Wedding Day Recaps

Post-Wedding Days! [Wedding Recap Wednesday]

by Melissa on April 18, 2012

T-2 Days: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3

T-1 Day: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4

Wedding Day: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Recap Intermission; Part 11; Part 12

I wish I could say that our first few days of marriage were spent in some blissful, post-wedding state, but they weren’t. Ken was a little hesitant that I was going to be writing about this. He didn’t want our final wedding recap to end on such a downer. But, as I see it, it was just like 36 hours of a downer after the wedding, and then things went right back to normal, so it’s all good!

I’ll spare a lot of the details, but here’s the short story. My grandmother was still in the hospital and we weren’t sure how long she’d have to stay there. Knowing my family couldn’t afford a hotel for several days, I offered to let them stay at our house. Big mistake. They overstayed their welcome.  Well, they only stayed for two nights, but, my parents are loud and argue a lot. Ken and I thought we’d be spending those days after the wedding just lounging around the house and relaxing, but that didn’t happen.

So, now let me back up a little bit. Our wedding was on a Friday, and strangely enough, Ken and I, like the night before the wedding, did not sleep well on our wedding night. I thought I would’ve slept like a baby all through the night, but we were both up and awake by about 4:45AM on Saturday morning. We talked and talked about how amazing the wedding was, but also did some Monday Morning Quarterbacking (er, Saturday morning?).

We had a lot to wrap up over at the wedding venue. We had to get everything cleaned up and packed by 1PM. Luckily our day-of-coordinator and her team packed up a lot of the things the night before, but we still had a bunch to do.

So, we had breakfast at the hotel, and that’s when I extended the invitation to my parents to stay at our house. Saturday actually was fine. After we got checked out of the hotel, we went to the venue and finished cleaning up and packing. We got out of there JUST IN TIME for our 1PM check out time. It was a lot easier getting everything to the venue with professional movers and a large moving truck. But this time we just had a moving van plus all our family vehicles, so it took quite a bit of creative packing to find space for everything.

Ken and I, plus our immediate families, all drove back to our house, about 20 miles north of the venue, and unloaded all our wedding stuff. Our house was a complete mess. But having my family there on Saturday actually wasn’t so bad. We went to visit my grandmother in the hospital in the evening, and then my family helped get all the catering and cake leftovers packaged up in plastic containers. So that was pretty helpful.

On Sunday morning, I took my sister, nephew, and cousin to the metro so they could go to the airport for their flights, but my parents stayed because my grandmother was still in the hospital.

Sunday is when things started to get annoying. My parents were just so loud and were fighting. I thought they could at least tone it down since they were staying with us AFTER OUR WEDDING, but it’s like they are incapable of doing that.

Ken was getting mad at me for not asking them to go to a hotel after they started to get annoying, but I was just so torn about what to do. After all, it was an extremely extenuating circumstance. No one could’ve predicted that my grandmother would have fallen ill the day before the wedding. And my parents really couldn’t afford to stay in a hotel for an undetermined amount of time. And I felt a little resentful of how Ken was treating the situation, because his dad has had to stay with family members at inopportune times too after illnesses (like with us for a week right after we moved into our house, and with Ken’s sister days after she had a baby. The timing wasn’t great, but we all did what we had to do).

Ken and I ran a few errands, and when we got back to the house around 6PM on Sunday, we laid in bed to take a nap. We didn’t wake up until about 8AM the following morning. I guess we were tired! that’s about 14 hours of sleep for those of you counting.

On Monday, my parents were still there and still arguing loudly.

No one handled the situation well. I should’ve been more forthright with my parents, or probably never even extended the invitation for them to stay with us. My parents should’ve known better than to actually accept the invitation, and since they had accepted, they could’ve at least been on better behavior. And Ken should’ve realized how terrible of a situation he was putting me in. Having my parents there was stressful enough. But that just added to the stress exponentially.

Our wedding was on a Friday, and Ken and I were going back to work on Tuesday (we weren’t leaving for our mini moon until the following Sunday).

My parents finally left on Monday and my grandmother was released from the hospital. Ken and I were finally able to enjoy silence in the house. We opened our wedding gifts and just lounged around the rest of the day.  Everything went back to normal as soon as my parents left.

