For months before the wedding I tried not to be nervous about the weather. After all, our ceremony and reception were both indoors. Nothing would be ruined by a major downpour. But I was fortunate to wake up on Saturday, November 5 to find comfortable temperatures and sunny skies. I was pumped.
At this point, the Shindig and Farmington teams were already well into setting up for the wedding. Whenever I saw someone who had been to the reception area, they would tell me, “You’re not going to believe it. It’s awesome.” I decided not to take a peak and get the full effect after the ceremony.
My mom, bridesmaids, and I headed to Crozet for hair and makeup magic at Face Value Salon. I decided not to chose one look for my bridesmaids–they’re all beautiful and dress up well on their own, so why not let them chose their own looks? Everyone had a different style, but all were elegant and sophisticated. I’d already done a trial for hair and makeup, so I knew I’d be thrilled with my look as well. My mom was even able to arrange for the coffee shop around the corner to cater breakfast, so we could have Bodo’s and coffee while getting pretty. (Meanwhile, the guys stopped into the actual Bodo’s for their breakfast. They were pretty enough already.)
Back at Farmington, it was time to get ready. My bridesmaids and I shuffled off to the bridal room. At this point, I think it would be good to note that my bridal party was amazing. They were all my closest friends, totally supportive and fun to be around. As a result, I never felt stressed around them. I know choosing a bridal party can be a tough situation–there’s a lot of pressure from family and friends, and you may feel like you need to include everyone. But making sure that each person in the group is someone you genuinely care about and who genuinely cares about you can go a long way in easing any potential stress.
Plus my maid of honor put together the most intense “wedding emergency” bag ever. Seriously, she’s a wizard.
Putting on the dress was really exciting. At previous fittings, I wore the dress for maybe fifteen minutes while necessary measurements were taken and bustles were adjusted. Now when I put it on, I knew I got to wear it for the whole day.
Walt and I decided to do a “first look.” Even though it’s getting to be more common, I know my parents were uncertain when we first mentioned our plan. At the time, we said it would allow us to get a lot of pictures done beforehand, which ended up being true. (We actually got tospend a little time at cocktail hour.) But the first look also ended up working out really well on an emotional level. I liked that our first moments together on our wedding day were more intimate; we got to talk and be excited together. I don’t think we would have been allowed that kind of intimacy in front of the altar. Walking into the room to see Walt was the one moment I had real butterflies–not in an anxious way, but an acknowledgement that it was all happening–and I’m glad that feeling didn’t get distracted by the fact that there was a hundred people watching me. And it didn’t take away any of the energy at the ceremony, either. The first look ended up being the perfect way to officially start the wedding.
Wedding pictures might seem like something to get through–pose here, pose there–but that was totally not our experience. With Sarah of Cramer Photo, everything felt very natural and she infused a lot of fun into each shot. She even brought along a carton of books to use as props, which led to some fantastic and adorable shots of us reading aloud. (Our wedding party got so into it, Sarah had to tell us “Okay, you can stop reading now!”) Fortunately, our friends are very game, so whatever Sarah wanted us to do we did, and as a result the pictures are so lively and spirited.
Our priest made it very clear that the wedding would start on time, so soon the Walt, the wedding party, and most family members were whisked away to the church. My dad and I followed shortly after. All of the preparations were in order. It was time to get married!
(to be continued in Part III)