Wedding Bells, Part One

The Next Family

By: Brandy Black

Susan and I were engaged for two years. I’d like to say it’s because I’m old-fashioned and wanted to be sure that she was “the one” but really it’s because we wanted to get married in Seattle and there are only 2 guaranteed months of sun (if that), we were on a long waitlist for our outdoor island wedding. We, well I, started planning early, about a year out, and I was time crunched. This was Susan’s first introduction to the neurotic side of Brandy Black. I think no matter how organized I am I will always think that stress is an essential ingredient to a good event.

When the weekend finally rolled around, I was beyond prepared. I had gathered my team, my lists, my vendors, my charts and we got on a plane –two beautiful, white gowns in hand –and flew to Seattle.

To this day, whenever I lie in the guestroom bed at my parents’ house and look up at the ceiling, I can still find the two nails side-by-side where our wedding dresses hung, hiding from one another. I will always remember that first night, giddy with excitement. I felt like a bride; I felt beautiful and special and loved. My father turned on Besame Mucho –a family favorite that year and one of “our songs” and we all danced in the living room. Twirling each other, we sang “Mucho Mucho Mucho”. The song became part of our soundtrack as we stuffed welcome bags in a living room floor assembly line. These little moments, with friends and family, were the sweetest parts of our wedding.

When I prepare for any party these days I always remember the infamous boat party the night before our wedding. We had a three-hour cruise around Lake Union. This was important to me, as I spent my college summers as a deckhand and bartender, watching the breathtaking sunsets from the water. I insisted on this being the welcome party for our guests. It was out of the budget –which I’ve never really cared about anyway –but Susan, on the other hand, had to chime in. After the special Susan and Brandy font our calligrapher and I had created for the invitations, to the elaborate honeymoon plan, to the getaway boat, Susan was starting to get a bit anxious. So I settled on cheese and fruit plates –simple food –prepared by us with no extra catering fees. My aunt and mom offered to help set up. But somehow when we arrived at the boat, everything went haywire and nothing was ready and we went into full-blown panic mode as the guests began to arrive. This was the start of what I feared would be a long, disastrous weekend. Susan and I raced around prepping, slicing, flowering and couldn’t handle it on our own. Guests began pitching in, which was far from the original plan. I became overwhelmed and began to feel like a failure at my own party. But then I looked around and realized that people wanted to help, they were happy, it made them feel good. I let go, I relinquished, I couldn’t fight them, and 15 minutes later, the table was filled with beautiful food prepared with great love.

Every time I go to pick up my Lancome mascara, I think of our wedding day. I recall the many conversations with Susan leading up to the big day, one of which was:

Me- Do you need me to buy you make up?
Susan- No.
Me- No? You’re going to wear make up aren’t you?
Susan- Yes
Me- But you don’t have any
Susan- I’ll get some

A couple weeks’ later:

Me- Do you need me to buy you make up?
Susan- No
Me- No? You’re going to wear make up aren’t you?
Susan- Yes
Me- But you don’t have any
Susan- I’ll get some

Day before the wedding:

Me- Did you get make up?
Susan- No
Me- What? What are you going to do?
Susan- Borrow yours
Me- I can’t see you before the wedding
Susan- I know, I’ll have someone come get it

And that’s what she did.

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