Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Wedding Prequel

***edited to add -- I wrote this the day after my wedding.  It is long, and at times babbling to the point of incoherence.  It's also ridiculously giddy and over the top.  All of which summarizes pretty well how I was feeling.  Oh, and I deemed it too long, even by my standards.  So it's cut into two posts. Consider yourself forewarned.***


I'm married!

It was absolutely, unbelievably, perfect.  Wow.  What a day.  I woke up super nervous.  Like throwing up, horse show champs morning type nervous.  N then Chris woke up and I was super-giddy excited.   For the short version of the story, just rinse and repeat.  All day ;-P

Longer version…  

That not able to see each other the night before or day of tradition?  I considered playing that game -- I know Jen would've been all for making it happen.  But given the whole birthday thing, I knew we'd see each other at lunch, so following the rest seemed kinda silly.  Now I'm glad we didn't.  I think it would've skyrocketed my stress level -- which was already way up there.  Being able to see him, and that he seemed to be just as excited as I was, definitely stabilized me.  And I think the day went better for it :) 

Breakfast.  I'm not even sure I remember.  I know I saw all the relevant players for the day and confirmed schedules, but that's about it.  After breakfast I was supposed to go to the spa, but went up to the room instead -- I'd forgotten the voucher.  Not sure what Chris was doing, but we split there for the day.  I headed to the spa and he…  I've no idea ;)   He said something about going to the pool - fairly jealous of that.  Who wants to waste a day in Costa Rica getting their hair and nails fussed with?  Seriously.

Hahaha first world problems eh?   So Mum and I had the first appointment -- manicures and pedicures at 10. As we were waiting our turn, Jen came in -- "just one thing and then good to go…"   Apparently she'd been talking to Georgina and wanted confirmation about the flowers.  Petals on the aisle up to the platform.  I knew Jen knew what I was talking about because she'd picked it out as a "you have to have" months ago when we first started planning.  But she mentioned something about the flowers on the gazebo…  Ummm no.  No flowers there.  "But you paid for them."  Well I didn't want to.  Certainly didn't mean to.  Maybe just have them as a centerpiece at dinner?  "Oh they'll come with you to dinner."  Okay whatever -- we eventually settled on them being on the ground, off to one side.  And in the end, there was no sign.  I don't recall seeing any at dinner either.  Maybe it was just a very odd miscommunication.  So random. 

Anyways - she disappeared to take care of that and Mum and I met our stylists.  I had to laugh that mine was named Stephanie.  Have never had a pedicure before, so wasn't entirely sure what to expect.  Not so much my thing.  I settled into the massage chair, all good.  But have to say didn't really enjoy the pedi at all.  It was mostly painful, and the end results were not particularly spectacular.  And of course I promptly dropped my sunglasses on them and wrecked the colour on one of the toes.  Sheesh.  Didn't enjoy the mani any better actually, but did at least enjoy the time with my mum.

Jen starting the day :)
Next up Catherine and Mum had hair and makeup, while Steph and Jen go their mani/pedis.  I entertained myself taking photos -- most of which I suspect were craptastically bad.  I don't love my new indestructible point and shoot.  Hoping it'll grow on me.  Flipped through the book of hairstyles and was super-excited to find one I actually really liked.  Woohoo!  Not convinced it'll hold in the humidity, but going to give it a solid try ;)   And it's one that if it falls, should still look okay.  Also shared said book with the girls so they could pick theirs.  Jen kept asking me what I wanted her to do.  Ummm hon?  Entirely up to you :)   I managed to pick my own and promptly abdicated all other fashion related decision making responsibilities.

Stephy finding the perfect hairstyle
Mum was done first -- they did a good job, but not great :(  Her hair was a little harsh and makeup a little excessive.  Booo.  Catherine's, otoh, was stunning.  So I made a note of who did hers :)   The moms both left while the girls and I hung out for a bit waiting for their nails to dry and for it to be time for Chris' birthday.


Yes, Chris' birthday.  Because wedding planning wasn't challenging enough, I also felt the need to plan a surprise party.  Now, for the record, it was his idea to have our wedding on his birthday (his parents also married on his father's birthday).  And he said he was okay with not doing anything for his birthday this year -- but I wasn't sure I entirely believed that.  So…  In classic Laur fashion, it wasn't enough to just get him a card (which was perfect and I found it like 6 months early!) but no, I arranged a party complete with birthday cake for the whole group.  The details of which weren't complete till like 6h before we left for the airport!   So I spent most of the week telling everybody whenever I had a few seconds without Chris around where to be and when.  Brett and Jen also helped with that, while Brett and Adriana had the job of making sure Chris ended up at the right place at the right time.

