Did I mention I’m an impulsive person?
I think I did.
Once I know what I want I go for it. I hate dilly-dallying. I want it done. Now.
Which is why we set the date for January 3, 2015. 4 months after our proposal. There was something tantalizing in the fact that I’d be engaged over the very hardest period of our entire year: the Fall/Christmas Annie Moses Band Tour Schedule. Yes. I like adventure. I like challenges.
Not only did I have 4 months to plan a whole wedding, but I also would have to do it in the 2-days-at-home windows sprinkled here and there between our very long tours through the Fall. The tour schedule climaxed in our Christmas run, where we go to sleep at midnight and wake up at 4am 21 days in a row in order to play 17 concerts in those 21 days. We come home to Christmas day, one week, and BAM! the wedding.
Just the memory of that much makeup and hot-rollers makes me shudder.
The fact is, I had three very good reasons to get married on January 3. #1. I really really really loved my fiancé and I couldn’t stand to have to live apart for longer than that. #2. I really really really love Christmas and I had a kind of inspiration at Christmas Eve 2013 when I saw myself in my mind’s eye walking down the aisle of the Cathedral towards the poinsettias and the Christmas trees to the most beautiful music of the year. #3. We never tour in early January, so it ensures an awesome anniversary/vacation time every single year where we can go overseas and SEE THE WORLD!!!!!!!!
Can you tell I really want to travel the world?
I had a vague idea that I really ought to look up Pinterest weddings in order to be hip. Even my sisters were showing me their Pinterest boards for my wedding.
Pinterest exhausts me. There, I said it. I love Pinterest. I find gorgeous and brilliant things that show me what my life could be. How nifty and amazing I could be. 'You're life could be like THIS!!!' It's exhausting. Really.
I did, however, find a couple cool ideas from the ingenious pinning extravaganza. First, the bistro-mingling wedding reception. I had had one too many weddings where I was stuck sitting at a table in the reception with all of the people I already knew super well or else none of the people I was comfortable with. I wanted my guests to be able to go whither they pleased and talk with whomever they desired.
Second, cupcakes can be really beautiful. This was a surprise. Cupcakes in my mind are those cheesy things that your friends who bossed you around when you were little got for their birthdays with awfully colored icing on the top. It helped that I found Dulce Desserts in Nashville, who have the most delicious cupcakes ever.
Tastings are the best part of wedding planning. Thankfully I’m married to a man who likes curves. Slight curves, of course. If only good intentions helped with weight loss…
My sister-in-law, Berklee, who is an amazing artist, helps me design my wedding invitations. She also finds a gorgeous paper that slightly sparkles with shifting colors from blush to gold, and is made by an ancient paper mill in Belgium called the Old Lady.
I can’t afford meat at the reception or a tiered cake, but I will spend $0.50 more on every sheet of invitation paper just to support the Old Lady.
Photography is the other thing I will splurge on. You know, food is digested in 2 hours. You can’t remember what the reception space looks like a year after you’re there. Your dress will hang in a closet (even though I actually splurged on the wedding dress too…thank you, Modern Trousseau, for real silk satin and a dress that’s named Marena just like my husband’s grandmother).
But your photos last forever. So I choose Ace Photography, and they do take the lovely pictures that you have seen all over this blog. Vibrant colors. My favorite.
Here’s another fact about me.
I love dancing. Like, really love dancing. As in, if there's dancing going on, I will find a partner, no matter what. As in, when I was younger, Gretchen and my cousin Chloé and I would shut ourselves in a room and dance to Michael Bublé for 90 minutes till our faces were bright red and we were laughing hysterically.
I even got James to learn that sizzling dance between Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones from The Mask of Zorro at Centennial Park last year.
So I am definitely going to have dancing at my reception, and believe me, I dance as hard as everybody else, till my hair is stringy and my face is sweaty and I'm out of breath and I'm barefoot. Adrenaline!!!
I also love cheese.
I really love cheese.
Not the horrid Kraft cheese or the overly-salty Velveeta cheese. No, that lovely agéd hard block cheese that artisan Europe-wanna-be grocery stores have whole decadent overflowing cornucopias of. Ahhhh…
So, since I am having a socializing wedding reception with lots of dancing, I want G Catering and Event’s Nosh Table. It is beautiful and so tasty, with wooden boards and lovely designs and cheeses and hummus and fruits and all my favorite things.
The other thing I love is delectable artisan coffee drinks.
You know this already.
So I hire one of the best coffee artists of Nashville, Scott Davis of Davis Cookware, to set up a whole coffee bar complete with a brass tower. I don’t know what the brass tower does to make the coffee better. But it looks cool.
I secure the gorgeous Spanish-mission style Cathedral in Nashville TN for my wedding. Immediately beautiful.
I also get a good friend of the family who is a retired antique’s dealer and florist to do the flowers for me. He is a flower artist, let me tell you. Utterly gorgeous work for a fraction of the cost. He also happens to pick out my favorite colors, lavender and yellow, without even knowing it.
I secure the Germantown Abbey in Nashville for my reception because it has a large room with wood floors, big windows, and Victorian decoration. And it is way cheaper than all of the outlandishly urban, modern places out there.
