It's been over three weeks, and it's probably time for me to post about the wedding, before the events lose all of their freshness, before I forget a day that was, all cliches aside, the happiest of my life to date.
I should probably begin, in typical narrative fashion, with all of the things that went wrong leading up to it. Everyone talks about how all weddings are just small disasters that somehow come together in the end, and I'd gone into the wedding pretty much viewing it as a huge show I was opening on October 7. I've acted, directed, stage and assistant stage managed, costume designed, and participated in just about every aspect of theatre production, and I know what it's like to put on a show. My favorite thing in the wonderful film Shakespeare in Love
is the theatre manager's continued insistence that when everything finally comes together, "It's a mystery." I know only too well the truth of this: pretty much every show I've worked on has been hanging by a thread a week before opening, with everyone stressed to their limits and mortified that it's going to be a total disaster.
This production was no exception; in fact, it was probably the worst I've experienced in this regard. Add to it that fact that along with imlad
, I was acting as producer, director, and lead actress, and it would be difficult for my stress level to be higher. I don't want to dwell on the negative, but to give a sample, I'll cite just a few of the events of Friday, the day before the wedding:
1. I was still waiting for the FedEx truck to bring the final pieces of everybody's clothing from Colorado.
2. When imlad
picked the programs up from the printers, all of the pages were in the wrong order.
3. I picked up my dress, which had been worked on very quickly and thoroughly, that morning, then went across the street to find a dress that would fit entrope
and match the color scheme.
4. Given all of that, we did not arrive on site until well into the dark hours of the evening, when we had intended to arrive around 2pm.
Add to this that my ring was not delivered until the Wednesday before (they broke it twice trying to make it), the store that was supposed to order the clothes imlad
was going to wear never bothered to do it, the linens cost more than twice what I was quoted and my dear friend who was going to do my hair and makeup got food poisoning the morning of the wedding day, and by the time of the ceremony, I was nothing but a huge ball of walking nerves.
Huge, I tell you.
But in the midst of this, there was zzbottom
, who bought food for Friday night's barbecue and acted as head chef, then, along with his girlfriend, set all the tables on Saturday morning. There was macthud
, who loomed in that incredibly calming way he has and lisped at me to make me laugh and feel like a princess. There was wurmwyd
, who was ready to do anything needed, and also did a spectacular job looking after my mother. There was imvfd
, who just took care of all kinds of things almost invisibly. There were the silk monkeys who showed up and provided the most spectacular show and equipment for people - it added so much. There were my official officiants, redheadedmuse
, and the wonderful addition, queenofhalves
, who made everything happen, ceremony-wise, without me having to think about it. There were all the attendants, who did everything imaginable to keep me sane. There was shu_al
, who did more than I thought possible to keep the entire operation running. And sunspiral
, guiding the crowd with his fine heraldic presence, and jirikido
, moving silently and making things happen. So many people to thank that I can only begin here, and hope that I can include everyone by the end of this already lengthy post.
And then, there was the wedding.
At 2pm on Saturday, October 7, the stated start time of the ceremony, I was sitting in a chair in the bathroom of the Lodge, having my hair done. Darling D showed up, looking pale, and while I had to take care of my makeup myself, she managed a quick and magnificent 'do incorporating ayalanya
's magnificent headpiece. We were running late, just to add to the stress, but as I watched myself in the mirror and fretted, the vision I had had of myself as bride began, at last, to come together. Quite suddenly I felt that I looked almost perfect, and as that moment of rightness washed over me, I had a chance to get nervous. I had been so consumed up until that point with the concern that everything wouldn't happen properly that I hadn't had a chance to reflect on what I was about to do.
And so, I breathed.
D left for the audience, and I walked out of the bathroom. shu_al
's husband was standing there, waiting to give the signal. It was about 20 minutes past 2.
I looked out the door into the field and saw the circle of chairs. I saw the attendants waiting with their elemental representations. I saw imlad
, my love, standing at one far corner, his anachronistic finery waving in the wind.
And in the center of the circle, my friends were dancing.
The drummers, who were there to raise energy and accompany the firespinners, had begun playing. regyt
was spinning bright gold flags. water_childe
, among others, were dancing in the circle. As I looked, dreams_of_wings
was being lifted into the sunlight to the sound of drums and spontaneous singing.
In that moment, and in every moment after that and since, I could not have been more moved, grateful, and thrilled to be a part of the community that was there around me. Their love, their joy, their effort, their participatory spirit would not even allow them to be bored waiting for a late ceremony to start: they found a way to begin celebrating right away. In that moment, I knew that everything was going to be perfect. And I wished, as I did many other times that day, that the rest of my family were there.
The message was conveyed and the circle grew silent as people returned to their seats and waited for the ceremony to begin. I propped the door slightly so that I could hear the choir sing. They broke beautifully into Delius' "To Be Sung of a Summer Night on the Water," a wordless expression of ethereal pastoral joy, as the officiants cast. It was a mighty circle they made: I could feel it from where I was.
