Tales of Tying the Knot: It began on a Tuesday

November 25, 2009

“It began on a Tuesday” marks the first of what will be a series of posts detailing the craziness that was our wedding. The posts are a bit self-serving, I will admit. I hope to fill them with enough humor and exaggeration that you’ll enjoy reading them. But mainly they are for me. My wedding diary if you will. Once they are all finished I intend to print them all out (including the comments, so leave some!) and put them into my wedding scrapbook. I have a bit of hope that someday our children and grandchildren will be smitten with our love story and read every word again and again. If not then at least it gave me something to do : )

So let’s begin…. on a Tuesday.

By the time Tuesday, Oct. 13 rolled around we were in high gear. Maybe too high of a gear, at certain points my arms were actually shaking without reason. Or maybe for a reason… yes probably they were shaking because we had a) abandon the responsibility of purchasing groceries, preparing food and eating food b) taken up dancing for hours at a time and were burning more calories then we were eating. We’ll get back to that dancing part later.

The to-do list at this point was broken down not by day, but by hour. And there was little room for trivial matters like food and rest. And we had one final DIY project to tackle: Rustic Pumpkin Lanterns.

We’d prepared for weeks in advance, buying pumpkins on more than 6 separate shopping trips from 4 different locations. We have a small patio, but we managed to fit well over 25 pumpkins on it. We could hear our 3 year old neighbor squeal “puntin patch!!” every time he walked past our patio. It was embarrassing. We looked like we needed an intervention. Then we went and chopped down corn stalks and purchased an extra 5 or 6 mums and at that point we could have charged admission to Maggie and Zac’s Halloween Patio-O-Fun.

But we didn’t. We called in the troops.

They came armed and ready to transform our ‘puntin patch’ into a selection of snazzy, rustic pumpkin lanterns.

It was of course, freezing outside. Since October and November confused themselves this year our pumpkins were solid, near frozen, masses of gooey, smelly, gourdiness. But there was a wedding to be decorated and we had work to do. So we started opening the pumpkins and got to scooping and scraping.

When Lyssa arrived she casually informed us of her pumpkin-carving handicap. “I’m not allowed to carve. I’m only allowed to scoop.” Like a 5-year-old on a playdate who kindly informs the hosting mother, “I’m not allowed dark sodas. Only non-caffinated clear ones. Or sparkling water.” She seemed quite sure that whatever childhood pumpkin carving had taught her still held true.

Kate and I looked at her briefly. Then we told her to shut up and start scooping. We’d already carved the tops off of a few pumpkins anyway so we handed them over to Lyssa for de-guck-ifying.

Funny thing about carving those odd looking gourd/pumpkin hybrids….

….they nasty inside man!

This bad boy was solid. The cavity inside the gourd was about 2 inches in diameter and the rest was meat! Lyssa had fun cleaning it out.

Then we handed Lyssa a white pumpkin and said, “Carve!” She protested, “Guys, I’m really not good at carving.”

“Carve!” We yelled. When Kate and I yell at the same time no one protests again. I mean look at us. Would you argue?

Didn’t think so. Kate and I look at people this way regularly. That’s why the wedding went so smoothly.

So Lyssa picked up her tiny, orange-handled carving knife and started cutting the top off. Then the following conversation took place.

“I’m going to be right back…” Lyssa said quietly as she picked up her purse.

“Where the -expletive- do you think you’re going!?” yelled Bridezilla.

“I have to run out and buy you a new pumpkin. K? These are from Lowe’s right?” Lyssa said, casually trying to sneak the pumpkin out with her.

“Lemme see…” said Maid-of-Honor-zilla trying to sound confident that the pumpkin couldn’t be that bad.

“Oh -expletive-!” yelled Maid-of-Honor-zilla, “Yeah, get your ass to Lowe’s.”

I assured them there was no ‘you-break-it-you-buy-it’ policy on my pumpkins and we took a closer look at the damage. Lyssa had carved the top off the pumpkin in the traditional manner, making a circle-like shape around the stem. But her circle was roughly the size of a half dollar.

“Ain’t no hand gonna fit in that,” confirmed Bridezilla.

Engineering geniuses that we are, we concurred that cutting a larger ring around the tiny ring would just make the lid fall in. But then Maid-of-Honor-zilla saved the day, noting that since the circle wasn’t complete she could some how swing wide as she finished cutting the opening. We held our breath. She sawed away. She made something like a heart with a swirl….

See how tiny the opening was about to be! Have mercy.

And no one asked Lyssa to carve anything ever again. The End.

No not really. So once they were all carved and cleaned the big guns came out. Armed with power drills, 1/4 inch drill bits and medical tape (I couldn’t find electrical tape, ok?) we created intricate designs in our pumpkins.

Then we became exhausted and took to making wildly random patters without ever turning the drill gun off. Kate held the trigger down, Lyssa held the pumpkin and they punctured it at a rate of 100 holes a minutes.

You’ll notice here Kate and Lyssa doing the most fun and important part of the work: poking.

Yes poking. Because when you pull the drill bit back out of the pumpkin, it pulls the meat back into the hole you just drilled. So you have to use a highly specialized tool called a poker (available in drug store carving kits) and poke each hole.

By the time you poke your millionth hole you will be on the verge of psychosis and groom-zilla (who by the way is outside staining wooden crates for the cupcake table…in the rain) will have to rush in and pour alcohol to keep you quiet.

But eventually ALL the pumpkins will be carved. And you will sigh a sigh of relief. And then you’ll want to see them lit up.

So you’ll gather up the votive candles in your house and light your pumpkins.

And then you’ll put the lids on them and get a lesson in the physics of fire. Teeny tiny drill holes do not provide enough oxygen for your votive candles and your fire will DIE. In SECONDS. And you will again flirt dangerously with full-on psychosis.

But Maid-of-Honor-zilla (who has been awake for about 19 hours at this point) will use her last bit of brain power to determine that tilting the lids not only looks better, but allows the candles to burn. Then she will begin to cry and beg that you find her toothpicks and q-tips to clean out her boyfriends drill which is full of orange goo.

And then it will be done. And the troops will bid farewell. And you will realize that it is midnight. And Groom-zilla must be up for work at 4:30. But you’ll still have to practice dancing… Because if you give a Maggie a wedding, she’ll want to do EVERYTHING herself.

Sorry, I got kind of dramatic there. I promised I’d try to exaggerate though and I never go back on a promise. After all the scooping, drilling, poking and crying the pumpkins made it to the wedding. And they made quite a showing:

Photos by Erica Turner, Turner Creative



  1. 11.27.09

    Perfect! Ahhh the memories. I was laughing through the whole post especially being called Maid-of-Honor-zilla and the cropped pictures of our Italian faces :)

    Loved drilling pumpkins and although you like to exaggerate a smidge (only a smidge though – wink, wink)…pretty close to accurate!

  2. April

    I’m so impressed by this – especially after spending 2 hours chopping paper this afternoon with Matt’s mom for my wedding DIY-ness. I feel like such a lightweight.

  3. Lyssa

    Hahaha! I love it!

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