We did it. Three weeks ago Saturday, on a beautiful October afternoon, after about six months of planning and close to two years of knowing each other, Tim and I took our first steps together as man and wife.
Looking back now, it feels like a blur. I knew it would go by quickly and that, partway through it, I’d want to slow things down: if the weeks leading up to your wedding feel busy, the day-of feels overwhelming, exciting, like you can’t believe what is happening is really happening and now it’s happening too fast, too good, too much like you wish it wouldn’t end.
So many times I’d look at Tim and think, This is happening! He’s my husband! This is our wedding! We’re really doing this! And, wherever we were at that moment, he’d be taking my hand to move me towards the next thing, and there we’d go, doing it, living it, having our photos taken and eating a meal and hugging people who told us they loved us.
Now that we’re back and home and getting settled, I’m ready to come back to this place and start talking about food and cooking and what that looks like lately. But before I do, in the spirit of those wedding blogs I was reading so frequently for six months, today I’m bringing you a wedding-detail post, complete with what we loved, what went wrong, and info on all our vendors, from my dress to the caterers. Here we go.
From the beginning, one thing I’m really glad about is that Tim and I helped each other keep perspective: the only thing we HAD to have happen all day was that a husband and a wife emerged at the end of it (and we did!). When things went wrong—just a few little things did—we took it in our stride and, thanks to the love and support of our friends and family, ended up with options even better than what we’d planned, if you can believe it. When we couldn’t get the giant yellow trees for the ceremony we’d wanted because they lost all their leaves four days beforehand, my friend Carrie called a florist and booked us tall, yellow gladiolas; when the place where we had planned to do our “first look” told us they charged $150 to take photos (!!??), we nixed it and went down the street to a quiet forest preserve. And when the single violinst we’d booked for the ceremony got deathly ill on her way over and never showed up, my friend Becky saved the day by improvising music for the prelude, the processional and the recessional—all on top of already singing. I loved that. She was amazing.
Another thing we really loved was doing so many things nontraditionally—it’s what made the wedding feel like us. We saw each other before the wedding and ate lunch together in our wedding clothes, sitting at my parents’ kitchen’s breakfast bar, with people from the bridal party all around, before heading to the church. Tim’s dad performed the wedding at a chapel so beautiful we didn’t need decorations (except those gladiolas!) in a service that felt really meaningful and reflective of who we are. Our bridal party, wearing whatever they wanted, didn’t stand on stage with us but rather came up for a dedication prayer, circling around us as three people led aloud—and that was one of my favorite parts of the whole day.
I loved riding to the church with my parents, and hearing my dad get choked up as he talked to me about an hour or so before I said I do. I loved sitting in an empty room just before the ceremony with only my brother, the person who’s been my best friend since we were kids, and joking with him about running away like both of us knew I’d never do. I loved feeling so calm before walking down the aisle, so sure of what I was doing, like I knew it was right, like I knew I was marrying the best guy I know.
I loved everyone who came, everyone who rejoiced with us, everyone who helped us (and there were a lot of people who helped us). I loved looking around at so many familiar faces and being introduced to faces I’d never seen before. I loved knowing people traveled from other states to be there, to show us their support.
And I loved our reception. Oh, our reception. I remember five or so years ago, when a friend of mine got married, telling her the only thing I knew I wanted if I got married someday was a fall wedding in my parents’ backyard. Now, I can’t believe that’s exactly what we got. We had the dinner in a big white tent and I swear it felt like pure magic: long tables with burlap runners and white tea lights, live jazz music, family-style dining, a cookie table, a pumpkin wedding cake, grass beneath my feet and my new husband by my side.
Tim and I ate at our wedding—I mean, we ate—a full meal, and a really good one. After the appetizers, there were fresh rolls with pumpkin butter, a salad with pecans and feta, green beans, roasted vegetables, petit filet mignons, wild salmon filets, butternut squash ravioli.
And before I could think about it, the day was ending. My friend Jackie, whom I’ve known since she was in junior high and I was a sophomore in high school, was giving an amazing toast that made me both laugh and cry, and people were standing up and saying things about what a great man Tim is, and we were walking around greeting friends, wishing for more time to talk to them, and then we were inside changing clothes, leaving through a path of sparklers held by our wedding guests, screaming and shouting and cheering us goodbye.
Driving away from my parents’ house, Tim and I talked about everything. We talked about the wedding, about our friends, about what we had thought and what we had seen, and I held his hand and I looked at his ring and I called him my husband and he called me his wife, and we knew this was big, this day, this commitment, this new family we had made.
And just like that, it was over.
Or just like that, it begun.