I tried my best to gather myself as I was climbing the stairs to the church doors. I was actually more concerned that my veil or my train was going to get caught on one of the bushes outside the steps.
One of the church coordinators opened the doors for us as my bridesmaids and I were trying to keep my dress from dragging. I’m not sure what I was expecting to see when I walked in, but I certainly wasn’t expecting to see my family and the rest of the wedding party. Why I thought they would be anyplace else, I have no idea. I locked eyes with one of my cousins, immediately burst into tears, & scurried into the “bridal” room where I was to stay until it was my turn to walk down the aisle. It wasn’t even one of those pretty cries where the tears just sort of flow down your cheeks and everyone is like “aw, that’s so sweet!”. No. This was a scrunched up face, tears coming out all different directions, and heaving sobs. SO NOT BRIDAL!
I had just about pulled myself together when my mom came in and hugged my dad and I and said “ok, this is it!”. The ugly cry waterworks started all over again. Between sobs, I begged my dad to do something to make me laugh so I wouldn’t look like a complete lunatic walking down the aisle. He tried on the groomsmen’s sunglasses that were left in the room, saying that we should wear them down the aisle; which made me giggle. I heard a baby let out of a yell in the church and even though I knew it was Andrew’s niece Melina discovering echoes, I asked “Who was that?” and my dad replied “Nana” which cleared up all of my tears and made me laugh for a few minutes while the bridesmaids and groomsmen were making their way down the aisle.
Before I knew it, it was time for my grand entrance. I tried concentrating on dad’s and my “Nana” joke the whole way down the aisle to keep me from crying again. It worked perfectly until I spotted Andrew. The tears started to flow again, but I like to think it was more of the pretty cry this time. They lasted until I hugged my dad and Andrew and I walked onto the altar.
Amazingly enough, I remember almost the entire ceremony. We sat on what Andrew’s best man described as “tufted white chair” on the altar and the deacon greeted everyone with a short prayer. Andrew and I (rudely) talked through pretty much the entire ceremony as if it weren’t even happening. We discussed traffic, what my dad and I joked about a few minutes prior, how his nephew made it down the aisle successfully, inside jokes from night before, how cute his niece looked with her pigtails, etc. My aunt did her reading that we had asked her to do, and Andrew’s cousin did his (but not without strutting up to the microphone and shooting us a wink before he started). The deacon did his homily & before we knew it, it was time for what everyone came to see. We exchanged out vows (TEAR FREE!!) and exchanged our rings that were sitting on a silver plate on the altar. We kissed, we laughed, we didn’t cry! The ceremony from beginning to end was a lot shorter then we had anticipated, which we were beyond fine with.
We made our way down the aisle, still laughing, and out into the courtyard for the receiving line. I started to tear up again as I realized what had just happened and how happy both Andrew and I felt that in that moment. Also, I was pretty psyched that Andrew decided to show up! A lot of people discourage us from having a receiving line, but I definitely think it was the right choice. It was so much easier to be sure that I saw everyone (or at least everyone who came to the church) instead of trying to get to all of our guests at the reception. Plus, the photographer got to get some great candid pics in. After about 20 minutes of saying “thank you” and hugging, we took our family & wedding party pictures at the church. The whole time, my heels were sinking into the grass and my veil was getting blown into trees, but everyone tried their best to de-twig the back of my dress and my veil for me.
As we got into our limo to take us to the reception, the driver had champagne ready and waiting for us to toast with. The ride from the church to the reception seemed even longer than it did from the hotel. Probably because I was so overwhelmed with everything. I was having a hard time wrapping my head around and everything and trying to take mental snapshots of what was happening around me. I noticed that one of our groomsmen had navy and white striped socks on and I immediately was angry at myself for not thinking about socks for the guys. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN SO PERFECT. Ugh. I digress.
When we got to the receiption, we walked straight through the restaurant (trying to avoid getting dropped shrimp and French fries caught in my dress…although I was starving when we got there, so it may have been a good idea for a snack) to the dock and harbor out back. We lucked out with absolutely beautiful weather. All year I had been convincing myself that it was going to pour rain because the farmer’s almanac told me so. I couldn’t have been happier that it was wrong.