And you know what the awesome part was?  It was actually a surprise!  Everybody came; it was amazing.  At one point somebody came in and told me Brett was having a challenge getting Chris to come in, because of course, we always eat outside.  Sheesh.  So I went out, and I guess Chris decided lunch with me was the surprise of the day.  Slightly intoxicated and seemed super happy to see me -- which of course made me disproportionately happy.

Took him back to where everyone else was and *loved* the look on his face.  Hahaha So much fun.  The cake with its dinosaur topper was a hit :)   And tasty!   Added plus.   I wasn't eating much, for some reason not hungry ;-P   Said dino would later come to be named Winston and go on many wonderful adventures.  He'd have his own blog, but his arms are too short to type.

Not sure how I'm going to top this one...
At lunch Adriana pulled me aside to tell me how shaky Chris had been -- apparently I wasn't the only nervous one.  That was surprisingly comforting actually.  She solved that problem by taking him to find a coconut drink *g*   I was seriously envious of said coconut drink (literally a drink in a coconut) but apparently said coconuts are only available for a short time in the AM when the gardeners are about.  Booo :(   Ah well.

All too soon it was time to go back to the spa.  Hair and makeup for the three girls.  I wouldn't see Chris again till it was time to get married…

Steph was already getting her hair done by the time I got there and Jen arrived moments after.  The girl who started doing my hair was named Lauren -- too funny.  She curled it, but then the guy doing Steph's hair (who had also done Catherine's) took over.  Steph looked stunning!   Jen decided they needed to put my veil in while they were doing my hair, so Steph booked it all the way back to the room to get it.  She is awesome.  Apparently passed Chris on the way back.  Ah well -- not too much of a reveal :) 

While all this was going on though, Adriana brought me my very own coconut drink!  Complete with five umbrellas and Winston!  Hahaha it was awesome!  I was so happy.  Such a little thing but really helped complete the experience.  And she even toned it down to almost no alcohol so I could actually enjoy it ;)   I later learned Paula had donated her coconut to the cause and Chris had been standing outside the spa while it was delivered.  The team effort made me smile -- so many of them together just to get me a silly drink.  That made me over the top happy.  Like I said, the emotional swings were a *little* wild.  Makes me snuffly all over again to think of how awesome everybody was.

Winston added a dimension to the day I could never have imagined.
Anyways -- once hair was done, I was directed to makeup.  At this point, Stephy was still on her mission, and Jen was getting her hair done.  Lauren, the stylist, started asking me to pick colours, which was entirely too overwhelming to me.  Especially as most of the colours were variants of pink.  Ugh.  Ummmm no.  Asked Jen, but she couldn't see from where she was -- her suggestion was to go with flower colours.  Yeah.  Like I remember what flowers I picked weeks ago.  I know I liked them and that it was iffy whether they'd go with the red, but that was about it.  So I deemed Steph the only one capable of making this decision and put it on hold till she came back.

However, before she made it back, the guy sat down, closed the hideous collection of colours, opened another pallet, and went to work.  I couldn't see anything, but he seemed to know what he was doing.  Steph appeared with my veil, which was promptly inserted into my hair, and approved the current state of the makeup.  Sweet.   Jen was having a bit of a challenge solving issues with her hair -- she knew what was wrong but not how to fix it, and the language barrier wasn't helping.  So with the aid of the front desk receptionist translating, Steph solved that issue too (yeah for a bridesmaid with fashion sense!) and they got back to work.  She'd nailed it, and the end result was lovely.

So surreal...
Joe appeared somewhere in this adventure and captured some of our silliness on film (ummm disk?  You know what I mean!)   Cause it definitely started to deteriorate when I was allowed to turn around and see the end result.  The artist had done an amazing job.  My makeup was like natural, only better ;)  Which, given that I wear little to know makeup on a regular day, is exactly what I wanted.

