Anniversary Surprise!

Several months ago P calls me to inform me that he had bought tickets to go to Dallas, TX the weekend of our first wedding anniversary.  Why, you ask?  Well, he and his family, especially his younger brother who lives in Greenville too, LOVE the Washington Redskins.  It’s actually pretty cool that his whole family is so dedicated to a team even though they haven’t really played well in years…  Back to the “why?”…  The Redskins play their biggest rival, The Dallas Cowboys, that weekend AND the University of Oklahoma plays their biggest rival the University of Texas.  P’s younger brother went to OU and their immediate family became immediate supporters.  Now, this combo of games (plus the TX State Fair) has been talked about A LOT over the years between the two brothers.  They have been waiting and waiting for these two games to coincide.  It just so happened to be my bad luck that it happens on our first anniversary…

Originally, I was going to go along with the guys.  I have some good friends in Dallas so I was looking forward to that and I really like the city itself.  Plus, going to NFL games are always fun.  Then I started putting together the math:  plane ticket, hotel room for 4 nights, football huge match-up tickets, food, alcohol, etc.  I realized that if we were going to spend $2k (easily) on a trip, that this would not be the trip I would choose.  I’d be going to Costa Rica or to wine country.  So, I backed out.  I think P was disappointed and truly, so was I but more because it meant he and I would be apart for our 1st wedding anniversary.

So this morning, P tells me he needs me to take 3 days off that same week he gets back from Dallas, the week after our anniversary.  I immediately am like, I can’t just do that!  I was thinking he needed me to be at home for some house project or something.  But then he, nonchalantly, says that he bought me a ticket to go to Chicago with him on his work trip.  I, of course, felt bad about responding the way I did because it is such a sweet gesture and I love Chicago.  He figured we could celebrate there.

P and I have never flown anywhere together – this will be the first time.  I’m getting more and more excited as I think about it.  I know he will have to work and I will probably work too, but this will be a really great way to begin our second year of marriage.

Has your S.O. ever surprised you for an anniversary or special occasion?  P is getting really good at surprising me: engagement parties, birthday bikes, etc.

I also need suggestions as to what to do and where to go while we are there!  We’ve both been several times but it’s so big and there is so much to do.



This past weekend I was a bridesmaid in one of my best friend’s wedding.  It was only the 2nd wedding I have ever been (except for one barely remembered flower girl occasion when I was much younger) and the first one since my own wedding.  I find that I had a very different perspective this time being in the background than I did two years ago.  The obvious reason is that I had just recently been a bride myself.  I knew what MP, now MW, was feeling.  I knew there was no telling her that something didn’t matter or wasn’t important because in that instance it absolutely was.  I knew that she was fretting over the small details so I just did my best to make sure they were taken care of.  And I felt their vows so much more than I ever had before.  M & K wrote their own and they were beautiful.  Their words, despite being personal to them, had so much more weight and significance.  I stood up there, beside my friend, amongst her closest and oldest friends, and teared up.  I felt so honored to be there as they committed their life together and remembered committing mine to P such a short time ago.  It was a beautiful reminder of how our marriage began and what it means and always will mean.  By the way, I have to mention that M’s new married name is the same as my maiden name – happy to pass on the torch just wish it meant we were really family.

MP was a stunning bride.  She is this tall, incredibly beautiful woman, and she just shone in her gown with joy – talk about an hourglass figure!  Our dresses were super cute, a lovely mint green that went with her mint and grey color combination.  She had so many cute little details – all of them Pinterested.  (Don’t you love that Facebook and Pinterest have becomes verbs as well as nouns?)  M has always, since college, wanted to get married in St. Augustine, FL, where she now lives, and she did.  She also always wanted to have cakes or cupcakes as her centerpieces and she did.  She built and then painted her own cupcake stands for her centerpieces – such a unique touch and from a practical standpoint great for the flower budget!  She also made mint and grey yarn balls attached to string that hung over the ceremony chairs and then became part of the decorations.  There were handmade signs, Etsy jewelry, framed invitations, and more.

DIY cupcake centerpiece

our wedding mobile!

