Woohoo! Finally getting around to reliving one of the happiest weekends of my life in words. A memorialization, of sorts. The pictures will bring back the moments and feelings of the day, but written word will bring back the facts and little details. So bear with me for the Longest Post Ever, and if you haven’t seen the countdown to the big day, it’s here.
The Day Before
The celebration really started on Friday. It was a day that rivaled even the wedding day in terms of fun and great memories made. We spent all of August prepping so the day before was just checking items off of lists and getting as much done as possible ahead of time so that The Day was a stress free as possible. This included picking up the U-Haul, detaching the legs from our flower arch, tipping it ever so carefully on the diagonal to get it out the back french doors and laid flat and securely in the bed of the truck. I took Levi to get his final wedding day bath at the Vienna Pet Spaw – he was definitely more stressed out than we were! My brother, sister in law, and their two kids came over to visit with us while we pre-cooked breakfast for the following day. It was my first time meeting my sweet nephew Leo, god I love holding babies. He is such a delight. So happy and calm. My 3yo neice, Lilly (aka The Flower Girl), loves the dog, much more than he loves small children I suspect this is always the case, so she enthusiastically offered to come with me to pick him up from his spa date. Also handed off important wedding-day attire items such as G’s Dad’s shirt and tie and Lilly’s flower girl dress.
Then all the girls loaded into G’s Mom’s car and we headed off to OUR spa date! I reserved the entire place where I normally get my pedis, Lotus Nail Spa, and we had ourselves a nice afternoon of manicures, pedicures, delicious treats, wine, prosecco, and were proud to present our bridal party with their thank you gifts and we also celebrated my sister in law’s belated birthday! All of the girls got their monogrammed sweatshirts and individual gifts. It was fun, and relaxing, and I loved being with them. Being a family with them.
Back to the house to change into our fabulous pre-wedding dinner dresses and meet our families, bridal party, and out-of-town friends for some amazing food at Sea Pearl. Somehow we got upgraded to the cool room encased by glass so we had a truly private dining event with lots of room to mingle and spread out without all of the noise from the regular restaurant crowd. I was so pleased. The food was A-mazing too. I always have very low expectations when food is being served to any more than a dozen people. But, the appetizers were fresh and delicious, and all of the entrees came out hot and perfectly cooked. I am so happy with our event there – I will certainly go there again for a large group. Drinks were flowing, my family met G’s family and both families met our bridal party family. It was really perfect. I love these people so much – it makes my heart burst just being with them.
The Day Of
After a relatively good night of sleep, at home, in our own amazingly comfortable bed in our perfectly cold and dark bedroom, there was a brief snuggle and giggle about what we were going to be doing/accomplishing/celebrating on this amazing day. And then a jump out of bed to pull on some clothes and feed Levi. G’s maid of honor, Miss T, had already arrived before I even got my pants on hauling boxes of decoration items from our staging area in the living room out to her rented SUV. As the rest of our bridal party arrived, we threw the egg casserole and other responsible breakfast items that we made the day before into the oven for a reheat and we organized ourselves while drinking coffee and fueling up. We loaded ourselves into a couple of strategic cars – G drove the U-Haul, Miss T took a load of our decorations in her SUV, and Stacie and Rachel teamed up to bring the rest of the decor along with a stop off to pick up the mini pies from Pie Gourmet.
We all made our way to Old Angler’s Inn to set up the ceremony and reception sites. Flower arch, proudly erected and secured on the 3rd tier stone patio, white folding chairs arranged symmetrically and strategically around the arch to create an aisle and good spacing so that everyone would be able to see. G was thoughtful enough to bring my hot glue gun and other “arch essentials” so that I could perform some minor surgery on it to bring it back to its full glory after all of the transportation. At the reception site, oblong tables, arranged farmhouse style, linens, table runners, lanterns, paper flower centerpieces, twinkle lights, guestbook, favors, menu and table seating windows, gift and card receipt area, all set up by Team G.
