I always knew I would eventually get married, but to think you’ll do something and then to actually do it is pretty awesome.
The last ten months of my life have been I.N.S.A.N.E. Especially the last few weeks before the wedding. Looking back, everything didn’t go exactly as planned but it was pretty darn close and, in some ways, way better than I expected.
Here’s my recap….
Sometime in December, my (then) fiancee made “Countdown Rings” to our wedding and hung them in my apartment. Each day, I ripped off a ring as a way of counting down until our wedding. He even had certain rings that were specially designed for the particular day: Bridal Shower 1 AND 2, Rehearsal Dinner, Wedding Day, etc. And, even though we would be gone for the entire time and thus unable to rip off the rings, he made special ones for each island we’d hit on our honeymoon cruise. So cool! Once, he made rings for me counting down until I would quit a job I hated. I’d given myself a month, but ended up quitting before finishing off the rings. Unfortunately, I had to wait this countdown out :-).
The months before the wedding seemed to go by suuuuuper slooooowly. But the two weeks before the wedding FLEW BY! My fiance and I didn’t live together before getting married which is great and all to do the Christian thing, but it made the month of the wedding CRAZY with me trying to plan the wedding and
move at the same time. In Bible times, people didn’t need to shack up because they lived in tents on the same plot of land. Nowadays, people have apartments and furniture and clothes and more clothes! This, I kept thinking to myself, was NOT what God intended for anyone! Haha. Granted, we could have waited until we got back from our honeymoon to move my stuff to his house, but we wanted to come back from our honeymoon and be done with my apartment, plus I didn’t want to pay for weeks I was not going to live there. So, it was utter chaos for about ten days right before the wedding.
My wedding was on Sunday and mom came in town late Wednesday night to help me with last minute things and to run around with me to every store on the East side of Columbus getting last minute purchases and making returns (which reminds me: I still have some things to return!). We even made time to go to the
gym together early Thursday morning. I also had a job interview that day (yes, the week of my wedding! Lol). Come to think of it, I haven’t heard back from that job. (This isn’t too surprising considering I was a total wreck that week.) After the job interview, I had to meet with the cake lady one more time, go buy some weave and get my weave sewn in. (I highly recommend Remy Moisture weave. It’s expensive but it is great hair.)
Friday night, my bridesmaids threw me thee best bachelorette party ever – party bus and all! One of my friends even flew in from NEW JERSEY to celebrate with me!
We all stayed up crazy late and still made it to the women’s brunch hosted at my church at 10am on Saturday morning. OMG the people at my church are amazing. There must have been 1000 women at that brunch and the women organizing the brunch took it upon themselves to reserve two tables for me and my girls. This was a BLESSING since we were late (of course!). I also happened to win TWO prizes at the brunch! I won an hour of free house cleaning and a gift certificate to Charles Penzone! Double friggin win!
After the brunch, the bridesmaids split up to knock out the last bit of my to-do & to-buy list. One of my bridesmaids came with me to Easton Mall to look for jewelry and a tiara. I bought neither. SMH. My mom and one of my bridesmaids went to pick up my dress and check into the hotel for that night. Some other bridesmaids went to get my communion stuff. My matron of honor bought me some toiletries for the honeymoon. We all met back up at the rehearsal. That was the fastest hour and a half EVER.
With the exception of Joe and I, this was everyone’s first time seeing the venue: Creekside Conference and Event Center. We thought the place is gorgeous and we were glad everyone else thought so too. The rehearsal went well. Sarah VanSickle from Bendora’s Wedding Gallery was our “Day of Coordinator” and she was there to help run the rehearsal along with our minister, Bill Canfield. It started to feel REALLY real at the rehearsal. Like, wow, I’m really getting married!