My friends MD, EL, and myself helped run errands, decorate the venue (not me because I was getting dressed), and basically just tried to make ourselves accessible to the bride.  I think it all came together so well and I cannot wait to see the pictures!  I brought my nice DSLR camera but actually left my memory card at home and then forgot my camera charger plugged into M’s wall (where we stayed Thursday night).  So, there was no nice camera.  But, we had iPhones which worked great because they used a cool app that was like Instagram for weddings.  Basically WedPics allowed the guests to upload pictures directly to their specific wedding album.  I wish I had known about this for my wedding!

Another thing P & I didn’t do was a first look – taking photos together before the ceremony.  P did not want to and I absolutely don’t regret it but it was a really sweet moment for M&K.  M surprised K by waiting for him at the bottom of the elevator when he came downstairs with his groomsmen for photos.  I missed his face but I saw Meg’s tears and happiness when they were finally together.  I’m stoked to see those pictures!

First Look

I also have to make note of the inn where we stayed Friday and Saturday night, Bella Bay Inn.  It was a super cute 5 room inn that was next door to the venue.  The beds and rooms were large and comfortable and the building itself plus the interior walls and all the details were the perfect mint green!  I love how well that worked out completely unintentionally.

It was a wonderful weekend and I am so happy for my friends.  They were so cute together.  And it was great and fun to have time with some of my closest friends and continue some of our newly minted wedding traditions.

tradition: shots before the ceremony!


Changing Your Identity

Changing your name after getting married is something I mentally prepared myself for before we got married.  Fortunately, my time at the social security office and DMV were over pretty quickly and easily.  What I didn’t think about was having to change my name on all of my cards, website accounts, etc.  I’m still working on that…

What has become a huge headache has been changing all of my financial info now that P and I have officially joined all of our accounts.  I spent time reading about different ways married couples handle their accounts, talking to married friends about what works for them and came to the decision to join all of our accounts and pay all our bills from one and then have smaller spending accounts that we each have on the side.  I really don’t want to know how much P spent on drinks with his friends out or at Best Buy and I really don’t want to be questioned if and when I go shopping.  This plan was put to death after our meeting with our bank which did not go well.  I’m ok saying that we currently bank with Wells Fargo having both been long time customers of Wachovia before their merger/buy out.  It was probably the most frustrating meeting I’ve had at a bank because we apparently met with a new employee who have us quite a bit of incorrect information which I later found out from another branch on my second bank visit (there were 3 altogether).  Wells Fargo usually has great customer service but after the frustration of our initial meeting, P and I are considering changing to a local bank as long as we can use ATMs while traveling.

I won’t go through what we were told and what was wrong but it ended up with me closing a free checking account that I had opened 8 years ago and P and I going all in on the joint accounts – full transparency!  It’s definitely weird to be held accountable for every purchase you’ve made especially when it’s Christmas time and there are lots of extra purchases happening!  Anyway, the point behind this post is that changing all of my online payments, auto-payments, etc. has been incredibly frustrating.  I tried to do everything online but it seems like that just wasn’t the way to go.  Just call.  I have had so many rejected payments and late fees that I have had to fight because their online systems didn’t update my information in time before payments were drafted that I have ended up on the phone with everyone anyway.  So, just call them.  Update your name, address, banking info, etc. all in one fell swoop with a real human being (assuming you can get one on the phone which isn’t always easy).

I think I’m done with them all even though I still have not received my new debit card to my new account with my new name… good thing I’m traveling with my husband next week in case I am unable to access my account at all.

Good luck to other brides out there!

Wedding Details

I have had a lot of people ask me where I was able to find a lot of the details for our wedding.  The biggest question has been for the flower girl dresses, which were probably the cutest I have ever seen (not that I am biased or anything).  P’s aunt, grandmother/great-aunt to the girls, found them on Etsy!  And goodness gracious, they stole the show and were so well behaved.

I was really happy with the rest of the little details as well so here is where I found everything!

Wedding dress & bridesmaid dresses:  J Crew!  Cannot say enough about their wedding line.  Great quality, beautiful, and also was the least expensive wedding dress I tried on, including those at David’s Bridal.

Shoes:  My shoes were from Macy’s.  I managed to get them for about 50% off of a $120 price tag.  I wanted wedges or comfort and originally was looking for silver to match my colors but when I saw these on the shelf I had to have them and have already worn them again to another wedding.  My bridesmaids ended up all get their shoes from Nina online (except for AM who was dealing with a broken foot).  I didn’t tell them anything other than yellow shoes but they somehow all ended up with the same two varieties of Nina shoes – I want a pair now.  (You can find Nina shoes in some department stores and wedding dress shops – we saw them in Atlanta at the Say Yes to the Dress shop the first time.)

