Burrrdrdrdrdrd. Tringngngng. Beebeebeebeebeep. Am I too late? Deededededede. Whoosh. “Hello, Daddy!” Blocks of brown. Could be the wood beams. Now hair and the face I’ve imagined walking me down the aisle in a few months; always with a heartwarming smile, even if it is in odd pixilated blocks.
“He- ca- e?” Yes and no, Dad. Oh, the picture is flicking clearer so I can see the background. Those were trees, not the rafters I was expecting. “-ld on. I- -ing -ide.” Doors. Much clearer and no more jumping from one paused strange expression to another. He’s in a big room; it changes to creams of curtains and table cloths. It seems he’s joined others as I hear a conversation and another comforting voice in the background. “Your mother’s talking to the manager.” He points back at them but the perception from the camera lens makes it look like he thinks a couple of stacks of chairs are engaged in natter, too. “Let me give you a wee tour.” I’m swivelled around to see a basic function room with the usual wedding reception needs.
“Dad, you can switch me over to the back camera, if it’s easier.” Mum’s the one who showed me how to do that originally, but they always forget it exists when a moment like this crops up.
“Oh, yes. Right, so you see what I see now.” He continues his dance; good practice for the big event. This room wasn’t the reason I was interested in viewing this place so I’m not moved by the normality of it. “They sort everything, we just need to choose the menu.” That’s a plus. One of the top three so far doesn’t provide food. That’s the only concern Mum and I had about it; spectacular otherwise (from the pictures and review I got, anyway).
“What about that other room? It was a bit smaller.” And prettier.
“Yes, let me take you up there.” Now I can see Mum again, still getting to know the lady in charge. Then I’m dropped to check out the floor; well polished. There’s a squeak as Dad goes through the doors, but that leads to silence; so quiet it encourages Dad to whisper. “This is where they hold ceremonies, and obviously we don’t need that, but we can have the meal in here. We’re just not sure about the evening. It is possible to move downstairs for that, though.”
Well, that’s annoying. Wouldn’t we want the same beautiful features for the whole night? I’d be more inclined to find a caterer and at least have a beautiful house and hall for the whole day. It’s a no go, I think. Still, Mum and Dad are going to so much trouble and they’re the ones who actually experience the place. Dad’s so positive about them allowing us to use both rooms. I’ll wait for their verdict later. “Thank you, Daddy.”
“Alright, you get to bed. Oh, and send those invitations you chose out there as soon as you can so we can write them and get them out as soon as we pick the venue. Night night.”
Kisses and night night.
Burrrdrdrdrdrd. Tringngngng. “Hiya. We’re just getting some of the dresses you liked out. Tell me the list again. There was the Maggie Sottero, one with the detail on the middle and side, and one with the bits on the shoulders, the Pronovias; it was quite simple. What else did you like?”
“I just saw a new one, actually.”
“I know the one. Just added it to the sale stock yesterday.” A bright smile jooks into the frame. “Hellooo. I’m Emma. Nice to meet you. Sort of.” Emma has beautiful brown hair and she makes those full of frills dresses look like bags of feathers as she hangs them to unzip and hang each length of white up for greater viewing.
Mum moves me to have a close up of the first one. It has a kind of cape attached onto the shoulders that I’m curious about. “Nice material on this. It’s not too heavy, either.” That’s a huge plus. Not looking for a workout on my wedding day. Unless it’s on the dance floor. “The back has a lovely lacey bit.”
“Yeah, that’s what interested me about that one.” It is gorgeous. Is it too plain on the front though? There’s something sparkly or crafted on one side of each dress, but never something to make them dazzling all around. Of course I want to look good when I see myself in the mirror, but people will be looking at my back for the majority of the ceremony and your never know what angle a picture will be taken at; a bride has to think of everything.
“Let me be honest about this one. It’s a tight fit, so if you’re not sure about size, it might not be the one for you. You’re welcome to try it on when you get over here, though.”