After the rehearsal, Joe’s parents hosted our rehearsal dinner at Hometown Buffet! It wasn’t our first choice, but it turned out to be the perfect place for a rehearsal dinner. It was virtually empty inside, so we pushed a ton of tables together and then everyone was able to get what ever they wanted to eat. We talked and laughed for what felt like hours and hours. It was nice for the entire wedding party and parents to get together and have a good time without having a massive amount to set up and tear down after (originally Joe and I wanted to host the dinner at his house, thank GOD we didn’t!).
Thennnnn, me and the girls went to the nail salon. VIP Nails on Refugee Rd was okay. They didn’t do as great of a job as I get at my normal place (Mai’s on Morse Rd.) I wanted to go to Mai’s, but it was too late. Still, we clowned in VIP Nails. It was so fun! I got my nails, feet and eyebrows done and some of the girls did too. The others just hung out – running in and out until we closed the place down. Near the end of the trip we learned that Whitney Houston died! (Ironically, Michael Jackson died the day after my dad did. I don’t know what it is with me, big events in my life and deaths of icons. UGH!).
After the nail trip, Saturday got crazy. No, not with the girls night in at the hotel that I had hoped for filled with eating, talking, movies and fun! Instead…I had to pack for the wedding day, wedding night and honeymoon.
As I mentioned earlier, I had spent the two weeks leading up to the wedding moving all of my stuff to Joe’s house. Planning a wedding and moving at the same time is utter chaos. I’m sure I could have packed my honeymoon stuff sometime before 10pm on the night before my wedding, but I don’t know when. Packing for the honeymoon was made even harder by the fact that my summer clothes were in boxes that I had brought over to Joe’s house for storage about six months prior when I had moved to my current apartment from a different apartment. PLUS, all of my stuff was in boxes upstairs, downstairs, in the closet, in Joe’s room, everywhere! I finally finished packing for the honeymoon around midnight I think. It hadn’t snowed in Columbus at all the week before the wedding, but that night was practically a blizzard. Of course. The silver lining in the packing madness was that two of my bridesmaids came over and laughed and talked with me in my (beyond messy) closet while I finished packing. Also, Joe’s sister was working on some things I needed for the wedding reception tables. So, it wasn’t an awful night, just crazy.
THEN, I remembered I needed to stop at Walmart. At midnight. In an epic snowfall. Across town from the hotel I was supposed to be at with my bridesmaids. Walmart is never a quick trip, but I wanted to get Joe something for Valentine’s Day. In hindsight, our marriage would have survived the lack of a gift two days after our wedding, but I am always doing the most and the night before my wedding was no different. THEN, I remembered I never gave the ring bearer’s dad his tie he needed to wear for the wedding the next day, so I decided to drive by and put it in the mailbox. Again, doing the most. (Unfortunately, the tie I bought was too big, so they had to go buy him a child’s tie anyway, so my driving over there was a total waste of time.)
Finally, I was at the hotel.
Sex and the City the movie was on – anyone who knows me, knows that is my favorite movie and TNT was showing it! My bridesmaids had gotten me this awesome cupcake cake! It was after midnight and I planned to don some barely there lingerie on my wedding night, but I still ate two cupcakes haha. I was finalizing our slideshow on DVD and organizing the vendors’ checks when my maid of honor encouraged me to go to bed. This was around two am. So, yeah…not the night before the wedding I had planned (based loosely on Carrie Bradshaw’s night before her wedding), but I got a lot done and still got to hang with my bridesmaids a little. My maid of honor finished the checks and the DVD for me while my other maid of honor and matron of honor magically created a brides bouquet and bridesmaids bouquets for me (long story short: the ones I ordered never came in the mail). Unbeknownst to me, they were up until past four am! One of my maids of honor only ended up getting two hours of sleep!
Sunday morning, I woke up at 7am (before my alarm) and it was my wedding day!!! Have you ever been super awake and super exhausted at the same time? That was me. I took my time getting ready (at one point, I stood in the shower for what felt like an hour waiting for someone to bring me a washcloth haha). Then my friends came over to do my hair and makeup.
