Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Thing They Can't Shake (Part 4, Our Wedding Day)

Six years ago today, I married the most incredible man in the world. (Sorry ladies, it had to be done.)

I often think about how fast time has moved since our wedding day - we've had two children (almost 3!), moved twice, sold and bought a house, and lived all of the lovely, beautiful, wonderful every day moments of life, and somehow six years went by in the process. It's hard to comprehend!

Even crazier, is the fact that we've been "Matt & Jenn" for almost a decade! This summer, I went all the way back to the beginning to share our love story through weekly posts. If you've missed those, you can catch up here: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 . Part 3 left off with our engagement, and now I can't wait to share the details of our special day with you!

On the morning of August 11, 2007, I woke up on the pull out bed of my mom's living room sectional. I was surrounded by many of the girls who were playing important roles in my wedding party, and for a few quiet moments, I looked around in awe - knowing that THIS day was going to be one of the best of my life, and that all of these people loved me enough to be a part of it. I thought about how blessed and lucky I was, wondered if Matt was awake yet and what he was doing, and how crazy it was that my special day had finally arrived. One by one, my bridesmaids woke up, and we spent a little time joking and laughing and setting the tone for one very happy day!

Because I may mention them by name, here's the line up of girls in my wedding party:

From left to right:
Cassie S - Bridesmaid (friend)
Cassie B - Matron of Honor (sister)
Cheri - Bridesmaid (friend)
ME :)
Gabby - Jr. Bridesmaid (sister)
Lynne - Bridesmaid (friend)
Mallory - Maid of Honor (sister)
Joy - Bridesmaid (friend)

Despite being sick (yeah, I know, I've always had the best luck), I was as positive as I could be. I loaded up on various medicines - I'm pretty sure I was taking regular doses of Sudafed, Tylenol Cold & Sinus, and Ibuprofen, as well as making my way through a bag of menthol cough drops - to help me get through the day without too much of an issue. Still in the early morning, I took a quick shower, and then my bridesmaids and I donned matching shirts and loaded into a few cars and set off for the salon where we were having our hair done.

When we walked into the salon, an army of hairstylists dressed in jeans and black shirts starting calling out the names of the girl they'd be working on. "Cheri!", "Cassie!", "I'm ready for the bride!". We filled up the whole place. On every surface were mirrors, reflecting the faces of all of my best friends, and there was a quiet excitement in the room - smiles flashing everywhere. There was something so magical about the hour I sat in that chair...talking to my hair stylist, seeing each of my girls emerge from their chairs with their new styles. I will always miss that moment. My family and I still have our hair cut at the same salon to this day (even my kids!), and I can't help but think about that moment every time we go there.

When we were finished at the salon, we made a quick stop at Walgreens for some medicine supplies, and then Matt's Mom's house was our next destination. We were greeted with coffee and an edible arrangement, croissants, pitas filled with chicken salad, and yummy mimosas. We nibbled and sipped to our heart's content, savoring the last bit of quiet we had together. Before long, my flowers arrived. Joy and I greeted the delivery man as he handed over my pink and orange blooms. They were totally breathtaking, and everything I hoped they would be! Pictures snapped left and right and excitement filled the room. My aunt arrived to join the festivities, and off to another salon I went with Cassie S to have my make up applied.

Make-up was a slightly awkward experience. My nose was trying to leak, my eyes were puffing with every passing moment, and the more the make up artist touched my face - the more the snot shifted around and made it impossible for me to breathe. But I sat there and took it, even as she swiped mascara over my lashes for the 567th time.

The makeup looked fantastic - all but the harshly outlined lips I walked away with. (I will never understand the person who decided a nice dark line outside of the lips was a good idea.) So as soon as I was in the car, and out of make up lady's sight....I wiped and blended the train wreck that was my mouth, and applied my own simple pink tinted gloss.

Upon returning to the house, we found photographer. She joined us in the madness that was getting ready. As my girls got their dresses on, I took a few seconds to sit and watch quietly, and go to the bathroom comfortably for the last time that day (considering I was putting on a giant dress!). It wasn't long before I had to get all of my misc. layers on, so it was nice to have a slight break.

It was quite the operation to get the dress over my head (and my huge under skirts) without messing up my hair or makeup. Not to mention the tie job my girls had to perform once it was on. But it was all worth it. As soon as it was fastened to me, I felt complete. The hair, the makeup, the veil, the jewelry....everything I had planned separately had finally come together. I remember looking in the mirror and saying... "Oh my gosh...I look like a BRIDE!"

My something old was my pearl necklace - given to me by Matt's Mom, something new was my dress (and, most of the pieces that went with it!), something borrowed was my veil (it belonged to Cassie S), and something blue was my mom's blue sapphire ring.

We finally emerged from the bedroom and made our way downstairs in a caravan, and it was at this moment that I realized how many people were getting ready in that house. The whole morning had been an absolute blur of chaos and excitement and I'd hardly looked around at everyone. I don't know why this was such an important moment to me, but I always think back to it. Maybe it has something to do with my nerves over being fully transformed into a bride and being on my way to the church, but I felt so happy and lucky and blessed to know all of these wonderful people! The picture to the left was taken during this moment, and I always think about it when I look at it. I was living the best day of my life, and I knew it, and now I was on my way to marry the best thing that has ever (and will ever!) happen to me. What an incredible moment to experience!