Just kinda love this shot
But what made it, what really made it all kinds of teary, was the veil in my hair.  Suddenly it wasn't like every other time I've been made up in my life.  Suddenly I was a bride and getting married!  And Jen and Steph were there with me.  All kinds of awesome.  Jen was getting all sappy and my emotions were switching from extreme nerves to ridiculous giddiness every few seconds.  Twirling around and catching sight of myself in the mirror.  At one point I was even accused of it being a super-man cape ;-P   hahaha SuperBride to the rescue!  Yeah.   Still, even then, so very surreal.  I was all kinds of pacing around the spa.  Not sure having the bride done first is a great idea *g*  Basically vibrating -- sitting still wasn't going to happen.  Pretty sure Steph and I ended up playing patty cake at one point?  No idea exactly why but, you know, things happen.

All the silliness
Poor Joe somehow managed to keep a straight face -- I was impressed.  Original plan (and I understand how they usually work) was for Vicky to be with us while Joe was with the guys. But Vicky was out from food poisoning, so he was trying to be everywhere at once.  Stephy solved this too, by asking Rebecca with her skills and fancy camera to join us for the getting dressed portion of activities.  Amazing friend that she is, Rebecca got herself dressed early and totally took over that role.  When all was done at the spa, Joe took a couple more shots then escaped to be with the boys.

As ready as we could be :)
We all went our separate ways -- the girls went to collect their dresses etc and meet in my room to dress.  Chris had been previously evicted to dress in Brett and Ted's room.  The elevator at my end of the resort was out of order, so we had to find an alternate route.  I was already pretty sure the curls wouldn't hold -- getting hot and sweaty climbing four floors definitely wouldn't help!

So I made it back to my room and just stopped.  For about 10 seconds I realized I was alone, it was quiet, and I took a deep breath.  And then the adrenaline, or whatever it was, hit me again.  Basically started pacing.  Look out the window.  Breathe.  Pool, ocean, paradise.  Don't see any of it.  Turn around and walk to the other end of the room - in the bathroom.  Who's that girl in the mirror?  Looks vaguely like me, but not entirely.  Back to the balcony.  Rinse and repeat.

This stunning view, and I didn't even register it.
Knock on the door.  Thank god.  Being by myself is *not* helping.  That might be a first for me, but sobeit.  Yeah, Stephy's here!  So she starts organizing things -- plugs in her curling iron and attempts to repair my already deflated hair.  We decided to abandon that till the end.  It was helping but afraid it'd just fall again.

Stephy all ready to go
Knock on the door.  Sweet - Jen.  Nope, just kidding.  Maid with towels.  Also useful.  Wouldn't be till much later I'd learn Chris had gone to find her -- slightly stressed -- finding no towels in the room when he wanted to get ready.  The towel shortage in our room has been chronic, but that was the worst.

Another knock on the door.  Jen!  Nope - Brett.  Okay, fair second *g*   He was sent to find Chris' belt.  I asked how Chris was doing -- apparently a little tense…  There were some more details, but not my story to tell ;-P  Brett found the belt in question and went back to the boys' room, and the next door knock actually brought Jen.

Jen looking gorgeous
By this point Steph was almost ready and I hadn't done anything productive yet.  At least partially because I couldn't do that dress up myself.  I randomly decided my camera battery needed to be charged before I could give my camera out -- do you think I could find my charger?  Jen came over and asked what I was looking for and could she look instead because "you're not seeing anything right now."  I loved -- and appreciated even then -- that she didn't dismiss it as irrational or unimportant, both of which could've been easily argued.  Just helped me find it.  And it was exactly where I'd said it'd be -- I just couldn't see it.  Hahaha classic eh?

Knock on the door - Mum!  Nope, Rebecca.  By this point I'd forgotten she was coming, but was super glad she was there :)    So she promptly went to work snagging some pics of said dress while it was hanging up, and I'm sure a tone of others, but did it so unobtrusively I really wasn't aware of what she was doing.  Standing still and focusing was a little beyond me at that point.  I can't wait to see the photos!

Admittedly this photo was from later,
but Rebecca was the only one w/ a camera and I wanted a pic of her here :)
Next knock really did herald Mum's arrival.   She looked amazing!  Borrowed Steph's curling iron to do some slight repairs and had toned down the makeup a little and just looked stunning.   By this point I had my hair, makeup, veil and jewelry all ready -- just needed the dress itself.  The girls were also pretty much good to go.  We wanted to cut our wristbands off and were looking for the scissors.  I knew Chris had left them for us on the bathroom sink, and moved the curling iron aside to reach for them.  I moved the curling iron.  The one Stephy had warned us was still on.  Without looking closely enough to ascertain which end was the handle.