Then, a moment of silence before the processional. The choir sang "The Heart's Cry," and the attendants, with their elements, processed from the four directions, one pair at a time. The piece ended, and imlad
and I ended up entering the circle in the small space of silence that followed: it seemed somehow appropriate. As I approached the edge of the circle, shaking, grinning my face off, trying not to cry, holding my grandfather's letter that he wrote to my grandmother from the Air Force when my mother was born, imvfd
stood up, and the whole crowd followed. Joy burst in me. I approached the altar, and took imlad
, invoking the Fey, leapt and flipped and pinched me and kissed the groom and broke the solemnity of the moment in exactly the way we hoped he would, and the spell was not broken but intensified.redheadedmuse
's invocation of the Star Goddess was one of the most powerful magical things I have felt; I'm sure the choir's haunting, quiet chant of "You Who Open the Vault of Heaven" helped. _cazador
invoked the Boatman, and the usual heavy, dark, forbidding and loving presence entered our midst. And we were ready to do the work.
My lovely bridesmaids. The handsome groomsmen. They stepped forward one by one and offered such beautiful blessings and readings that I was overwhelmed. I was so happy to be able to involve them in a way that was more than simple witnessing, and I don't think I imagined what beauty they would bring.
We accepted the Boatman's challenge, and drew two cards, whose meaning we have still to divine.
Then came the charging of the rings. We wanted to involve everyone in this process, and so queenofhalves
taught the chant, and encouraged everyone who felt called to to join in with the choir in singing, and to dance, too, if they wished.
The chant began. The drums started. And then, everyone started to stand up.
The spiral dance that redheadedmuse
had wanted somewhere in our ceremony happened spontaneously, joyously, beautifully, and in lieu of a receiving line, I got a chance to look into the eyes of nearly everyone at the wedding as they passed, as we spiraled toward the center and out again, as we raised our voices and our bodies toward sending good vibes toward those wedding bands. I could hardly believe that it happened as it did; I'm still marveling at the pictures. I'm still marveling, too, at bbbsg
, whom a guest I did not know drew into the dance in her wheelchair. I think I almost shouted as she passed in the spiral, dancing with the rest of us, smiling in wonder.
Finally, we read our vows. We decided to write one short text and have both of us read it, changing only the names and husband/wife designations. imlad
got through it solemnly, with a kind of choked up grace. I got to the end before I broke and said the last words, "and maintain a constancy of the highest devotion for as long as I live," in a sobbing cadence, then laughed as I couldn't get the ring on his finger. redheadedmuse
bound our hands and pronounced us married, we kissed the way you do, and the choir sang sen_no_ongakyu
's incredible new piece. Then, drumming by _cazador
and the aforementioned composer, with firespinning by regyt
, during which everyone sat silently and watched, though they were encouraged to join in dancing.
At the end, though, applause and cheering broke out, the wedding party escaped to photographs, and our guests started the party without us.
Pictures and a few minutes at the Lodge after the photographs tell me that a veritable circus took place there before dinner: silks trapezing, hula-hooping, contact improv dancing, labyrinth-walking (pheromone
actually brought a portable labyrinth!), sangria-drinking (thank you, tisana
!) and munching happened simultaneously.
Dinner was a blur of hellos and hugs and tears and love and excellent food (which imlad
and I wisely enjoyed before everyone else came in to dinner), provided by deadwinter
, and non-LJ Andi. The hall looked lovely (thanks ever, lifecollage
, who couldn't be there, for the favors, and rule30
for the decor help), the wine flowed, people stuck leaf-shaped confetti to their foreheads, the music rocked (thank you, Nutz and Dex!), and, strangely, everything went according to plan, only better.
The night wore on, the cake was cut, people started to leave, and then everyone carried the candles from the tables back up to the Lodge. There was a bonfire, more dancing, psytrance, and mostly low-key merriment well into the night, and I felt over and over again rocked in the arms of my loving community.
I want to make a couple of things clear before I end this far-too-long chronicle.
One: if you haven't been directly named here, it is oversight and not ingratitude. Oh, how I love, and how I endlessly thank, every one of you that was there that day.
Two: I don't think I ever fully realized, until that day, the extent of this community's love, support, and commitment to me, to imlad
, and to our union. I don't know if I'll ever stop being profoundly moved by all of you, and by how I felt that day, seeing the way you all made everything happen. There's a part of me, that childish part that's still the little girl nobody is friends with, who still can never quite believe that so many amazing people could ever be more to her than casual acquaintances - or, on worse days, that they're not thinking or saying bad things about her when she's not around. If I'm ever cold or distant, or quiet, if I ever disappear for a time, if I ever seem difficult to reach or hard to be close to, that's why.
And for the first time, at this event, I felt the full force of how much you all care for me, and us, and for each other, and the totality. I felt open to love of all varieties and levels in a way I never had before. I felt, if this makes any sense at all, that the event itself was a vindication of everything I've wanted my life to be: you all made it possible, and made it real. And I didn't shy away from anyone, because I knew you were all here for us, and I could finally feel, without doubts and insecurities, the full measure of your love.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for that, forever.
And for those of you who were invited and couldn't be there: we missed you. We love you. And thank you.
And go here for some pictures
(thank you, mangosteen
, and queenofhalves