We both went back to work on Tuesday. That entire day was spent in a complete fog. My sleep schedule was still all messed up. I was starving when I got to work, and went down to the cafeteria in our building for some breakfast. I ended up getting a turkey sandwich with roasted red peppers (or something like that). I’m a strictly breakfast food for breakfast kind of girl, and here I was starving for a sandwich at 9AM. I went back to my desk and savored that crappy little pre-made sandwich. And I just ate throughout the entire day. My appetite had been MIA for about two weeks leading up to the wedding, so any bit of food just tasted amazing now that I could actually stomach it.

We left for our Vegas minimoon the following Sunday, 9 days after the wedding. We had a fantastic time. We went to the Neon Museum (I highly recommend it!), Gold & Silver Pawn Shop (of History Channel’s Pawn Stars fame), Red Rock Canyon, and the Vintage Auto Collections.


So, there you have it. The first few days of our marriage weren’t the most perfect in the world, but what can you do? The fact that we recovered from it so easily I think says a lot about our marriage!


T-2 Days: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3

T-1 Day: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4

Wedding Day: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Recap Intermission; Part 11

As I mentioned in this post, my wedding recaps starting at Part 11 are less detailed , because, after writing 45-single-spaced pages of recaps within about 4 weeks of our wedding day, I lost steam.

We had survived our first dance, complete with a twirls and a dip! We went back to mingling with our guests, which was just fantastic. Ken and I spent about 90 seconds total of the entire wedding sitting at our sweetheart table. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way. When I look at a wedding photos of other couples and they’re quarantined at the table away from their guests with their wedding party while dinner is served and toasts are given, I just kind of shudder. We spent nearly every moment talking with our guests.

Someone, I can’t remember who, mentioned it was time to cut the cake. Cake smooshing is an awful no no for me, so Ken and I agreed long ago that there would be no cake smooshing.

We went up to our totally wrong cakes (oh well, what could we do), and cut into them using the cake cutting set my sister, who was married nearly 15 years earlier, let us borrow. We cut, put pieces of the cake onto a fork, and fed it to each other. Nicely, cleanly, calmly.






Then something unexpected happened.

Our guests started BOOING US! Yep, that’s right. Our guests actually let out playful boos encouraging us to do a real cake smooshing.

I quickly caved to the peer pressure, and Ken and I did a reluctant, cake smooshing. Our guests’ disappointment was no more. They cheered it, even if the cake smooshing was pretty half-assed. Ken said, “I can’t believe you just did that!” meaning he couldn’t believe that I caved to the pressure! I cleaned off Ken’s tie with a napkin because some icing had gotten on it.




Guest mingling resumed fairly quickly after, and then it was time for the father daughter dance.

To be honest, I wasn’t all that keen on the idea of a father-daughter dance. I don’t like how the tone of them is generally so sad. This isn’t 19th century England when a woman gets married and sees her parents maybe every 5 years after getting a husband. A wedding should be a celebration, not some sad moment for a dad who has to “say goodbye” to his daughter or some nonsense. But, I obliged and we had a father daughter dance. And my dad cried. And I was kind of uncomfortable the entire dance and, like during our processional, I kept telling my dad that it was a happy day, not a sad day.


I should point out that Ken never really agreed with my assessment of a father-daughter dance as having such a sad tone. Instead, he said it’s more reflective, not sad.

After the father-daughter dance, some of our guests started to depart. We had a relatively early ceremony, at 3:00PM, and the reception started soon after at 3:45, so I guess it made sense that folks would be ready to go by 8:45, since that was already five hours of partying.

But, we continued to mingle with the remaining guests, and hug our departing guests as they left.

Around 9:00 or so, Ken and I announced that we were going to head to the Mess Hall, the indoor location at the campground, because the pavilion was getting colder by the minute, even with the fireplace and patio heaters. About 30 of our guests, mostly out-of-town guests followed.

The indoor festivities continued. Kids had a blast with the photobooth, and family members that hadn’t seen each other in a long time really used that time to connect.  Ken and I also took a few moments to warm up by the indoor fireplace.