Hair piece:  Etsy again!  I had this custom designed with my colors – I saw this design first on a garter actually and just had her make a few changes and make a hair clip.  I was concerned with the size but it worked out perfectly.

Lollipops (favors) & Bubbles:  Oriental Trading Company.  My mom found so many cute things that were so inexpensive that really added that extra touch.  Mom even got the labels there and I believe my MIL got the water bottle labels we put in the guest bags there as well.  Seriously, it’s a great resource for wedding items of all kind.

Flower Girl Bears:  Instead of flowers for my flower girls I originally wanted those large carnival sized lollipops but I couldn’t find any the size I wanted.  My mom found these bears at Oriental Trading Co. and bought them without even telling me and they were just perfect.  It is something they can keep even after their day of fame.  They said flower girl on them and the girls loved holding them throughout the day.

Flower Girl Bears

The small details are what starts to become overwhelming toward the end so I was really blessed to have my mothers (in-law and my own!) help with ordering and getting all the little things together from the centerpieces to the guest bags.  I cannot say enough how valuable their help was!

The Reception


Ceremony, photos, dinner, announcement, straight into first dance!  Your wedding day is intensely scheduled.   A friend of mine told me she took anti-anxiety meds the week of her wedding and I think it was so smart.  I am such a scheduler/planner in real life that having a detailed plan was a must for our wedding day but it also got to be a little much because I think I panicked any time someone suggested something that wasn’t on the schedule.  Definitely had some bridezilla moments!

We danced to John Legend’s Stay With You.  We had a list of four or so songs including Jason Mraz’s I Won’t Give Up and Hunter Haye’s Wanted.  P, his mom, and I listened to all of them one night before the wedding and then read the lyrics.  Legend’s lyrics really spoke to me so it was actually a pretty easy decision despite being one of the last things we did!  I thought dancing with P would be awkward in front of all those people but it wasn’t at all.  I felt like I was right where I was supposed to be.  Plus, I had the DJ shorten the songs so we weren’t out there for five minutes!

Then it was time for me to dance with my dad – daddy’s little girl, always.  I had asked him to pick the song and he chose Heartland’s I Loved Her First.  Another song that the lyrics were so appropriate, it was obviously written for this exact moment.  Dad and I chatted through our dance because I think it kept us both from tearing up.  P surprised his mom with Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings, one of the all time best songs, in my opinion.  My cousin, who I see only once a year and is growing like a weed, came over and hugged me during their dance so I missed some of it but I think it was an emotional and sweet moment for both of them.  (One of my friends caught it perfectly from her phone.)

Once the dances were over I don’t think P and I spent much time together the rest of the night!  It’s kind of crazy.  I think we may have danced together once more and I know we spent time with his grandparents together but that is all I remember.  We each took a loop around the museum saying hello to everyone.  I want to say I spoke to everyone there, unless people were hiding from me!, and I know he did the same.  This was really important to me, for everyone to know how much we appreciated their presence.  If I recall correctly, I think I got pulled away from the last table of people for the cake cutting and toast.  We had cupcakes but also a cake to cut and to save for our anniversary – the cake was blueberry with lemon cream cheese icing.  It wasn’t quite like I though it would be, the blueberry was actually like a jam between layers instead of throughout the cake but it tasted really good.  I’ll confirm in a year minus two weeks!  We were clean about feeding each other – no smashing into each other’s faces!  It’s strange just doing this part because we never rehearsed or even talked about what to do.  I guess we’ve been to so many weddings we just knew!

My dad made a really sweet toast right after – I hope everyone could hear!   We did all of our other toasts at the rehearsal dinner.  I think this works out better if you don’t serve a seated dinner.  After he was done and I gave him one last big hug for the night it was time to dance!  I had a glass of wine in my hand all night.  If I was even close to being finished I was refilled or handed a new glass. Our bar/coordination company, Liquid Catering, took great care of us.  The owner, Tammy, a friend/professional connection, even went out and got P a 5 hour energy and a Red Bull because he was fading.  I don’t know how many glasses I drank or rather spilled on the dance floor.  But I danced.  I purposefully requested songs from my college days and my bachelorette party because I knew my bridesmaids would dance – they were awesome and so much fun!  And requested my brother in law’s favorite Fifty Cent tune which he put some moves to to the crowd’s delight.  Our flower girls and P’s cousin’s kids also danced the night away – they were so cute, so much fun, and so full of energy.  I could not keep up!  