Yeah.  Insert foul  language here as I picked up the hot end of the iron.  Stupid should hurt.  Sheesh.  Ran my hand under the tap -- girly side of me thinking "at least it's the right hand so I can still get my ring" sheesh.  Priorities eh?  Couldn't get the water cold enough, so alternated between holding a refrigerated can of sprite and dunking my fingers in a glass of ice water.  Both of which, of course, were dripping with condensation.  So trying not to get any of the dresses wet was another challenge.

And then it was time to actually get dressed.  Mum and Jen together were having real problems getting it done up.  I was starting to get concerned -- I swear it fit last week!   "It's unlikely you've gained weight on your ribs," Steph pointed out *g*   Hmmmm good point.  Okay.  Turns out the issue was the straps, and they eventually got it sorted out.

Almost ready...
Another knock at the door.  Steph answered it very cautiously, not letting whomever it was even see in.  Well, except of course that they were probably taller than she *g*   From the little I heard, I decided it was probably Ted, but had no idea why he was visiting.  Eventually she stepped back in and closed the door -- he'd been dropping off Chris' bag.

Mum and I, once I was *finally* dressed :)
And then I was dressed and ready to go and all kinds of sappy.  I get the impression Mum was feeling pretty emotional too, and Jen was right on the edge.

Mum and Dad shortly before it was time to go
The next knock on the door ushered my Dad in.  The look on his face told me what I was seeing in the mirror wasn't just a dream.  I was really getting married!  And, if his expression was anything to go by, was going to look good doing so ;-P   He said as much of course, but he's my dad -- he'd say that no matter how I looked.  That first moment though, that'd be hard to fake.

The girls decided my dress needed to be steamed -- the train was crinkled.  But after the steamer heated up, it was leaking and we deemed it not a good life choice.  In fact, we decided the wrinkles made the train look like it was wavy.  Totally appropriate for a beach wedding!

I was so happy with this bouquet
A knock on the door.  Georgina this time.  Woohoo!  Instant excitement and butterflies fluttering wildly.  Nothing was going to convince them to get in formation.  She brought in my bouquet and put it in a glass of water.  Stunning.  Purple and white.  Those who know flowers -- what are they???  Calla Lilies and... ?   Normal lilies? Somewhere I know I saw it written down, but do you think I can find it now?  All the wedding paperwork I can currently locate only has the photo.  And mine looked better than the photo :)   Ah well, the important part to me is, I LOVED them.  So happy.  But…  I'd forgotten the plan.  Georgina was going to drop off the flowers and then go back to the ceremony location to check everything was okay with the guys.  It'd be another 20-25 minutes!  Frig.  But we were ready to go NOW.  And, well if you read the scuba post or the cliff diving post…  I don't do well with waiting ;) 

Just breathe.
But before my nerves could shoot off the charts (it's *really* hard to pace in an enclosed area while wearing a dress with a train and dodging five other people), Rebecca took control and put me to work so she could take photos.  It was perfect -- not only because it kept me occupied, but because I'll also get some awesome pics out of it *g*  Pretty stoked about that!

Stephy managed to occupy a little more time making last-second repairs to my hair...
Guess what?  A knock at the door.  This time it was Georgina to escort us to the ceremony.  I went to put my lovely, sparkly, ridiculous shoes on and realized I had a challenge.  I couldn't bend over.  I couldn't even take a deep breath!  I knew because I'd try when Rebecca kept reminding me "Breath.  Okay, now again.  Prove it wasn't a fluke."  hahaha the last being a direct quote of me teaching made me laugh -- exactly, as I'm sure it was meant to.  Anyways -- Mum ended up slipping my shoes on and doing them up for me; I guess some things you never outgrow *g*

Posting these mostly to prove to Kerri that I do, in fact, have sparkly shoes 
Somebody grabbed the flowers and we were off!  Like the proverbial herd of turtles *sigh*   Again, with the elevator being out of order, it was a much longer walk.  And none of our clothing particularly lent itself to travelling at any sort of decent pace.  We were kind of bunched together going through the hotel -- you get ALL the attention when you're wearing a wedding dress, let me tell you *g*   But tbh, I was fairly oblivious to it.  On a normal day it'd either make me self-conscious or annoyed, but all I could think of was that I was about to marry Chris.  In only a few minutes. 


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