Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do,
Yeah, they were all yellow.
If I wanted to give my friend Pastry the perfect wedding present, I could not imagine a better gift than the lovely Texas day she had for her lovely Texas wedding.
Before this weekend, Texas was a hot, sprawling notion; a dry, tan idea of a place; another country. But Texas was sun and sunsets and hospitality and warm welcomes. Texas was drowsy and drunk with fun. Texas was golden. A yellow rose indeed.
Me and most of my favorite people in the world converged on the Dallas airport Friday morning, arriving in varying degrees of coherence and mood. Beck and her husband had been out until 3:00 the night before at a concert; I spent Thursday night much more sedately but still managed to obsess over what to pack for a good two hours. And, for those keeping track, the white-pants-cute-top-for-the-rehearsal-dinner was scrapped, a shitload of money was spent on a truly fabulous skirt, and all the derivative outfits had to be re-thought.
But by 11:00 am I was in the backseat of Brit's car and her husband was cursing loudly as we navigated the World's Most Spread Out Airport, formerly known as DFW. We found our hotel, ate, cleaned our sloppy selves up, and took a minute to note how GOOD the sun felt on our pale and pasty New York skin. Then we walked around the corner to the church and joined the rest of the wedding party, learned when to sit and when to stand and practiced walking down the aisle. Brit, Em, Beck and I are all married, and I think all would agree that the feeling of walking down the aisle knowing you are NOT the bride is fantastic. Walk slow, smile pretty, thank you very much for coming, the end.
And Pastry and her fiancÚ were glowing. Well, that's not entirely true. Pastry was golden and glowing, Todd was crying. Crying, crying, more crying. Which was extremely sweet and caused the rest of us to consider whether or not our husbands loved us enough, because none spent their own rehearsal with tears streaming down their faces, overcome by our beauty and grace. I felt our husbands groaning from wherever they were (golf course for some, airport for one, NYC for mine) thinking, Jesus Christ dude, why did you have to go and CRY like that because NONE of these girls will EVER forget that we didn't cry and you did.
We finished rehearsing at 5:00 and stepped outside to discover it had gotten even sunnier and warmer, somehow, and walked back to the hotel thrilled not to have to account for wraps or jackets in the evening's outfits. And then the primping began. We met back up at 6:30 and eyed each other's outfits appreciatively. Consensus was that my Million Dollar Skirt was worth it, and we piled into cars and headed for downtown Dallas, sun reflecting off the tall buildings of the city, all of which are mirrored. Hey Dallas, what's with all the mirrored buildings?
The rehearsal dinner was fantastic. Todd's mother is a goddess of design and transformed the room into a gorgeous fiesta - lanterns, bright fabric, cold beer, good wine, beautiful flowers, tons of people. And the weather - glorious. It was balmy, people...BALMY! I felt more relaxed at that dinner, mere hours after arriving from New York, than I did for the first three days of my own honeymoon. Eventually the sun dipped low and the stars came out and so did the food. And let me just say that THE FOOD OH DEAR GOD THE FOOD WAS SO GOOD AND GUACAMOLE + MOLLY = TL4E.
I'm not sure if it was the warm breeze or the wine or the hot Spanish teenagers talking about motorbikes and beautiful American women, but as speeches began, I found myself standing (and I swear it happened almost in slow-motion, or time-delay, or something), with a microphone in my hand. I hope to god that my toast was eloquent and thoughtful, or at least short and sweet. Or really, just somewhat bearable. But it's a blur, I'm afraid. I know I blabbed about feeling as if something that had been missing was found, and that at the end I said Let's raise our glasses to the power of love (which ICK might have been really, really lame) but mid-toast I got choked up and no one pointed and laughed, so I'm assuming I gave a good, albeit spontaneous, toast. The night was perfect. And the best part? Was that we got GOODIES!! Todd's amazing mother had wrapped each of the chairs (and there were over 60) with bright scarves and at the end of the night it was a free-for-all among the girls for colors. I came away with a yellow, a pink and a green - the green was my coup de grace, as it was the ONLY one of its color and I had to distract a woman with an infant in her arms to get it.
