I’ve been waiting — on pins and needles — to release this blog post. I wrote it the day James and I returned from our honeymoon, but because we were hoping a magazine would feature our wedding pictures . . . I did not “publish” this on my own. Now, the wait is over. (Sadly, no magazine deal.) But today, a few days past James’s and my one year anniversary, I want to publish my long-awaited post on our wedding.
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Our wedding was beautiful. I don’t know how else to describe it.
Okay, maybe I do. Romantic, gorgeous, magical. Intimate. So very special. Beautiful. It was all so beautiful.
I know, you’re thinking, “What bride says otherwise? Of course, you thought your own wedding was beautiful.” And in part, that’s true. But I think our wedding was different. James and I had one goal when planning our wedding: To do it together — every color, each flower, table cloth napkin and song on our Must Play list. Every wedding aspect, we wanted to come to the conclusion together. That’s because it wasn’t my wedding. It was our wedding. This day was equally important to both of us, and we wanted to create a wedding that portrayed, felt and showed our love for one another and our love for our family and friends. I guess if there had to be a theme, it was simple: Romance. Love. Pure, innocent, sweet love. The type of love with old fashioned traditions. The type of rustic lets-run-in-this-field-barefoot-and-collapse-in-the-grass-giggling romance. And you know what? I feel we captured that feeling. Perfectly.
The day: June 2, 2012. The women had just gotten their hair styled, and we were piling our belongings into my parents’ minivan — my wedding dress, three bridesmaid dresses, a mother of the bride dress and father of bride tux. The six of us squeezed inside and, keys in the ignition, were off.
Before and during the ride, we played a game, asking one another, “If you were to use one word to describe how you feel, what would it be?” From anxious to excited to overwhelmed and emotional, everyone’s words changed within the coarse of minutes. At one point in the van, we asked my mom, and her answer came with a crocodile-shaped smile that spread across her face: “I just . . . I just . . . ohhhh . . . I just feel — I feel like SCREAMING with EXCITEMENT!” Her eyes were twinkling. I’ve never seen her so energetic, happy, eager. “DO IT!” we begged her. “Scream?!” She is not the type to let go. “YEEES!!! SCREAM!!! Let it out!” we encouraged. With a deep breath, she hesitated . . . then, in the quietest whisper a faint “eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” erupted from her as she shook, shivers racing through her body. My sister and I looked at one another. Surely, that wasn’t the scream? There was a pause before we heard, “Oh! There! I feel so much better!” And that’s about how James’s and my wedding day was — This force, this huge emotional feeling of beyond-yourself-happiness overtaking you. That feeling — bound inside leaving you wanting to, so badly, get it out . . . share it, express it properly — something . . . but despite best efforts, there’s too much emotion swallowing you up. Overwhelming at best . . . in the most satisfying, gorgeous, I-would-never-replace-this-feeling-for-the-world sort of way.
The second my dad’s feet hit the ground, he was in search of the men. Poor thing — my dad. He enjoys male bonding time because he’s been surrounded (almost sufficated) by women. He has his wife . . . two daughters (who each have female dogs) . . . and my parents have their own dog — another female dog. We joke that even his fish are females. People talk about their families and how open they are, but know what? Unless you have a family that consist of one man and the rest women then you’ll know about “open discussions.” My sweet sweet dad had to sit through dinner conversations on periods and tampons, pubic and leg hair talks, shaving and bra loathing sessions mixed with deep descriptions of our latest school outfits, purses and nail polish. And PS-These are “light” discussions. I think secretly he has always wanted a son . . . or at least he’s always looked forward to this day — his daughters’ wedding day. The day he finally, OFFICIALLY gets sons. I’ll tell ya — Before I could wave goodbye, my dad had disappeared — in elation, I’m sure, after a long ride with us five women.
Meanwhile, the women started getting ready . . .
Months before James’s and my wedding, I leafed through my mama’s ‘wedding’ Bible and came across an old while handkerchief, folded four times inside the delicate gold-rimmed pages. When I asked my mom about it, she said she carried that handkerchief and Bible down the isle her wedding day. I knew this handkerchief, too, had to come down the isle with me, and what better way than to make it my ‘something old.’ My mom surprised me by hand-stitching James’s and my names, along with the date of our wedding in the color of our bridesmaid dresses. On the corner diagonally from that, she hand-stitched my dad and her names with their wedding date in green, the color of their bridesmaid dresses. The thought is that when James and I start a family, I will pass this hankie down and hand-stitch my son or daughter’s name with their soon-to-be spouse or wife’s name in their wedding colors.
I desperately wanted to pay tribute to James’s family too, craving a symbol that shows we were uniting our two families. That’s why I asked his mom if I could copy her daughter’s wedding idea — have a handkerchief made from her wedding dress.
In the end, I knotted both hankies around my flowers and on top of that wrapped the above blue flowered locket.
My mom gave me this locket years ago when I was a little girl. Not only did it fit my ‘something blue,’ but putting both of our parents wedding day pictures inside remains a meaningful keepsake.
Time to get ready for my man . . .
While we were getting ready, the guys had a little photo time.
