herstory_5 Claires Story about her Wedding DayThe very first thing that I remember from the morning of the wedding was my dear friend Liz saying that the alarm hadn’t gone off and we’d overslept- just what every bride wants to hear on her wedding day. The five of us who had spent the night together (Jill, Meg, Liz, Nicole, and me) rushed around to get ready, grab a bite to eat, and get to the salon to get our hair done. We raced over the Mt. Hope Bridge and were only about 10 minutes late for our appointments at the salon, which was no small feat for 5 women sharing one bathroom. The next mini-crisis came when we arrived at the hair salon to find that there was only one person to do everyone’s hair (that’s one bride, five bridesmaids, my Mom and Greg’s Mom). We made the most of our time by painting our nails while we waited. From the salon, we headed to get some lunch at a nearby bagel shop. It was wonderful to relax a little with the bridesmaids and our Moms at the bagel shop. We sat around and had some laughs. If I hadn’t been wearing a veil and tiara, it could have been any other day!

The sky was getting pretty dark at this point and the wind was picking up, so I had a feeling that the ceremony was going to have to be moved outside. I was a little disappointed, as the grounds of Glen Manor are beautiful when everything is in bloom. However, the one piece of wedding day advice I really tried to take to heart was to not let any minor glitches upset the day and to keep some perspective on why this whole day was taking place. I knew that rain or shine, I was still going to end the day married to a wonderful man, and after I thought about that a little, the rain didn’t seem to matter.

We picked up a few things at the Marriot and then headed to Glen Manor. I was a little panicked at this point because we were running behind schedule and arrived at Glen Manor just as the groomsmen were scheduled to arrive. Luckily the groomsmen were running late too and weren’t there either. I ran upstairs with my dress and set up camp in the bridesmaids’ dressing room. We had a long narrow room with a large table, bathroom, and windows facing the river. It’s a good thing we had such a large room, as one bride, five bridesmaids, two mothers, and a ceremony reader take up lots of room with make-up, dresses, and industrial strength garment steamers. It was still too early to get ready but I was very antsy, so Sandra (bridesmaid and one of Greg’s sister) located a radio and got the music going. I danced around while my responsible bridesmaid, Jennifer (also Greg’s sister) began steaming the bridesmaids dresses. (You thought I was kidding about the industrial strength garment steamer?) My sister and Maid of Honor, Jill, made sure that I stayed nice and calm. We had a few minutes to just chat, look out at the river, and discuss how insane it was that I was getting married . Eventually it was time to get ready and Liz (my friend from college, who performed a reading during the ceremony) applied my make-up while the other bridesmaids got ready. Once I was in my slip, Meg (also a friend from college)  pinned a penny that Greg’s Mom had given to me for good luck to my slip- it had a blue crochet covering, so technically it was something new and blue. Now came the very delicate process of getting the bride into the dress. Luckily, Nicole (my roommate from high-school) is a seasoned bridesmaid pro and managed to get me into the dress without disturbing my hair and/ or make-up. I was ready to go!

Now that I was dressed a few people stopped in to see me, including my five year old cousin Allison, who thought I looked “just like a princess”. My Mom had been doing pretty well up till this point but when my grandmothers stopped in to see “Claire Coffey for the last time”, she lost it. The bridesmaids decided that we needed some more music to lighten the situation, so in my final minutes as Claire Coffey I danced around to The Fugees “Killing Me Softly” with all of my best friends.

Finally, we got the go ahead that it was time to start the ceremony. As the bridesmaids lined up in the hallway, my Dad and I stood on the stairs and listened to the harp and flute music. Once the bridesmaids were in the ballroom and my song began, Dad and I started our walk down the hallway towards the ballroom. I could see Greg from the very end of the hallway, but he wasn’t looking at me. As my Dad and I entered the ballroom, Greg looked up and I could see the tears in his eyes. In the four years I’ve known Greg, I had never seen him even get choked up. My Dad presented me to the officiate and as I stepped forward to begin the ceremony, I leaned over to give Greg a kiss. It was just a reflex- for the last four years, when I see Greg for the first time I give him a kiss. It startled me when he jumped away from me like I had cooties, but everyone giggled and it broke the tension.

Once the ceremony started, I remember trying not to laugh, trying not to cry, and most of all, being so happy!  See Claire’s Wedding Photos.

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