Once I was out on the dance floor I just let go and had fun.  I didn’t worry about people watching or pictures being taken of me stuffing my face with a strawberry cupcake.  I let the schedule go, all the planning go, all the worries and anxiety go.  I even changed into my shorter white dress from the rehearsal dinner so I didn’t have to worry about my train (smart idea ladies!  It’s hard to dance in those long dresses).  It was so much fun.  I think P had a lot of fun too.  We both commented that it was over way too soon (although my blistered feet probably couldn’t handle much more).

At 11pm, the remaining guests lined up outside with bubbles and wished us farewell as we jumped on the back of a rickshaw for our ride to the hotel.  I had a shawl but I wasn’t even cold.  I had never felt better or more happy in my entire life.  Thank you to whoever paid the driver (Dad?) even though I still gave him another tip – he actually works on tips only.  We decided against the expensive $150 tour of town which is the big wedding option.  Simple is best (and less expensive).  It really was the best way to travel, in style, in the fresh air.

I cannot wait to share pictures!  It was the most fun, best night of my entire life.  I think it will be hard to beat.  Thank you to our families and friends who traveled to attend and who helped us pull it all together.  It was such a blessing to share the weekend with you all.


The Ceremony


The actual ceremony and reception are all a blur to me.  I will have conversations with people now and they’ll tell me I said or did things and I have no recollection of them or memories will start to creep back in.  I don’t think it was because I was drinking – I was – but I don’t think that affected me until later in the evening.  There was just so much happening at once and I was trying to take it all in.  I was telling my neighbors just yesterday that it seems like it was all a dream now.  I can’t wait to get our photos back so I can relive it!  

I wish I remembered our vows clearly.  I clearly remember walking down the stairs with my dad in the museum, even stopping at the top step so that everyone had time to stand.  I remember looking out into the audience.  I thought my mind would be blank with nerves but it wasn’t – it was very clear.  I did not turn and look at P while walking down the stairs though (hope there’s a picture of his face!) because I was afraid I would fall down the stairs, straight ahead was best.  I want to get a nice copy of our vows printed and framed in our house.  I remember speaking them and him saying them to me.  I remember looking into his eyes, smiling, being jittery, and also being very aware that 100+ people were watching us.  A lot of people said I wouldn’t even know they were there but I did, not every moment but I did.  My grandmother said she couldn’t hear our vows but that’s ok to me.  I didn’t try to speak them loudly so everyone could hear.  My vows were for P only, and the pastor so he would know when to proceed.  It was a very intimate and special moment between myself and my new husband.  I remember how my hands felt in his and rubbing my thumb across his knuckles.  I remember how I felt even if not what we said.

One awkward moment did happen at the very beginning when the pastor, my childhood pastor, asked me what to do… I was like, what?  You don’t know?  But he was referring to a flower ceremony we had planned.  I bought two cala lilies for our mothers that we were going to present to them in the ceremony but in my attempt to keep them secret (our moms were in the room with the flowers) I forgot to make sure someone took them down to the pastor!  Oops, my fault.  There were a few things like this that I didn’t communicate well.  I have no idea what happened to those flowers but what can I do?  I just told him to skip it.

The ceremony felt like the perfect length of time and pretty soon it was time for our kiss.  It’s interesting thinking about this ahead of time, wondering what kind of kiss you will share, do you practice, will it be awkward in front of everyone?  But P just grabbed my face and planted one on me – I really don’t remember it at all but we have some great photos.  Looks like a solid kiss to me!

Then it was over.  I had to remind P to slow down while walking back down the aisle, he was in a hurry!  Then it was outside for pictures.  Things strayed a little from plan here but it was totally fine.  Since the sun was setting we only really had time for a short list of photos. My intention was to take the rest of the extended family photos inside, using the curved staircase as a back drop.  It didn’t really go as planned.  I regret not taking pictures with some people, family members and friends.  But I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to get photos taken once we were back inside – so many people, so many different rooms, and lots to drink.  Some of our aunts and uncles came outside and got photos after the ceremony but not all of them and unfortunately we just didn’t get everyone together later in the evening.  Woulda, coulda, shoulda, right?

