that his daughter April showed up. She hadn’t been sure if she could make it since she was a lead without an understudy. I was so glad she was our ring bearing person as the rings were blessed. Also, that the organist showed up (had to call the morning of as well since I had to tell the priest the night before she hadn’t called me back probably making it seem like I had not contacted her at all or some such).

When we came out on the front steps, we realized the photographer we had hired had not shown up. It is an unpleasant surprise and lasting sting, a struggle of forgiveness for any bride to realize you will never have photos of your wedding day of the altar and be able to share that with others and that they all had set that up just for me and Brandon’s wedding. On top of already that no one really was able to follow along with what was going on in the service when they needed to respond or be able to get the beautiful programs except via the post office after the wedding which makes me sad that that part of the ceremony feels skipped altogether (no pictures of us exchanging rings or bowing at the altar together, Brandon and I looking at one another to share with everyone. I also did not get to share as I had hoped or desired photos with my bridesmaids because they were mainly directing what photos of the family were taken and I did not speak up as I was rushed to the limo to make the reception.

Another project this DIY bride will have to find an artisan or characture artist to recreate what has no photos. Its quite a story to tell our children and grand kids someday that I called in the limousine the photographer telling them it was Brandon and I and get a chipper “Hey, what’s up?!” I answer: “What’s up? Brandon and I just got married and you were not there.” Followed by a good ten to fifteen seconds of silence and then “I thought that was next weekend.” OOPS! Big oops. Fortunately we got our money back since the contract was broken. I will say family and friends had a beautiful relaxed time and that for those who were not able to be there in our family and friends, maybe ten years from now our train who is married can all have their wedding dresses and tuxes for an anniversary party.

I am blessed that everyone was in good health and remained so who was able to come and although there were a lack of special photos to share and look back on, I hope my memory holds them for years to come. I loved (love) looking into my husbands eyes and our looking at each other at the altar, the precious readings people did and a dream come true sharing a father daughter dance and of course the dance with my husband at our reception. Also, dancing with my fun aunt to “Its all about the base” funny and people admiring I could dance in that huge skirt. Haha. Seeing everyone enjoy stories and little Owen enjoy himself running around the big dance floor. And I am so blessed at the small yet meaningful party we had. People enjoyed hearing our story shared and the meaning with the bunny décor also courtesy of Morgan Creek Golf Club who did the napkins folded into bunnies at my request and in the floral wishing prosperity to our train along with each boutonnière representing our heritages blended somehow into it and the food as well from our different origins from the given menu and just all the little special things in the décor and colors and having a time with close family and friends for a meal and game night.

It may seem like I don’t focus on the positive, and there is a lot of challenges, but I write to encourage couples who are meant to be, not everything comes together perfect or is easy. There are challenges in life and some moments sadly wrongly cannot be recaptured and will sting, and its ok to grieve the unforgettable and unredo-able, but that the day was also very blessed and those that came and even some who were not able to make it were wishing us well and praying. Prayer goes a long way. As I told people there, Brandon and I had been praying for one another for a very long time and even with all the challenges and obstacles that came at us up to and on our special day, we have a treasure of the people whose love, prayers and presence were with us. Everyone close to our hearts made it special. As I heal from all the sense of disrespect from a bridal perspective, I turn my artistic thoughts to the future and though I cannot nor would I want to recreate my wedding day, hopefully God grant us the ability to have a unique and interesting anniversary party ten or so years from now.