Saturday, March 29, 2014

Convalidation Conundrum, part III of II

Wait – what?  Yeah, you read that right.  It’s my blog and I can have a part 3 out of 2 if I want to.  It’s not as if I changed the laws of physics.  Sheesh.

Anyway, we finally got everything done.  The paperwork, the pre-Cana, the FOCCUS, the paperwork, the dispensation for me to marry an unbaptized person, the decree of nullity, and oh did I mention the paperwork?  Apparently “Thou shalt kill trees to support Church bureaucracy” is the long-lost 11th commandment.

You may recall if you read this and/or this that I was still on the fence about what, if anything, we should do to celebrate.  My mother-in-law was lobbying hard for us to have the ceremony on our 5th wedding anniversary in June, and for a while that was the tentative plan.  But then Father called in early November and told us that all the approvals from the Archdiocese were received, everything was in order, and we could have the ceremony whenever!

All I could think about was how much I missed being able to receive Communion at Mass, so I REALLY didn’t want to wait until June to plan something big.  But when I talked to my husband it turned out that he actually wanted to do a celebration.  He does so much to support and celebrate our friends’ weddings; he wanted a chance to be the groom.  Okay.  So I called Father back and we set a date for the middle of December, six weeks from then.  And prepared for a whirlwind.

That afternoon I found and bought my dress.  In 30 minutes.  It was the first one I tried on.  I tried on a second dress, but I liked the first one the best.  Well, that was quick.  Immediately a weight was lifted off my shoulders, because I thought that part would take the longest.

Soon everything fell into place - dresses for the girls (one of which will get repurposed as a First Communion dress in spring - super win!), hair appointments, makeup decisions, flower package from Sam's Club ordered, tux for my husband, tux for the baby (so, so cute!), and a family member as a photographer.  Also, with my floor-length dress, I decided to just wear my usual black socks and gray shoes under the dress.  Well, no one could tell, so why did it matter?

One thing we couldn't quite decide on right away - what are we doing after the ceremony?  We didn't really want to pay for a full-blown reception.  Plus, neither one of us really cared about most of the trappings of a reception, anyway.  Not the cake, not the bouquet toss, none of the usual reception activities.  I thought it would have been nice to have some dancing, but it wasn't worth it to me to pay for the entire reception just for dancing.  So we settled on paying for a nice dinner for everyone after the ceremony.  That was our plan, and we were okay with it.

Fast forward to December, with ONE WEEK to go, my mother-in-law announces that we "need to" have a reception, and that she will pay for it.  My jaw hit the floor.  How in the hell is this going to even be possible?!  Well, it turns out that when you decide to have a wedding in the middle of December, plenty of places have availability!  Also, planning the reception isn't as much trouble as I thought it would be, since most places seem to have "wedding packages" - almost as if they've done this before.

Since the place needed a final headcount 48 hours after we booked the reception (with FIVE DAYS to go at this point), we begin a mad rush, calling the people we've invited to get a firm yea or nay.  Surprise!  Almost no one knew they were invited.  What the hell?  I stormed over to my husband's best friend and demanded an answer.  He is the social ringleader for our group and also works with everyone else in our group, so he was supposed to invite everyone.  Well, it turns out that while he told them the date of the convalidation, he didn't tell anyone a time, a place, or even the fact that they were invited.  Great.  The good news is, even with being invited at the last minute (grumble), most people could make it and we got our headcount.

So with only a handful of evenings left (and this is a GREAT time to suddenly be super busy at work), my husband and I picked out all the music and saved it to a playlist, to be played on shuffle at the event.  Now, this actually took a while, because while I love to dance, most of the top radio hits are absolute crap in my book.  So I vetoed probably about 90% of the suggestions sent my way; this was my ONE bridezilla moment and I am not ashamed.

Overall, it was exactly the event that we wanted.  We had about 20 people come - friends and close family.  Father heard my confession beforehand - I couldn't even get through "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned" before the tears started streaming down my face - very cleansing feeling!  The ceremony took place in a charming little chapel, Father told a touching personal story, and there are a couple of pictures of me holding my baby boy while we said our vows (he got fussy so I held him).  Both my girls were breathtakingly beautiful.  Afterward, we had food, alcohol (but not for the kids!) and lots of conversation and dancing.  At the end of the night the baby passed out in a port-a-crib in the back of the room.  I could go on about every perfect detail but this is a blog post, not a novel.  So just picture how you would feel / felt at sharing your wedding with everyone you love - THAT is how I felt.

And that's the end of the story!  We finally did it!

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