Well, it happened. The best day of my life. August 29, 2015…our wedding day! I seriously cannot believe it’s been one month to the day!
Where do I even begin? I get goose bumps when I think about it! Sometimes I have to ask “Did that really happen? Did we dream it?”
From the weather, to our great bridal party, to my dress, hair and makeup, to seeing my husband for the first time…every single thing was completely perfect.
The Wednesday before the wedding I was getting a little antsy about the weather. It was a 20% chance of rain and cloudy. I was watching the weather like a hawk and it changed hourly. Of course every hour it changed I rode the emotional roller coaster ride that came with it. And you know what? I woke up on the day of and it was overcast, but by noon it was sunny, warm and perfect out. (Not worth the stress of worrying about it!!)
The Day Before The Big Day
The day before the wedding (Friday) was such a fun day. We had gone out the night before on that Thursday (we had a great time) and I was pretty tired, but we had so much to do that it didn’t even phase me. We stopped at the bank, a few stores, the nail salon, the florist and then the church. It was just me and my parents and you know what? I’ll never forget that day. We had so much fun running around and joking and laughing. One of my favorites memories was running out of the church with my parents shouting “We need to be back here in exactly one hour!” And we still had to go home and change. We were stressed, but it was fun. We seriously laughed the entire day.
After the rehearsal the girls all came back to our apartment and we all spent the night there. My “husband” came back to the apartment to grab a few last minute things (he was sleeping over his best man’s house that night). We officially said goodbye for the last time before our wedding and it was a special moment that I’m glad we shared.
The Big Day
The day of the wedding I woke up at 5AM and got in a six mile run with my bridesmaid (and marathon running buddy), Nicole. Prior to the wedding when I told people I planned on running the morning of, I’d get crazy responses like “WHAT! You’re running the morning of your wedding?! Why would you do that?!” And I didn’t understand the comments. Why wouldn’t I run? It’s what I do. It’s what I love. On the best day of my life I want to do what I love and that includes running.
We all got our hair and makeup done at Bella Donna Salon in Painesville. (They are fabulous, by the way). My three sister-in-laws and my mom met us there. Hair and makeup took way less time than we had anticipated (which I was SO happy about). In fact we had so much extra time that my bridesmaids and I actually ended up stopping at Dunkin Donuts and going inside before heading to the church! I walked in with my veil on and it’s one of my favorite memories of the day… sitting there drinking coffee with my girlfriends, people congratulating me, just relaxing and taking it easy.
When we got to the church we still had some time to kill so we sat around talking and joking. I loved every minute of it and after having nightmares about the ceremony starting and not being ready, I more than welcomed the extra time to relax and take in the day.
Finally it was time to put on my dress. When the look all came together I couldn’t believe I actually looked like a bride, and even better I couldn’t wait for my “husband” to see me.
A few friends and family members popped into the bridal suite to say hello and it was so much fun to see everyone as we were getting ready. The flower girls and ring bearer stopped by too and they all were so excited in their new clothes. The excitement was building.
I got the news that my husband and his groomsman had arrived at the church and I had one of my bridesmaids exchange our letters that we had pre-written to each other. Reading the letter and standing there in my wedding dress was surreal and a moment I’ll never forget. Pretty soon we started hearing the piano start playing, which meant we had 15 minutes before the ceremony began. I thought I would be ready to pass out and nervous, but I honestly couldn’t wait. I was so excited and calm.
My bridesmaids left the bridal suite to go line up and then it was just me, my dad and the flower girls and ring bearer. I held on to my dad’s arm as we got closer and closer to exiting the bridal suite. The little ones left to walk down the aisle and I heard the “awww” of the crowd. Finally it was our turn to walk out of the bridal suite and down the aisle! As we approached the church doors my dad whispered a joke to me (which to this day I only remember hearing the punch line, which was something about always being right – a wedding joke, I’m sure.)
The moment of walking down the aisle was surreal. I saw everyone stand, turn and face me like I had seen for so many other brides at other weddings. Except this time, I was the bride and they were all facing me. I barely noticed though because when I saw my husband standing there… my heart melted. He was blinking back tears and so was I. I told myself to remain calm and I started walking faster. “Slow it down,” I heard my dad whisper.
We got to the front of the alter and my dad whispered “She’s all yours now” to my husband and they hugged.
“Hi honey!” I whispered to my husband as he whipped the tears off his face. I heard sniffles from the pews where my mom and bridesmaids were and I grinned at them. We were at our wedding. I couldn’t believe it!
We had a full catholic mass, which was absolutely beautiful. We had both the deacon who we met with for the past several months and the priest who baptized and confirmed my husband. It was so special having them both there and it was so personal. The musician we worked with was flawless with all of the songs we had picked out too. (Also I walked down the aisle to the piano version of “Lost in this Moment” by Big and Rich. Listen to it here. I still get goose bumps when I hear it.)
