There was a lot of things happening simultaneously. I slipped on my shoes and grabbed my clutch and my bouquet. My dad loaded up the bellhop cart, the same cart that we kept in our hotel room overnight so that I could keep my wedding dress hanging from up high, with things like my reception dress, my "important" bin, my "accessories" bin and my "makeup" bin. I think there were also a few other things on there, including the shopping bag that the florist brought that had the boxes with each corsage and boutonniere. My dad asked the photographer if she wanted to load her gear onto the cart. She said, "No thanks, my camera bag has wheels."
I opened up my laptop one more time. I went to Facebook and did two things. One, I posted an update to our Facebook wedding group that we were now going to hold the ceremony in the pavilion with the covered sides, so as to protect our guests from the windy weather (that was a decision I thought was made on my phone call with Ken. The one where I was barely listening to him). Two, I went to my Facebook news feed and typed in the status message "about to leave for the wedding" and asked the photographer to capture it while I had my mouse hovered over the word "Post." Then I had her take another photo of it right after I posted it. (Sorry, I wanted to post that photo, but there are just too many last names in the photo to pixelate out. It was awesome though!) Here’s a picture of me at my computer though.
We took the elevator down to the lobby. By the way, the hotel we stayed at was a lovely one, but fuck if their elevators had no temperature control! Seriously, it was like riding an elevator outside. Freezing cold. Of course, I was hating the fact that it was so cold on our wedding day, especially since it was THE ONLY DAY OF THE 10 DAY FORECAST that was cold. But whatever, there was nothing we could do.
We got off the elevator and waited for my sister to pull around the car. I was with my mom, my dad, my five year old nephew, and my dad’s cousin. I was SO excited. It was TIME TO LEAVE FOR MY WEDDING. Jitters were gone, no more rumbly tumbly in my tummy. I was set.
My sister pulled up with her SUV. As I walked out the automatic doors of the hotel, I heard my mom say, "Oh, wait a second, let me see the back of your dress."
Cue panicked feeling.
My cousin said, "oh yeah, look at that." I was picturing a rip. Picturing some sort of giant gash of a tear in the back of my dress. My mom and cousin walked up behind me and touched the middle of my back. In my calmest voice possible, I said, "oh no, is it a tear?" I tried to be rational, and I reminded myself that I had an entire other dress to wear. For a moment, I kicked myself for not making an emergency sewing kit. They tugged at it. Nope, it wasn’t a tear. It just bunched somehow. They straightened it and I was good to do.
My heart started beating again.
My dad was driving, I sat in the passenger seat, and my mom, nephew, and cousin all sat in the backseat. My sister took a few photos as we all climbed into the car. I don’t remember what was discussed during the car ride. I guess I could ask my family. I could tell that my nephew was excited.
We got on I-95 for two exits. I had learned of a side road way to get to the venue, but I forgot to tell my parents about it. Traffic was heavy for just those two exits. That was exactly why I had decided to stay at a hotel closer to the venue instead of staying at home, 20 miles north on I-95.
We got off the exit and drove down the main road to get to the venue. About a mile before we would enter the cellphone "dead zone," I called the landline in the Mess Hall from my cell phone. A family friend answered, the same family friend that had been staying at the campground and helped cook our rehearsal dinner. I asked for Ken. She said he was in the pavilion. I told her where I was and that we’d be there in a few minutes. She said she’d relay the message to Ken.
We’re driving. And driving. AND HOLY SHIT WE JUST MISSED THE TURN TO THE VENUE. The same turn I had been using for days on end now. The same turn where MY A-FRAME CHALKBOARD SIGN SAT INDICATING THAT IT WAS MELISSA AND KEN’S WEDDING.
Cue middle-of-the-road U-turn.
Good for a laugh. Please no other cars come and t-bone us. #ThisIsTheDefinitionOfDistractedDriving
We turned down the gravel road that would take us to the campground. There were all sorts of cars there and parked already. Guests were arriving for our wedding. OUR WEDDING. The day was HERE. I started literally shaking with excitement.