When I walked into the Mess Hall around 9:00PM, I realized that I was STARVING! In the days leading up to the wedding, nerves and excitement had really affected my appetite. Even the day before, surrounded by all the amazing food family and friends made for our rehearsal dinner, I couldn’t stomach more than a few bites. Besides the bite of cake consumed at the cake smooshing, the only food I had eaten that day was my sad excuse of a breakfast I forced down at the hotel more than 13 hours earlier.

Luckily the family friend who had made most of the food for the rehearsal dinner had reheated a lot of the rehearsal dinner leftovers for the remaining guests. I got a plate and dished heaping amounts of food onto it. I sat down in the Mess Hall and ate. For the first time in months, I felt truly relaxed. The leftovers tasted utterly amazing for some reason (I mean, it was perfectly good food, but I savored it like it was some gourmet meal).

There were a lot of mixed feelings as the wedding day winded down. Mostly “Wow, we’re married! The wedding day is just about over!” excitement-type feelings, and “Oh, the wedding day is just about over.” sadness-type feelings. It had been a truly incredible day. But it was just that. A single day. 13 months of hard work and patience for that one day, and it was almost over.

Bittersweet relief.

Most importantly, I was now married to the love of my life.

The photographers left. And someone, we’re still not sure who, used Ken’s camera to take this photo of us in the Mess Hall when just a few guests remained. I think it sums up that Bittersweet Relief feeling exactly.


(Personal Photo)

Shortly after this photo was taken, Ken and I got in his car and drove back to the hotel. It took me about 10 minutes to get all the hairpins out of my hair. It was a relief. It was like the signal that the wedding day was over.


T-2 Days: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3

T-1 Day: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4

Wedding Day: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Recap Intermission

As I mentioned last week, my wedding recaps will be less detailed from this point forward, because, after writing 45-single-spaced pages of recaps within about 4 weeks of our wedding day, I lost steam.

Folks were eating dinner at the reception, and Ken and I continued to walk around, mingling among the guests. Sometimes we talked to our friends and family together, sometimes we were by ourselves talking with them.





Ken and I had bought board games with the intention of folks playing them at the wedding in case they wanted to get to know their table-mates, or in case they didn’t like to dance or whatever. If you had asked me right after the wedding, I would’ve said that the games were a mild success. However, after seeing the wedding photos, I can’t believe how many folks were actually playing the games. It was amazing! I’m so glad our guests took advantage of it.






The kids also had a great time with the glow necklaces, glow sticks, and other toys.



I was also thrilled that the s’mores were such a big hit,including a big hit with me and Ken who ate s’mores before any real food.




Somehow, Ken and I never managed to get any food before the caterers packed it away. I’m not sure if it was already put away before the first dance of if that didn’t happen until afterwards. But either way, Ken and I never had any of the catered food at the wedding! Although Ken says he thinks he may have had a hot dog. But I definitely didn’t have any. No matter, I wasn’t hungry anyway.

It was getting time for our first dance, which meant it was time for me to change into my “reception” dress that had an extra special alteration that I was going to reveal during our first dance! (I had decided earlier in the day not to change into the “reception dress” right away. I just loved my ceremony dress too much to take it off!)

I grabbed my sister, and we walked to the Mess Hall, where the closest restrooms were located. I grabbed my “accessories and makeup” bin, which I had tucked away near the freezer in the Mess Hall, and took it with me to the restroom. My sister helped take off my ceremony dress, I went pee for the first time since getting dressed at the hotel nearly 6 hours earlier, and changed into my reception dress. I also changed my headband, pearl necklace, and bracelet.

My sister and I walked back to the pavilion and Ken announced it was time for our first dance!



We had taken a bunch of dance lessons, so we were really excited to show off our moves. It was really cute, I could tell Ken was pretty nervous about the dance, but he did great. Complete with twirling me and dipping me!

But right before the music was about to begin, I revealed the special dress alteration. LED lights in the hem of my dress! Well, as Ken would say, technically it was electroluminescence wire (aka EL Wire), but who’s keeping track. I had found a fabulous seamstress in the DC area who was willing to sew the lights in for me! Finding someone willing and able (and who could understand me) was not an easy task!  The string light had been sewn into the hem, when I got dressed, I just tucked the cord and battery pack into my Spanx under my dress!

