We disregarded a lot of tradition for our wedding day, first one being that we slept in the same bed the night of our wedding. I tossed and turned and by 7 am, my eyes shot wide open and I could not go back to sleep. I ate breakfast with my brother and sister (Dan still slept) but my stomach was too nervous to really eat anything but cereal.
We kicked Dan out to go to his parents' hotel room, and room 1212 became a beauty parlor for Annette, the moms and me. We had Natalie, who told me she lives in the house featured in Benjamin Button, to do our hair, and Bella, a burlesque dancer, to do our make-up. It was pretty quiet and low-key, with some ABBA playing on the computer. I am glad I made the decision not to have a gaggle of bridesmaids because it was nice to relax before everything got started. Although I didn't give much time for introspection because as soon as we were ready, we ran out the door in a rush.
Dan and I saw each other decked out in wedding gear for the first time in the lobby of the Hampton Inn. Dan knew I would be wearing a tea-length number, but it was his first time seeing the actual dress. I think he liked it. I thought Dan looked especially handsome in his seersucker suit and yellow bow-tie.
Getting bridal ready.
Seeing each other for the first time.
Along with our photographer Ooti and his assistant (who I am pretty sure is his girlfriend), Dan, David, Annette and I went to the French Quarter to take some pictures. A lot of people in the streets said congratulations or commented on our outfits. Dan and I wanted some candids with some of the locals and tourists and so we asked two brass musicians in Jackson Square if we could take a picture with them. They stopped playing and all of a sudden started belting out "Here Comes the Bride." The music was getting louder and louder and everyone started surrounding us and clapping. It was fun.
The church is on the St Charles Ave. street car line, and Dan wanted to take the street car to our ceremony. We didn't have a lot of time, so we drove the car a few blocks short of the church so we could pick up the street car. We had no money for the ride, and there was a second there where we stressed about it but of course they stopped for us and let us on for free. The street car was packed with people and as soon as they saw us, everyone started clapping and cheering. Even cars on the streets were honking and then we saw that Henry and Susan were actually in one of them. The street car dropped us off right in front of the church and we got off the train to more cheers. One of the best moments of the day.
Dan and I were the first to arrive. The church wedding coordinator was like, "This is a first." What can I say? I like to be prompt. They made us sit in a room called the nursery, which had tiny little chairs and toys. It was hot in there, and I started to feel little waves of nervousness. Then Dan and I were moved to the back the church where we had to wait behind closed doors. We had decided long ago that we would walk down the aisle together. After being with each other for 7 years, I didn't want to be given away, and we were walking into this thing called marriage together, so it made sense for us to do it this way.
I am so glad I had him there when we were waiting. Pachelbel's Canon in D started playing for the procession of our parents and the bridal party. This song always makes me cry. I started to feel myself well up.
"Don't cry," Dan said, "It'll ruin your make-up."
"I can't help it." So Dan proceeded to do the chicken dance from Arrested Development and soon we were laughing so hard, I was afraid we couldn't stop. "What if they open the doors right now?" I said. We giggled and when the doors opened (by cousins Luca and Giancarlo), we were in the clear. Though watching this, you can kind of see the shadows of Dan jumping around through the door when my parents are walking.
Holy Name of Jesus church.
Waiting in the nursery.
Meanwhile, our guests took a bus to the church.
AJ and Jordan were especially pumped about the bus.
Our parents ready to go!
The babies meet! (check out Drake's seersucker!)
It was a long aisle, but it was a nice walk and all I remember seeing are smiling faces and cameras pointed at us. When we reached the altar and the music stopped, my first thought was "Where's the priest?" A few seconds went by which seemed like an eternity. No priest. More very long seconds. I started to giggle. I heard some snickers behind me. Then the vocalist went in the back to fetch the priest. When she came back and said "he's coming" I giggled more until he came out, scared to offend him.
The ceremony was very beautiful. We had a full mass service making it the only super traditional part of our day. Heather did the first reading, and Kunka did the second. Pete, Frank and Genevieve brought up the gifts. Katie and Matt did the prayer of the faithful. Besides for the beginning, I didn't feel tearful throughout the ceremony except when they named Tom as one of the deceased. He was really excited to come to our wedding, and I was sad he didn't make it. The homily was about how no one ever chooses the first reading (which was about love), and how people should choose it should more often (we agree!) When it was time to do our vows and ring exchange, I felt so nervous I wasn't sure if the words would come out of my mouth right, but somehow they did.
We had the choice to either sit or kneel and it was strange because our backs were always turned to the pews, and I wanted to turn around and look back at everyone. I would look at Dan from time to time, happy he was there beside me. I got a hot flash at one point and wondered if I would pass out and how weird would that be. I looked at the flowers we picked and thought, I bet Dan doesn't even notice those. Of course I also tried to pay attention to the service, but it was all so surreal.
The ceremony ended very abruptly. There was no "I now pronounce you husband and wife" or "You may kiss the bride." It just ended. And so we stood there a little stunned for a minute, and I think it was David who said, "Kiss her." And so I grabbed Dan and gave him a big smooch.
Walking down the aisle.
The church (yes, Emily sneaked away to take this picture from the balcony. Love her for it!)
Kissing! (note the flowers, Dan)
After pictures in the church, we stepped out to a sea of fabric yellow and white flags--which was cooler than I even imagined. What an adrenaline rush! We did not have a formal receiving line (the church wouldn't let us) so I tried to talk to everyone I could in the short time we stood there. We chartered a New Orleans street car to pick us up at at the church and take us back downtown. I am so happy we had the chance to sit next to Katie, who had us laughing a mile a minute. We were ready to celebrate!
I loved this part! Can you tell?
My sister and me.
Posing by the street car.
Posing inside the street car.
Pictures by Pete, Annie, Morten & Gerda, Courtney, Annette, Emily, Apice, Kunkas, and probably someone else I forgot-Sorry!