Updated: Jul 2, 2019
Finally a Blog about the wedding!
So if you haven't read the last post- then you must HERE which is where I explain where i've been the past year and a half. However, It's been about 8 months since the big day, and at the time I did write a draft about what I wanted to remember and eventually share. So here we finally are and I'm so glad I took the time to reflect because re-reading this post made it all shiny and new in my heart.
It's been a whirlwind-- an adjective that I keep using because it best describes the past few months. The planning was stressful, gratifying, sprinkle the unavoidable bits of drama and the result ended up being a 'unifying' experience. Yes, a unifying experience. The emotional roller coaster that was to plan my own wedding left me feeling grateful not only for my family and my friends but most surprisingly for the kindness that came from complete strangers.
I still can't quite wrap my head around how this unfolded, but let me start from the beginning. My mother, being the DIY goddess that she is, decided early on that she would take care of all the flower arrangements. It didn't feel like an impossible feat, since her sister who lives in Colombia is a florist herself- and although she warned her of how stressful the task could become, was also happy to participate and give all the step by step instructions to doing it right. Energized and with purpose, I put together a list of all the wholesale flower shops nearby. And off we went on a sunny Saturday afternoon to check out the stores and hopefully make the purchase, the first step in an already overwhelming project. We had a budget of about $700.00 and with excitement we walked in the first and only shop we ended up visiting that day.
The moment we walked in, we knew this place was not necessarily a wholesale flower shop. Besides being rather small, the only flowers on display were set up to showcase past work, plus the one large fridge lining the wall was packed with bouquets ready for delivery and not for picking and choosing. So my mom turns to me and in Spanish confirms my very thoughts, 'this was not what were were looking for'. As we were about to walk out, a lady who had been watching us from the back of the store, while she worked on a separate arrangement, approached us. She heard us speaking Spanish and as it often happens an immediate sense of kin relaxed her demeanor. She asked my mother or rather demanded loudly to tell her exactly what we needed and/or were looking for. Shyly- my mom answered that I was getting married and that she was in charge of the flower arrangements. The tall woman's face although kind, twisted in slight judgement of our decision to take care of the flowers ourselves. Still friendly but with sharp confidence she sat us down, explained that she was in fact the florist, asked me exactly what I needed from her and gave us an estimate. To our surprise, it was only $1,000 with the candelabra centerpieces included.
After she gave us the estimate, I must have still been hesitant because she looked at us and said: "Listen, I don't do this for everyone but I used to plan weddings back in Puerto Rico. In my home I have everything else you might need in storage- maybe even details you haven't thought of. I'll be happy to let you borrow whatever you want, and help you set it up too!"
She continued to list what she was gonna let us borrow: the table numbers, the plate chargers, the Mr. and Mrs signs, the table covers, these beautiful lanterns that went with our theme- Everything! Then she invited us over for coffee at her home so we could take a look at everything and see for ourselves that she was telling the truth- a clarification she had to make possibly from the shocked looked on our faces. And still with a lot of hesitation we agreed to go. I asked her to hold on about the estimate while I discussed it with Anthony and even there she happily conceded.
Long story short-- we went to her place to have coffee and she was absolutely telling the truth. Everything she mentioned she had stocked and numbered, was willing to let us borrow at NO COST, and it was all stunning! The reason she gave us for wanting to help us was that she truly loved weddings and helping those who had good 'vibes'. That, and also that she was driven by a deep belief God would repay her triple for anything she could provide us for free. So I paid the $1,000 and in turn got so much more-including a friend.
THE DAY OF COORDINATOR:
My lucky streak continued, as I was looking for a day of coordinator. One of my best friends Nicole, recommended someone we mutually knew but whom I considered an acquaintance (so I would not feel bad having to ask him to work the day of the wedding). I called him and we talked about his past experiences having managed all sorts of different events. Although he didn't have any experience coordinating weddings, he was willing to take on the challenge for 'whatever I could pay him'. I pushed the button a bit more about the pay, but he so kindly brushed it off as unnecessary. He understood we were working on a budget and without question, jumped in to do it as best as he could.
Many things did go wrong on the day of, as they often do, and I could not have been any more relieved that he was there to take the helm and steer everyone in the right direction. I did pay him, but very little compared to the amount of work he had to do. Of course what left a mark was his kindness, doubtless energy and availability- simply because he liked me and wanted to do right by Nicole.
ON FAMILY AND FRIENDS:
The friends were of course my support system. They listened and paid for the annoyingly expensive bridesmaid dress. They calmed me down, bought me drinks and shared it all alongside me. A special shout out to Joana- my maid of honor- who was so present, so dedicated and so open-- that I can't believe I get to have her as my friend.
And I won't mention my family- because it goes without saying that I felt so loved and well supported that I could cry thinking about it. From my cousin who ran last minute errands, to my aunt who threw me a surprise bridal shower! I don't think I've ever been more surprised by anything the way I was that day. I just felt so intensely thankful-- it was all beautiful.
My mom-- I can't finish typing the sentence without crying. There is so much love in everything she does, she was my true hero in this process. She wasn't judgmental, she listened, she made suggestions according to my tastes, she made me a SECOND WEDDING DRESS. Are you kidding me?! she is forever my everything-- it is impossible for me to really say how much she means to me, and how her kindness and patience were the best gift I could have ever received. (now I'm ugly crying)
If you read about the engagement HERE, maybe you will get the sense that Anthony and I are not very traditional. So making the decision to have a very traditional Greek Orthodox wedding was our gift to our parents who both wanted to see us bind our vows inside a church. However, this process turned from what felt like our gift to them- to being surprised by how willing everyone and even strangers were willing to be there for us. It was Magic.
I think I can safely say- I don't ever want to get married again.