Right before the music began for the first dance, I reached the side of my leg, where the battery pack was concealed under my dress, tapped the on button by feeling for it, and my dress lit up! There was an audible gasp from the guests! I LOVED IT! I especially liked how it was subtle, and not all in-your-face-bright lights like the LED wedding dress recently featured on Modern Family.






And I would just like to point out that the EL Wire project was ALL Ken! I came home one day in September, two months before the wedding, and was like, “You know, I wonder if it would be possible to sew LED lights into my wedding dress.” Ken said something like, “Yeah, that would be cool,” and I just figured he thought it was another crazy bride brain idea and didn’t say another word.

Well, about two hours later, he said, “Okay, I think I have it all figured out!” He had figured out the best type of lights, the size of the battery packs, and picked out options for brightness, color, and blinking options. I had no idea he was even working on it!

The first dance was over!



Ken took out his iPhone and changed the playlist to “dancing.” (Yep, he even figured out the self-deejay stuff to the extent that he could control it with his phone). We danced a bit of the first song on the “dancing” playlist (I’ve Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas), and some guests joined us for it.



After that, we were back to mingling with the guests!


An Intermission [Wedding Recap Wednesday]

by Melissa on March 28, 2012

T-2 Days: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3

T-1 Day: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4

Wedding Day: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10

So I have a bit of a confession to make.

All of my wedding recaps that I have published so far were written within four weeks or so of the wedding. In fact, about 80% of the recaps were written within 10 days of the wedding, including our 5 hour plane rides to and from our minimoon in Vegas.

But, after the recap you read last week, I kind of lost steam. At that point, I had written nearly 22,000 words (or 45 single-spaced pages) of recaps detailing the wedding, including the crazy day before, as well as two days before the wedding.

I just stopped writing them. I kept telling myself to pick up where I left off, to keep writing, but I never did. But luckily, I can use pictures to guide the rest of the reception. And of course, my memory hasn’t faded THAT much in the past 3.5 months!

So, I’m going to take a brief intermission from my Wedding Recaps, put all my photos together along with some descriptions (albeit less detailed than what you have been reading. I know, I know, you’re sad.) and wrap up the wedding recaps for ya!


T-2 Days: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3

T-1 Day: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4

Wedding Day: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9

I turned to Ken, and tried not to move my lips much as I said, "Oh.My.God. Look at those cakes." Ken turned and looked at the cakes. Then turned back and said to me, "Well, huh, how about that. That’s not even close to what we ordered. Another thing the coordinator messed up."

There wasn’t much we could do about it, so we just continued on. We turned on the microphone while up on the stage and once folks started to notice we were there, they all started to applaud. We welcomed them to the wedding. We told them that if they got too chilly, that they could head to the Mess Hall just about 200 feet away and warm up in there and that we had some beer, wine, other beverages, games, and a photobooth in the Mess Hall. We also pointed out the board games that were on the table next to the cakes, and where the kids table was.

The "dinner" music was playing, but dinner wasn’t scheduled to start for another 45 minutes or so. It was time to mingle with our guests!  The photographers went off to take some detail shots of our rings, bouquets, and lego ring bearer box.



I LOVE this photo of our rings on top of s’mores ingredients!






I had read in so many different places online that your wedding day, especially the reception, is a complete blur and that it goes by so fast. I was really cognizant of both these issues, so I had made two decisions. Try to be completely "present" in each moment at the reception. For instance, when interacting with guests, I would completely focus on them. Not wave to people in the distance, not worry about how our first dance would go, not worry about our incorrect cakes.

I also made the decision not to drink any alcohol at the reception.

Here’s the thing about me and alcohol. When I drink, it tends to be for relaxation purposes, not for "fun purposes." I become relaxed when I drink (or when I drink too much, I get sleepy and boring), not fun and animated. Like the previous night when I started drinking before the rehearsal, it was so that I could relax. And earlier in the morning at the hotel when I was getting ready, I drank to relax.

There was no more need for me to relax! It was time to have fun! I did get a glass of wine just so I could carry it around with me as I interacted with guests, but I never actually drank any it. I also realized that by not drinking alcohol, perhaps the wedding would be less of a "blur" like many people describe it as.

