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Alison Rosen Headshot

I Can't Stop Sneezing and Also, I Got Married

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In the few hours I've been awake I've sneezed 563 times. If you count the hours I wasn't awake and by extension, my husband was, probably 614 times. I'm used to seasonal allergies but this is something else, something unreal.

You know those sneezes where people just wrinkle their cute little nose and beep? Sneezes that make you wonder if someone sneezed or stepped on a rubber squeak toy? Sneezes that are so frigging adorable they make you think, if this is how this person sneezes, by God, how do they burp?

These are not those.

These are full body spasms that start in the earth's core, travel up through the crust, enter through the mantle, lollygag in the noodle, circle through the focaccia, gather steam in the arugula, rev up in the yam, dawdle in the dandelion, receive a pep talk in the terrarium (I majored in geology) and then attack you while you're unawares. You will yell, you will throw your coffee, your body will flop forward like a marionette. And then your dog will look at you as if to say, "What is the meaning of this?"

I recently suffered through an attack of mutant sneezes on my wedding day. It was just one of the many things that made the day less than perfect. Don't get me wrong, I am so happy about the man I married and happy about our life together and happy that our guests had a wonderful time and the flowers were perfect and wow, the salmon, but as far as my experience of the day, I'm still trying to figure out what happened.

Part of it is that I was so determined to be in the moment it took me out of the moment. "Oh no, I'm not in the moment, the moment is slipping by, this is my one and only chance to experience this day and I'm not feeling it, I'm not in the moment," I found myself thinking repeatedly.

And then part of it is everything leading up the ceremony was chaotic.

Allow me to paint a picture: I am standing in the hotel room wearing Spanx and high heels with a cup of hot coffee in one hand, one earring on and my hair semi-done when suddenly I realize I am about to sneeze. "Oh no," I think, looking around to see where the coffee is going to go when it flies out of the cup which it's definitely going to do.

Worst-case scenario it will travel out of the cup, jump over the bed and splatter onto the wedding dress hanging precariously near the window because the photographer is artsy. Best case scenario I will manage to set it down on the nightstand. Actual scenario: The sneeze hits on the way to the nightstand and the coffee goes all over the nightstand and pools on the underside of a tethered phone from 1984 and my retainer case, same year. It also splatters on my hip and leg.

Wanting to clean myself up, I head into the bathroom, which is in post-earthquake conditions. Because I'm wearing some clip-in hair extensions to make my hair appear more full and because the extensions arrive Crystal Gayle length which isn't the look I'm going for, the hair person trims them in the bathroom so the bathroom floor and rug is covered with bits of someone else's hair.

Hanging from the knobs of the bathtub, drying, are handwashed undergarments because it's that time of the month. Yesterday's towels are on the floor because housekeeping hasn't come yet and this is how you tell them you need new towels. I keep kicking them out of the way which means they, and my shoes, are getting coated with hair. Later the same chunky bathroom floor soup will coat the bottom of my wedding dress. At one point I use the towels to try to shovel some of the hair into the corner but it just catches in the rug.

Then the photographer comes into the bathroom and wants to snap some shots. At this point my arm is above my head because I'm adjusting my hair and it's all very comical and nightmarish and I'm wondering whether the most unflattering part of the shot will be the angle of my arm flab, the box of tampons in the corner, the clothes on the knobs or the hairy towels on the floor.

I've yet to see the shots so I don't know but this was followed by people not being where they were supposed to be at the time they were supposed to be there, everything starting late, the venue and photographer being harried because we were behind schedule, someone banging on the bathroom door while I was in the bathroom after the ceremony demanding to know my entrée choice, toasts being cut short because the first course had to be served (why they couldn't serve while toasts were going on or while toasts couldn't resume after dinner was served is beyond me). Instead of feeling like the bride at my own wedding, I felt like a guest at someone else's pushy affair. And in the midst of all this, people were periodically yelling at me that I just needed to "chill."

So here is my question: Is this how your wedding was? Is this just how weddings are? Were my expectations -- that I would feel as if I were floating from one calm, warm love-infused moment to the next -- artificially high? The crazy thing is that everyone else had an amazing time. They cried, they danced, they were moved. They had the time I wish I'd had.

I realize you may read this and wonder what the big deal was and it doesn't sound that bad and why am I going on and on and grow up and get a grip and chill. And maybe that's fair.

But I still feel like something went off the rails at some point and I'm somewhat obsessed with pinpointing it.