After the photos P and I went upstairs to sit down and eat some food.  I am so glad we did this because I honestly don’t think I would have gotten a chance to eat downstairs.  I would highly recommend doing this.  We took maybe 10 minutes but it was good to get some food and spend a few moments just one on one together and let everything sink in.  After we ate, had a drink, P had a shot from the leftover BM shots, the DJ announced us:  Mr. & Mrs. Cooke!

Then the fun really began….

Wedding Day – Getting Pretty

Our wedding day I woke up pretty early, actually before my parents which never happens.  I had brought work out clothes but ended up staying in bed reading on my phone until I needed to get up and shower and go to breakfast.  I ended up just picking off of people’s plates that morning instead of going through the buffet.  I wasn’t that hungry and also knew there would be food waiting at our venue, the Upcountry History Museum.  EL, MD and I had done some grocery shopping Friday so we could have snacks all day rather than a formal luncheon.  We had to start on hair and make-up at 10:30am.  I had 5 ladies getting their make-up done, an hour per person (not that it actually took that long but plan for it) and three of us got our hair done.  My “glam squad,” came from Karma Salon & Boutique and were a somewhat last minute change for me. I think it worked out better because Christina and Brooke were able to come onsite and they were just really great to work with, even though Brooke accidentally took my phone with her when she left!  Ha, too funny, but totally ok, she brought it back.  They really worked magic on me and I felt gorgeous. I look back at the pictures now and I’m like, that’s me?

Final product

My hair and make-up, despite being nervous about it, was perfect.  I still looked like me but one hundred times better.  Sunday morning at brunch I was basically like, yep the carriage has turned back into a pumpkin and I am no longer a princess as I walked around in sweats and no make-up.  The wonderful ladies of Karma also did my mom, MIL, and my sister as well as MD’s make-up.  Everyone else did their own hair and make-up and looked beautiful.

Sister of the Bride, MOB, MOG

Saturday was a strange day.  I’m not sure how to describe how I felt.  Early that morning I lacked energy, even had EL bring me a pillow so I could curl up on the floor for a bit while my mom played with my hair.  My stomach was also a little off, nerves probably.  I have to say I never once felt nervous or doubtful about marrying P at all but I did have some stage fright and also nerves for the unknown.  Maybe anticipation and being anxious is a better way to think of it than nervous.  I had also spent months planning this five hours and it’s weird just letting go of the planning and experiencing it.  I think I was pretty quiet most of the day, my bridesmaids did most of the talking.   And I really didn’t have much to say.   I did have my moments where something would occur to me and I’d put my drill sergeant hat on.  It’s funny those little moments of panic now that I think back on them.  I wrote two letters to P – one to give to him before the ceremony and one that went into a wine box to be opened on our fifth year anniversary.  I really liked our wine box ceremony – we bought a bottle of Four Sons from 2008, the year we met and it is now waiting on our wine rack at home.

Once we started to get closer to the time to get dressed I started to feel more energized, excited, butterflies.  Especially after I had a couple of bellinis… The photographers, Joshua & Aaron, a wonderful husband and wife team from Columbia, SC, arrived at 3.  My sorority little sister, Mimi, also arrived that time as a surprise with a time-honored tradition.  It was such a sweet surprise and totally unexpected although I am not surprised these ladies thought about it.  If you were a Chi Omega then you probably know about the white carnations and what they mean, if you weren’t, then you don’t need to know.  :)  We also began a new tradition, although not so new because we took shots before EL’s wedding, but this one will live on.  I’m looking forward to seeing the pictures Aaron got of us and also what Josh got of the guys while they were hanging out.  The plan had been for them to finish getting dressed at the museum, hence them arriving at 3 with the photographers (which they were actually late) but I guess it wasn’t clear so they showed up dressed, ate pizza, and hung out.

Sisters for life XO


Once I got dressed and had the flowers, which a friend of mine picked up and delivered (I did them through a local grocery store, BI-LO – comparatively inexpensive!), we went down for the ladies pictures.  The flower girls stole the show!

Flower girls - dresses found on

Then the guys headed out after the coast was clear.  The photographers gave us a sneak peak on a computer during the reception and I cannot wait to see photos – I saw one where they’re lifting their pants legs showing the yellow and gray argyle socks I got them.