After the week I’d had, it was so NICE to be able to just sit in my satin “Bride” robe (a bridal shower gift from a very, very thoughtful friend) and have people do my makeup and hair. Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta camera guy and producer got there around 10am. The photographer got there around 10:30. The hotel had free breakfast so the girls were able to eat for free before getting dressed. One of my maids of honors even remembered to bring me something to eat in the room. I had gotten two hotel rooms: one for the bridesmaids to get ready in and one for me to get ready in. That made it less chaotic and the room I was in was kept relatively clean for pictures and video.
After they were done with my hair and makeup and taking a few pictures, I put on my dress. THE dress. And it looked even better than I remembered it. I got the dress from Bridals by Lori in Atlanta, but Joan’s Bridal Couture altered the dress to fit me. It’s really a shame that I only get to wear it once. My mom was bawling, some of my bridesmaids were crying. It was so overwhelming! I didn’t cry cause
my friend worked way too hard on my makeup. The veil was cathedral with Swavorski crystals and I snagged it from Amazon.com for only about $35! The gloves were inexpensive too – also an Amazon.com purchase! My mom got my jewelry from Macy’s the day before. It’s funny cause when I saw it, I didn’t want to wear it because I didn’t think it was grand enough. “It’s dainty,” I pointed out, “and I’m not dainty.” I ended up wearing it and it was perfect. Momma knows best! I got glitter flats and heels because I didn’t know which ones I would ultimately wear. I ended up going with the flats because heels make us eye-level and I wanted to be much shorter than Joe when we were standing at the altar. I wore the heels for a few pics though. I had nixed the tiara idea the day before when I was in the store and couldn’t choose which one. In hindsight, I wish I would have worn one, but my husband says I was gorgeous even without it. So, oh well. I probably would have taken off my veil during the reception if I were wearing a tiara, but I wasn’t so I wore the veil. The cathedral tier wasn’t removable, so I ended up carrying it in my arms all night. Not a good plan. Not the worst plan, but still, not a good one.
Anyway, after putting on the dress, everyone dried their eyes and we went downstairs of the hotel to take more pictures.
There was some small chattering and side glances going on between the bridesmaids and I didn’t know what was going on. As it turned out, someone had STOLEN my BOUQUET out of the hotel’s fridge. I didn’t find out until after I returned from my honeymoon. Apparently, the hotel had no explanation. So, my maids of honor, who had already stayed up until an ungodly hour of the morning putting together bouquets (after the set I had ordered didn’t come in the mail), had to put together more bouquets! I didn’t know what was going on or why the girls kept disappearing when we were trying to take pictures, but it ALL makes sense now. My bouquet was the only one stolen, so the girls took the two maids of honor’s bouquets and the matron of honor’s bouquet and put those three together to make one big bouquet for me. One of my friends ran to the store to buy more flowers and they took apart the other bouquets to then put together NINE bridesmaids bouquets — literally just an hour or so before the ceremony. What’s crazy is that I had NO clue ANY of this was going on. Not to mention one bridesmaid got a flat tire and another lost her keys (and still hasn’t found them). Again, I didn’t have a clue. They are the best Bridal Party ever.
Meanwhile, Joe and the groomsmen were at Creekside also taking pictures!
After we took a bunch of pictures, I rode in the limo with my mom and two of my bridesmaids over to Creekside for Joe and my “First Look”.
We weren’t going to do “First Look” photos, but the photographer said we wouldn’t get as many pictures if we didn’t see each other before the ceremony. So, we decided, to heck with traditions!, these photos aren’t free! The “First Look” was so much fun and it was nice to spend some time with Joe before the wedding and take everything in without having to play “hide the bride” in the venue. With so much going on, we would have undoubtedly spotted each other anyway.