Saying our vows was another surreal moment of the day. I thought my voice would crack and be shaky, but it wasn’t at all. It was so beautiful. My husband and I actually got to pass out the bread and wine during communion too. It was an awesome experience being able to see our guests on a personal level like that and we are glad we decided to do that.
We finally got to kiss and it was time to walk out of the church. Later my mom said that she didn’t think I could have had a bigger smile on my face at that moment.
We exited the church and were whisked off to the bridal suite as the guests made their way out to the front of the church. We had a few quick minutes alone which were really special and we took a moment to be present and reflect in the here and now. Then we were told to come out and we walked out of the church in a sea of bubbles. Cars driving by started honking and we were smiling from ear to ear.
We did a few family pictures in the church after the ceremony and then we got on the party bus. The bus ride to the parks to take pictures was so much fun! We had the best time dancing, drinking and telling funny stories about how everyone met. The weather was hot at this point and we went to a park with beach access. Being out in the open like that with no shade and hot sand was rough, but everyone was a trooper. What a beautiful day! (Thank you Jesus!)
After we took pictures the plan was to head back to the hotel to freshen up and then get to the reception by 6:30PM. We were running just a little late, but then the AC on the party bus broke! We had 25 people and everyone was dancing and drinking so it got really hot and stuffy really fast. We now joke that this was my husband’s “Groom-zilla” moment.
He had sweat pouring off his face and he was so mad about the AC breaking. I was fine and didn’t really care, but the guys (especially my husband) were starting to sweat badly. We finally made it to the hotel and all the guys changed their shirts (if you are getting married in the summer I highly recommend having this with your tux rentals). By now we were running about 30 minutes late and we ended up getting to the reception right at 7PM.
We had a few events planned for the evening, so our DJ met us out by the bus to go through how things would work. (We used Phelps Entertainment and they were phenomenal. We highly recommend them!)
Dinner was delicious! I don’t understand how brides say “I didn’t get a chance to eat at my own wedding.” Why? You’re paying for it and you have to sit down anyways. Soon it was time for the toasts. I had two maids of honor and my husband had two best men, so we were expecting collaborating toasts. I heard my maids of honor whispering to each other as the DJ started making announcements. “We are really going to do this” I heard one say. “Yes, down your drink” said the other as they both chugged the rest of their champagne.
They both got up and did a little introduction and soon music was playing and they were singing and rapping along to 5 or 6 songs. It was HILARIOUS! I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard. They made new lyrics up to go with the song about my husband and I. It was the best toast ever. (See a short clip here.) Then the boys had to go and I felt bad, the girls toast was going to be hard to top! The best men’s toast was a little more reserved, but very sincere. My husband and I both teared up a few times and it was really heart felt.
Soon the night was heating up and the dance floor was packed. Our friends LOVE to dance, so I had a feeling it would be that way. We also had a photo booth, which was a big hit. Phelps Entertainment puts all the photos up online too so guests can get the electronic version. It was such a hit!
Between the father daughter dance, bouquet toss, our first dance, dollar dance and all the other dancing, it was soon time for the best event of the evening – the train wine song. We got this idea from my aunt who told us she went to a wedding where this happened. When we heard about it we knew we had to do! My husband and I stood on two chairs in the middle of the dance floor with two boxes of Franzia wine. “C’Mon ‘N Ride It (The Train)” played as the theme song. People walked around doing the train and when they passed my husband and I, we poured wine into their mouths! It was soooo funny! I was really terrible at it and kept pouring it all over people’s fronts, but they kept coming back around. My husband went through almost his entire box. By the end our arms both hurt, but it was a hit!
Finally I heard the second to last song of the evening and everyone went out to the dance floor. Dancing with our friends and my husband spinning me around was so incredible. It’s a feeling unlike anything else! Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying” was our last song of our wedding. Then the music stopped and the lights turned on. Everyone was clapping. What a night!
We had a shuttle van transporting people to and from the reception venue and the hotel. Back at the hotel we all sat in the bar/lobby and continued to party. It was a great time and we polished off two bottle of Fireball. I had planned on going up to our room and changing into other clothes and then coming back down, but I didn’t want to get out of my dress yet. It was too pretty and I loved it too much to change out of it already!
We partied on into the night and finally we made our way up to our room. What a day! Hands down it was the most magical, incredible, fun day we could have ever imaged. Everything turned out beautiful.
And yes I obviously loved August 29, 2015 without a doubt…but August 30, 2015 was just as amazing when my husband rolled over in bed the next morning, looked at me and said “Good morning Mrs. Holloway.”
[Two days after the wedding we jetted to the Dominican Republic to Punta Cana. Here are a few pictures of our amazing trip!]