First on the agenda… getting pampered with the girls! While the boys were sweating outside as they set up chairs in front of the gorgeous Goodwood Mansion, and while my mom, my in-laws and generous friends from church were setting up the tables in the Carriage House, the bridesmaids and I were getting beautified! And it was a perfect, stress-free way to spend the morning. As we took turns getting our hair and makeup done, sipping mimosas, munching on croissant rolls filled with chicken salad and plucking petals off of white roses that would line the aisle, we laughed and enjoyed each others sweet company. There was a constant breeze of “calm” in the air. Calm and excitement sprinkled with a few tears of joy. Sprinkles that soon became a down pour as the hairdresser placed the white veil on my head. Oh, that beautiful veil. That veil made everything become so real. As she placed it on my head I knew it was almost time. And as I looked around at my beautiful bridesmaids with their hands on their faces and tears down their cheeks I could only imagine what Nic was going to think when he saw me for the first time.
The first look… Nic and I had made the decision early on in the wedding planning process that we were going to see each other for the first time before the ceremony. Besides the fact that meeting before the ceremony would allow us more time to take pictures, hoping to cut down the time between the ceremony and reception, but it also allowed us to meet in an intimate setting with just me and my soon-to-be husband (and our photographer in the distance) where we could take in that moment, capture every detail of our surroundings and each other, and confess our love to one another without all of the chaos and activity that goes along with a wedding. It was the best decision we could have made. Our photographer picked a spot for us to meet in front of a beautiful tree overlooking the mansion. As I stood there waiting for Nic, my heart was fluttering with anticipation and my eyes were welling up in tears because I knew at this very moment I was going to meet my groom. With every footstep I heard as Nic was slowly approaching those feelings intensified. I felt a hand on my shoulder; I slowly turned around to face my man and with the biggest smile on his face, and I knew without a doubt that he thought I was beautiful. We held each other for a few moments. Then, while he was still holding on tight to my hand, he took a step back and eyed me up and down looking at every detail of my dress. I could just tell he was impressed. That was my favorite moment of the day.
The Ceremony… The violinist began to play and the bridesmaids started the walk to their places. Our flower girl and ring bearer tripped causing all of the flowers to spill from her basket. I watched from a distance as little Karter and Jimmy picked every petal up from the ground causing me to burst out in a nervous giggle. My Dad looked at me, carrying his bible in one hand and grabbing my arm with the other and asks, “Are you ready?” I nodded because I knew if I attempted to speak I would start crying. As I walked down that aisle, linked arm and arm with my Dad, although I could sense all of the smiles directed towards me, everything around me became a blur. My only focus was finding my groom at the end of that long walk. As I caught his tear-filled eye, I thought to myself, “This is it… This is when my dream comes true.” My Dad gave me away and as the music played he switched roles to pastor. He prayed for us, he read scripture, and he challenged us. It was a celebration. It was a time of worship. And as we recited our vows and exchanged rings every one could without-a-doubt feel the genuine love and truth coming from our mouths as we made our commitment to God and to one another.
The Party… We were on cloud nine. It was official. Nic and I were husband and wife. What do you do next?... celebrate, of course! We were able to actually sit down and enjoy our meal that was worth celebrating in itself. It was awesome to see all of our friends and family, some of which we haven’t seen in years, gathered in one room supporting us. Words can’t express how much fun we had. There was food. And it wasn’t typical bad wedding food—it was delicious. There were toasts— they were funny and they were heart-felt. Just the way I like it. There was cake—you know, the melt-in-your-mouth kind of cake. There was a chocolate buffet—chocolate pretzels, chocolate nuts, chocolate twizzlers, and of course my favorite, the personalized chocolate moon pies. And there was dancing! And when I say dancing, I mean it. From Jimmy (our ring bearer) who was covered in sweat from cutting loose on the dance floor ALL night, to my Mom and Dad who I have never seen dance in my life, it was pure entertainment watching everyone, young and old, having a good time. The night was magical. I don’t ever want to forget a second of it. It was definitely the best day of my life.