Then there was the wedding…
Despite the fact that I saw both Joe and the ceremony space before the ceremony, there was something about those doors opening, seeing ALL those people sitting there, hearing our friend Lisa singing “Endless Love” while playing the keyboard…and seeing Joe standing there at the end of the aisle. Taking all of that in at once, I almost looooost it. My shoulders started shaking, I could feel myself ready to burst into (happy) tears. Everyone makes a big deal about the groom seeing the bride at that moment, but that’s a big deal for the bride too! Even thinking about it now makes me tear up. I willed myself to hold it together because who wants to be a blubbery mess on television or in photographs? Not me. So I took a deep breath, held onto my stepfather’s arm, smiled and walked as slow as I could, trying to savor every moment.
Two funny things: during communion I put a big piece of bread in my mouth and could barely chew it. I was trying to stay pretty eating it, but I know I looked a mess with this huge puffy cheek trying to get my tongue to slam that bread down my throat. Hahaha. I don’t think anyone noticed though because I cast a helpless glance at my maid of honor and she just smiled. Oh well. I finally swallowed it. Second, my hands were mega ashy which isn’t good for sliding a snug ring on your finger. Joe and I were prepared for that though and no one was any the wiser as he put my ring halfway on my finger and I discreetly pushed it the rest of the way on while the preacher moved on to the next step in the ceremony.
Our minister did a fantastic job. It was exactly what we wanted. I ended up not writing vows or having my maid of honor read anything I’d written, but that was okay. It was still perfect.
We thought a receiving line was a waste of time, so we didn’t have one. Now, I wish we did because everyone who comes to the ceremony doesn’t make it to the reception. So, there are some people we didn’t get to say hi to. That’s okay though. I was able to speak to almost all of the guests at least briefly.
Joe and I don’t drink so we decided not to serve any alcohol. Between the ceremony and reception, we had “Cookie Hour”. Joe’s mom and aunts and cousin made a ton of cookies. By the time he and I got to them there were about two left. Later, I saw the pictures, and was like “Wow!” They looked really good.
During our “Cookie Hour”, our friend Heidi took pictures of guests and the well wishes and advice they wrote on white boards.
The reception was nice. Our theme was “Sundae” wedding because we got engaged in front of a Coldstone Creamery, we love ice cream and our wedding is on a Sunday. Each table was named after an ice cream topping and the seating cards were fondant shaped like ice cream in paper ice cream cups. Each table had cupcakes that looked like ice cream in a cake cone. Joe created our logo. Our colors were pink brown and cream like Neapolitan ice cream. I liked our theme, mainly because it saved us a boatload of money on flowers!
While at our sweetheart table, I tried to resist sitting there counting empty chairs, but I worked so hard on the guest list and seating chart (even having to re-send the chart minutes before the
ceremony!) I knew exactly who was missing with one quick glance around the room. Question: why do people RSVP “yes” to a wedding then not show up? Just say “no”. If you think saying “no” will hurt a bride’s feelings, it won’t. Wasting money on your dinner plate, however, will surely tick her off. It’s funny because there are people who would have been SO offended if we didn’t invite them, yet these people didn’t even show up after saying they would come. Some people even practically demanded an invite and STILL didn’t come. Two weeks later, I’ve yet to get an explanation. It truly grinds my gears for me to waste my own money, but for other people to carelessly waste my money is just incomprehensibly rude. Anyway, moving on.
The reception was great. I was so blessed by all of the people who came from near and far to celebrate! I let Joe thank everyone at the wedding, but afterward, I wished I would have thanked people too. But oh well, they know I’m thankful :-). People came from Georgia, N. Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan, Cleveland, Cincinnati, etc. It was a Sunday so some came straight from morning church service only to have to go straight back after the reception. I am blessed to tears looking at pictures of the many people who came to our wedding.
In lieu of a guestbook, I made wedding MadLibs for guests to fill out and for Joe and I to read later. They were HILARIOUS! Some were very nice, others were creative and some were naaaaasty! Haha. They are a nice keepsake.
