I am not really going to do a Married Monday series. Realistically, Aaron and I have perhaps 60-75 years of life ahead of us and at 52 Mondays apiece, I would be writing about 3,120 to 3900 posts about married life. At first I doubted my ability to even complete such a task, but I think we all know I am rarely at a loss for words. But I think one Married Monday is in order. It’s sort of a Wedding Wednesday: Special Edition. Or maybe, if this were MTV, it would be called Wedding Wednesday: Where Are They Now?
I am not really sure I can totally comprehend the awesomeness of Saturday. I know I only tasted a slice of the whole experience and I am loving hearing the stories and seeing the pictures that are trickling in from our wedding guests and bridal party in the days after. I know that if I don’t get at least some words down now, the memories will quickly fade and I am still wanting to just soak every tiny detail in and hold on to it as long as possible.
I just want to start with saying that I know throughout the Wedding Wednesdays I was adamant that this would not be the best day of my life, sort of taking the cynical approach and considering the stress and the responsibilities and the nerves and so on. Read carefully here, because I am not admitting to being ‘wrong’ per se, but I will declare that Saturday was likely in the Top 3 Most Awesome Days of Katie’s Life.
Friday afternoon was all about final touches and doing some last minute decorations for the rehearsal, which I was hoping would include some fantastic outdoor lighting. Friends, my career as an exterior illumination specialist began and ended on Friday afternoon. And ended with a Bang!– no lies. Things working against me in the set-up:
- The light string was too heavy for the bamboo rods we planned to string the lights on.
- The gale force winds of the Ides of October compounded the previously mentioned situation by about a magnitude of 1000.
- One of the light bulbs fell out of the string of lights while they were plugged in. In the process of bending down to pick up said offending bulb, I dropped the exposed socket into the wet, wet grass. A Bang! and some smoke and an extremely elevated heart rate followed, and I decided that this scenario (i.e., potential electrocution) was the exact last thing I needed to do to myself the day before my wedding.
Then it went from “already not that great” to “are you kidding me?!” when I brought the offending light string into the house and accidentally dropped it on the dining room floor, shattering three extremely delicate glass bulbs. I mean, seriously. I cleaned up the glass and haphazardly shoved 2 of the 4 remaining healthy strands of lights into Aaron’s artificial tree in the entry way and called it good enough.
I wrote a few weeks ago that I thought hosting the rehearsal dinner at our home was both the craziest idea we had and also the one I was most sure and confident about. I won’t lie, when we first arrived back at the house after rehearsal I was still thinking, “I am not sure this was a good idea. Also, it’s really dark in the back yard.” But after a little shuffling, an extremely crowded dining room during the blessing, and some beer and wine, things settled in quite nicely. Quite perfectly, in fact.
It was a little crowded. It was a little loud. The dog did drink someone’s wine and was hungover the next morning. It was incredibly surreal to have all these people from different parts of our lives together. In our house. But the food was amazing, the company even better, and I loved seeing my home filled with the noise and the love of my family and friends. I loved when my mom said to me, “What a wonderful world you two have made for yourselves and all these people who love you.” That is exactly how I wanted people to feel.
The Final Prep
On Saturday morning, I woke up at 4AM from a combination of cold/allergies/hangover/excitement. Had we not stayed up all night enjoying whiskey, I think this would have turned out differently, but once I was awake there was no way I was falling back asleep. Instead, I took a 45 minute shower, had a donut for breakfast, and spent the better part of 3 hours reading/cuddling with the poor hungover hound. It was actually very calming to not be rushing around or worry that I was running late for my ride to the salon with bridesmaid Shivan.
When Shivan did arrive, she handed me a coffee. With some Kahlua in it. Goin’ with The Hair of the Dog Strategy- I like it. We picked up bridesmaid Melissa at her hotel and arrived at the salon for hair and makeup. I had decided at the makeup trial run a few weeks earlier to go with some fake eyelashes and friends, they did not disappoint. I mean, at first the stylist glued my eyes shut and then I thought I looked like a cartoon character, but after I got used to them I totally loved them and it was a special treat. How often do you get to have a really good reason for fake eyelashes? Another very special treat was that our photographer arrived at the salon to take some candids of us getting ready. I totally thought she would just meet us at the church, and I loved this surprise.
The rest of the bridesmaids joined us and our hair went from ‘fresh out of bed’ to ‘teased and tangled’ to ‘Shirley Temple’ to ‘wedding party.’ My bridesmaids looked lovely (as they always do) and just like letting them choose their own dresses, it was so fun to see how they all chose to have their hair done and how it complemented their personalities.
We enjoyed a brief coffee break and headed to the church.