While the guys were outside everyone but me watched them.  I didn’t want to see P until the ceremony.  We did have a few pictures taken on either side of a wall where we couldn’t see each other as we read our letters to each other.  Of course mine filled the card and P’s was like three sentences – I wish he wrote to me like he does his toasts but I hope the pictures are still cute.  It was kind of an anti-climactic moment to be honest.  I think P felt awkward but he typically does with photos unless you tell him exactly what to do.  Plus neither of us is very good at the mushy stuff.

After photos it was wait time.  I originally thought I’d take off my dress but I loved it so much and it wasn’t the easiest thing to get into so I kept it on.  It’s hard to describe how I felt when I was waiting, it was like waiting to go on stage for a performance.  Mind is blank, quiet, stomach was nervous (I drank a ginger ale), and I was freezing, shaking a little.  This time was fast and slow at the same time.  Everyone else was talking around me and I just sat.  I had to go to the bathroom a couple of times, again, nervous stomach and too much much to drink (not alcohol) and was grateful I didn’t have one of those dresses I had to have a team to help me with in the restroom.  I did have to sneak out before the ceremony once guests were already there and they tried to hide me behind a coat.  Pretty funny memory actually but I really had to go.


The worst part was after that bathroom trek all the girls were lined up downstairs and the moms were also downstairs to be seated so I was all alone.  Fortunately, the harpist, a friend from school and AM’s mom who was there to help with the wheelchair, were upstairs outside the room to keep me abreast of what was happening but I hated being alone even though it might have been exactly what I needed.  I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I was just ready to go and nervous I would miss my cue.  As it was, the guys didn’t line up as early as planned and when I started walking to my place down the first flight of stairs I saw him right in front of me, profile.  Had he looked to the right he would have seen me!  I quickly hurried back upstairs and hid behind a wall despite there being a few guests in the area I was supposed to be in (should have put a sign on the door or something).

After the mothers were seated my dad came upstairs to join me and get ready to walk me down the stairs (my aisle).  And it was time!

to be continued…



The Rehearsal

Despite being late, and not being the only ones late, and being flustered from rushing, locking ourselves out of the house, getting the neighbor to take care of the MIL’s dog last minute, and trying to look pretty, the rehearsal went relatively smoothly.  Warning to brides to be, everyone will be asking you everything (unless you have a full time wedding planner and even then I’m not sure this wouldn’t be the case) all the time.  I tried as hard as I could to have all questions answered before any event but more come up and you will be asked.  Be patient, be kind, and smile.  There were a couple of times I snapped because everyone was talking at once but I think that was the extent of my bridezilla-ness.  Well, plus all the times I had to remind someone to be taking pictures with my camera.  :)  Thanks to MD and my sister for manning the Canon.  I have 500 or so pictures from that weekend that I didn’t have to worry about taking.  (I cannot wait to see our professional photos!  AHH!)

The rehearsal itself went well – basically just making decisions on lining people up and order of entry. The biggest thing was just placing people where I wanted them.  For me, the visuals and the pictures were the big thing.  We also had to work around a wheelchair.  My good friend from Greenville, AM, had to get foot surgery the week prior and was in a wheelchair.  Poor AM – I hated that she missed out on so much of the festivities but she was in so much pain.  Our venue had stairs and we had to place some of the wedding party on the stairs, some on the floor, so the logistics, especially since I was walking down the stairs the girls would stand on, had to be figured out on site.  I’m glad there wasn’t more to do and everyone was laid back.

Upcountry History Museum

After the rehearsal we went straight to the rehearsal dinner.  My MIL and her sister really put together a beautiful space – MIL spray painted pumpkins with my new initial, C, used real mums and put together the centerpieces herself.  We had a framed photo of P and I at each table, an idea taken from one of P’s cousins’ weddings.  It was at Artisan Traders, a studio/event space in the Pendleton Arts District just beyond the West End of Greenville.  I adore this space.

We had an Italian buffet provided by the same caterer as the reception, Good Life Catering (one of the best in Greenville), and it was delicious.  Meat and veggie lasagna (I had the veggie, two helpings!), salad, garlic bread, grilled chicken parmesan with angel hair pasta, etc.  Everyone commented on how good it was.  There was wine and beer and a big surprise for dessert!  P is not a big cake fan, neither am I really, but he loves ice cream.  So we surprised him with an ice cream bar and not just any but they made it on site with liquid nitrogen.  It was a pretty cool show, the kids loved it, and the ice cream was actually very good.