I cannot remember if I’ve said this in my blog before, but orchids have a special meaning to James and I. On our first date (which I remember so clearly, he gave me a white Phalaenopsis orchid. The blooms were trembling because his hands were shaking from nerves. Since then, he’s given me an orchid for practically every special occasion. That’s why we decided his boutonniere and my bouquet would be made solely of white Phals. For our groomsmen and bridesmaids, we chose a Leonidas rose as a symbol of love. Lastly, our grandparents wore a Dendrobium orchid, the orchid James placed my ring on when asking me to marry him.
Now it’s the ladies turn for their photo shoot!
Finally, it was time. The ceremony was starting, and I strained to hear the music outside. Glancing down the long isle, I could faintly see black-tuxed figures . . . and then James, tucked among the huge boxwoods. My mama’s voice brought me back from my sneaky eye-hunt for him. “Honey. You are bee-u-tiful!” Tears began to fill her eyes . . . and that’s when I realized — What on earth was my mom still doing by my side?! She needed to be walked down the isle too! And at that moment, I was pretty sure that’s why everyone was paused. With a screech and look of horror, she tore away. Her sandals clicked on the pebbles while she pranced, disappearing — as James did — into the hedges.
The few moments before I walked down the isle were serene. Next to me was my daddy — proud, so proud, standing tall, carefree and baring a teeth-showing-smile. I giggled up at him and tucked my hand around his arm. It was our turn. Our big moment, together. We stood for a seconds, looking into each other’s eyes. “Are you ready to go?” he asked in a hushed, even voice. After a minute of soaking up my dad and our time alone, I gave him a private smile. “Yes.” I hoped he understood those words instead mean “thank you.”
Before I realized it, we were there. That ‘long’ isle sucked in and soon we were in front of our preacher. I could see my groom’s light blue eyes twinkling as he looked into mine.
Our ceremony was perfect, and I mean it — perfect. We embraced the service, every word our preacher said as 100 of our dearest friends and family were by our side.
We chose to have traditional vows . . . and ones we both wrote to each other. James’s vows were beyond what I’ll ever be able to write. He made them personal, secrets between him and I along with promises for a future forever together. His words were all a bride would want to hear . . . and a million times more. PS-They also jokingly claimed he was grateful for the Red Sox because they brought us closer together. (That had to be pointed out!)
After he was done, it was time to recite my vows, promises to him. I also tried to make mine quirky . . . promising to let him dunk his Oreos in my milk (something I — for whatever reason — find disgusting and won’t let anyone else do), vowing to sing random made-up songs just for him and more. I also hoped my vows packed as much love as words are able to muster.
Once our vows were proclaimed, we exchanged wedding bands . . .
and then the glorious moment of being pronounced “husband and wife!”
As with most weddings, pictures come after the ceremony!
During the pictures, my bridesmaids were so adorable, huddling together . . .
that is until they decided to get into some trouble . . .
Time to sneak away . . . and get pictures with just the two of us . . .
While I wanted badly to stay wrapped in this private bubble with James and our photographers, we were eager to see our family and friends at the reception. But before going there, we wanted to get a close look at the beyond gorgeous arbor my cousins made for us as a wedding gift.
I loved the inside of our reception tent. We had put so much thought and work into it . . . with ‘o so much help from loved ones!
Once inside, we had our First Dance . . .
Our First Dance was to Iron and Wine’s From Such Great Heights.
My mom said my dad practiced his Father of the Bride speech often. Daddy, you did amazing, and it meant so much. Thank you.
After dinner, our Father/Daughter dance . . .
Mother/Son Dance . . .
Doug, James’s Best Man, is incredible . . . for so many reasons, but here’s one: After our dances, there was this pause where no one moved to dance and I was thinking silently, “I hope someone comes up and breaks the ice.” No sooner did I think that, Doug jumped on the dance floor in front of all our guests and started dancing alone. That prompted James and I to dance with him . . . which then prompted people to come dance as well. The rest of the night, someone was always dancing. I don’t think we ever said, “Thank you” for that move, Doug . . . Thank you.
After dinner, we gathered around of stunning cake for Best Man and Maid of Honor speeches.
Both Doug and Trista had such funny and heartwarming speeches. The speeches were perfect. Love, love, love you both.
The night winding to a close . . .
As I said in the beginning, our wedding could not have been more perfect. I told James this, and I want to tell you: I was never the type of girl who dreamed about my wedding. I didn’t know what dress I would wear or what flowers I would have. I only envisioned who I would marry . . . one incredible man. I found that man . . . and from there, I began to dream of our wedding day. While the details took time, effort and money, that wasn’t what made our wedding perfect. It was spending the day next to my new husband . . . and celebrating beside our closest family and friends. To those that came out and took part in our day, the warmest thank you. James and I love you all . . . and each of you has made an impression on us. Without a second doubt, our big day would not have been as meaningful without your support and love. So thank you again.
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Pictures are from Korie Lynn Photography.
Korie, I am beyond fortunate to have met you, been able to call you our photographer, but most importantly, our friend. I know you have family and friends in Virginia, but please know, if you ever want to grab a hot chocolate, ice cream or need a place to stay, our home is your home. Cannot wait to see you again!
Loved reading this and seeing all of the photos!!
Thank you so much, Jeana! You’re so sweet to read and comment on my blog! Your message made my day!
How are you and your family? How’s Emily? Hope you guys are all enjoying your summer!