I really wanted to cut a cake at our wedding even though we had cupcakes on all of the tables. I love the “cutting the cake” ceremony so I couldn’t nix it. Our cake both looked and tasted great! In the movies, you see couples cut a piece and eat a bite then walk away (or they cut to another scene) — so that’s what we did. Our coordinator was like “You can finish your cake”. Haha. So we finished it and it was amazing!!!
Then we did our dances. We danced to “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts. We both love that song and feel like it applies to us so much. At the end, we did an impromptu dip and kiss. It was timed perfectly with the end of the song! That was one of my favorite parts of the entire reception.
Next I danced with my stepdad. In honor of my biological dad, we danced to “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion. My dad loved that song and it definitely fit our father/daughter relationship. Halfway through the song, the dj invited all of the fathers and daughters in the room to dance together. I really wanted that as a chance for the girls to dance with their dads at a wedding because I didn’t get to dance with mine. That was a good moment for me and my stepdad though.
Then Joe danced with his mom. It was so sweet watching them dance together!
After the dances, the bridal party danced to the Cha-Cha slide to get everyone out on the dance floor. Joe and I tricked the Bridal Party by asking them to come out to the dance floor for a picture, then the dj started the song. It was awesome though. I never got a chance to teach Joe the Cha-Cha slide so he wasn’t the happiest, and I swear we’d asked the DJ to do the Cupid Shuffle, but I think something got mixed up. It worked out though, most everyone knows that line dance so a lot of people joined in! Recapping the wedding that night, Joe and I were pretty salty the dj didn’t play a slow song for the many, many couples there or any older music since most of the guests were over the age of 30. We gave the DJ a list of “Must Play” songs, but we are guessing he may have forgotten to bring it. We don’t know. It still turned out well, but we think the night would have lasted longer if we had a better mix of music. Oh well.
We did the bouquet toss and the garter toss. We played “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” for the bouquet toss which is so cheesy yet fitting! My friend Deaveny who had flown in from Georgia caught the bouquet!
Joe had the dj play “I’m Still A Guy” by Brad Paisley for the garter toss. The garter fell around his cousin’s feet so he reluctantly claimed it. Haha.
The reception started winding down, so Joe and I broke away from the dance floor to get Coldstone ice cream. We got engaged in front of the Coldstone Creamery in Pickerington, so we thought it would be perfect if they catered our wedding! Coldstone was a huge hit and we were super honored that Andrea, the store OWNER came to the wedding to help serve the ice cream.
Many times, the bride and groom have a send off at the end, but Joe and I were practically the last people there. It was so fun, we didn’t want to leave!
My mom and some of the bridesmaids stayed behind to get the gifts back to Joe’s house and our limo driver took us on a scenic route to our hotel downtown (Doubletree Suites).
This was the best “SUNDAE” ever!
About two and a half weeks have passed since our wedding day and, looking back, I am still so happy with the way things turned out and so grateful for the many, many people who contributed to making my wedding weekend a success. Not the least of which was my allstar Bridal Party: Shannon, Shakarri and Katie (Maids & Matron of Honor) Tiffany, Amber, Brittany, Shanice, Shanae and Janet. All of the groomsmen: Dan (Joe’s brother and best man) and John, Scott, Chris, Jamie, Chad, and Bryan. Also, Lisa (who sang), Tareya (my makeup), Keeta (bridesmaids’ makeup and buying flowers for bridesmaids at the last minute!), Shirlee (my hair), Heidi (photos of wedding guests), Sam (videographer), and Caleb (limo driver and videographer). My mom who kept me sane throughout the entire process and who was always my sounding board and eternal source of love and support. Lastly, all of my awesome vendors who I will be writing about in a follow up post.
Most of all, I thank God Who brought Joe into my life. He is extraordinary and I am honored to be his wife.
It only gets better from here.
-Mrs. Alissa Henry