Certified Coordinated Bride Ebony
Journal Entry #4
Now Boarding

“If I get married, I want to be very married.” Audrey Hepburn

The date is set. The destination is selected. Passports are ready and we are 30 days away to Mr. and Mrs!!! What is there left to do? I ask myself this from time to time just to make sure that I haven’t completely lost my handle on this wedding. Order the escort cards? Check. Finalize the menu? Check. Schedule the final fitting? Check.  Breathe? Check. As funny as that may sound. I have had a few scares along the way. They say the road to a happy ending usually has a few bumps along the way. Well Travis and I have had our fair share of bumps in the road. A few have even caused us to change tires, courses and almost directions. A lot can happen in a year. Heck a lot can happen in a month. Life is crazy, life is unpredictable. Life is life. The only thing you can control is your attitude about it. You can either let the chips fall with they may, or hurt yourself trying to catch them before they fall. I say this to say, that planning a wedding differs from bride to bride. I know that now. There are no books, no outlines, no road maps to the perfect wedding process. Besides our ideas of perfect differ like our fingerprints. Now that we have made it to our final stretch, I can’t help but to reflect on the journey. A journey that features a category 5 hurricane coming 2 miles away from destination and venue. A maid of honor backing out due to a pregnancy. The fiasco with invitations. A bridesmaids dress getting lost in transit. A guest list going from 200 to 40. Oh and a mom being hospitalized for a week. To say it hasn’t been a crazy ride would be an understatement.

Travis and I see eye to eye on a lot of the wedding details. A part of me wonders if he is only agreeing to make me happy or he genuinely likes the details anyone presents in front of him. I  am also convinced he’s much more excited about our honeymoon over the nuptials. I can’t blame him though. We have 10 days completely away from the wedding drama and get to be together in newlywed bliss. Admittedly I have asked him from time to time through these past 365 days of our engagement if he ever considered eloping? Each time he replies with a small simple smile and says “everyday.” But as I look back at these past 334 I can now happily say I can see the light at the end of this psychedelic tunnel. The best way to reflect is to take it back to how this all started, after the proposal. It was 3 days after the high from the yes. I had to tell all the important people. Selfishly, I wanted to stay in bliss long enough so that Travis and I can enjoy one another. I called my parents and they told my sisters. I decided to break the news to my friends in the most iconic, cheesy way possible. I sent them all a single picture with the genie effect. The responses were variants of their own excitement, but I knew then in that moment before I hoovered over the send that this journey wasn’t just a moment stolen for Travis and I, this moment was about to involve a lot of people really fast.

I think back to deciding my bridesmaids. I have many females in my life that I have had the privilege to call my best friends. Some of us don’t talk everyday and some of us are farther away then others, but to me, for me, they have always flown their flags for me in rain sleet and snow. I would do it for them no questions asked. I considered on who I asked first. Since I told them all the exact same way, who was the first women I told, other than my mother, I was getting married. Yes, logically most people don’t decide which friend they told first would be their consideration for maid of honor duties. But as we have gathered in this bridal journey together I am far from the traditional bride. Or traditional thinking. With a destination wedding Travis and I decided to keep our wedding party small. And since I have been lucky enough to have some of the most phenomenal women in my life. Each one of them beautiful, poised, and their own personal level of crazy that is so infectious that you just cannot help but love them. I knew exactly which 3 lovely ladies I needed by my side.

Oh my lovelies. My original maid of honor, my cousin, a flight attendant from Seattle had already her place as MOH since we were kids, we are family, we are closer than most cousins are. Then there is Aakie, my best friend from college. Her and I have been friends for years and when she and I moved back home, her Houston and me California we have always kept in touch. Then there is Leah, one of my best friends who oddly enough I have known for the least amount of time but for us it seems like we know each other for decades. I didn’t do a proposal, because my friends, didn’t exactly give me the chance to ask. They all basically told me what roll they were playing and that was that.

My cousin and I, between her flights did the initially planning, the picking of colors, length and style types for bridesmaid dresses. Because of her crazy schedule she had Aakie accompany all my bridal salon appointments and give very, detailed messaging and pictures, lots and lots of pictures. She didn’t mind either way but still it was a bit much. Then one day, I get a phone call, My cousin called to tell me “As it breaks my heart to tell you this, I can’t be in your wedding. I just found out that I am two months pregnant. Also, am due two weeks after your wedding and can’t fly so I can’t even attend.” I was heartbroken. I am still heartbroken, my best friend will not only have to pull out from MOH duties, she won’t even be able to attend the wedding. So for those of you at home keeping score, that leaves me with now two bridesmaids.