I appreciate the frankness. There’s no dieting in this short prep time. We’ve already whizzed through two of the five months with venue visits. “Ok, we can move on.” Video is better for perusal than modeled prints online, but there’s still no sense of what the material feels like or would look like on me. “I arrive just three weeks before the wedding, but we’re away for one of those.”
“You need to come in as soon as possible, then, because you’ll need some work on the dress, even if it’s just length alterations. We know some local seamstresses you can call now to book them for that week you arrive in time to have it ready for cleaning.” Emma lists a few times for the week I get there and we settle on the day I arrive for trying on the final choices. As long as they’re still there. I might be tired, but I can wake up for this during jet lag.
“Before you go. Did you email Tracy?”
“I did and she’s already replied with ideas of how she can make the cake. I’ll forward you the email.”
“Got big plans for the cake, Emma. I don’t know where she comes up with these ideas.”
“Oh, speciality cakes are “in” these days. I’ve heard of some rather odd ones: Alice in Wonderland tea party, flower bouquets, beach scenes.”
“Well, it’s not quite like that, but-”
“Mum, I have to go, sorry. You can tell Emma all about it, if you want. Thanks so much for doing this through video call.”
“No problem, looking forward to seeing you in some of these.”
Waves, kisses, bye bye.
Burrrrrrrr- “I’m just making a cup of tea. Let me get the milk and a biscuit.”
“Can’t forget the biscuit.” Not when my brother wants a cuppa. Since I’m often in this position, I’m probably the person who gets to appreciate those pictures on his wall the most. At least I’m not looking at the ceiling.
He pops back, mug in hand and choccy biscuit in mouth. “Mmm!” With one free hand, he picks something up off camera, then white and dashes of colour wave in the full area of the screen.
The colour comes into focus to show a little Korean bride and groom formed with Korean letters to spell out “wedding invitation”. “I presume you’re coming.”
Card down, biscuit half eaten, but out of mouth. “I’m thinking about it. We just have to talk about what I’m going to wear.”
“Haha. Well, we don’t mind you wearing the suit from our last family wedding. It’d match fine with the groom.”
“No, no. I mean for the ceremony. I need to order a surplice or a Geneva Gown.”
“Okay.” Surely my silence will tell him I have no idea what he’s talking about.
“The surplice is a white cover that goes over a black robe. Some people don’t like it because it might clash with the bride’s dress. The Geneva Gown is like a black academic robe. That’s what Presbyterian ministers wear in Northern Ireland.”
“Well, we’re not in a Presbyterian church. That’s for Korea. I suppose it’ll be alright if you wear white. But you’re the only other person who can wear a white dress with me.”
My brother’s laugh is full of joy. “Alright. Now. Order of service.”
“I have no idea how to do this, so I’m glad you’ve married people before.”
The internet connection decides to break up this laugh to become an electronic seal. Of course that makes me laugh, too. We’re soon back to work as the connection settles. “So, there’s the traditional or the modern version for the language.”
“Well, I think we’d both like traditional. Is there a lot that we have to remember?”
“I can send it to you now, but there’s not a lot that you have to say by yourself, just repeat after me. We’ll practice it all when everyone gets here and we’ll do an overall rehearsal after church since everyone is in the same place.” It’s getting close; all tickets are booked and bags are mentally packed. “The order is pretty standard, but there are a couple of things you can change, like what hymns are sung and when. Oh, and you said you want communion, so we just have to decided when to do that.”
“Righteo. Well, Mum needs to send this to the printers soon, so we won’t change too much, just put the names of the hymns and Bible references in. Looking forward to seeing your white dress!”
Big smiles, talk to you later.
Do do-do doo do do-do doo do-do. Do do-do doo do do-do doo do-do. The Korean system is more tuneful. Do do-do doo do do-do doo doo do-do do doo do-do do do doo. Do do-do- “Anyong!”
“Hi sweetheart.” His hair. It’s so tall now. He hasn’t cut it still and he needed it done before I left Korea.