Getting on the limo and riding to the church was so....gosh, I can't even find the words. Even picturing it now is tying my stomach in knots! It was a crazy combination of excitement, euphoria, and nerves (being watched by ALL those people!). I tried to keep things light by snapping pictures, bopping to the music, laughing with my girls....but the flurry of emotions I was feeling was starting to eat at me from the inside out. What was that when we made it to the church and parked in front, the feeling almost totally passed. We watched as last minute guests rushed inside...and my butterfly-filled stomach was totally replaced by a nervous bladder. I was sitting there in like 40 layers of dress....not ready to throw up with nerves, but trying my hardest not to pee my pants! Er, dress. I didn't understand it at the time, but what's funny is that I totally get it now. Not physically, I have no idea why my bladder is the chosen organ to be hardwired to my emotions, but I've had the same feeling on both days that my sons were born, the morning Luke started preschool, and I bet I'll have it again on this baby's birthday!

I sent Joy into the church to find my mom and give her my camera, and to get the flower girls, ring bearer & my Dad out the door so we could line up. My cousins (the flower girl's moms) stood by to help with the lineup and the straightening of my train & veil. It was nice to have them in there...I think all my girls had a certain level of anxiety at that moment so we were no good at calming each other!

When cannon in D started and the line of girls that separated me from the crowd got shorter, my nerves returned. I could finally see into the church, and when I saw how packed it looked I gasped a little and said something to my Dad. His response was "Don't worry they're just all crowding the aisle, you're not that important", and we laughed. The ice breakers continued as my flower girls caused a hilarious scene halfway down the aisle! The littlest one was holding both her basket and her sister's and realized that she didn't have a free hand to actually THROW the petals. So to solve this problem, she stopped in her tracks, set her basket down, and threw a huge clump on the ground. The other two girls panicked and tried urging her forward - the poor things were near tears about it as the congregation was roaring with laughter - until someone in a nearby pew helped them out and sent them on their way. It was such a funny moment, and it took the seriousness out of all of it (we had a Catholic wedding, and they are kind of known for being quite serious and stoic). Suddenly I knew that whatever happened on my trip down the aisle, my guests would still be giggling about those adorable little girls, and all that mattered in that moment was starting my happily ever after at the end of that aisle. Thank you, Paige! ;)

While these are details I probably should have mentioned sooner, and you've probably figured out for your own (haha), my bridesmaids were dressed in pink & orange tea length dresses and carried bouquets of pink, orange, and yellow gerbera daisies. I carried a bouquet of two dozen vibrant pink and orange roses, and the groomsmen wore pink and orange gerbera daisy boutineers to match their pink and orange vests and ties. I was so thrilled with how bright and happy everything looked!

So after my walk to the altar, my Dad shook hands with Matt, flipped my veil, kissed me on the cheek, and then I grabbed Matt's hand and walked up the few steps to our spot. We stood there as the music finished and the Priest welcomed our guests. Matt asked me if I was nervous and I remember saying, "Not anymore, not after seeing you". And he said "me too". It was after the first time we knelt that he said "You look amazing. Seriously...amazing". I remember the look on his face and everything. It was so sweet.

The rest of the ceremony was a blur. Other than the sirens that went through a good portion of either the communion or gospel - I can't remember which. And our vows, which were both sweet and terrifying, because we had to face the congregation while we said them. Matt and I are both introverted homebodies, and doing something so personal in front of so many was stressful for both of us! Even so, I'm glad that we chose to say all of our vows instead of just responding "I do" after the priest said them (we were given the choice when we planned our ceremony). It felt more real, or something, saying the actual words to each other, rather than just telling the priest that we agreed with what he said. It's one of the happy detail memories I have of our wedding - though I can't remember much about the songs we chose or anything else!

I remember the cheers and jests during both the kiss, and when the priest announced us (they happen at different times in traditional Catholic ceremonies), and the feeling of "WE DID IT!" when we started walking back down the aisle. I remember smiling like crazy and seeing flashes go off like were were celebrities, too! I'm sure any bride can relate - by the end of the day my cheeks hurt from smiling, and I expected rogue photographers to pop out of every corner!

