Well, here it is. The wedding blog. Why try to be creative? Let’s just call it what it is.
First, I just need to say that weddings are SO WEIRD. I have been in quite a few, so I thought I had an idea of what would go down but I had no idea what all goes into a wedding until I was the bride. To be completely honest, I am still wondering whose wedding we were at three weeks ago because I still can’t believe it was mine!
Next, I would like to address the absolute hardest part of getting married, and that is realizing that there are hundreds of people I wanted to share our day with and we could only afford (spatially and financially) to share it with 100 people. This was really difficult for me. I cried a lot of tears over the guest list because I knew I was not only going to hurt some people’s feelings, but there was no way I would be able to celebrate with everyone who has played a major role in our lives up to this point. I am someone who likes to be inclusive, so planning an event (much less such a life changing one) with exclusive requirements was mentally, emotionally, and even physically painful for me.
While nothing on this earth is perfect, I believe our wedding was perfect for Tim and I. We worked really hard, together, to make it a day of celebration as well as sacrament. From the moment we started discussing marriage in our relationship, we both took it very seriously. His parents have been married for 47 years. There is not a single in-tact marriage in my immediate family tree. It is both sacred and terrifying, humbling and exciting. Neither of us has been married before, and we don’t want to get married again. We wanted our “big day” to communicate all of this and more through every detail, and I believe we pulled it off.
Tim is an AMAZING partner in so many ways. He was not the fiancé who proposed and then said, “see you at the altar”. He had some very clear opinions and desires for our wedding. Some I agreed with, some I did not. In fact, there were a lot of areas in which we did not agree (ahem, our evening at Bed, Bath, and Beyond…) but on the big things, we were on the same page. We knew where we wanted to marry. We knew who we wanted to officiate. We knew we wanted it casual, sacred, a little odd, and very fun. So we kept the ceremony simple and sacred, and then let our creativity fly for the reception.
While so many details made our wedding memorable (light saber tunnel, anyone?), it was the people who made it absolutely magical. Friends and family showed up from all over the world (I mean it!) and sacrificed their time, money, vacation days, and more to love us oh so well. While it was hard to have a smaller wedding, it was nice to realize we could get face time with everyone present because that was important to us.
The only “glitch” we faced was when a mama sea turtle decided to make her new nest on our ceremony spot the morning of the wedding. Fort Myers Beach local sea turtle advocates, Turtle Time, marked off the area and informed us that we may need to move our ceremony site. Our phenomenal wedding coordinate, Shannon, immediately started working on back-up plans so that there wouldn’t be yellow tape in our photos, but we decided it was a gift to share our wedding with the new lives being formed and opted to get married next to the nest anyway. How cool is that? We may even get to go back in September when the little buggers hatch and be a part of the team that guides them to the ocean to find their mama!
When our pastor, Zach Van Dyke, started a powerhouse homily during our ceremony, thunder started to roll and dark clouds began to settle in. This may upset some, but again, we thought it was really cool. The rain started as soon as the ceremony ended which just meant we moved cocktail hour from the poolside to the reception area. Because of the rain, the wedding party, parents, pastor, and Tim and I actually ended up sitting in the honeymoon suite room together just laughing and sharing stories. A server brought drinks and appetizers up to us as we waited out the rain to do photographs, and we would not have had such an intimate, sweet time with our people if the rain had not come in. Another gift in disguise!
At this point I want to address what it felt like to be the bride. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I didn’t really feel any different when I woke up on my wedding day. My dear friend and college roommate, Katie, had stayed with me the two nights before the wedding, so she made the morning special by asking what I needed and giving me a beautiful champagne flute with my new monogram on it. It was nice to wake up and feel like we were still roommates, planning another adventure. After that, the day was a whirlwind. I am not used to being touched by so many people! My sister–in-law, Annie, styled my hair. She did an AMAZING job, but again I am not used to someone poking at my head all day. Kristina, the resort cosmetologist, did my nails and make-up and I couldn’t have asked for a better and more natural look. All day long people were fixing my dress, fixing my hair, helping me eat and drink water and pee. At one point, after photos, I was propped up in a chair with a fan under my dress while Katie fed me small bites of peanut butter sandwich and my maid-of-honor and childhood best friend, Emily, fiddled with my dress. The best part is I was sitting in front of floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooked the resort pool so everyone outside could see me and was waving.
I wish I could tell you that I didn’t struggle with my body shame that day, but I did. As I put my dress on, I immediately started to scold myself for not losing weight, for being a “fat bride” and for not being pretty enough for Tim. Thankfully, I was surrounded by some women who knew what I was doing to myself before a word left my mouth. They challenged and encouraged me all day long, and by the end of the night I just felt like a beautiful woman who got to marry an amazing man as I twirled around and around in my wedding dress. The bustle broke and the zipper popped out and the train was black by the end of the night, but none of that mattered. I got to marry the man of my best dreams surrounded by people who mean the world to us and it was magical.
And yes, I pulled off a MASSIVE surprise. I wanted to give Tim something surprising and fun for our wedding. He didn’t want a cake, and we had agreed not to do gifts (we worked our tails off to pay for a big honeymoon, so that was our gift to each other), but I still wanted to do something special. Tim LOVES Star Wars. Like really LOVES Star Wars. A lot. He is a total nerd. So I had originally planned to rent a Storm Trooper costume and have a friend wear it to the reception. Over the course of several phone calls, this plan turned into me hiring THE Star Wars man of South Florida, Michael Bay with Mb3 Productions, to come dressed as a Storm Trooper to escort Tim and I into our reception and have a colleague dressed as Darth Vader to crash our reception and challenge Tim to the Dark Side. I basically planned a second wedding behind Tim’s back for six months, as did our incredible vendors. It was so hard, and I never want to keep a secret from Tim again! But it was entirely worth it to see the look of awe and wonder on his face when we danced at the permission of Darth Vader himself.
At the end of the night, we were soaked with sweat, absolutely exhausted, and could barely stand on our swollen feet. We had neither spoken nor seen each other until the wedding ceremony (not even a text!), and we were ready to peel off our sweat-drenched formal wear and just talk. We exited our ceremony under a mesmerizing tunnel of light sabers, and started married life in a resort room overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
We are beyond grateful to everyone who made our wedding so amazing, and hope everyone who could attend had as much fun as we did.
Stay tuned for The Honeymoon Blog…