The majority of wedding pictures I’ve come across are lovely and perfectly staged. They show flawless brides, dapper grooms and a plethora of attendants all smiling dreamily at the camera. They suggest a flawless wedding filled with tasteful music, fragrant flowers and butter cream frosting. While I’m sure that those seamless weddings exist out there somewhere, most weddings I’ve been a behind-the-scenes part of (including my own) were bursting with a comedy of errors.
Let me give you a bit of back story. The Irishman and I were married both in the states and in Greece. It didn’t seem fair to pick a single destination and exclude half of our families and let’s face it, weddings are much less about the bride and groom and much more about those attending. So, we got married in Florida, closed on our first house, spent two weeks painting and unpacking and then jetting off to Greece with the Irishman’s immediate family and our friends in tow for the Greek wedding.
When we got to Greece, the Irishman and I checked into a single hotel room. We were, after all, married and while we had another wedding coming up, it seemed silly to spend the night before the wedding apart. Boy, were we wrong. The following is a timeline of the pre-wedding night fiasco (our wedding was in the afternoon of the following day).
10pm: Dinner is done and we head upstairs for bed. As I’m getting ready for bed, the Irishman says that he’s going to run downstairs and pick up a bottle of water from the pizza place next to the hotel. I go to sleep.
2am: I wake up. Alone. Panicked. Thinking that the Irishman was mugged or slaughtered in a foreign country. I call my in-laws near tears and tell them about my missing husband. My father-in-law informs me that he isn’t missing at all. He went out on the town with my brother and brother-in-law. I sit and stew.
3:30am: I hear a taxi pull up to the hotel and loud singing. In American voices. I go out onto the balcony and bellow for all of our guests to hear, “GET YOUR ASS UPSTAIRS RIGHT NOW!” (Not one of my finer moments.)The Irishman stumbles upstairs and insists that I’m being unreasonable and dramatic. Of course he wasn’t murdered. Why would I think anything was wrong just because he told me that he was running downstairs to get water and didn’t surface for 5 hours?
4am: The Irishman pukes.
5am: The Irishman pukes.
9am: Time to wake up and get ready for the wedding. My parting words to my not-so-dear husband were, “If we weren’t already married, I would not be marrying you right now.” And I headed off to hair and make-up. Okay, so I was a little dramatic, but I was pissed (and tired and jetlagged and generally not feeling magnanimous at that particular moment).
At 11am, it was time to head to the church. I had mellowed out a little bit, but I was still shooting lightning from my eyes in my husband’s general direction. That must have looked seriously at odds with the smile that I had plastered on my face. Now, the Greek ceremony is a bit different from a traditional ceremony in that (1) it takes over an hour (2) you’re standing up the entire time. Also, you have a single attendant (a best man or woman) who helps with the ceremony part of the wedding.
If you’re interested in reading about the entire wedding ceremony, you can find a description here. The one part of our wedding ceremony that my brother (our best man or koumbaro) was nervous about was the crowning. Here’s a description of the crowning ceremony.
The wedding crowns (stefana) are joined by a ribbon which symbolizes the unity of the couple and the presence of Christ who blesses and joins the couple and establishes them as the King and Queen of their home, which they will rule with wisdom, justice and integrity. The priest takes the two crowns and blesses The Bride and The Groom, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit and then places the crowns on them. The Koumbaro then steps behind The Bride and The Groom and interchanges the crowns three times as a witness to the sealing of the union.
That bit at the end about the koubaro exchanging the crowns three times was what was plaguing my brother. I had on a head piece and veil and had quite the long train on my dress, so brother Dean couldn’t figure out exactly how he was supposed to get close enough to complete the crowning ceremony without dropping one of them. I chided him and told him that he was making a big deal out of the whole thing. How hard was it to flip flop two crowns?
Apparently, Dean was right and at the apex of the crowning ceremony, my crown fell off of my head. And I lost it. I mean really, really lost it. I began laughing hysterically and couldn’t stop. I think I cracked. After the stress of the night before and the solemness of the ceremony, I simply couldn’t contain myself. So I laughed until I was spent and then everything was okay.
Back to my favorite picture – there are so many things that I love about this one. The falling crown, the ill look on the Irishman’s face, the bemused surprise on Dean’s and, of course, my coming unhinged. It was perfection. I keep this picture framed in the living room so that I can see it every day. Sure, we have albums upon albums of wonderfully posed pictures, but I think this one perfectly captured the events of that day.
Was it a perfect wedding? No. Would I have gladly beaten my husband over the head with my bouquet? Sure. Was I annoyed beyond belief at that moment? Yup. However, life isn’t just about the wedding. In fact, it isn’t about any single day in your life. It’s about all of the days that you’ll share together. That includes the tenderness, the annoyance, the dreams and the heartaches.
Oh and I should tell you in the Irishman’s defense (and the benefit of 6 years of hindsight), he was ambushed by our brothers, who insisted that he come out for one drink. And well, you know how that goes. Plus, he wasn’t just hungover. He had the flu. I know this because I got it 48 hours later on the first day of our honeymoon cruise.