At the church, I spent the first 45 minutes or hour eating lunch (thanks to the church ladies who helped with that!) and playing with toys in the nursery while the bridesmaids did their make up and got into their dresses. Bridesmaid Amy treated us to a great playlist just for this day and I previewed some of my special dance moves for my special ladies. All was well and calm even as I was putting on my own dress with my sister’s help. Bridesmaid Amy tried to cause a ruckus by being the first to cry, but I held it together.
But as we buttoned the top button, my mom came in the room. All hell broke loose. Because if you can stand in your own wedding dress in front of your own momma with all your favorite lady friends around you and not cry, you have no heart. So I cried like a little girl. Like her little girl, really.
Back in the depths of wedding planning, I said I wanted to just take a moment with Aaron before the Wild Rumpus began, in our wedding clothes, to just have some calm time together. This was with the assumption that I would be a total wreck on my wedding day. But I wasn’t (save for the momma part), and Aaron is Mr. Unflappable. But we still decided to capitalize on a minute together in the quiet of the sanctuary before schedules and photos and all of that began. And since on this Saturday we couldn’t do bikes, donuts, and coffee together like we normally do, we talked about it instead. There was no “Aha!” moment, no clouds parting, no angelic choir. We just talked about bikes.
We took some. And then we took some more. I cannot say enough amazing things about our photographer, Brianna, who I met when we were both schleppin’ lattes at Caribou Coffee back in the day. She is creative and silly and fun and her personality and vision (and not forcing us to do cheesy poses) were perfect for our wedding day and I cannot wait to get the photos back. Additional kudos to her, because after spending all day with us, she ran the Twin Cities Marathon the following day!
We had about 45 minutes between the end of the photos and the wedding where we were back squirreled away so guests would not see us. This was the longest 45 minutes of my life and my poor little stomach went topsy-turvy constantly.
The Main Event. Before I knew it, I was arm in arm with my dad, walking down the ‘powerline’ (this is a softball reference, of course), and trying not to look at bridesmaid Amy because she was causing another teary-eyed ruckus again. There was some lip-quivering, chin-trembling, and some puddles of water pooling in my lower eyelids, but all-in-all, I still held it together. Because when it is The Most Right Thing, there is nothing to cry about.
To say that our wedding ceremony was perfect is a total understatement. The music was perfect. The readings were perfect– and it is different to hear them out loud than to read them. As I was listening to Aaron’s cousin recite selected verses from Walt Whitman’s ‘Song of the Open Road,’ I thought to myself, Wow. This is so us. One of our readers, and groomsman Benjamin’s wife, surprised me by sharing with our guests what I had shared with her about why we had selected that reading. That was a very special treat to us and made it all the more meaningful. Our pastor is officially the funniest person ever and surprised us with a thoughtful, personal, and hilarious sermon. It perfectly set the tone for the rest of the evening as well– that we were happy to host a fun and silly event for everyone to celebrate our mutual weirdness and joy.
It wasn’t until the receiving line that I realized exactly how many people 200 people is. It is many. I realized we were in big trouble in getting a chance to talk to everyone throughout the night. Then we gave almost all of those people a metal bicycle bell and you have never heard such a noise! It was a great send off.
The Post-Wedding Pre-Party
We took our bridal party to the Happy Gnome in Saint Paul which is where Aaron and I had our very first date on January 8, 2011. This was one of my favorite parts of the day. We were cheered by the other patrons, treated to drinks, and got a chance to just enjoy the company of our close friends.
Incredible. We joined our guests at dinner by being introduced like an NBA team about to take the court. Then we ate, we drank, we toasted, we danced. Our DJ was phenomenal and everything we asked for and he delivered the “pumpin’ party” that he promised us. The view of the state capitol building was stunning, and the love and excitement in the room was completely palpable.
Of course, we regret that we didn’t get nearly enough time to talk to everyone but just hope that all enjoyed the night as much as we did. A few people said to me things along the lines of “Wow, you really know how to throw a party!” or “You have set the bar really high” and my response to this is so simple: This was not hard to do. Yes, at times it was stressful. We’ve been busy with planning. But it wasn’t hard. We did it from a place of love for all of our guests and with the idea that we wanted it to be as simple and carefree as possible. If you keep your eyes on the most important prize– the joining in marriage between the two of you– the rest of the prizes will unfold in front of you. It was a fun party because we had a fun time throwing it.
I am sure there is more to be said about this weekend, and I didn’t even tell you about our ridiculously awesome hotel upgrade but this post is getting super long. Rest assured, the top of the cake is in the freezer, the dress is hung in the closet, and the sun has officially set on this day of the journey. It was incredible.
I have never felt more loved, more beautiful, more blessed, more certain, or more excited. I kept wanting to tell people, “Life has never been this good!” but that’s not true. Life has always been this good. It is so good.
Love love love,