After ice cream was made and eaten we opened the floor for toasts.  My younger sister started it off – I was impressed with how well she spoke in front of a large group of people. Then EL told P all about how my bridesmaids had me first, even in a physical bed, and handed him an Honorable Mention ribbon since he will never be first place.  Funny store, I shared a mattress on the floor with EL the very first time we met at our sorority retreat and I spent an entire semester with MD sharing a bed.  (God, Family, Friends, etc.)  Another BM, AS, had the quote of the night – friendship is like pee in your pants, everybody can see it but only you can feel the warmth.  Hilarious, but AS always makes me laugh.

Enjoying the toasts

My dad also got up and spoke – love my dad – and then P’s younger brother got up and talked about how they’ve bonded over football since TC moved down to Greenville.  A good friend and groomsmen who actually is the reason P and I met also spoke.  And P’s aunt who graciously provided the wine for the evening and spoke about P’s dedication to family (so true).  Then it was P’s turn.  He had bought the groomsmen and my dad all nice bottles of liquor and he had a reason for each choice.  To my dad, “I’m taking away his American Honey so I had to introduce him to another one” – a bottle of American Honey.  To BW, Maker’s Mark because he’s made such a huge mark on his life (this is the one speech that choked me up).  I won’t go into all the details but I was really impressed, for a quiet guy he is a very good toast maker.

What to say, what to say?

Then I got up and it was like all the speeches that have been going through my head that last 10 months fled.  I think I managed to cover all the points I wanted to make, thanking our families, our friends, thanking everyone for coming out, but there was no way I could talk about my bridesmaids one by one.  I had to stop before I could even make a joint statement.  These women have always been good friends since I met them but they really stepped it up for me with this wedding, providing everything they could for me, making me laugh, anticipating my needs, taking care of me, understanding my feelings and need for space sometimes, feeding me, etc. and etc.  They held a special place in my heart before this occasion but I’ve come to feel even closer to them through all of this.  My mom got each of them a thirty-one make-up size bag with their first initial and I made them all earrings to wear for the wedding with Swarovski crystals and other beads.  I also got our mothers shawls to wear with their dresses and made them earrings as well.  Of course I forgot to take pictures of the earrings.
And then it was all over.  Crazy how times flies (when you’re having fun… hehe).  I really was able to just let all the stress from the previous days go and completely enjoy myself. The wine helped too.  It was such a great night with our family and wedding party (minus a few) and I’m so grateful that people took the time to drive down (or up) and be there for the special occasion.

I spent the night with my parents in their hotel room that night while P was at the house with a few friends.  It was fitting to stay with Mom and Dad that night and I’m glad I got to spend that extra time one on one with them.  It was kind of full circle.

Did you stay apart the night before your wedding or choose to forgo tradition?


Friday – Open House

Friday was an open house of sorts at our place.  We really wanted to show off the house and knew that most of our extended family might not have the opportunity to visit again. MIL made barbeque and we had drinks ready.  My mom and sister came in early and with my bridesmaids’ help we were able to get all of the centerpieces done for the reception.  I was also able to pack all of the bridesmaids gifts and cross everything off my short list, almost.  It took a lot less time to get our centerpieces all done than I thought – thanks to my ladies who helped and Mom for organizing.

I did not get all of my packing done that I should have.  I had started my honeymoon bag but didn’t finish it – bad idea.  P and I both should have packed all of our bags before Friday.  Instead I was in a rush packing my two overnight bags (Friday & Saturday – wedding night!) and my day bag for Saturday (getting ready for wedding!).  I needed two different bags because I was staying in two different hotel rooms and also needed a different bag for the museum Saturday because I wasn’t sure of the logistics of getting everything where it needed to go.  This is one aspect I should have really spent more time thinking of and coordinating.  I actually made lists but then didn’t refer to them – anyone else do that?  I ended up Sunday morning not having underwear or shoes, except for my wedding heels.  I just went to brunch barefoot in the hotel.  And, both P and I forgot a lot of stuff for the honeymoon because we hurriedly finished packing Sunday on our way out of town.  Who needs shampoo or sunscreen at the beach?  I probably should have figured out these logistics earlier or asked someone else to handle it but I realize now that I didn’t ask for help nearly as often as I should have.

I wish we got a practice wedding so these little last minute details wouldn’t be a surprise!

