by Mara » May 25, 2004 Howdy and hello all! Or should I say as they do in Tahitian...Iorana! We''re back...got in late on Sunday night and went to bed at 1am...to wake up feeling slightly more alive at 1pm! We had been traveling for 24 hours...Tahiti is not THAT far in terms of flight miles, but the airports are small there and flights are erratic, so we had a 4 hour layover and an 8 hour layover so there was alot of sporadic sleeping on hard chairs and in uncomfortable airline chairs...the bed was a slice of heaven to us upon arriving home, especially since my mom had come over and washed our sheets and aired the house out for us yesterday! The trip was absolutely amazing...all almost-3-weeks of it. In Hawaii, we had a few days to relax before the masses started arriving, I alluded to this in another post here on the forum, but it''s incredibly difficult to be playing host and hostess in a partially unfamiliar place AND be preparing for a wedding. You want to make sure everyone is welcomed, having fun but in the meantime you also have to be running errands and thinking of the last-minute details. Two of my friends were beyond invaluable to me, one was somewhat reluctant since she was on vacation, but I coerced her into things. Without those two and especially her...I don''t know what I would have done the last 2 days before the wedding. Lots of small things to remember..and parties and people to attend to as well. The wedding day was a strange mix of relaxation (in the morning) and stress (in the afternoon as the minutes counted down). The morning seemed to go by very slowly, and I was blessedly alone for some of the time...but come 12 noon, things seemed to pick up, everyone was in a flurry, people visiting, getting ready, eating lunch, hair and makeup done, finding XYZ and sending helper #1 to tell ABC to do DEF. The minutes counting down to the wedding were seriously down to the wire. With about an hour to go, my hair was just being finished and there were still 3 gals to go with makeup. I hadn''t even showered and vendors were setting up and everyone seemed to need to ask me questions. Considering that I had this all planned out, it was all in MY head, so my helpers were frustrated by having to come search me down to ask where I wanted the vases or the candles...and the vendors were only familiar with me so they were doing the same thing. The funniest thing is that I wasn''t really STRESSED at this point, I knew everything WOULD get done, but I just wondered what sort of odd timetable we''d be on at the last minutes. It turns out I dressed for my wedding in about less than 10 minutes. Thankfully I could do it on my own with my simple dress since my bm''s were still getting their makeup done and rushing into their own dresses. It was a bit surreal and at times I wondered about those movies where the gals getting married are being attended to by 10 friends and many family members, but everyone was busy! It was kind of nice though, since while I was getting dressed I had about 10000 things on my mind...making small talk or convincing my mother I was not nervous was not on the agenda. When I was almost done, my mom came in and fussed with my hair and veil, the photographer snapped his first pictures of me in my gown and getting my veil put on about 5 minutes before we went down the aisle! No time for solitary or group pictures, though thankfully I had the foresight to send helper #2 to bully the boys a few cottages down into getting ready early enough to take their own group pictures as well as the family members. Later, it would come to me at the end of the long evening and I would realize that while making sure all the other pictures and people were taken care of, I had forgotten what some may consider the most important pictures....pictures of just the bride. Oh well. Once I realized this, I also came to the conclusion that pictures of me alone are not ones that anyone would necessarily consider framing. The last gal got her makeup done literally minutes to the wedding, thankfully she was dressed and ready to go. Lined up the troops, sent the helpers out a few minutes earlier to cue the music and seat the guests. We were 15 minutes late to start but considering I''m always late, no one was really surprised. Everything from this point on was a huge blur. Made it down the aisle, everything looked spectacuarly beautiful and in-place, and realized as the pastor greeted us that I had forgotten to read and memorize my vows to Greg! I had written them MONTHS ago and they sat silently and untouched in my room. Moment of panic and then I made something up that was somewhat close...but in the meantime, that moment of sheer panic had combined with the stress and emotion of the moment and I burst out bawling as the pastor handed me the microphone to speak to Greg. Somehow I made it through a few lines of something (don''t even recall what but apparently people were touched since they later told me I made them cry when I started to cry). The most ironic part of this is that I am NOT an emotional person at all, anyone who knows me pretty well knows that I am not a crier and I think 99% of the people in my life have never seen me tear up. So not surprising that me breaking down in tears during the ceremony would shock most to tears of their own. The ceremony went very fast, too fast almost, after my first emotional outburst I was just fine...Greg was steady as he said his vows and his own special words (very nice ones btw), we exchanged the rings and then were pronounced husband and wife. Signed the marriage license, took lots of pictures, partied the night away after eating dinner. Everyone had a spectacular time, you could tell by the number of people on the dance floor vs sitting down. The DJ was great, my song list was a hit....the setup and decor was breathtaking. Everything went very well, and it was definitely something neither of us nor our friends and family will ever forget. I was so happy that I eschewed the big local wedding for something more tropical and private, because I hardly think the food or cake will be the thing foremost in people''s minds when they recall our wedding. Mission accomplished. Oh and our rings look absolutely fabulous too, of course. After the wedding, it was a little surreal because we were still playing host and hostess for 2 more days to guests, esp those that we don''t see that often. Spent alot of time piecemeal with various families and people...again this is where the destination wedding can kind of bite you in the ass. We were looking fwd to getting away from EVERYONE for the honeymoon in Tahiti and were glad we didn''t decide to just do another week in Hawaii. We needed to travel again to feel as though we were ''getting away'' from all the wedding stuff. Sent off the final guests and then took off ourselves for our honeymoon on Sat May 15. Didn''t realize until we landed in Papeete on the big island of Tahiti that we had no cell phone coverage and that the islands of French Polynesia are *really* French!