Travis asks “So are you going to promote one of your bridesmaids to maid of honor?” I considered this,  Over the past few months I had Aakie at every bridal appointment, commenting on every Pinterest screenshot and single-handedly wrestled my ostentatious ideas down to reality. It was a no-brainer to me to ask her to be my maid of honor. Travis has it easy, his brother is his Best Man and he really didn’t want anyone else up there with him. My issue, well really the issues was that, I hadn’t already asked her in the beginning. I didn’t want her to feel like a second option or feel like she wasn’t good enough to be my maid of honor the first go around. For a week I went back and forth on how I wanted to approach this situation and eventually it came to me. I decided to write out everything in a letter, highlighting everything she has already done and everything she had planned to do. I made sure to tell her how hard it was to make these decisions and I am glad that she was by my side during all of them. I packed this all up in nice 4 page message and hit send. Needless to say, she graciously accepted and has been kicking MOH duties butt ever since.

The arrival of the bridesmaid dresses hasn’t been so gracious. We went back and forth on style for 5 months. We settled on a dress equally and when no one ordered their dress, I admittedly blew a gasket. So it was back to the drawing board. It was too close to the deadline for them to order dresses from the original company. So when we found option 2, it was almost a unanimous decision, but I’ll take it, I had the girls order them that weekend and got their estimated arrival dates. Aakie’s arrived the same week as my gown. Great! Leah’s, however,  It’s May, the dress has yet to arrive and we are less than 30 days away. Wedding Survival Tip: A few deep breaths and calming words are the key to getting this little hiccup out of your bridal nightmares. It’s fine. Everything is fine. I am fine.

Guest list and RSVPs I would have to honestly say was the most stressful part of this entire process, the bridesmaid gown issue  included. Trying to rely and get people to commit is a lot harder when everyone has one idea in their head and reality says something different. When Travis and I first announced where we getting married, our family and friends were ecstatic. “How beautiful” “I can’t wait, I have never been to Atlantis.” “I’ll meet you at the waterslides!”  “I am already getting my passport.” The list goes on. We were like wow, all of these people are going to come to our wedding that’s great. I haven’t met some of you but that’s great you are excited to attend! It all sounds great in theory, but the closer we counted down to the day. The noise went from a loud roar to a quiet whisper. Text messages went unresponsive and calls went to voicemails. What started as 200 guest has totaled to 40 guest in total! It was hard to even get to 40 but I am very thankful for the shrink in guest count. I get super nervous around too many people family or not. It was just hard pulling people out of indecisive and unresponsive behaviors.

With all the crazy with Atlantis (venue) and my Wildflowers (event decor) I have to say, if it wasn’t for my wedding planner Emily Scott! To give her a monumental amount of credit would be an understatement. I and everyone involved with the Shapira-Williams nuptials are wedding virgins. We all went into this with high hopes and zero information. Which for some might sound like a great time, because to learn is to have the experience. It takes a wise person to realize they need help. Without her, I don’t think we would even be close to being ready. But we are. We are ready because one we have to be, and two we are just 30 days away from tying the knot and the Shapria-angians begin. Bridal shower, Bachelorette/ Bachelor parties, welcome parties, cocktails with the bride and groom and saying I do are all still on the to dos. I’m just glad I don’t have to plan any of these other events.

Here we go, 30 days until I join my family and friends in paradise. I put one foot in front of me and walk down the aisle to my best friend that I get to have endless sleepovers with. I get to be unfiltered with and be vulnerable with. The person who accepts that my happiest moments in life are when I unclasp my bra as soon as I get home and loves me no matter what my breath smells like when I wake up in the morning. Yes, the ride has been crazy and apart of me, tucked back deep down inside and probably under a rock somewhere might have wanted to elope. But having the chance to experience this roller coaster experience with the best people in my life was well worth it.

So, how do I feel now that I am 4 weeks away?  How does it feel to be 29 days away from my wedding? How does it feel to be 8 hours 35 minutes and fifty sem-odd seconds to the “I do?”  I feel amazing and I can’t wait to see you all down the aisle. Let’s do this!

Until next time,
Ebony