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I assumed getting permission from Gideon would be the hard part, but it turned out I was wrong. Planning a wedding was exhausting, stressful, and like an emotional rollercoaster. Of course going in, I had absolutely no experience. I didn't exist when my parents got hitched, and with my father destroying all relationships with our family, I never even been to a wedding before. Luckily for me, the women at the camp knew a thing or two, and in fact they seemed to come alive and thrive.
The same day Gideon and Raquel gave us the go ahead, we gathered most of the family for a meal at the big house where Talon and I announced we were getting married. Claire was the first to ask "How pregnant are you?", and then we got a round of "Aren't you a bit young?, Why not wait till your older? And "Are you really not pregnant?" It was Luke who first raised his beer in a toast and said congrats were in order. Afterwards, most of them followed suit with various beverages.
It seemed planning a wedding became like this kind of living force and took on a life of its own. By the end of the night, a date had already been set, the location of having it at the camp was confirmed, and Katherine had already called a minister who was hunter friendly and married several Morgan's. It was actually Talon who suggested we hold the wedding on July 5th, when our family and friends would be already in town for the holiday. Problem was that was only two weeks away!
I brought up the issue of money as I knew that weddings were expensive, and offered to get some money from one of the secret bank accounts I made shortly before I ran away from my father. But Talon made a good point about not starting our life funded by "blood money." Gideon, Raquel, and Granny all assured me they had the funds to cover it, and it wouldn't be a financial burden, but I wasn't sure they were being entirely honest about that. I made a pact with Talon one day we would pay them back at least some of it. I also made a secret pact to myself to try and not go overboard and crazy and keep it reasonable.
The next day, I found Talon and myself down at the courthouse in Camden applying for a marriage license. Granny had forged papers declaring her as my legal guardian so she signed for me, and Gideon and Raquel signed for Talon. We decided to get a license in our legal names, we wanted it real, and we figured that our enemies already knew where we were anyway.
Mary, Alison, May, and Katherine accompanied us into town, and after the courthouse, we visited a florist and spent several hours looking over floral arrangements. Talon, Gideon, Elias, Ander, Mark, and Josh grew bored in about five minutes, and all but Josh and Gideon took off to the hunting goods store. It wasn't much later that I found myself wishing to join them, and already starting to feel overwhelmed by this whole wedding planning business.
When we got home, the ladies along with Emmagrace and I, gathered in the main living room of the big house and poured over bridal magazines and talked about dresses, food, seating, music, and a variety of other things that eventually I just zoned out on. They decided we didn't need a caterer, they would cook the food themselves, but Audra's mother Sarah and her aunt would make the wedding cake. They contacted a company that rented those large white tents and were luckily enough to get one reserved on such short notice. Harper breezed in and out, bored and restless, and she titled the wedding planning activities "Operation White". She informed me "You were on the inside for six hours and seventeen minutes." It was only day two, but I was already frazzled and fatigued, and went to bed early that night.
Day three of Operation White included a trip back to Camden, but this time for me to try on wedding dresses. That was a mixed experience. I made Talon stay home, but Malachi, Gideon, Paul, and Elias had come, along with Katherine, May, Alison, Granny, Raquel, Audra, Emmagrace, and Harper.
But it was not the sheer volume of spectators that got to me, but a moment when I stood in the dressing room, trying on the first gown, just me and the bridal attendant, and gazed at myself in the mirror and saw my mother staring back at me. I'd never looked so grown up or so much like her. The dress was beautiful, ivory and crystal beads, laced sleeves, fitted mermaid style that hugged my body, before flaring out past my knees, though it was too long for my short frame. But I got teary eyed, to what the assistant assumed was from the dress, but really it was missing my mother and thinking how she should be here. The assistant gave me a tissue and told me how beautiful I looked. I got it together before we emerged from the dressing room. I figured I could explore my feelings later and probably have a good cry about them.
Trying on the first few dresses is fun. You feel like a princess and you actually enjoy the reaction of those you brought along while they gush over how beautiful you look, and you listen to their suggestions on what to try or next or what might better suit your body. But at a certain point, of wrangling in and out of dresses, and parading out in tall heels and putting yourself out there like you're a steer being appraised for perfections or imperfections, it is no longer fun. I wasn't sure what number dress I was on, but I was hot, tired, and hungry. I was feeling cranky, but pretending I was still totally into it for the sake of my admirers and well that my time was limited.
I decided to justpick the next dress no matter what because I just wanted to go home, when Inoticed a dress on the way to t
the fitting room. It had a fitted corset made of silver and white beads and crystals, and went down into a tulle white skirt that flared out like a ball gown. At the top of the skirt was some beaded silver and white crystals. The sleeves were made of sheer lace, also beaded with the crystals at the shoulders and elbows. It was not something I probably would have picked or suggested, but for some reason it seemed to be calling to me like it was a breathing entity. I'd watched those bridal shows on TV in the past and I had thought it was silly when those women cried and said they just knew the dress was the one, but I found myself doing the same thing. When I felt the dress upon my skin, I knew. The way it looked, felt, and the way it made me feel.