“The Bride’s Day-of Schedule,” by Alexa Dooseman

Jun 8th, 2011 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

5:00a: Wake-up in a cold sweat with acute nausea.  Ask yourself for the 53,732,481 time if this is what you want to do.  Tell yourself enthusiastically: “Yes, of course!  Getting married has been my top priority since I was baby with formless thoughts.”  Go back to sleep, relieved.

7:30a: Wake up for real, take a shower and welcome your bridesmaids.  Ask Bridesmaid #1 why she brought a travel container of Starbucks blend coffee, when you, the bride, requested a tallskinnyvanillalatte.  When she starts to cry, tell her it’s okay – but, roll your eyes, so she knows that it actually is not okay. 

8:00a – 12:30p: Hair and make-up.  Remind aesthetician that the bridesmaids should not resemble the ladies from The Jersey Shore.  But, you do not want them to look like Heidi Klum either – especially your sister.  Ask the aesthetician to make your sister ugly.  

1:00p: Limo ride to church.  Tell Bridesmaid #6 that you noticed she failed to get the requested pedicure.  Laugh it off.  Make a joke that she’ll see what shenanigans you pull when you are a bridesmaid for her one day…if that day ever comes.  

1:15p: Arrive at church. 

1:17p: Freak the fuck out.  When you asked for lavender peonies, you did not expect to get purple!!  Purple?!?!?  You did not have tiny baby dreams about a wedding with purple flowers! 

1:20p: Take the tranquilizer that your mom offers you.  Thank her for thinking ahead. 

1:30p: Put the wedding dress on.  Jam your head and shoulders through the layers of taffeta and tulle and rhinestones.  You will surely get lost within the dress.  Do not panic and suffocate yourself with the fabric.  Wait for your mom to pull the dress over your head, like you are a child.  

2:00p: Beginning of ceremony.  Walk down the aisle as slowly as possible.  Own the moment: you are the ultimate center of attention, you are a princess, you are the realization of all your hopes and fantasies.  Smile at your soon-to-be husband.  Ignore the beads of sweat dripping down his face.  He is so happy. 

2:05p – 2:30p: Perform expected emotions: tears, laughter, breathlessness, a sudden fainting attack.  When you regain consciousness, give your husband a big kiss, and then scream in total excitement: I’M MARRIED!  

2:45p – 3:15p: Photos of bride and groom.  Don’t question the photographer’s choice of putting you and your husband in a dumpster with a light show in the background.  Never stop smiling.  

3:30p: Arrive at reception, find Groomsman #3 and insist that he get you a drink ASAP.  Greet guests and fish for outlandish compliments.  Stop when someone finally tells you, “You’ve done it!  This is the greatest wedding in the history of the world.” 

3:45p: Throw drink at Groomsman #3’s face.  RED WINE!?  What if that spills on your wedding dress?!  Demand a drink that tastes like red wine without the possibility of tragedy. 

4:00p – 5:00p: Dinner and speeches.  Be amused at the best man’s speech; that is hilarious that he mentioned your husband’s name 42 times and yours only 4.  Be annoyed at your sister’s speech; you told her to avoid any stories that she played a key role in.  Be teary-eyed at your father’s speech; it’s true, you will never return home again – unless, of course, your husband’s lucrative job falls through and it turns out he is infertile. 

5:00p:  Bride and groom’s first dance.  Enjoy it.  No one knows how to dance to All 4 One’s I Swear like you do.  

5:15p – 11:00p:  TOTAL MAYHEM.  Groomsman #3 finally pulls through on that drink, and it goes straight to your head.  Dance like a caged animal that has just been released again into the wild.  Wave your arms, kick your legs, gnash your teeth.  Make totally inappropriate jokes about guests.  Find your singing voice very impressive.  Drink more alcohol.  Cut the cake – smack it hard in your husband’s face.  Tell everyone how much you love 80s music.  Dance harder.  Toss the bouquet and laugh when no one, including your sister, manages to catch it.  Twist and shout like no one has ever twisted and shouted.  Take shots!  Stumble through the last dance with your husband. 

11:15p: Limo to hotel.  Think about not throwing up.  

11:30p: Try to consummate the marriage. 

11:35p: Realize you have the rest of your life to pull off the aforementioned scheduling detail. 

2:00a: Come full circle: wake-up in a cold sweat with acute nausea.  Remember that you are now a wife, and will never plan a wedding again.  Pretend that you’re relieved about that (what a time-suck!)  Put your head back on the pillow, and, for the first time in this entire process, imagine the rest of your life with your husband.  Sweet dreams! 


Alexa Dooseman was actually a very lovely bride.  Her work has appeared on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Glossolalia and The Rumpus’s Funny Women; it has also appeared in print in Amoskeag and The Brownstone Journal.  She has her MA in English Language and Literature from the University of Virginia.

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