Back at the hotel Brit and I grabbed a nightcap at the bar and discussed the fact that among other things, we loved Dallas, people from Dallas, the weather in Dallas, the houses in Dallas, and being a cute bridesmaid at a fancy wedding in Dallas. Then we crashed.
I woke up early, about 7:00, and sunlight was literally streaming through my window, onto my bed. It was like something from a bad, bad movie, because I even sat up in bed and stretched my arms above me while I yawned. I took my sweet ass time getting ready and had coffee (and then had a few moments of regretting drinking as much as I did the night before, but my stomach settled and those moments passed). Pastry met us at the hotel and we took our beaming bride to the church to deposit all of our dresses and shoes and makeup and other girly crap, then stopped by the groom's parent's house and oohhed and ahhhed when we saw the GIANT FUCKING TENT erected in the front yard. We went to the nail salon and got pampered by gracious southern ladies with blond hair and warm accents. We got our hair done by snarky, fabulous Euro-stylists. While the other girls were finishing, Pastry and I went around the corner to the smoothie shop (must keep the bride from getting hungry!) and she with her tiara and me with my updo stood in line while four hulking guys from the Dallas SWAT Team came in and we each played Who Doesn't Belong Here, because it really was funny to see the bride in all her bridal beauty standing next to the Hulk. But the SWAT team needed smoothies too, or at least, a giant vat of protein powder.
We went to the church and got beautiful and slipped our bride into her dress. We tried our best to keep her calm. She paced and we fluffed and primped and told jokes and danced. The blinds were drawn on the windows but cracks of light were squeaking through, and soon we could see shadows moving. We peeked outside and first saw the groomsmen. Then guests. Then I started shaking and Pastry tried to stay calm. Then someone told us it was time. We kissed and hugged the bride and told her we loved her. We'll see you at the other end of the aisle, we said. We lined up with the groomsmen, who in my mind were stunned by our collective hotness. Shut up, they totally were. I was first down the aisle, and I was SHAKING, but the nice groomsman took my arm and then it was all okay and it was beautiful and tender and sincere and tears and joy and kisses and laughter and WOW, it is so much easier being a bridesmaid than the bride!
Pastry and Todd ducked into the waiting Rolls-Royce (yeah, I know) and drove off, and we headed to the beautiful, beautiful reception to which I will never be able to fully do justice. It was early evening, the lawn was lush, the trees were canopying the yard, the sunlight was downright obscene it was so gorgeous filtering through the leaves and twinkling off the pool. The pool, which had a dance floor on one end and the raw bar to its right. A beignet bar around the back. And nice men who kept my glass full of champagne all night long. The house was stunning, the food was fantastic, and let me again tell you again about the raw bar, because it was so freaking good. Champagne and oysters are wicked together. Wicked, I tell you, and if you consider the fact that I ditched Kent in New York and had groomsmen and teenage Spanish boys and hot cousins of the groom at my ready, it is a miracle I made it home at all because if any one of those people had suggested running away to Mexico, I would likely be writing this from a cabana in Zihuatanejo.
It was just the most lovely, warm, sunny, fun, elegant, relaxed, perfect wedding I have ever attended, and that includes mine, which was lovely but required far more work on my part. It really was one of the most golden, perfect, delightful nights I can remember. The stars came out, and deep in the heart of Texas we sent our bride off with a shower of rose petals. I hope she knows it wasn't just luck that gave her the perfect day and night, that someone was watching out for her, and for all of us, and that the stars really did shine for her, at least a little bit. The bride and groom drove off, but the champagne still sparkled, the band still played. I fell a little bit in love with everyone there.
Brit and I stayed up past 2:00 am talking, and both realized how sad we were that the weekend was ending. I woke up the next morning and went walking in the sun. I had brunch with a good friend and got a little sunburned, but I cannot tell you just how good that Texas sun felt.