Growing up, there was a church down the street from the house where my heart lived. Grandma and I would pass the church on the way to spend my allowance on baseball cards, Cherry Coke bubble-gum and Wintergreen Tic-Tics.
Most Saturdays, there was a wedding at the church and Grandma and I would try and catch a glimpse of the bride, but never stayed long enough to seem like we were staring, or wedding-crashers.
‘Think that’ll be me someday?’
‘Of course,’ Grandma would say. ‘You’ll meet somebody wonderful and the weather will be even better than today.’ I believed her, because that’s what I did. I never forgot what she said, but I was more interested in baseball cards.
Saying that, we came home from our shopping sprees and I’d make her break out her white photo album, looking at the photos and twisting her wedding set while it was still on her hand. That’s as close as I got to praying. For somebody wonderful. And good weather.
Nobody wanted to share a room with me the night before I got married. My sister-in-law drew the short straw, after being told ‘Lorna is a restless sleeper.’ To be fair, I didn’t sleep much anyway, restless or not.
My thoughts went like this: What time is it? Holy shit, I’m getting married! I gotta pee. I should practice my photo-face. PHOTO-FACE! Don’t do that neck thing. Or the other neck thing.
Gahd, I love Neil. Love him, love him, love him. I’m gonna barf. Grandma, be with us. Everyone be with us. And remember, rain is good luck, though. Thanks, Nana. I can’t drop the F-bomb during the vows. What time is it?
Five minutes after I asked myself the first time.
Somehow, the sun rose. I was on my fourth trip to the bathroom and there was a 90’s disco going on in the livingroom. Good times.
I don’t remember much of the conversation (sorry, bridal crew). But there was a lot of, ‘You’re getting FREAKIN’ MARRIED.’ With me answering, ‘I KNOW!’
My Dad stopped in for a flying visit, after picking up Neil’s wedding gifts from the engravers. And he dropped off the bouquets of paper flowers I found on Etsy, which my mother then spent a week putting together with my Nana’s brooches and cameos.
‘Hello, Daddy, I’m getting married,’ I said. We hugged and then he left on another secret mission.
I think I ate half a bagel, and took a shower. After figuring out how to get in the shower and then out again. It took a team effort, because my brain was elsewhere. What time is it?
I’m drinking pink bubbles and my Maid of Awesome is putting on my thigh-high things. When did I become a girl? What time is it?
My mother arrives. Everyone else disappears for a bit. ‘You look nice, Ma. I’m getting married.’ And after a few beats. ‘I miss Nana,’ I say.
‘She’s here. Everybody’s here.’
‘Here, here would be good, though.’
And then I drink. Where is everyone? Has Neil ironed his shirt? What time is it?
Jessica, Maid of Awesome, comes back with a gift that’s actually wrapped. ‘What’s that?’
‘It’s from Neil.’
It isn’t in a plastic bag. Must be a special occasion.
The card says, You May Now Change Your Facebook Status. I laugh. And he gave me the moon and stars. I cry. Everybody’s crying. Good times. Group hug.
Dad and Anne arrive. Time moves faster. My face is on. My dress is on. Have I shit myself? No, that’s just my train. I have one of those, apparently. And I’m sitting on it.
My Docs are on. With a sixpence in them.
The veil goes on. I have one of those, too. I can’t feel my body.
Somehow, Dad and I are in a car. ‘Oh, I’m gonna barf. Are we there yet, Daddy? I gotta pee. How are my boobs?’
‘I wouldn’t know.’ Dad says. ‘But you look stunning.’
Dad’s phone rings and he goes into his sporran to get it. Because he has one of those. It sounds like he’s going over details with the Best Man, so I yell, ‘Hello, Brian!’
‘That wasn’t Brian, that was your husband.’
‘Holy shit,’ I say.
We arrive, and I’m guided into a sea of people taking photos. Of me. I don’t know any of them. Our wedding venue is a very public place, and it isn’t a private party yet.
I go in and my bridal crew is standing with the co-ordinator. We have a debate on whether a spot below my eye is some wayward make-up or a skin-tag. I think it’s the latter. I’m right. Because it’s my face.
‘The groom’s here, the bride’s here, let’s have a wedding!’ And the co-ordinator leads us through yet more people I don’t know.
On the way to the lifts, someone touches my arm and says, ‘Can I take your photo?’
I actually flash-back to watching brides from afar as a kid. I think I breathe.
‘Not right now,’ I say.
‘Well done,’ my Dad says.
‘Well, I am kinda busy here.’
We go up to a room with a view of Edinburgh. I get some fresh air on the balcony thing with my Dad.
‘What time is it?’
‘We’re early!’ Dad says. He is, shall we say, fashionably late for everything, and I was not-so secretly wondering if it we’d be late for my wedding. Apparently not.
‘You look like Madelyn,’ he says.
‘Don’t start me off, please,’ I say. But crying is my cue to go back in and get married.
The bridal crew is waiting to go downstairs before us. ‘Walk slowly please, I like the processional song,’ I say. But as the door closed on the lift, I said, ‘AndIloveyouall.’
And then the co-ordinator, speaking into a walkie-talkie, that might have been headphones, says, ‘I’m bringing the bride down now.’ It was all very Secret Service.
‘What? Who? I guess I’m the bride. Let’s do this.’