My Wedding Day Experience, a Groom’s Perspective – a guest blog post by Eddie Hilton
Your wedding day is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life. It’s generally all but impossible to derail the smiles, congratulatory pats on the back, hugs from hardly-seen relatives, and universal exuberance as you get ready to say “I do.”
Generally. My wedding day went a little bit differently….
But before I get into that, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Eddie Hilton, and my wife and I had Heather McKay photograph our wedding in June of 2010. You can still find our wedding photos in her archives (wedding and engagement posts here). Heather has asked me to write a few blog entries focusing on the groom’s experience, and I was more than happy to oblige. Because, you know, I was a groom and all, and I’m pretty nifty with the keyboard (or at least, I thought I was. Until this took me 47 attempts to complete, that is).
So while there are multiple angles to approach this from, I think the most important thing is start off by relaying my own wedding day story this time around. Everyone has a funny little story about their wedding day, like the aunt who got drunk and fell through a chair or the cousin who sneezed a drink out all over the table. And everyone has a mini-horror story about their wedding – the DJ played the wrong song for everyone’s entrance, your divorced parents got into a fight, or your cake topper was put on top of the cake in the wrong direction TWICE, even after you fixed it (that one happened to us). It is rare, however, to have a funny/sad/terrifying/humiliating story that qualifies as slightly more than those aforementioned “little” ones. Like, you know, forgetting the wedding ring. I wonder who would have done that? (avoiding looking in the mirror …)
My wedding day was going along just swimmingly for the first few hours. I slept in as best I could (so like 7:00am), had a nice breakfast (dry toast most likely, for the nerves), relaxed a little bit (sweat like a pig in heat), had a nice workout (lifted weights until I accidentally smashed my thumb between two weight plates), then relaxed a bit more (whined about my thumb). I made sure I had a card written to my bride-to-be, went to get her a single long-stem rose, and also picked up a bottle of wine for after the reception just in case she forgot to bring the one we bought the night before – I was on top EVERYTHING. Then I showered and changed into gym shorts and a t-shirt for the 70-minute drive from my house to our Bristol Harbor ceremony and reception. Before leaving, I gave myself plenty of time to go over my checklist of stuff to bring. I packed an overnight bag, checked my tuxedo bag and noticed that I was missing socks, so I brought socks for me and seven extra pairs in case another groomsmen didn’t have a pair either. Like I said, I was on top of EVERYTHING. Finally, my cousin, who was in the wedding arrived, and he and I drove up together, stopping along the way to pick up my wife’s brother, also in the wedding party. Casual, wedding-related conversation ensued for the next 70 minutes … never touching on things like “the ring.”
When we arrived, I started unpacking my trunk, and asked my cousin to walk my card and rose over to my wife’s room, where she was getting her hair and makeup done like she was about to step out in front of the cameras. He came back two minutes later with a card, a candy bar, and an odd-shaped box which, sadly, left me confounded. So I asked what it was, and he replied, “Your ring.”
It was here that I realized that among my wine, flowers, tuxedos, and eight total pairs of socks, I had forgotten to pack my wife’s wedding band. 120 minutes before the wedding started, it sat in my bedroom, 70 minutes away. And I said – and this is a direct quote, “$%^@!!! Holy $%^*! I forgot the $^$&^$* ring! Run to the room!” And we ran. Why did we run? What else do you do? You can’t calmly walk after realizing that. You’re not going to take a meandering path to your hotel room to ruminate on this new development. You’re going to run like the wind and hope lightening strikes a ring down in front of you on your way. And of course, it won’t, and it didn’t.
In the hotel room, my parents, several groomsmen, and I all feverishly tried to figure out what to do. Logistically, it was going to be impossible to get someone there and back in time without several road laws being broken. However, road laws be damned, I needed to get married and I needed to put THAT band on my wife’s finger. So I sent two of my groomsmen back to Rochester, to make a 140-minute round trip, change into tuxedos, and get to the altar all in 120 minutes. This sounds like the set-up for an awful movie, but this legitimately happened. And I did my best to slow them down (forget my tux in the car so they have to turn around ten minutes in? Check. Leave them with only half a tank of gas so they have to stop and fill up? Check. Have the ring in the middle of a shelf on a bookcase in my closet so it takes forever to find? Check. Text or call every three minutes? Check and mate.)
By the time they got back, the wedding had been delayed three times before my wife finally found out why, the entire crowd started to wonder whether one of us decided to call it off, and I had paced roughly the length of the Boston Marathon in my hotel room. Through it all, I’d like to think I maintained a good sense of humor about it (I bit your head off like a pit bull if you dared to talk to me) and kept a calm demeanor (I punched and threw inanimate objects at random intervals). Those two and a half hours were, without a doubt, the most nerve-wracking, harrowing two and a half hours of my life.
We did end up meeting at the altar, only half an hour late, and it was the best day of my life. Luckily she still said yes. And there were congratulatory hugs and pats on the back, and exuberance all around. And, everyone had a great story to tell.