My sisters Gretchen and Annie find the bridesmaids dresses. Gold lace, shimmery, floor length, with sleeves. Going out on Nordstroms. Gretchen is my hero, because she literally finds all the last dresses in all the right sizes in all the Nordstroms stores around the nation. She is awesome. Isn't my little sister Zoe cute?
I did all this planning and went through premarital counseling in literally three weeks of home time sprinkled between September 3 and January 3.
Oh yeah, baby. It is exciting! As most very stressful brutal things are. Ha.
And then the day finally arrives.
My wonderful in-laws Kathy and Mario arrange a beautiful rehearsal dinner at the Belmont Mansion in Nashville. I am so happy because I have arrived.
Let me tell you, engagement is not the easiest thing. It is limbo land between all the people you have lived with all your life and love like crazy and the most important decision of your life that you can never back away from.
I sit beside my husband-to-be and I know that is where I am meant to be. I see the photo slideshow my sister Gretchen spent hours scanning and putting together for us, and I want to cry because where I am now is the culmination of all those years of the little girl Camille.
As Prince Albert says to Victoria in The Young Victoria, ‘When we are old and surrounded by our children, we will say this is when our lives began.”
The next day dawns. 5am shows my sister Annie curling and fixing my long straight hair (quite a feat, let me tell you!) and doing my makeup. She is an amazing makeup artist! All those years of coloring in coloring-books and outlining the lines in black do pay off!
At 10am we are at the Hermitage Hotel, where James and I will spend our wedding night thanks to the generosity of Annie and her husband Scott. The hotel is kind enough to let us take pictures there in the morning for free.
It is a spectacularly beautiful place, the one 5-star hotel in Nashville, complete with Renaissance decor and high windows and huge Christmas trees.
Then we land at the church. I feel the jitters rising up inside of me and I push them down. I am determined not to sweat the small stuff. I will go with the flow and every mishap will be a funny story in a few months. Thankfully we have DRD, Daddy Retrieval and Delivery. Daddy is the one who rescues us when I wake up on my wedding day and realize I have no sparklers for the evening going-away, or that somebody's missing a tux shirt, or some small disaster of the sort. Hey, it's exciting not to have everything put together! So I decide to relax and have fun and I hop into the sanctuary where everything is dark and quiet and play stormy Rachmaninov for a while in the enchanted space.
And then that amazing moment where all the bridesmaids and the grandmas and the mothers are outside waiting to go down the aisle and I’m left alone in the bride room, staring at myself in the mirror.
Who is this girl in the white dress and the veil?
What is this I am about to do?
Walk down an aisle in front of all my dearest friends in the world, wearing a white ballgown, stand in front of the Bishop, say a few words, and my identity will be caught up in my husband.
We will be one flesh. Joined for life.
No more ‘I’ in this world, but ‘we’.
It is magical.
Something beyond us.
I walk outside and my nephew David Valentine runs up to me. “Aunt Camille! Aunt Camille! What’s this?” he tugs on my veil, curly head and brown eyes staring up at me. My veil almost rips, but I drop down in the nick of time and bring him under the veil and hug him tight.
I am so pleased, because my two flower girls, my little sister Zoe and my niece Audrey, who is only 2 years old, successfully walk all the way down the aisle and look utterly adorable!
My daddy walks up. I haven’t cried yet, but when he takes my arm and starts to cry the floodgates open and rise through my heart and into my eyes. “Daddy! Don’t cry!” Why on earth do people wear mascara on their wedding day???
The music is otherworldly. And it’s not because of any of my planning. It’s pure Providence that I have as my best friends and family world-class vocalists and string players.
I hear the beautiful string quartet play the Prelude, I hear The Prayer played by my father-in-law on classical guitar with the Jolly String Quartet, dear friends since I was a little girl. Ave Maria is sung by our good friend and amazingly talented tenor, Joshua Carswell with my piano-genius Daddy playing the Bach accompaniment. In the Bleak Midwinter is sung by other wonderful friends, the Hall Sisters, a capella. Then my family begins Ave Maria by Schubert, my sister Annie playing the pristine violin solo with my brothers and Gretchen accompanying her.
This is my Moment.
I walk down with Daddy, the tears starting to brim from my eyes. I look through the mist and recognize countless faces in the audience. Suddenly I think, ‘I cannot cry! This is the happiest moment of my life!’ So I smile instead, keeping the tears at bay.
I see James at the end of the aisle, standing there, looking at me. It makes me smile inside to think that we are both feeling the same way right now, that we are sharing this.
Daddy and Mama present me to James. I walk up and we proclaim our vows in the presence of all gathered.
We hold hands.
James and I smile at each other.
I am filled with a joy that is like no other, welling from the pit of my stomach, bubbling up through my heart, tingling to my toes and my fingertips and up into my brain, sending blush into my cheeks.
I get to spend the rest of my life with the man I love.
We kiss. We link arms. We walk down the aisle to the joyful organ.
I am his. He is mine.
We are a queen and a king and we go out to build our kingdom.
There is nothing more beautiful.