The day was finally here! Shockingly I got a good night’s sleep, at least for the few hours I laid down. I was up bright and early around 7am to finish constructing our wedding cake. Eeek! 😬 All of the girls were coming over to get ready at 9, so I was hoping to get it done before they arrived so I could just relax and enjoy everything. My mom had gotten a few items for breakfast- pastries, fruit and mimosa supplies, and my dad made us some yummy eggs and bacon. Hair and makeup started at 930 with our four amazing artists, we had a tight schedule in order to get all 13 of us ready. Our whole day was planned out in full detail from hour to hour. It wasn’t my turn to get pretty until 11:30, so I enjoyed my breakfast and tried to keep calm. We spent all morning laughing, talking, singing along with my Spotify wedding day playlist and dodging bullets from the Nerf guns I bought our “ring security” for their gifts.
After hair and make up we went outside to take a few pictures of us all in our “getting ready” outfits before the girls got changed. After our photo sesh, I got to open my gift from Doug. Since we had chosen to recite traditional vows during our ceremony, we had agreed to write our personal vows to each other to be read the morning of the wedding. It was very emotional reading the words he wrote to me on a picture of us, especially with everyone watching. I’m thankful to have something concrete to be able to look at in the years to come, in good times and in bad, to bring me back to our wedding day. He gifted me a beautiful new pair of diamond earrings and a picture frame with three different maps, shaped like hearts, representing the place we met, the place he proposed, and the place we would be married. The earrings are so beautiful, and I haven’t taken them out once since the wedding day. I had lost one of my old diamond studs at work one night when we were living in Denver and was very upset about it, so to have them replaced with an even more beautiful (& bigger 👍🏼) set was a perfect surprise. I also really loved the thought and creativity he had to come up with the picture frame, it will be a beautiful addition to our future home.
It was now time for everyone to get dressed, so we could get this show on the road. I wasn’t going to be dressing until we arrived at Belle Meade. They have a bridal room on the grounds for changing, and I didn’t want to risk getting anything on my perfectly white gown on the ride over. We hopped on the trolley my mom had reserved and headed towards Belle Meade. When we arrived, my aunt and uncle as well as my two friends from high school, Lauren and Emily, along with the catering staff were getting everything set up in the reception area. I immediately started to tear up because of how beautiful everything looked. I had been so anxious about all of my ideas coming together into a cohesive picture, so when I saw the way things looked I was overwhelmed with joy. I quickly thanked them and ran off to get dressed! My mom and sisters came in the room to help me while the other girls and my dad waited out by the garden for the first look with my dad.
So many special moments were happening in such a quick amount of time. From my sisters helping me into my dress and shoes, my mom’s face as she watched it happen, and then my dad’s reaction to seeing me as a bride. I could’ve sobbed, but I didn’t want to mess up my makeup. Instead I kept making this funny face you’ll see in our wedding photos where I am trying to keep the tears from streaming down my face. If only all of these feelings could be bottled up and kept forever. Thankfully there’s pictures and video to help with that. After the first look with my dad, we had a little time to snap a few bridesmaid pictures before we had to hide from the boys, then it was back into the bridal room we went.
On the flip side, the men had a more laid back start to the day with beers and time at the pool beginning at ten. Doug had rented a condo on Air B&B for them to get ready in as well as for us to stay in that night, a pool being one of the main requirements. They didn’t have to get showered and suited up until closer to 1, so they had a few hours to kill. Obviously I wasn’t a guest at this part of the day, so I can’t give you all the details but it sure looked like they had a good time. After getting all handsome, they jumped in their limo and were off to take pictures for a little while. Once finished, they headed back to the condo because Doug remembered he hadn’t opened his gift yet. This is the part I wish I would’ve been there to see. As he had done for me, I had written my vows to him in a note that I placed inside a card “To my groom on our wedding day…”. I had been so excited to give him his gift because I knew there was no way he’d be expecting it. With the help of my brother in law, Matt, I got him a handgun which we had been talking about purchasing for a while. Oh the reaction on his face in the pictures and video, it was priceless. The whole group went crazy. When our photographer arrived at Belle Meade to meet the girls he told me all about the gift opening, I was so happy to know it went over so well. Right on time the guys arrived at the ceremony site just after the girls had snuck off to hide.
It was show time!
To be continued…