“Haii! How are you?” Now I’m looking up his nose. It’s hard to focus with all this shaking. And now there’s shaking on my end as I reach the phone out of little hand’s reach. “Oh, hello, wee nephew!”
Those Northern Irish lessons are rubbing off on my future husband. A finger point and another grab at the phone is my arm load’s response. I manage to hold the electronics even further from possible accidental hang ups.
“Have you left work, yet?” Going to the bus or a work dinner?
“Yes. I’m walking home. Gotta get some dinner. What are you doing?” He got out of work on time, that’s good.
“We’re getting ready to leave this wee man. I’m collecting my dress from the final touches.”
“Oooo, the found it in less than two hours of arriving dress!” Nephew is getting bored, giving little pushes to get down.
“Found and bought in less than two hours of arriving dress.” The noise of an airplane passing by settles the load in my arm for a moment; it’s easier to see when you’re up where the window is, but as soon as it’s gone, he remembers his fight to get down to play.
“Can I see?” He knows he can’t, even though if we were in Korea he’d actually have helped to choose.
“No!” My future husband really needs to cut his hair; it’s not right for our wedding.
“Well I can’t wait. But I’m more excited to come over and see you and your family. I’ll come see you soon, wee nephew, okay?” How do I subtly nudge him about the hairdressers?
“Bah! Ga-ga.” That’s a better answer than trying to hang up the call. A smile now, too.
“Everything else coming along okay?”
“Yes, all fine. Wait ‘til you see the venue! It’s gorgeous. The caterer is doing an extra sample for me to try tomorrow, too. Mum and Dad keep raving about the food, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
“I’m already hungry, no need to make me jealous. I have to cut my hair soon.” Thank goodness. “But I don’t want to do it too early. Maybe next week before I leave.”
“Don’t get it cut too-”
“Too short. I know. I’ll try to get it right.”
“Thank you.” I’ve annoyed him too much about this since before leaving Korea, but those pictures are important. “Alright, I have to go. Have a good dinner.”
“Have a good day! I love you.”
“Love you too. Can’t wait ‘til you get here.”
Briiing. Briiing. What’s that? Briiing. “It’s coming from your bag, missus.” My bridesmaids are checking their make up in the mirror, giggling away as if they’ve known each other as long as I’ve known each of them. Briiing.
“She’s not missus yet!” Their smiles make me happy I got to know such fun girls. “Sounds like you’re getting a call.” Briiing.
“That’s weird, I don’t have a sim card in my phone.” My ‘Bride-To-Be’ sash slips off my shoulders and down to the floor as I get up to investigate this noise. Stepping out of it, to get to my bag, I find my phone. Sure enough, it’s calling for my attention; I forgot I had connected to the wi-fi already.
“Oh, it’s her man! Answer quick!” Our ten year friendship from high school allows her to press the green mark to connect. “Hi mister!”
“Hello ladies.” He can see the three of us all dolled up for our evening out. I’m already tired from the excitement and anticipation of the surprises my friends have prepared.
“Do you like your lady’s veil?” In Korea, she’d be my elementary school friend, because that’s when we met and started torturing our parents with continuous laughter. “It’s hobo-chic.” She’ll tell him how surprising it was that it actually costs more than the one prepared for next week. That’s been entertaining us all day. “A guy in a cafe liked it, didn’t he?”
Ah, it’s the Clements story. My other bridesmaid picks it up: “He was not impressed that we’d want a snack during a girls’ day out!”
The three of us know what comes next and get the timing perfect. “What are you doing in Clements on your hen do?” The intonation mimics that nosey guy just right.
“You’re all having fun, then?” A chorus of agreement disperses the cheerful friends to get back to their carefully discussed positions at the mirror. “I’m on my way home to pack for leaving. I just wanted to check: do you want anything from here before I leave?”
“Ladies, do we need kimchi?”
“No, thank you!” There are other things they’d like from visiting South Korea, but not that.
“Alright, you ladies have fun.”
Kiss, kiss, kisses. See you soon!