If you're familiar with Chicago weather you know that it is unpredictable. We haven't had much of a summer so far. June was pretty random...cold, cloudy, hot, rainy, stormy and so on. The day of our rehearsal (June 19) I drove out to the western suburbs with my soon-to-be sister-in-law. We had a fun day of manicures, pedicures and lunch ahead of us. Then it would be on to the church and rehearsal dinner. The weather was looking pretty strange - the sky just north of us was dark and scary looking (we were worried for the guys - 20 of them were golfing in Oak Brook that morning). Needless to say, horrible storms ripped through most of the northwest suburbs, but didn't hit Oak Brook or Hinsdale (where both our ceremony and reception were to be held). I let out a big sigh of relief and went on with the rest of my day. I guess the weather gods weren't done with me yet. That night, around 7pm, more storms ripped through the suburbs, this time in our area. The rehearsal dinner went on as planned (it was wonderful!), and we didn't know what (big) problems loomed ahead.
Unfortunately, my dad had not been feeling well the week leading up to my wedding. He wasn't feeling much better at the rehearsal dinner, so he headed home a little early. My mom and I were planning on following a few minutes later, as I was going to be sleeping at my parent's house the night before the wedding (my last time as a "single" lady). Bad news...my dad called to say that they had NO POWER at the house and a huge tree was down in the driveway. Not good. I had a minor freak out, but wasn't too worried yet, as the town of Hinsdale seemed to be fine - the restaurant and church still had electricity. Just to be safe, however, I decided to call over to the country club (where we were having our reception) to make sure things were okay. I didn't get an answer...
I started freaking out a bit more. I couldn't believe this was happening - the storms hadn't seemed that bad - and they hadn't lasted more than an hour. To make sure things were okay, I made my mom drive by our florist's shop which was located in the next town over. Things looked fine - their lights were on - hallelujah! Then we headed over to the country club. As we pulled up to the cross streets, things looked dark (pitch black, actually). The traffic lights were out. We pulled into the drive to find that my worst nightmare was coming true...they had lost all of their power and were not sure when they would get it back. It was now about 11:30pm the night before my wedding!
There was nothing we could do to help the situation, so I went back to my parents house to retrieve my things (using a flashlight and candle). I would just stay at the hotel where all of our guests (and Luke) were at...they confirmed that they had both a room and working electricity. My mom drove me over to the hotel and I took no more than 3 steps toward the door when there was a "pop," and the whole building (all 20+ floors/ 400+ rooms) went black. Are you f**king kidding me?! I dropped to the ground and started sobbing. What had I done to deserve this kind of luck? More phone calls were made, and I ended up staying at my Aunt Karen's house a few towns over. Surprisingly enough, I think I managed to get 5 or 6 hours of sleep that night...I just prayed that everything would be okay by the morning.
Nope. I woke up to find that my parent's house, the reception site and our hotel still had NO POWER. Meanwhile, my dad was feeling worse and almost had to admit himself to the hospital earlier in the morning. Nothing was looking good. The country club was calling to talk through "alternative" plans. I had to stay composed (as much as possible) because we had to come up with a new plan for where to get ready. We were supposed to get ready in the gorgeous (recently renovated) women's locker room at the country club. The groomsmen and Luke were planning on getting ready at the hotel. Now, neither were going to happen. I was calling my hair stylist, photographer and florist at 7:30am to tell them that plans were changing. My mom found a close-by hotel for us to get ready at, while the guys went to a family friend's home to prepare. My stomach was in knots, but I had to keep myself (somewhat) together. I was still getting married later that day...
Before I get to the good part (where my luck started to turn around), I have to say that I can't thank my mom enough. She was the glue that held me & and the whole situation together. I love her more than she'll ever know. She was strong through the whole thing (which I really needed) and she helped solve so many problems. My bridesmaids and friends and family were wonderful too. I couldn't have gotten through it without them.
So my perfectly planned day (that I had worked on so hard, for so long) did not get off to a good start (to put it lightly). I made an executive call that we were not going to change the venue for the reception. The country club assured us that they had enough generators for lights, the DJ and the food. We were just going to go "al fresco" and have an "open air" reception. No AC, so all the windows would be open and they might have to grill food outside on the patio. Not my dream wedding, but I was willing to take what I could get at this point. As we were getting ready in the cramped hotel room, I was excited and nervous (like any bride should be) and, unfortunately, a bit sad too. This wasn't how it was supposed to go. And it wasn't fair. Noon rolled around and my mother got a call. The country club got their power back. I don't know how or why, but it was the best thing I'd ever heard. A sense of relief swooped through the room...oh my gosh, things might actually work out!
From there, things went smoothly. The ceremony was one of my favorite parts of the day. The church looked beautiful (I loved my flowers) and, more importantly, my dad was well enough to walk me down the aisle. And I can't forget the weather - it was absolutely goergous - blue skies, sunshine and 80 degrees. Perfection. Entering the church, on my dad's arm, was such an amazing feeling. The pews were packed and the love of my life was waiting at the other end (okay, now I'm making myself cry). It was perfect and it was my day. Not the day I had planned for so many months, but the day that I would remember forever. The reception was fabulous, and because of all the hysteria earlier, we had the whole club to ourselves (all other dinner plans and bar functions had been canceled). We ate, we laughed, we danced the night away....in air conditioning too! I can't wait to share our photos with you.
So, if you've gotten this far, I thank you and appreciate your patience. I still can't believe what happened to us and I hope it never happens to any other bride. It still makes me sick to my stomach to think about, but it also put everything into perspective...you can plan ahead all you want, nothing is ever going to go exactly as you wish. I mean, our trolley even broke down as it was driving us (18+ people) to the reception. We ended up having to call taxis to pick us up and we were 45 minutes late to our own cocktail hour. At that point we didn't really care...we were having a blast and a "little" transportation glitch was nothing compared to what we went through earlier in the day. (My trolley vendor review is sure to be juicy).
Our wedding was better than I had even envisioned, and I got to spend it with my family, friends and new husband. In retrospect, worse things could have happened (but lets not go there), and in the end I got to marry the man I love and have both my dad and mom by my side. That's all that really matters anyways. I'm now a happily married woman and can't wait to attend another wedding - this time just as a happy-go-lucky (unknowing) guest. The end.