Midway, Team K had to get back to the house to shower and be the first to get worked on by the fabulous Brooke Williams – hair and makeup. While I had my hair did, Stacie set up her magnificent spread of wedding-day gourmet eats. I am still swooning over the ground turkey chutney lettuce wraps. She made everything from scratch, much of the fresh veggies and herbs from her own garden, and kept it all high protein and low sodium so that there was no potential for bloat.
One by one, we all got our hair and skin sorted out as Carolyn and Geoff, our photographers, arrived to capture some of our getting ready moments. My family arrived as well to hang out and lend some moral support and help in any way that they could but I was mostly stuck in the makeup chair with my maid of honor, O, wagging her finger at the makeup girl encouraging More Shadow. More Liner. More Eyelashes. And man did my eyes look Kardashian amazing. And my hair was BIG. Well, until we were outside for more than 15 minutes, but I definitely enjoyed my moment of Texas. Just as dramatic and glam as Brooke Williams did my makeup and hair, she also very skillfully navigated G’s makeup which was a little more neutral and a lot more natural. She did G’s Mom as well, and they both looked so perfect. I imagine she can do everything from Fell Out Of Bed Looking This Way to Las Vegas and everything in between.
Then we got dressed, separately. Team K upstairs and Team G in the master suite downstairs, and then Team G left to go to the First Look spot by the Potomac in Great Falls, MD. I waited with my girls for 15 minutes while they finished getting ready and Stacie took the wheel, music blasting, A/C on Max Cold, handed me a red solo cup of Prosecco, and we took off to go meet my bride. Levi was so fortunate to have the Hourihandler making sure he was on point and got from the house to the shoot to the wedding calm and cool complete with bow tie.
I was told to go to a specific spot where I would find G waiting for me, and I spotted her gorgeous purple dress amongst the green backdrop, crept up behind her and gave her a huge hug from behind. She turned to greet me and we had our moment* Of course this person before you is beautiful and perfectly hair/makeup/dressed… but there is just something else. That first look, into the eyes of your future life mate, that sends shivers all the way down to your core and even though it was just last night that you didn’t think you could feel more loved with all your friends and family surrounding you, you feel more overwhelmed with love than ever before. It takes a few minutes to snap out of it, and fortunately, your photographers are there to not only snap pictures of the moment, but also keep the train moving along. Bridals! Wedding Party! Levi! In front of this tree! On top of this rock! Climb precariously near the river! (Carolyn and Goeff are not bossy, BTW, the exclamation points are an expression of their excitement and energetic suggestions to get us into position where the most amazing photographs possible can take place.) Meanwhile, the sun came out full force, we all got miserably hot and sweaty and even though the girls were all fanning me furiously, my hair deflated and the strength of my deodorant became questionable. I won’t dare complain about the sun being out though because the whole week prior, the forecast threatened showers on our day and as an outdoor wedding, we wanted it to be tented as a last resort. And we got exactly what we wanted, a gorgeous day with sun shining brightly and an open air wedding, exposed to the blue sky and starry night.
After pictures, we headed into Old Angler’s Inn, our venue, for a little A/C and to touch up makeup, fluff hair, and get everyone lined up for the ceremony. G’s Dad came back and they had a very touching moment together. She held it together quite nicely, but I had a private moment where I cried almost uncontrollably while he told her how much he loves her, no matter what, and that he is so happy that she has found true love and happiness in her life. I cried because her dad, who is currently struggling with the first stages of dementia, had a really amazing moment of clarity when he said those heartfelt things, and I cried because I was so happy that between the two of us, at least one of us has loving and supportive parents and that they are also very loving and supportive of me. I cried because I wanted so badly to have a moment like that with my own father. And I cried because as my brother squeezed me into him and gave me a reassuring kiss on the forehead I felt so grateful and happy for my life, just as it is, and with my brother there to take me down the aisle.
