Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I didn’t play varsity softball for nothin’!

The years I spent riding the bench and shagging balls during batting practice finally came in handy this past October. I was rearing to go to my friend Catie’s wedding. She and I had bonded over our long distance submariner boyfriends long before we were engaged. I was really looking forward to her wedding at the Naval Academy and I had my eyes set on a certain prize.

The future Mr. Palindrome and I had been dating for 4 years. For about the past 2, I had been actively pursuing the coveted bouquet at every wedding we attended. In 2008, we were invited to 8 weddings and attended 6 (3 were on the same day!). Catie’s wedding was the last wedding of the year and my last chance to score the lucky blooms. I had been so close on previous occasions and I had been testing the right distance to stand behind the bride based on her height and my perception of her arm strength.

Finally, the wedding day had come. The Future Mr. Palindrome was part of the sword arch and was dressed in his formal whites. Those whites just make me weak in the knees. Seriously – look at this blind look of adoration!

When we arrived at the reception, I quickly sized up the dance floor and began some pre-toss stretching. I monitored the DJ to get a feel for his style and pace. Since I’m a lot more agile prior to a belly full of chicken and steak, I was hoping for a pre-dinner start time for the toss. No such luck. Dinner arrived and I had to exercise self-control so that my food baby wouldn’t hold me back.

The announcement for the toss found me clammy and pale. This was my big moment. It was like pinch hitting at the bottom of the 9th in the division championships after the star shortstop breaks her ankle. The DJ called us to the floor. I strode onto the floor as though I were walking to the plate. The music started and I saw Catie wind up for the first and only pitch. This was do or die, right here, RIGHT NOW.

I crouched in the ready position. She released! I followed the bouquet on its long arch above the dance floor. I took a step back hands up and ready. I could see it all in slow motion, the other pawing hands trying to swipe near my open palms and the hydrangeas and roses tumbling from the sky. Then I closed my eyes.

I opened my eyes half expecting to see the bouquet in my hands – like a snow cone catch where you never really felt the impact but you were able to save the catch by squeezing the glove shut.

But it wasn’t there. Another girl scooped the bouquet off the floor.

Then you know what that little stinker who caught the bouquet did? She turned and gave it to me. She had heard me talking over dinner about how I was really hoping to catch it this time. Some would call it a pity bouquet, but I was so touched by the gesture that I strutted it around just like I had caught it myself.

Turns out, the joke was on me because this DJ was the kind of DJ who made the groomsman who caught the garter place the garter on the leg of the girl who caught the bouquet. Poor groomsman, he was sooooooo red with embarrassment! I hammed it up and enjoyed every minute of my bouquet catching glory.

To prove it, here’s an animated picture of me telling the bride how it all went down:

10 weeks later, the Future Mr. Palindrome proposed. Coincidence? I think not!

Have any of you ever caught the bouquet?

The last two pictures are courtesy of Catie's wonderful photographers: Egomedia


emily said...

You're nuts. It's why I love you.
I caught the bouquet at my cousin's wedding - the first wedding I ever went to, and was in, and was a bridesmaid! - amid several other bridesmaids who were due to get married in the next few months. It wasn't so much aiming to catch it as it simply passed everyone else, looked like it was going for the floor, and well, then it was in my hands.
I had never even heard of the whole garter up the leg thing. Since then I try to learn beforehand whether that's going on. (Will you be throwing bouquets, garters, or going for any good luck? Inquiring minds want to know!)

Catie said...

Again, I am late catching up on your blog, but btw what a great idea to blog about wedding planning!
Anyways, I was so happy that you ended up with the bouquet at my wedding! I couldn't think of a more deserving girl to have it, really! After all that long distance with J it was time for you to catch that bouquet that would lay out your fate for you BEAUTIFUL diamond ring just weeks later ;)
I of course did an awful job of tossing it, maybe I had a little too much force on my toss LOL, but I am so glad you were the one who got it!!