The Outdoorsy Stuff

Although many have called it an old-fashioned tradition, and most weddings I attend anymore don’t have them, Andrew and I wanted to make sure we had a receiving line. We wanted to thank each individual guest for being there to support us and just show them how much we appreciated having them there with us. We had many elderly couples that were coming to the ceremony and couldn’t make it to the reception. The reception is already so full of events that there usually isn’t time to greet everyone.

402b+aInstead of having ushers dismiss by aisle, Andrew and I went in ourselves and greeted everyone at their row. All of our guests could remain seated until it was their turn and they wouldn’t have to stand in a line all bunched together. I was still overwhelmed by all of the people that came to celebrate with us!

202b+aAfter we had greeted all of our guests, we finished up the formal family pictures and bridal party pictures. It was a little chaotic because we kept losing family members and groomsmen and then a sister, haha – but we finished in good time. We picked a park near the ballroom to take the rest of the bridal party pictures. We carpooled there (have you seen the price of renting a limo??) and managed to mostly (we lost a few people on the way, haha) get there all at the same time.

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I was a bit disappointed in the weather that morning. It was cloudy, kind of dreary, super humid which was wreaking havoc upon my hair. I was hoping for sunshine and rainbows, but I was happy that it at least wasn’t raining, because I was absolutely terrified that it would rain and we wouldn’t be able to do outdoor pictures! So thank you, Lord, for holding off the rain! Plus, the lighting in the pictures was perfect, so I really have nothing to complain about!

Since it was muggy. there were lots of bugs out. Normally that would not have been a big deal, but the netting on my dress acted like a bug net. Eek! It was so disgusting – all of these flies, gnats, and Lord know what else trapped in my dress. We found a cricket at one point and though we laughed and laughed, I was so happy when my sister picked it out! Thankfully, none of the bugs could be seen in the pictures. :)

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Our photographer picked a  secluded area of the park with lots of trees and an open area. We started with the whole bridal party and then did individual pictures with each of the bridesmaids and groomsmen. We opted to do funny poses, which turned out hilarious!

After we finished up with pictures, my sister and Andrew had to take each layer of my dress and shake out all of the flies and gnats. I couldn’t stop laughing as we swatted and shook out the tulle and netting. I almost wish the photographer would have gotten a picture of that because it was such a bizarre moment. I never imagined after spending so much money on my dress I would be picking bugs out of it! It still is cracking me up as I write this post.

I was a little nervous about how the pictures at the park would turn out. I don’t consider myself photogenic and I feel like I do the most awkward poses, hand gestures, etc. in pictures, but oh my word. I loved every single picture. My mother and I gushed over them when we got them back a few weeks later, oohing and aaahing over them all! I really can’t pick favorites from the park because there are just so many.  But here are a few of them, including the silly ones. :)

This is the fourth post in a series about my wedding. You can also read about the morning of my wedding and the ceremony. :)

The Ceremony

I remember those small moments leading up to the ceremony. We had moved to a nursery room because the bridal room had grown uncomfortably warm. My bridesmaids and I made small talk, but I was so nervous that I just couldn’t think about anything else! Throughout this whole planning process, including the weeks and days leading up to the wedding, I hadn’t been nervous. It was an absolute no-brainer to marry Andrew. He’s my best friend and I can’t even imagine my life without him – as cheesy as that may be. What was there to be nervous about?

Oh, my. Many things, apparently.

Our day-of-coordinator pulled open the door, letting us know that the ceremony was starting; my brothers were lighting the candles down the aisles and on the stage. We lined up behind the door and I had to refrain from peeking through the curtains. I wanted to see what was going on! This is my wedding!!

238b+aI was jittery, but then I thought of my brothers and their silly mustaches in front of everyone we know and I couldn’t help but feel better. As I looked at the groomsmen and my bridesmaids, I couldn’t get over how good we all looked! It’s one thing to see wedding party pictures of other people – but these were my friends, my family—and they looked absolutely perfect. I took another deep breath as the groomsmen began to escort the bridesmaids down the aisle.

My eight-year-old cousin was our flower girl and she whispers that she is nervous. I tell her that she is going to be perfect and she keeps inching closer to the door, ready for her turn. My brothers are pulling the aisle runner down now and my dad starts to chuckle, informing me that they are pulling it crooked. I roll my eyes and try not to giggle. Then they are passing me and out in the foyer. They grin at me and then walk back to their seats.

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And then I hear my song: “To Make You Feel My Love” by Adele; my aunt is playing the acoustic version on the piano and it is dramatic and beautiful and perfect. I grip my dad’s arm, take a deep breath, and step out with my father. I am suddenly so overwhelmed by the sea of family and friends that I see before me. I can’t stop the tears that instantly prick my eyes or the enormous smile that crosses my face.

283b+a 288b+a I hear a hissed “slow down!” behind me, our coordinator informing my dad and I that we are walking too fast. I was just too excited to rush out there! It’s my turn, guys! I cannot believe all of the people that are there, for me and Andrew. I’m not crying, I remember distinctly focusing on not crying, but my eyes are moist because I cannot believe the amount of love we are surrounded by.

290b+aAnd then I remember to look at Andrew. I was so distracted that I forgot to look at my own groom! At this point, he is walking down the stage and I see him take a deep breath and wipe a tear from the corner of his eye. I melt. I had no idea how he would react seeing me walk down the aisle, but I wanted to make him cry (I promise I’m not a sadist) and it made me want to cry knowing that I made him cry!

But I just can’t stop smiling as my dad gives me away and then awkwardly hands me over to Andrew. I give my father a quick kiss on the cheek and then my hand slides into Andrew’s, like it has so effortlessly in the past. He squeezes it as our pastor says a prayer.

 Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me. Ruth 1:16-17

A good friend of mine reads the verses from Ruth as Andrew helps me up the stairs to the stage… except I’m stepping on my own dress and get stuck! I just giggled at myself as we somehow managed to get up there without falling and ripping my dress!

319b+aThe rest of the ceremony is honestly just a blur and I only remember moments. I remember the tears filling in Andrew’s eyes as he said his vows. He slipped my wedding band onto my finger. I remember thinking as I said my vows that some of the words sounded so strange–does my voice sound weird? And then without thinking I’m slipping Andrew’s ring onto his finger — but on the wrong hand! I laugh and try to just flip to his other hand without everyone noticing, and our pastor says, “Eh, whichever hand works!” Everyone laughed and I put the ring on the right hand this time. :)

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We light our unity candle and wax drips all over my hands but it doesn’t burn. A close friend sings “God Gave Me You,” by Dave Barnes, as we give our mothers their roses and hug family. At some point I lose my veil – I remember thinking, hmm, that’s not supposed to be on the floor, haha, so I just pick it up and throw it on the pew. I wasn’t going to try to put it back in my hair by myself! My mom mentioned later that she didn’t even notice that it fell, so I felt pretty smooth. ;)

And then, Andrew is dipping me and kissing me and everyone is cheering and I am so full and so happy that nothing could ever compare to that moment, that moment being surrounded by so much love and joy that I am just overflowing.

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This is the third post in a series about my wedding. You can also read about my rehearsal dinner and the morning of my wedding. :)

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