We found out after the ceremony that my niece Lilly was truly the cutest. I coaxed her down the aisle by telling her that Levi was waiting for her at the end of the path, which he technically was, and that he would be So Happy if she would take her bouquet of paper flowers and give them to him, which he would be, if he knew that I wanted him to. So, no lies told there. She happily ran up the path and into the aisle and was so surprised to find herself surrounded by people she didn’t know that she stopped dead in her tracks, turned to find her way back to her Daddy, and fortunately, with the bridesmaids all calling her to come forward and hearing Leo scream (we’ll just call it a helpful shout out to be fair) she made it all the way. The photographers caught all of this and the time-phased flip through the pictures is the sweetest thing ever.
No one tripped up the aisle. I got my tears sorted out just in time to smile big and make it up to where G was holding her hand out to me. Then the beautiful words from Reverend Bonnie. And the poem my sister-in-law Jenni read. And the vows. Which were rather important to us both. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to give some amazing vow speech in my emotional state, that at best I would be able to repeat. So, we wrote our own vows together, but had Rev Bonnie help us recite them to one another.
I, _______, take you, _______, just as you are, loving who you are now, and who you have yet to become.
I promise to encourage you and inspire you, to laugh with you, and to be your partner in all of life’s adventures.
I promise to always treat you with tenderness and have the patience love demands, to speak when words are needed and to share silence when they are not.
I promise to listen to you and learn from you, to support you, and accept your support.
I promise to choose you every day, to love you in word and deed, and to do the hard work of making now into always.
I promise to love you and have faith in your love for me now and through all the years to come.
After that, another beautiful reading by our sweet friend, Dan. Rings. Closing. KISS!!! And with big smiles on our face, skipped back up the aisle to the aforementioned room with A/C! Short and sweet, that is how we wish all wedding ceremonies to be! There is partying to commence!
While the guests took advantage of the hors d’oeuvres and the open bar, the bridal party made their way back to the flower arch to take some pictures there. Then we were announced into the Beer Garden where the reception was being held – oh our decorations looked so amazing! The only hiccup was that they announced Kim and Ginny and LEVI! Where was Levi??? Well, we made our big entrance just the two of us, Levi was being well cared for by the Hourihandler, and everyone else who wanted a sweet puppy snuggle.
Speech by Miss T! Where she said the sweetest things about us and her best friend G. And called us Gin and Kimmy – I loved that part the most. Dinner! The most delicious food ever at a wedding, we have gotten confirmation from pretty much every guest there and they’re not just being nice. Fried chicken, Beef back ribs, corn succotash, mac and cheese, and the like… why go fancy when these are the things that we love? Speech by O! Where she divulged my transformation into a real live person and attributed it to my relationship with G. All true- you can read back through all of my posts for history. But told from her perspective it was funny and reminded me of how far I’ve come as an individual and how far G and I have come since we first got together. And then she kicked the party into high gear with Dancing! And we danced. And danced. And danced. And I fanned the hell out of myself. And our hairs all went up into ponytails – better than stuck to our neck and forehead. And mini pies! And cake! And I gave a thank you speech that was only one step above Elvis’s Thank you, thank you very much thanks to all the Amaretto and all the Sour. No matter. And then more dancing (especially with the kids, they loved it, and we loved it!) And then sparklers, which wasn’t planned very well, but I actually loved more that it was a little bit of a mess.
As Stacie drove us home with Levi in a heap in the back seat, I could not believe it was over. The girls, and all their guys, had packed up all our decor for us and loaded it in the garage, so all G and I had to do was get ourselves into the house and… well, you know. It was at that point, when it was all over, that I was so grateful that I would see almost everyone again in the morning for brunch, and we still had so many cards to read and gifts to open, and Facebook notifications to scroll through. I could not imagine ever being happier than I was that day, that weekend. But, you know, I’ve been so happy every day since then – apart from missing my family and having friends around 24/7. That just proves that life really does just keep getting better. Can we do it all again???
For a look at a very small sampling of our professional wedding pictures by Carolyn Scott Photography click here!