Thursday, August 23

Countdown to D-Day

This post is about the last 10 days before the wedding. The pace and excitement of the preparations picked up the day after I left Nottingham and arrived in London. As you can imagine, those remaining days were hectic - so many last minute preparations, the arrival of family and guests from far and near, lots and lots of outgoing phone calls (usually me arguing with my suppliers, or yelling at my poor hubby-to-be, or yelling at my bridal party), lots and lots of incoming calls (from people calling to say congrats, calling to RSVP at the last minute, or asking silly questions about address of the venues and such like), last minute shopping for favours and gifts, a completely out-of-nowhere second bridal shower, meeting with my hostesses, meeting with the groomsmen, final rehearsals and so on.

Friday, week before wedding: My parents, parents-in-law and grandma arrived from Lagos. Mr insisted I had to go and see them so I went to London even though I had to come back to Nottingham one last time before the wedding. I met my father-in-law for the first time that weekend. When Mr called me to say they were on the way to my house, I told my mum that this was going to be my first meeting with my father-in-law and I said if he didn't like me, well, it was too late for him to change his mind. My parents and I had laughed about it because they had already done the traditional engagement ceremony! Thankfully our meeting went well, and he said he had heard only good things about me so it didn't matter.

Sunday, week before wedding: That Sunday we all went to church as usual and it was good. At the end of the service, my aunt told me she wanted to see me for a brief discussion in the Sunday school and when we got there I was so surprised! The hall had been set up for a bridal shower and all the women in my church were seated and there was a chair in the middle for me. I was so surprised I couldn't speak for a while; I thought it was really nice of them. It was lovely, we prayed, opened presents, talked about married life scenarios and so on. I had a great time and I went home with lots of gifts. See I’m so favoured; I got two surprise bridal showers! Later that evening, my parents and I went back to Nottingham to finish packing my stuff for the next three weeks. So this is how the rest of my week went:

Monday: That morning, some of my family came down to Nottingham, I finished packing my stuff, then we went to the bridal shop to pick up my wedding dress. It was exciting to see the finished product all packed and ready to go. We drove down to London that evening. I went to my auntie’s place to pick up the flower girls’ dresses and we took them to their house. My niece was excited to try on her dress and accessories. Everything was fine, so I finalised their hair and accessories, overnight and travel arrangements with my sister-in-law. My mother-in-law had brought our native outfits for us, so I tried them on and they fitted well so that was sorted! I also booked a birthday cake for Mr because his birthday was approaching.

Tuesday: My sister arrived from the US this morning. It was good to see her and she was as excited about the wedding as everyone else. She came with our wedding rings, inscribed favour boxes, sweet bags and some jewellery. Then I met up with my friend who was also one of my hostesses. We went to Confetti to purchase the mints, chocolates and sweets for wedding favours, a wedding album, table decorations, ribbons and some gifts. Then we also went shopping for my make-up. We spent ages at the make-up counter trying lots of stuff, but I made sure we didn’t leave until I was satisfied that I had got what I wanted. Then we went to the store with out gift list to sort some things out. I’m sure she was tired of me by the time we finished that afternoon.

Wednesday: I went to get my hair done. My appointment was at noon, so before I thought I had some spare time to go shopping and who would I bump into in the street? One of my “toasters” who had been on my case for more than a year. I had stopped taking his calls after a while so I felt guilty and I tried to avoid him but it was too late! He had seen me and was already walking towards me. He said he was glad he bumped into me – until I told him I was getting married in three days’ time. He looked sad then he said “Really? So I finally lost you?” I didn’t know how to reply, I just mumbled that I was getting late for an appointment and I bolted off. Got to the hairdressers and spent 5 hours braiding my hair and I was pleased with the result. Meanwhile I was taking calls from our officiating minister, the florist, caterers and the store with our registry, each person confirming details. When I got back home, more family members and guests had arrived and the house was full!

Thursday: I had a back and forth telephone conversation with my sister-in-law this morning. She was very busy because she was decorating the reception venue and making our wedding cake. We were finalising the little details for the d├ęcor of the venue and table settings. I also met with three of my hostesses to give them their ‘geles’ and a list of their duties, lol. Then I went to the beauty salon for some pampering and to get my nails done. I had taken good care of my nails for months and they had grown very long, so I didn’t have to use extensions, they decorated my natural nails and they looked great! When I got home I gathered my sisters and cousins together and we filled all the favour boxes with sweets and mints, and tied them together with ribbons. It was fun doing that; they kept trying to eat the sweets so I had to keep an eye on them.
Later in the afternoon, I met up with Mr who was meeting up with his groomsmen. They had just taken delivery of their suits and they wanted to try them on. I tried to sneak a peak but they didn’t allow me to see their outfits. Then we discussed all the arrangements and their duties. Afterwards we hung out till late and had a great time. They were all telling me how they remembered it like yesterday when Mr told them he had met a girl and now they couldn’t believe we were getting married!

Friday: Lots of things to do today. First thing for me was to meet up with my aunt to shop for accessories for my native wear. Then my sisters and the other bridesmaids were going to get their hair done and meet up with me in the church later in the evening for rehearsals. So off we went. I met up with my aunt and after picking and choosing for an hour, we decided on the shoes, the bag and beads and made our purchase. When we left the market, I met up with Mr and our best man; they were going to have a hair cut and a shave or something like that. I told them they had better look nice the next day. Later the best man called me and joked that he was looking so nice, I might mistakenly marry the wrong groom!
It seemed like everything was going well. Until sometime between leaving the guys and getting home I lost my mobile phone! As you can imagine, that was the “wrongest” time to lose my mobile because so many people were calling me. I was meeting my friend who was my chief hostess, I was supposed to call the officiating minister to finalise the rehearsals, I was supposed to call my florist to deliver my flowers, I was supposed to call so many people! Fortunately I had some numbers stored in my diary so I got a new sim card and started calling everyone to give them my new number. But so many people tried to reach me and I didn’t get their messages, I didn’t get my original number restored until 2 weeks after the wedding.
Meanwhile, other things were going to plan. My cousins went to the hall with the table decorations and favour boxes, Mr’s birthday cakes arrived which was great, my chief hostess who was staying with me overnight arrived; my sisters and the other two bridesmaids came to join us and we went for the rehearsal. When we got there, the guys were already there. We practiced the procession and everything else we were supposed to with the officiating minister and it was cool. Just as we were leaving, the florist arrived to start decorating the church. Mr and his guys headed off to the reception venue to start putting things together. Afterwards they hung out at a friend’s place playing PS2 games all night. (I was really glad Mr decided not to go to a bar or club for his bachelor’s eve). My bridesmaids, chief hostess and I headed back home to make plans and pick up our outfits. I saw the bridesmaids’ outfits for the first time, thank goodness they were nice! Then we called a cab to take us to our place for the night – we were going to get a hotel but my auntie’s friend was going on holiday and she offered to let us use her house so that was great. When we got there, we planned the morning’s activities with military precision (lol, the minister had warned us not to get to the church late) so that we had enough time to get ready. We ordered Chinese, had our facials and settled in for the night. Around 11.00pm the florist delivered my bouquet and the flowers for the bridesmaids and flowergirls and she remarked that I looked calm and relaxed for a soon-to-be bride. I guess I realised that I couldn’t do anything more so there was no need to stress anymore! At midnight, I called Mr to wish him a happy birthday and before he hung up he said “See you at the altar tomorrow!” Awwwwww. Afterwards, my girls and I prayed, set our alarms and went to bed with just a few hours to go before the merry celebrations!
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