Let me start by saying that I can't imagine a lovelier place to get ready for a wedding. It was so spacious and comfortable and beautiful. I really appreciated it.
Also, photos are not in any kind of order of arrival.
That said. As I've mentioned before, there are many, many house rules where we got married.
One of the things you are not supposed to do, although it has large, grand gates and a driveway, is drive up to the front. Which I knew.
However, when you and your maid of honor have freshly-coiffed hair, and are laden with stuff - very much stuff!, and it's intermittently raining...and you are The Bride, you overcome your first-born-rule-followeryness - and pull up at the front door! Ha!
You are almost turned away, until one of the people says, "The Bride!" - and you smile bridily, and draw yourself up to your full 5'3" brideliness - at which point you are invited to take all your stuff upstairs, and of course you can leave your car while you drop off your things.
I can see why people would take the liberty of running with it for an entire Bridezilla year. It's shockingly empowering.
We were ushered up to a room so large and fabulous that my jaw dropped. Nick organized it when they informed us we couldn't have the room we were supposed to until 4 pm. This room? Larger than my place in DC.
I probably said, "Holy crap!" Which I know is not very bridely. But holy crap!
Ginormous! Fancy! Fabulous!
We immediately spread out, and I'm sorry we didn't take before pictures, because all the shots include things everywhere. Champagne bottles. Glasses. Crinoline. Gift bags. Stuff, stuff, and more stuff.
There were two beds - one bed devoted to crinoline, and the other, to flowers.
There were - and I am not kidding you, and I'm also sorry I didn't take a picture - a list of RULES in the room. If I recall correctly, they were laminated.
Jen picked them up, and said, "The Rules! There are Rules to follow!"
As soon as we came across Rules, we immediately took a picture of me holding up my underwear in front of George Washington.
I feel I ought to clarify. Not the underwear I was wearing at the time. The underwear I'd brought along to wear.
So The Rules. We didn't read them. We took turns guessing instead.
"No prancing around in underwear!"
"No nose picking!"
And then we maybe laughed raucously and changed the playlist and did a little underwear dance number and opened a bottle of champagne.
Jennifer, the magic makeup woman, was one of the first to arrive. She herself is so incredibly lovely. And she really is magic. I would recommend her to anyone, absolutely anyone and am happy to pass on her contact info.
My bridesmaids arrived at different times, so the party kept getting better. More friends! More champagne!
One fantastic thing about this room was that we could just keep adding people. So my dad got to hang out with my friends and me.
Because when my dad turned up, tux in hand, to say he was trying to find Nick and the guys to change in their room, we invited him in to change in the closet. The closet. Is bigger than the bedroom in my condo.
This of course engendered many "You can come out of the closet" kinds of jokes. Because as The Bride, I can still act, um, 12.
Jane's boyfriend Matty came up and stayed for a bit. He'd been hanging out with our high school friend Tony, drinking and watching football all day. He'd also had to buy a tie, and had gotten an Obama tie from a street vendor for the event.
This delighted me no end. And, incidentally, got him in trouble with one of my sisters-in-law at the reception.
But I digress.
Betty then arrived all ready, and she hung out as well. She's prettier than this picture, but it's one of the few I have.
And then Tori's very cool boyfriend, who I need to mention was just so amazingly sweet, came in. I'd not met him before Friday night, and he is just such a delight. He picked up sandwiches for lunch for us, and brought coffee in a low-caffeine point.
We (OK, I) had thought about making the historic house people lose their shit by ordering pizza, but Nick very sternly told me to behave and not try and cause a pre-wedding scene and make them mad by having Domino's ring their bell.
This meant we needed someone to discreetly sneak food in. Which he happily did for us.
So nice, no?
And here's Maude, who arrived late (has a baby - much to organize!) and veryverystressed, and was handed champagne and a present, and very quickly transformed from hot, sweaty, stressed to dressed and lovely.
It was the absolute best pre-party.