Monday, 23 May 2005
I spent three glorious days in California to be a bridesmaid for my friend the Duchess' wedding. It was beautiful, she planned everything perfectly and we all cried. She made my heart just sing with how happy she was, along with her new husband. I remember that kind of happiness, and it just glowed inside and out.
I'm still really tired from lack of sleep and too much fun, so forgive me if I sound a bit incoherent. Please!
I arrived Thursday night around 11, and was met by Duchess and two other online friends. I love meeting internet friends, especially when you click as well offline as on. We were there for one purpose only: to do everything we could to make sure the wedding day was perfect. Mostly, we succeeded. (I think!) There was family drama from people who couldn't remember whose big day this was, and well-intentioned but misguided people. All in all, things went beautifully. I planned nowhere near that carefully for my wedding, I am so totally impressed by the detail and how easy that made everything. All the things that needed to happen on Saturday probably wouldn't have if we hadn't woken up that morning to an itemised list and schedule printed out by Duchess after we commented Friday night that we didn't know what was supposed to happen when.
I can't do a chronological recap of the whole weekend, for some reason. Vignettes and anecdotes stand out, but the overall effect was loving and wonderful people coming together to witness and support two people we all care a lot about. There was much talk, cooking, drinking, dancing, laughter, and tears. Hours in the hot tub talking and laughing, meeting great people and seeing some people I met last summer when I went down for her birthday. I slept poorly, but I don't mind a bit. Much more interested in spending time with friends than in resting, and I can sleep now instead.
Duchess' cousin sang "Come What May" from Moulin Rouge while we processed in, which made me cry. And then Kat (one of the three crazy internet friends) sang Maroon 5's "She Will Be Loved" which really made me cry. The words, the songs, but really the voices and the love in them moved me more than I can express. And it was so very them.
All these little things I want to say about it. Duchess' sister had a wedding shower Friday night, complete with Chinese food, champagne punch, quizzes, and a massage therapist brought in to give everyone a fifteen-minute massage. (Heaven! Best idea I've ever heard of!) I got all teary when we went around the room to say who we were and how we knew the bride. Love is everywhere. I got up Saturday morning to run interference with the other houseguest, and then baked bread for the ceremony. (Things go stale a lot faster down there than they do here in the damp.) I sat on Friday combing through all Duchess' websites looking for bits she'd written about her man to read during the wedding. That was hard, but so worth it. And again with the tears.
When I got there Thursday night, the other two Internet Babes had already arrived. None of us had eaten, so we headed off to Denny's for late night sustenance. Duchess and I had met before, but otherwise we only knew each other from online. But it worked, it worked beautifully and well. We supported each other, we laughed and cried and hung out and crashed and just... I love my internet friends. I've met people from online that didn't become instant best-ever pals, but I have yet to meet anyone with whom I've forged a bond online that didn't turn out even better in person. There's something about the way we write and interact online that allows us to be free and truly ourselves. I just wish we didn't live so far apart, because it would be great if I could call them up some Wednesday and go out for pizza. I'm really glad I'm here, and I feel so damn lucky to know these people.
And their friends. I turned into bridesmaid-zilla for a while this weekend, ordering other people around so that when the bride turned around things were already done. There wasn't a lot she hadn't planned for, but when I realized the toast and cake part was coming up and we hadn't designated a champagne pourer, I turned and there was That Guy. The one in the second row who I asked to go put the cat back in the house in the middle of the wedding, the one who was there when we needed someone to escort the bride's cousin up for her song, the one who opened four or five large bottles of champagne and poured it into forty champagne flutes and had it all perfectly arranged on the table before the pictures were done so it would be ready when cake-cutting time came around. The one who managed the music (and put on a bunch of rap and hip hop or whatever it was after the original wedding CDs were done). I know he did stuff for other people too; he was our go-to guy when something unexpected came up. And then he let me crash in his lap again, just like I did last summer at Duchess' birthday party.
As I said six dozen times that night: Thank you. We could not have done it without you, and I am very grateful. Also for letting me relax once things were over, for the first time since I got there. That helped. Not that I slept much that night, but at least I wasn't still wound up over details like I'd been.
Weddings are usually special times, when you get as many of the people who care about the couple as possible together to witness their vows and (in my tradition, at least) support them as they embark on life together. This one was extra special. I love that it was at the house, and that a bunch of us stayed there. Camp Wedding was the best weekend! There were people missing, but we all knew they were there in spirit. It was really hard to come home, for a bunch of reasons. I miss my Duchess. Didn't get enough time for us in all this, which is completely how it's supposed to be at a wedding but still. I worked as hard as I could to make her day the very best it could be, and then I cut loose on the dance floor.
I love to dance, and I don't get enough of it. So that was awesome. Please, let me shake my booty! (Duchess' daughter kept telling me "Stop shaking your booty at me!" And then she'd giggle. Awww. She's five.) Dancing with all the women to Salt 'n Pepa's "Push It" is something I will remember for a long time. I think the men chose to admire the view for this one instead of participating, plus it was rather early in the evening so they weren't drunk enough yet. The music was going until at least 2. I parked myself on the couch with That Guy for an hour and a half of dozing while waiting for a cabs to come take away the happy couple and the groom's brother and girlfriend. They never came, so at 3 the bride and groom drove themselves to their hotel, and at 4 the groom's brother pulled out the hide-a-bed and we all went off to at least pretend to sleep for a while. I actually made it to my sleeping quarters after the sun started rising, closer to 5:30 or 6:00.
The dog next door started barking around 8, and I'd given my pillows away to the extra people who stayed, so I didn't sleep at all well for the four hours or so I had until we all had to get up and start cleaning the house before Duchess and Duke (what else should I call him when he's married to the Duchess?) got back. We had to pack and take showers and say good-bye and everything. Kat, who had the first flight out, missed her plane. Oops. She got out three hours later, which I'm sure sucked. It was so hard to say good-bye. I had such a fabulous time and it was so comfortable and beautiful and amazing that I didn't want to come back.
But life is life and I am home. Didn't make it to work today, and my boss understands why (although before he knew I was on the phone for the staff meeting, he announced that I was too hungover to come in today). Tomorrow is my birthday, so I'm not going in then either. My dad arrives in three hours, and I really need to step away from the computer and get some cleaning done. Oops. I need to wash the sheets and clear off the dining room room table, at least. So this will have to do for my update of the best wedding weekend ever.
Thank you to the Duchess for being so amazing, and to the Crazy Internet Friends who I hope will be my friends forever, and to DuchessSister, and the boys, and That Guy, and everyone. You all rock the house and I'm honored to know you. So much to say, so little time.
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