I left you all with the wonderful image of Branden and I peacefully enjoying our time with our nephew at my in-laws house for our rehearsal dinner. After 'sneaking' a suitable amount of cake to ensure a very wound up 2 1/2 year old, we were snuggling together on the stairs when I started to feel some stomach pain and an ache in my side. As it was becoming more uncomfortable, I told Branden that I would be fine but I just wanted to go upstairs to his room and lay down on his bed for a bit. He went to mingle and I had a little lie down to try and settle my stomach. I had eaten quite a load of incredible food so I must have just stuffed myself a bit too much...but it kept getting worse.
My maid of honor Chrissy came up to see what was up and I was riling in pain when she found me. Tears were coming quickly as I struggled with the pain in my side and she tried to soothe me by saying it was just 'pre-wedding jitters'. I told her that I wasn't nervous at all and I had been looking forward to this day my whole life and I wanted nothing more than to marry Branden, but this was the worst pain I had ever felt in my life! She decided to go get my mom and inform Branden of my worsening condition and soon I had a small roomful of people. The pain was excruciating and it finally reached breaking point when the vomiting started. Luckily Branden's best man was an almost graduated nursing student at the time and he came in to see what he could do to help. Between him and my sister, I was soon in someone's car headed to the Emergency Room.
I have heard horrible stories of people spending hours in an ER waiting room, which weren't a comfort at a time when I was experiencing the worst pain of my life and was throwing up more than the girl in the Exorcist. Luckily they gave me a barf bag as I waited...but the fact that the bag was clear and had measuring marks on it didn't help much. My mom arrived soon behind us, which I knew because of her shoes (since I was bent over my bag), and thankfully I was called to go into the ER. Both my mom and Branden walked me up to the double swinging doors where they were informed that only one could come in with me. There was a defining moment as my mom had to hesitate and let her baby girl go on without her, knowing that I was soon to be a wife and it was time to let my soon to be husband take care of me.
After some poking and prodding I was hooked up to an IV full of something wonderful and my concern then turned to the thought that the IV was in the back of my left hand...where it was sure to leave a lovely bruise for ring photos! The doctor informed us that the culprit was a kidney stone and the only thing I could really do was wait it out and hope it passed quickly. Not knowing if I was going to have to spend the night or not, I told Branden that I didn't care if we had to lay my wedding dress over the top of me in a hospital bed and drag the pastor in, we were getting married tomorrow! The doctor was very nice, gave me some Percocet and anti-nausia pills, told me to drink lots of water and gave me a paper funnel to strain my urine in hopes of finding the pesky kidney stone. I may have been drugged up, but seriously, a paper funnel!? I was told it could take days for this thing to work it's way out of my system and I didn't really think a paper funnel would hold up, let alone be something I'd be packing in my honeymoon bag!
I was also told by the doctor that someone needed to watch over me that night, and since Branden and I were 'legally' married, we decided it would be best for him to watch over me (plus, it was pretty obvious that nothing would happen!). We left the ER at about 12:30am. Our first night together wasn't exactly what we imagined with me funneling my pee and being a bit loopy from the pain meds. We survived the night and the next day I told Branden that it wasn't good luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding, to which we both laughed and said, "How much worse can it get?". Oh so naive...
Chrissy came to pick me up and take me to get my hair done. When we arrived at the hair dresser's salon we discovered that the power was out! It wasn't just out at the salon but it was out all through town! I called my mom at the church to find out if the power was out there and luckily their power was not affected. So the hairdresser pinned the front of my hair up and I called my sis to bring her curling iron to the church to finish it. Luckily my sis has this random knack for doing hair so she got to work on the bridesmaids. My cousin's girlfriend at the time also came and helped out since she was a hairdresser. Branden found out that our MC for the reception wasn't going to make it so he ended up jumping around trying to find someone to fill in. A few people later and he managed to snag a past roommate from undergrad (who did a great job).
Before the ceremony, my mom came and informed me that my Uncle had been in a car accident on his way to the church. He was ok but he wasn't going to make it to the church. When my sister got married, my mom took her up to a quiet place in the church and scared the crap out of her by telling her that if she wanted to call off the entire wedding right then and there that she would take care of it and it would be fine. This is nothing to do with my brother-in-law because the entire family loves him and is so proud of him. My mom just wanted to make sure this is what my sis wanted. I did not get this speech, however. My mom and dad nabbed me in a hallway, put their arms around me, and prayed. There was no way they were going to let anything take away from my wedding day.
Fifteen minutes before the ceremony, I popped my anti-naseau meds and percocet and stood with my dad in the 'mother's room' that looked out to the sanctuary but nobody could see in. Branden and I put together a photo slideshow of our fun adventures and set them to Dashboard Confessionals "You have stolen my heart" and Chantal Kreviazuk "Home". As the Newsboys song "Something Beautiful" came on, cuing the bridesmaids and groomsmen, I watched from my dark room as Branden walked out to the place where he would take me as his wife. Dang, I was tearing up before I even hit the isle! I told my dad, "Look at him! He looks so good in his tux!" He had convinced me that he was going to wear a white tux, which I at first resisted but it was amazing! Everyone in place, it was my turn now. The music started and it was perfect. The Verve "Bittersweet Symphony", just the intro instrumental, and when the drums kicked in, the double doors opened and I bawled my way down the isle.
The wedding itself was perfect. I don't know if there was a dry eye in the church especially when we read our own vows to each other and Branden played his song to me. The service was probably only 20 minutes long and we walked out of the church to Coldplay's "Viva la Vida". Our pastor told Branden that it was the best music he'd heard at a wedding.
Ceremony over, we discovered a few more issues. Our wedding videographer didn't make it to the ceremony... I was besides myself. It was beautiful and perfect, and I was on strong pain killers so I don't remember most of it! I still am frustrated about it but we do have some footage of our reception. There were also 2 separate family members that had miscarriages. Since it is a private and painful matter, I won't go into details but thankfully both of them have had beautiful babies since then.
The reception was a whirlwind that I don't remember a lot of due to lack of sleep and pain meds but the cake was fabulous! We had beautiful speeches, which luckily we do have on video, and lots of wonderful friends and family telling us it was one of the most touching weddings they had attended. There was a very painful moment at the end as we had to say goodbye to my sis and our nephew before we drove off because they were going back to California, and with us moving to Scotland, we didn't know when we would see them again. Thank goodness their plans changed a bit and we got to see them one last time when we were on our way back from our honeymoon.
Looking back at it, it was a nightmare in some ways but it was also the fairy tale I had always dreamed of. I got my Prince Charming in the end and that was all I really wanted anyway.
One last thing. To this day when my mom is asked how I managed to make it through my wedding day, she simply says, "With 4 inch heels and Percocet!"
All of our photos were taken by our friend Kim Butler of Fleur de Lis Photography