It looks like I survived!! I was NOT a runaway bridesmaid as I feared. I was so worried about whether I'd be able to make it through the ceremony or not. I didn't want to disappoint Sheryl and I certainly didn't want to ruin her moment. As it turned out, I was neither a disappointment nor the ignition of disaster.
My first hurdle was the rehearsal. I was anxious to find out exactly what I would have to do and how the ceremony would be set up. We went through it in one, two, three and that was that. Seemed easy enough to follow. My fellow groomsman, Zach and myself were ON it. I told him we were going to be the star walkers as we synced our footsteps. He was a willing student of "Teresa's School Of Not Being The Worst One". It was a little odd seeing all of the chairs set up and knowing that the next night they would be full of a lot of people I would have to see again. Like the survivor that I am, I just put it out of my mind and headed off to the dinner. I sat next to Zach and Sheryl's stepfather. I made a good choice as my company ended up being so much fun. Zach and I chattered all through dinner. We were laughing so hard over our shared fear of needles and blood draws. I told him about my donation story and gave him tips on how to survive his upcoming blood test. "Close your eyes, plug your ears, turn your head and hum really loud. Works every time." If Zach hadn't been married with children, I'd have tried to make him my new best friend. He was easy to talk to and we related on a lot of levels. Very nice guy! I also wanted to adopt Sheryl's stepfather, Joe. He was such a riot. An ex DEA agent, now retired and living on a boat in San Diego. He captains boats for other people and has sailed literally all over the world. Such a bold, funny guy. He pretends to not hear what you are saying to try to throw you off your game, but I caught on and dished it right back. By the end of the night he gave me his card and told me I was to look him up the next time I was in San Diego and that he would take me sailing. Everyone in the wedding party was so warm and were all such great people. It's really a testament as to the kind of people Larry and Sheryl are. I left the dinner feeling uplifted and glad to have been a part of everything, but I was still fairly certain I'd be in for it the next day.
The Next Day...
I showed up for pictures right on time. I had to pick my dress up on the way as it had a few last minute alterations. It ended up fitting great! All the bridesmaids got ready in a suite across from where the wedding was taking place. The room was all decked out and was stocked with champagne, wine, fruit and a chocolate fountain. I abstained from the chocolate fountain, but took advantage of the champagne and wine. When we were all ready, we headed out for pictures. I'm hoping the champagne and wine helped my camera face. I didn't feel quite the facial twitching that I normally do, so I may have a shot or two that will come out looking somewhat normal. I'll feel awful if I ruin all of Sheryl's pictures with my anti-camera face. Ugh! Especially considering how extremely beautiful all the rest of the bridesmaids were. Not an "un-pretty" girl in the bunch. Everyone kept commenting on the line and wondering where Sheryl shopped for friends. I was not the thinnest girl in the bunch, but I did win the prize for the best cleavage thanks to my push up bra.
After pictures, I took my stuff and checked into my room at Steins. It was just above the lodge and as a total moron, I figured it was a short hike. It was a short hike, but not when one is carrying luggage, in heels, over actual wet dirt. I'd parked my car down below, because I hate when they valet your car. You have to wait for them to get it and blah, blah, blah.... I'm not all that keen on being catered to like that. Anyway.. the point is that I carried all my shit UP hill, in heels and it was really stupid and I was hot and tired and it took me forever to find the lobby only to have to walk ALL the way back down to where my room ended up being. Nice room by the way.
On to the actual wedding CEREMONY. I popped a klonopin and as we were waiting in the pre-wedding room of the lodge, we all had one last toast and I downed another glass of champagne. Just before we went out, the maid of honor got a little freaked when she saw my nerves and I told her I'd be fine, but that I may be a tad "over medicated". Suddenly I had everyone coming up to me asking if I was okay. After demonstrating just how well I could walk and coordinate my body, they relaxed and then it was showtime. I did my thing (Zach and I were totally the best walkers) and took my place in the line. There were a LOT of people, but I wasn't nervous. Once Sheryl came down the isle, everyone was in tears. I laughed at the girls who put tissue in their cleavage, but I was the one who ended up needing it and I borrowed some cleavage tissue from one of the girls. I cried more than anyone else. The ceremony was so beautiful and Larry kissed Sheryl's pregnant belly, which made everyone melt and it was just so lovely. I have always thought that the big fluff, all the bells and whistles were kind of a waste of time and money. I have since changed my mind. I get it now. I get why people would make the effort and why they would stand in front of that many people to share their moment. I was so proud to have been a part of it. From start to finish, it was such a beautiful event. It was the nicest wedding I've ever been to and the room was filled with so many wonderful, likable people. Granted, my good mood may have been due to being heavily medicated and slightly intoxicated, but I'm choosing to believe that it was a beautiful moment. As I kept hearing the same comments from other people, I'm pretty certain that what I ingested had little to do with it.
After the ceremony, everyone moved into the dinner area where we ate, drank some more wine and champagne, toasted and then the dancing began. Sheryl and Larry started it off as is custom and then the bridesmaids and groomsman were called out to join them. I felt a bit awkward dancing with Zach while his wife looked on, but it was only half a song. After that.. the party really started and I did my thing. I racked up more dancing partners than anyone else. Dave Brown from work (one of the owners of PSE) threw his coat off, pulled out his shirt tails and boogied like he had ants in his pants. I danced so hard that by the end of the night, I could barely walk and my lungs were raw from trying to keep up with my body. My shoes below are proof of my dedication to the dance floor.
All in all, it was one of the best things I've ever been a part of. I wish I would have allowed myself less anxiety over it, but this was a good lesson for me. Though I'm not by nature a person who loves to socialize EVERY day, I do love people. I love spending time getting to know new people and I love exploring new things. Twelve years ago, I was the person who packed up and moved just for the sake of being able to say I had. I've been in a rut the past four years and I think I'm ready to get back out there and live my life a little more freely.