Castellina in Chianti, 2014
The morning is a crisp 40 degrees.
I tiptoe to the bathroom to plug in my curling iron and rinse my face.
You're getting married today, I think to myself. I stand in front of the sink waiting for panic to set. I have spent countless hours reading marriage and relationship articles in an attempt to prepare for the worst. In everything I have read, it never fails to mention the normalcy of cold feet. Do you have cold feet? I stare at my toes waiting for a reaction. They are cold, but only because it is, again, 40 degrees. A more pressing thought came to my mind, what does it mean when you don't have cold feet?
I look into the bedroom and stare at my sleeping groom. I remember the very first time I laid eyes on him - a confident senior stretching out his hand while introducing himself. I remember feeling anxious because I have never met someone so forward, yet respectful. That same person is going to be my husband in approximately four hours.
I gently curl my hair, taking careful consideration of every piece that is attached. I have done this hundreds of times but this morning I want everything to look perfect. I slowly apply my makeup while looking at the squirrel outside our window. We did not reserve the fanciest room. We chose a traditional Tuscany farmhouse. Out of all the wedding details, our room gets that factor.
I stare out the window, half excited for the day and half panicking for my bare shoulders. The sky is gray and I start worrying about potential rain. I know it is coming today. May is a very rainy month for Italy. I kept my fingers crossed all night all the while fighting my inner bridezilla that is trying to control the situation.
How bad can it get? If it rains, we will just be wet. In our elopement ceremony. In a converted castle in Tuscany. Tania, stop. If it rains, you will look like the happiest wet bride rat.
I look online to check predicted rain start times. Right now, it will be clear throughout the ceremony. Somehow I calmed down and Chris slowly woke up.
"Hi, baby," he greets.
“We’re getting married today.”
I smile and give him a kiss. He starts putting on his suit while I wrap my flowers with leftover tulle and the heirloom pendant his mother gave me.
I start making the bed and rearranging our collective jewelry while waiting for the villa owner and impromptu wedding witness to help button me in.
Someone knocks on the door. I open it to see both the photographer and villa owner.
“Good morning!” says Rochelle, the photographer.
I leave her to take detail shots while I shoo Chris out of the room. After a few minutes, I shimmy into my gown. This is day five of our conjoined elopement in Italy and I have not held back on enjoying pastas and desserts. Please zip, please zip, please zip, I chant internally.
“Wow. This dress is a perfect fit!” says the villa owner.
I slide into my shoes and clasp my bracelet. I walk to the mirror to apply lipstick and give myself a quick once-over. I look like me. My makeup is the same. My hair is the same. I look like myself in a pretty white dress. Fully elated with the end result, I put on my earrings and veil.
Shit, I don’t have bobby pins. Without realizing, this ‘mistake’ set the tone for the rest of the day. I immediately stopped caring whether or not it rains. I stopped caring whether or not it is cold. I stopped caring whether or not my lipstick stays.
I walk out to the balcony. There are a handful of guests outside waiting for me. Rochelle hid Chris under the balcony near the small tunnel to the other side of the villa. I slowly walk down to meet him.
I turn the corner and we caught eyes.