10/29 Real Bride Shannon: Mitigated Disaster

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It’s crazy to think it’s been just over a month since over a year of work and worry and celebration and joy culminated into our beautiful wedding. In that month I’ve had a little time to go over what went wrong because when you read that something will go wrong, yeah, they’re right. Plenty of things from small snafus to (seemingly) dire disasters popped up in those last few days, but there are a few things you can do to keep those troubles tamed and come out looking like the blissful bride or gracious groom we all hope to be.

My motto, mantra, life affirming statement – whatever you want to call it – became, “All I HAVE to do is get married.” I don’t know how many times I said this, but it was probably in the eleventy billion range.

Have you seen the meme, tweet or Facebook status explaining that free time just makes the one posting nervous that he or she has forgotten something? This got SO. REAL. during the last few days leading up to the wedding. There was a lot of shrugging my shoulders and saying, “I think I’m done.” But what’s a traditionally large vendor that people more or less expect to see at a wedding? A cake. I brain farted the most epic brain fart on the cake. I had made early arrangements with a friend who does wedding cakes here and there, but typically only for people she knows. She broke her leg a couple months before the wedding and was concerned she wouldn’t be healed enough to be hobbling around the kitchen, so she hooked me up with her former employer. Y’all, I didn’t just drop the ball; I dug a hole and buried the ball in the backyard for safe keeping and just forgot. My wedding cake was two eight-inch round, undecorated cakes from Target, plus one I baked myself, then decorated with edible pearls and glitter. And you know what? It was fine.


I ordered my flowers from wholesalers then assembled them myself with some help from our fearless leader Christen, my mom, sister, aunt and a dear family friend. As the self-proclaimed World’s Worst Delegator, I forgot to explain to leave a few stems of each flower untrimmed so I could build a big, cascading Meg-like bouquet. The longest stems I had were only about eight inches, resulting in a much smaller bundle of blooms than I had hoped. And you know what? It was fine.

Photo by Shaina Sheaff

Photo by Shaina Sheaff Photography

Pardon me for getting a little personal here, but I had an uninvited aunt show up THE DAY BEFORE our wedding day. You know, THAT aunt who typically shows up every month. Yeah. I was bloated; I was crampy, and I was smack dab in the middle of my monthly boob swell. So much so that my dress, despite dieting and exercise and ordering the size that was supposed to fit didn’t zip all the way. Hips went in, dress zipped up over my waistline, then about mid-back just said, “Haha, NOPE!” The ceremony was delayed and we were scrambling like mad to get this thing cinched just another half an inch while my friends and families destroyed their fingers pulling, but it just wasn’t going to go. My MIL had given me a handkerchief to carry with my bouquet. I shrugged and smiled and said I’d carry a tissue because this little white square just got promoted to a more noble cause. My crew adjusted and pinned what was supposed to be a completely closed back dress into a keyhole. No one seemed to notice, so you know what? Even that was fine.

Notice my bridesmaid's face... Photo by Shaina Sheaff

Notice my bridesmaid’s face …
Photo by Shaina Sheaff Photography

At the reception, we had a dance semi-choreographed that I imagined being YouTube gold. I was a dancer for many, many years, so this was something that was pretty important to me. We were supposed to start off in a slow, sappy waltz, then go into the dance scene from “Guardians of the Galaxy” while everyone, in my mind, clapped and cheered. Well, as we walk in and start getting in place over the first couple bars of the first song, one of my more … outgoing … older family members jumped up and told my husband of less than an hour to “show some propriety” and grabbed his hand, moving it from the middle of my back to basically under my armpit. Caught in a haze of concentration and bliss, this interruption came out of nowhere. We were confused and concerned before we realized he was just trying to be funny. We missed our cue. We never quite recovered. I could hear one of my mother’s friends commenting that it was obvious we had practiced something and were thrown off. We just danced and laughed and kept going, even though I was mostly trying to quietly call the choreography through a ventriloquist’s smile (not a talent of mine). And you know what? Yep, still fine.

It was all fine because I got to marry an imperfect man who is perfect for me. We celebrated our love in a meaningful way and joined ourselves together forever. We smiled and hugged everyone and walked off into the night as husband and wife. I did the only thing that I needed to do that night: pledge to be with the only man I can imagine growing old with. There were plenty of frightened, frustrated, embarrassed tears in those last few days, but after a month, they’re just funny stories to tell to the people who complimented us on having such a “smooth” wedding (someone actually told us this!).  And you know what? It was more than fine. It was perfect. It was us.