We had about 30 people over at the house on Friday – that’s a guess because I didn’t think to count.  I was surprised so many people actually came but it was great to show off our house.  It was kind of a crazy day because I wanted to see and speak with everyone but also had a lot to still get accomplished.  Good thing is I think everyone enjoyed themselves and liked the house.  I hit a wall in the afternoon and just went downstairs to see if I could take a little nap after trying to clean up a bit.  I wasn’t able to nap but laying down with my eyes closed was still good.

P came downstairs where I was trying to nap and cuddled up to me.  As soon as his arms went around me I broke down in tears.  It really freaked him out but I was so overwhelmed with everything.  Nothing was wrong, I was just overwhelmed.  It’s so different with guys, or at least him, he wasn’t worried about all the details or coordinating all the people like I was.   This was actually the only time I cried all weekend.  Of course with my attempted nap and subsequent breakdown, then trying to clean and pack all my overnight bags while getting ready, we were late for our rehearsal.  Ironically, I had asked everyone to be there early because the museum was supposed to have a wedding that evening (which was cancelled but no one told me!) and we were the ones that were late.  And there were several other extenuating circumstances that made other people late, like unfortunately two of the groomsmen were in a car accident (thankfully they were ok!).  At the end of the day, we did what needed to be done and that was that.  It didn’t matter that we were late, the pastor was late, etc. Take my advice and just don’t worry about that stuff – it won’t matter in the end.  I wish I had been better at taking my own advice through some of the weekend!

I have several friends getting married soon and I want them to know that I felt a lot of emotions, not just good ones, that I did break down and cry and that it was okay.  I wish someone had warned me about all of this so I could have been better prepared.  Then again, I could have heard it over and over again and would not have understood until I lived it.  And I know it’s different for everyone depending on personalities and circumstances but I think every bride gets overwhelmed somewhat before the big day – it is absolutely the biggest day of your life and is worth of all the emotion you thrown at it.

Recommendation to brides:  relax and try not to sweat the stuff that is out of your control and take it easy on Friday even if your day is planned to the max.  And, it’s okay to cry, let it out!

2 Days to Go!

Wedding week started unofficially on Tuesday when P’s mom arrived into town.  It was really good to have her there early because she was able to get all of the rehearsal dinner details completed before everyone else descended on Greenville.  I don’t even remember all that we did that week.  I was still working, P was working late every night, and I honestly was a little overwhelmed with all that was going on.  But she got a lot accomplished which was less I had to worry about.  She thought of so many little details that I never would have, between her and my mom, I didn’t have to worry about any decorations which was great.  It was also fun to have someone there to talk about the wedding details with and share in the excitement.

P’s dad, grandparents, and paternal aunt and uncle arrived at the house on Thursday.  I feel like I didn’t see much of them that evening.  I was running last minute errands, returning some items, buying my dad some Godiva chocolate, paying the last of the wedding invoices.  I also didn’t realize how long it would take to get my nails done!  Almost two hours and it was so boring.  I invited P’s mom, herein called MIL, but she had closed toed shoes and didn’t need her nails done so I went alone.  Bad decision.  Nobody was in town at that point but I should have called a friend or made MIL come sit with me.  I could read while my toes were being done but I got a gel French manicure and it took forever.  Anyway, I was late getting home.  The gel is supposed to last like three weeks but mine is already chipping – doesn’t look bad but it does not stay perfect for three weeks.  Now for three days, it was great.

Thursday night P and I had planned on taking a walk together but between running errands and him working late we didn’t get to go on that walk.  We really didn’t see much of each other at all the few days before the wedding which made Friday and Saturday even more special.  I also decided to take some time for myself Thursday night and went out with two of my bridesmaids that came in town early – best decision.  We ate at Mark’s, the new Larkins restaurant, and I would highly recommend it.  The fries were great, burgers delicious, and the drinks were tasty.  Huge thanks to MD and EL for dinner and taking my mind off the multitude of things left on my to-do list.  We put together my huge emergency kit for the wedding (I’ll need EL and MD to make me a list of what they packed because I cannot remember it all) and got up the next morning to work out.  Seriously, the best decision ever.  I felt refreshed the next morning and ready to play hostess and tackle the remaining to-do list items.  It was a good thing because Friday was kind of crazy.

What did you do Thursday prior to your wedding?  Lots of people do their bachelor/bachelorette parties!