Originally posted on elephant journal, January 6th, 2013. I love this piece. I wrote it as the night/day went on.
It’s the night before the wedding, when most brides get their beauty sleep for their special day. Me, I’m headed toward nuptial bliss tending bar for a bunch of freaky Hollywood club kids.
It’s New Year’s Eve. Actually, it’s just after midnight, January 1st. My wedding day.
I’m pouring drinks, two vodka cranberries. It just turned 2013 about eight seconds ago, and all the typical New Year’s hoopla is going on around me—the screaming, the horns, the kissing. And I’m just wondering how early the flower place opens, about blush vs lavender roses, and what were those purple flowers called? I might need them, and ribbon to match…
Oh, the bride pressure.
My fiancé grabs me from behind. It’s loud in the bar but I’m pretty sure he says “Happy New Year, Wifey!” I start laughing and crying at the same time. We stand there making out like teenagers, and the two party people are still waiting for their vodka cranberries. By the time I make them, I’m crying so much I have to explain to the people looking at me like I’m a lunatic, “I’m marrying that guy today!” (I say it mostly because I only have one day to say it, and I’ve decided to enjoy it to the point of silly.)
I didn’t ever think I’d care so much about different shades of purple flowers. I’m just not very bride-y, even though when Prince William and Kate Middleton got married, I obsessed on that girl’s dress for days, and her sister’s dress. (Biggest bridesmaid upstage ever. I’m glad I don’t have a sister with a great ass like Pippa’s.)
Do I feel like a princess? Am I Cinderella? (Muffling a very yucky gagging sound…) Not in a million years.
This is reality. I’m not 18 years old and it ain’t prom, where I spent more than a little time throwing up from too much Ouzo. Charming. Thank God there was no Instagram in those days.
My life certainly isn’t a fairy tale, I’m not wearing ruby slippers and I have no confusion about where home is. Home is with the man who had tears in his eyes the first time he told me he loved me, with the man who took care of me when I hurt my back and ended up in the emergency room three times, who told me “I’m your family now” when my widowed mother went into an assisted living facility three years ago, who spread her ashes with me in the ocean. In that moment back in September, I knew what was next.
“Baby, I think we should get married.”
That’s what I said, four days after the ashes. He had already proposed in so many ways. That exact second, I think I was more stoked than I had ever been about love.
Flashing neon sign: You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby.
We get home from the bar after New Year’s at 3:00 a.m. I give myself a spray tan and decide now is as good a time as ever to go on Ebay until 4:30 in the morning, like I have nothing else to do in life but bid.
In the morning, I wake up extra early and go to yoga. My teacher/mentor/friend Jenny is astounded I’m there, considering I kinda have stuff to do. She asks the class: “What do you want to bring into your life this year?” I don’t know about the whole year, but I can tell you about today: I’m a yogi. I’m a warrior. I’m a flower chooser. I’m a cake lover, especially coconut, and chocolate (but never together). I’m a dressmaker. I’m a daughter-in-law. I’m a bride.
Did I mention I’m making my own dress? What an awesome way to bring on a nervous breakdown.
Back at home, my best friend picks me up to go down to The Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. We forget my dress, the one I’m not even done making, and all the backup dresses in case I don’t finish. We actually forget the dress.
Best Friend: Nervous yet?
Best Friend: Not at all?
Me: Didn’t even occur to me.
I wish my parents were here.
We get to the hotel room, and I’m sewing my dress on my grandmother’s sewing machine. Would it be so bad to blow it all off for 15 minutes to go downstairs and walk on the movie stars’ footprints at the Chinese Theater? I need air. Bride pressure! My machine breaks. You’ve gotta be kidding me. I have a half hour left. You know that old story about Marilyn Monroe, where she was sewn into her dress to sing happy birthday to JFK? Yup, you guessed it.
At the restaurant, 55 people look on as we say our “I Do’s.” The first person I go to right after is my brother. I’m now sobbing. I actually lose track of my husband. I know he’s in the room somewhere, probably sobbing with someone else. I change into a dress that most people say is way too short, I give away my bouquet to my friend Amanda and take about a billion pictures with my gorgeous, generous, amazing scruffy hot Australian husband.
Back at the hotel, after the wedding, we order enough room service for three days. We eat, we laugh about everything and I take a bath. At one point, my new husband stands up and looks at me with a strange expression I’ve never seen… it briefly occurs to me this is all an elaborate hoax, the last three and a half years were a set up and he might actually be some kind of kinky bride killer… or maybe he’s the “Nuptial Neck-Breaker?” I watch too much Dexter.
The next morning, we sit poolside under the palm tress. I just paid $10 for two cups of coffee. I don’t even care.
I’m saturated with sweet, pure, authentic, honey soaked love.
What I don’t like about marriage: It’s just so 1950s.
What I like about marriage: It’s just so 1950s.
I still have a little glitter on my eyes from New Year’s Eve. I hope I don’t get it all over the wedding cake I’m about to have for breakfast.