So let me tell you a few reasons why you should avoid taking pictures of a dock with heels and a wedding dress with a train. By the time we got to reception, I had about had it with the train on my dress. It just continually got stepped on and I kept having to pick twigs, etc out of it whenever I moved outside. I was totally over it. When we got onto the dock, the photographer told us to take a walk down the harbor and he would take pictures of us. Sounded like a simple enough idea. Well as we were walking, I hear this giant RIP sound. I immediately assume that the skirt of my dress had completely ripped off in the back and all that was covering me was my veil. TOTALLY. CONVINCED. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case. Just a small piece of thread got stuck on a nail in one of the boards and ripped the hem on the bottom of the skirt. Still completely scary, mind you. So we kept walking down the dock. As we walked, I felt myself walk right out of my shoe. I bent down to try to get it back on my foot, but my veil and dress for some reason wouldn’t move with me…as it turns out, I had pinned my dress and veil with the heel of my shoe to the deck. MY HEEL WAS STUCK BETWEEN THE BOARDS. Can’t catch a break. I was able to laugh that one off, however, the dye on the shoes wiped off onto my dress/veil. Luckily, it was all on the underskirts of my dress and I was going to take my veil off anyway. This happened at least 3 more times. At this point, I can feel myself getting antsy. I was annoyed with my shoes, dress, veil, the venue- I just wanted to sit down and eat something. Andrew and I were both STARVING. I begged one of the groomsmen to go in and get me some water because I was dying of thirst as well. I chugged that back as Kate and Andrew bustled my dress so I wouldn’t be tripping over it anymore.
When we got into the restaurant to wait to be introduced with the rest of the wedding party, we were finally fed some appetizers. Everything was phenomenal, especially the bacon wrapped scallops, however at that point; I would’ve eaten road kill. The DJ came and talked to us and confirmed a few things with us before he introduced us all. I reiterated that heads would roll if any, and I mean ANY Maroon 5 was played. I was dead set against it. He assured me that there wouldn’t even be a second of Adam Levine and his whiny voice over the speakers. Thank God.
As Drew and I walked into the reception, I tried to get a good look around at the decorations and tables. Neither of us had seen it yet and I really wanted to see everything before it was all messed up from dinner, dancing, alcohol, etc. As we made it to the dance floor, the intro to our FOUR AND A HALF MINUTE FIRST DANCE (what were we thinking) started. We had previously agreed that Drew would have to tell me what he was doing as we danced. We were pretty good after our professional dance lessons, but I still just can’t follow. I end up leading and mess everything up. I was pretty impressed with ourselves! Of course, we don’t know what it looked like to everyone else, but it felt pretty good in the moment. Plus, we NAILED the dip which is really all I cared about anyway. The song didn’t seem as long as it did when we practiced (all 3 times) and when we were doing our lessons.
After the dance, I felt a HUGE sense of relief. Everything big was over and done with. I didn’t really have to worry about much anymore besides having fun. Andrew’s best man gave an epic speech, complete with a handmade Yuengling wedding cake. Win! My maid of honor’s speech was just as fantastic, however I think it was more the “Roast of Emily” rather than a speech, but everyone loved it just the same, including me. They were definitely the best Maid of Honor and Best Man speeches I’ve ever heard and that’s not just me being biased!
Once the speeches were done, I was FINALLY able to sit and relax. I should have been walking around and saying “hi” to everyone, but I just didn’t have the energy. I needed sustenance. As soon as our food was put in front of us, I inhaled about half of it. From what I remember, it was delicious! We knew that we REALLY had to go and visit with people at that point, so we put our forks down and started at table 1. After chatting for what seemed like 3 minutes, we were pulled aside by the photographer to take more pictures. At this point, I had my wedding flip flops on, my belly was semi-full, and my dress was bustled; so I knew that taking pictures down by the boats again wasn’t going to be as traumatizing. That and I had a few glasses of champagne in me, so I game for anything! The moon was rising almost perfectly over the harbor and the air had cooled off a little. It was nice to get out of the busy room for a few minutes and take another walk with Andrew. Plus, we didn’t have as many people eating their dinner and watching us like they had the first time we were down there. That was make me feel very self-conscious earlier.
After the pictures were taken, we made our way back into the reception. I was immediately pulled away by the wedding coordinator and was told that we were running a little behind schedule and would need to do the cake soon. I turned to grab Andrew so we could get the cake cutting over and done with, but when I turned, he was gone!
To Be Continuted…again!!