I needed one more day without rain.
For two weeks I had checked the weather forecast every day, praying for sun. It hadn’t rained in so long.
A year of planning all rested on mother nature giving us one more good day. But as I opened my eyes on the morning of my wedding, it was pouring, and it was hard to stay calm.
All of the work, all of the money and time, I felt like it was all for nothing.
You see, Megan and I were getting married at a place called Morakami Museum and Gardens. A beautiful park set up as a Japanese Zen garden in the middle of South Florida. It’s one of our favorite places…we just needed good weather to make it work.
My friends and family all tried to reassure me. But it wasn’t working. “Rain on your wedding day is good luck” is a hard pill to swallow when you plan an outdoor wedding.
Megan was with her bridesmaids getting ready, and I knew she was freaking out, too. It was hard not to feel like the universe was working against us.
And all the while I worried that my Meniere’s would make an unwanted introduction.
But somehow, through all of the stress and turmoil of changing the plan at the last minute, it all worked out. When the rain broke for a little while, we got our pictures. We moved the ceremony indoors but were able to have our cocktail hour by the lake outside. In the end, it was really beautiful.
Looking back, it was a whirlwind of family, friendship, emotion, and love. It was chaotic, and amazing, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
It was an incredible reminder on the importance of letting go, accepting change, and the beauty of being present in the moment.
It Takes a Village:
Planning a wedding is a massive undertaking.
There are so many details to consider that it’s easy to get lost, and even easier to get overwhelmed. There are so many moving parts. It really takes a village to get it right.
And the weeks leading up to the wedding were stressful.
Not just from a planning perspective, but from a health perspective, too. The stress was agitating my Meniere’s symptoms, which in turn were causing me more stress.
The closer we got, the more concerned I became with my ability to manage my energy and symptoms over the long weekend ahead of me. And it was hard to explain my fears in a way my family, or even Megan, could understand.
But I wasn’t the only one stressing out. Megan had her own worries and so did our families. I had to be careful to not make it all about me. It was hard.
It often felt like I was planning for something else entirely. They were planning the party; I was planning on how to get through it without incident. I felt like everyone was getting tired of my worrying. In reality, they just didn’t want me to expect the worst, but I couldn’t help it, and it created a sense of guilt I couldn’t shake.
When we finally had a timeline for day of the wedding, and a schedule for the weekend, I made sure to have a plan of my own. I scheduled time to relax, and I also made sure to let other people help, something that has always been hard for me.
My groomsmen, made up of my two younger brothers as my best men, and my 2 closest friends, really came through for me. My parents did too. They made everything as easy as possible for Megan and I, and took the burden off of us when problems arose.
The feeling of love and family was profound.
Planning Makes Perfect:
In a strange way, my wedding was like a microcosm of my life with Meniere’s disease.
I had to try to go with the flow. I had to make changes on the fly and adapt to new circumstances. I had to focus on the positive, and let go of the negative. I had to manage my stress and expectations. And above all else, I had to plan for every possible outcome.
When planning a big event, its usually safe to assume that something will go wrong at one point or another. My wedding weekend was no exception to the rule.
It started when one of my groomsmen missed his flight.
Protests in Philadelphia caused gridlock traffic in the city and my friend missed his plane by three minutes. Fortunately, he was able to get on a later flight, but there was tense period of time when I wasn’t sure he was going to be able to make it down for the wedding at all.
The next disaster, as I mentioned earlier, was the rain. The entire night was planned around an outdoor ceremony. The whole reason Megan and I chose the venue was for the beautiful backdrop, but the rain threatened everything.
In the event of rain, the plan was to move the ceremony indoors to the auditorium, though, Megan and I both felt this defeated the whole purpose of choosing Morakami in the first place. What we didn’t plan for, however, was how we would get our pictures.
In the end, we caught a lucky break. The rain let up for a brief window and we were able to do our first look pictures, and get some incredible shots around the park before the rain picked back up. We were also able to find a dry place, still overlooking the lake, to get our formal pictures with our families.
The last major disaster happened after the wedding, when we got back to the hotel. The thermostat in our room wasn’t working and had been pumping out heat for hours. Our room felt like a sauna and the staff on site couldn’t fix it.
It was three in the morning on my wedding night and I was exhausted and angry.
I feel guilty for getting so upset about it, but at the time it felt like such an injustice and a terrible way to end an incredible night. I had worked hard to keep my emotions in check throughout the day. As stressed out as I was at times, I made sure to keep my cool to be supportive to Megan. But by this point, I was all out of patience. Fortunately, they were able to give us another room at the last moment.
A lot of other things went wrong as well, and with each minor catastrophe, there was a moment when I felt like it would all fall apart.
But in the end, we had planned properly, and were able to roll with the punches. Despite my fear, my Meniere’s symptoms stayed in check, too, with only minor passing dizziness to contend with.
I count the night as a resounding success.
Enjoy the Moment:
In the weeks leading up to our wedding, a lot of people gave me the same advice: to enjoy myself.
But it wasn’t until the middle of the reception that I truly understood what they meant.
Sitting at our sweetheart table, waiting for dinner, I suddenly realized I was somewhere else. I was caught up in the details; worrying about everyone else having a good time. I wasn’t paying attention.
I tried to think back to how the night had progressed, and it all seemed like a blur. The whole week leading up to the wedding, too. I took a deep breath. I wanted to remember.
And for a brief moment, I let it all go. I was present. I was having fun. I danced and laughed and spent time with the people I truly care about. It felt good.
The whole night still feels like a whirlwind; more scattered images than story book. But I remember how I felt. I remember the moment when I started to enjoy myself.
If I had to sum it all up in a word, it would be family.
My family has its flaws, but it works for us, and on my wedding night, I felt a sense of family like I never had before. I’m grateful I was aware enough to notice it.
Meniere’s disease can make life seem impossible at times. If you are an analytical person like me, it can take your anxiety and worries to new heights.
But your life isn’t over. And no matter how hard things may seem, you will also have moments of beauty and peace. You will have opportunities for happiness and experiences of love. You will have good days, and great days too.
The only question is, when they happen, will you know? Will you appreciate it for what it is? And will you be present enough to notice?
On my wedding day, I noticed, and I am forever grateful.
Always remember, you have the power to notice, too.
Thank you to everyone for all of your well wishes and congratulations over the last few weeks. Megan and I really felt the love, and love you all for it.