When the ceremony was over, we stuck around for some pictures before loading into the limo with our wedding party and driving over to my in-law's country club for formal pictures. It was SUCH a hot day, and Matt and I were entirely too over-dressed for the weather (at least my girls had breezy tea-length dresses, I had like 40 pounds of dress, and all the men were in full black tuxes!). It was tiring, but we still had a good time. When pictures were finished, a few of my bridesmaids stuck around to bustle the back of my dress, and because they are such wonderful girls, they wiped down my legs with wet paper towels and held the layers of my dress up enough to let the air cool them down. Talk about good bridesmaids! :)


When pictures were finished, we made another quick stop at my Dad's house. He was having a small party for those guests that didn't want to drive home between the ceremony and reception, and because his house was so close to the reception, it was a perfect set up. The best part was that he had some snacks for us, and we were able to get a little food in our bellies between all of the chaos! And, ya know, some drinks, too ;)

We stayed until it was time to leave for the reception so we could make our fashionably late entrance. Our guests were already enjoying the cocktail hour, and since our wedding was outdoors, there really wasn't anywhere for us to hide before we were introduced, so we didn't want to be too early. When we arrived, we collected all of our things, and lined up. Our DJ played I Believe In A Thing Called Love by The Darkness while we marched in, and I'll never forget the cheers and claps as we entered the pavilion!

We walked straight over to our cake to do the cutting before dinner started. I always thought this was a little strange, but the venue insisted on it so that they could get it cut up and ready to serve after dinner. It bummed me out that we barely got to enjoy the look of it at the reception before it was hacked into (I mean, we pay enough for those things, right?!), but it was okay. My family and photographer had plenty of time to snap pictures before we even arrived so I have plenty of memories of it! One of my most vivid memories, aside from how absolutely delicious it was, is that someone stuck their hand in it! Yes, seriously. It was probably the biggest glitch in our wedding day (which I guess is saying something good!). The date of one of my aunts couldn't believe that the cake was was real because the frosting had been done so smoothly, and he reached out to touch it to be sure. I mean, come on. It's a little ridiculous that a grown man couldn't restrain himself from such a thing, but even if he felt he HAD to do it, he couldn't have just tapped a little pinky on it?! Instead there were three distinct finger grooves in the middle layer, right in the front. My photographer was able to mostly photoshop it out, thankfully, but I'll never forget it!

After the speeches and a prayer by the priest that married us, we had a delicious Italian buffet for dinner! I had my own specially designated waitress that loaded my plate for me (so I wouldn't get anything on my dress) and to be sure that I got everything I wanted before everyone else started. That was certainly a moment where I really felt like a princess! I used to be able to recite our buffet menu by heart, because I was so excited about it, but I can't remember it anymore! I know that there was pasta, and meatballs, and salad, but I only had a few bites of each so that's all I can recall! The cake was cut up while we were eating, so while we mingled with our guests, it was passed out to everyone. I think I may have gotten a few bites of it, but we had lots of leftovers the next day, so I didn't miss out at all. It was a marble cake with a chocolate mouse filling that had tiny chocolate chips in it. SO yummy!

The rest of the night was filled with family, laughter, music, dancing, lots of draft beer, and even a little horseshoes! The evening was so warm and beautiful, and we had so much fun with our family and friends! We had two guests with birthdays that night, so we bought them little cakes to celebrate, and that was a fun moment! Matt and I danced our first dance to Just You And Me by Jayson Belt, and if you've followed along through our love story, you'll see that I titled them after some of the lyrics of our song.
Baby, it's just you & me, We got a thing they can't shake
Maybe its a little hard sometimes to take
But I'll tell you something, it's a life worth living
And just so you know, I wouldn't give it up, no.
That night, we stayed until the music stopped (the last song being Save The Last Dance by Michael Buble) and the last few guests were still having a great time. They helped us load up our car and gave us a loud, whooping send off as we drove out of the parking lot.

I'll never forget holding Matt's hand as we drove down North French Road, my wedding rings glittering as we drove under street lights, and sneaking glimpses of Matt's wedding band whenever I could. It had been a long, exhausting day, but one of the most beautiful and incredible of my life. I had never felt so much love, so much companionship (in all forms, we had so much help with everything all day long and I will always be grateful for that!), or had so much fun! Despite being ready to crash, I still had one more wedding day item planned for the evening. Packed in my bag, along with all of the other "just in case" necessities I'd planned on having for months (though I somehow neglected to bring a change of clothes for the next morning....oops), was a small envelope containing a letter. I had never mentioned this letter to anyone, and I had saved it for three years, only to be read on this night. When we were in our hotel room, I gave it to Matt, and he looked at me confused. I didn't tell him what it was, I just let him read as I sat and watched recognition dawn on his face. The letter was one I'd written to him when we'd only been dating for 4 months. Something had happened that day that made me realize he was THE ONE. I'd suspected it all along, but it was this day that I just knew it. So I sat down and wrote him a letter for our wedding day. I'd re-read the letter myself a bunch of times over the years, checking to see if it was still relevant, and it was. So I was very excited to give it to him! I still remember writing the words, "I'm writing to you today because I realized that I'm going to marry you." I can still picture the shock on his face as he read it that night ("You wrote this that long ago?!"), and the emotion that we both shared when he finished it. It was one of the most special moments of our wedding day, and I will never forget it.

It's been six years since then, and while we don't have a beautiful party to share with family and friends every day, our life together continues to fill with love and blessings. I could not be more thankful to be married to this man, or for the day that brought us together as husband and wife.

Happy Anniversary, Lovey! I love you more than I'll ever be able to put into words!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Happy Anniversary!!! I can't believe how little the girls were.. wow time flies! <3