So, I would definitely NOT describe our reception as a "blur." But there were a lot of things that happened that I can’t necessarily remember the sequence.

One of the first things, I think, remember happening to me after our little introductions is a little girl coming up to me with the card that had our table "number" description. She was sitting at the Betta Fish table! Our description card had told the story about how Ken and I have a fish tank at home, and we even had a betta fish that lived for more than two years. The little girl, who was probably 8 or 9, proceeded to tell me the story that she had a betta fish that lived for more than THREE years!



This was a really poignant moment for me for some reason. First, the fact that little kids almost always find weddings miserable, and she was just really excited about everything, especially telling me all about her betta fish. Second, the fact that folks were actually reading our table postcards and learning more about us!

I walked around, sometimes with Ken and sometimes without, mingling with all the guests.



I’m not sure what story I’m telling here, but it looks like a good one!



There were already folks making s’mores in the fireplace.


Before I knew it, dinner was ready to be served and folks started lining up for our BBQ buffet. Then my mom came up to me (I think it was my mom) and said, “isn’t the pastor going to do a blessing?” Oh, right. Yep, that was on our wedding timeline! That our COORDINATOR had in her possession. But, oh well. I saw the pastor and asked if he would go up to the microphone and give a quick blessing. So he did.


Everything was just so amazing. Sure, the weather was chillier than we had hoped, and it was especially annoying because that was the only day below 60 that entire week, but folks didn’t seem to mind that much. They had all dressed accordingly and looked stylish with their jackets. And the kids were running around like crazy, so that was keeping them warm.

Before we knew it, dinner was over! Ken and I hadn’t even eaten anything! It’s okay though, with all the excitement, I don’t think I could’ve eaten anything if I had wanted to!  Plus, interacting with our guests was much more important to us than eating.


T-2 Days: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3

T-1 Day: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4

Wedding Day: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8

The ceremony was over! Ken and I were married!

The photographers had the shot list that we had provided to them, and the started taking our family portraits. She was getting them done really quickly, but unfortunately I was getting really cold. After the family portraits, Ken and I were supposed to have some additional photographs taken at the nearby lake at the venue, just about a four or five minute walk away. But I was cold and was ready to go into the pavilion and warm up by the fireplace. As I write this, now 26 days post-wedding, I kinda regret that decision. I should’ve just toughed it out to have some more photos taken. (Update since drafting this: Ken and I have an absolutely great amount of photos of each other together from the wedding, especially from our first look photos. So although it would have been nice to get some by the lakes, I’m not feeling as guilty about it anymore)

As the photographer was taking our family photos, I noticed that the guitarist was standing around next to the pavilion. I said to Ken in an annoyed and sarcastic tone, "Oh, look at that. It certainly looks like the guitarist is waiting for his check. Where the eff is Lisa (our coordinator) to give it to him?" We wrapped up our family photos and I walked over to the Classical guitarist. I told him that he did a great job, and then asked him if he was waiting for his check, and he said yes. I told him to track down our coordinator or her assistant, the ones wearing the black headsets, because they knew where all the checks were.

Also while we were having the family portraits taken, I could see into the pavilion, although it was distorted through the plastic tent wall siding. There was a HUGE crowd around the television we had set up in the pavilion that was playing an incredible slideshow that Ken had custom made to play a mix of our childhood photos, newer photos, and home movies. I nudged Ken during a photo. I said, "Look at everyone watching the slideshow!" We both had a huge smile on our face. Ken had worked really hard to put that together.

Our coordinator had been on my last nerve for several weeks, and annoyed, rightly so, at the issue with the classical guitarist. But I had been slightly less annoyed now that I had seen how nicely everything looked and how nicely she got everything set up.

Here are some detail shots from the reception:



















I didn’t see the guitarist again, and a few days later the check was cashed, so I guess he tracked down the coordinator or one of the assistants!

It was time to see our guests in the pavilion!

I’ve mentioned before that we managed to plan the wedding entirely on our own without involving or soliciting input from our families. My mom had only a handful of concerns that she ever articulated. One was that she wanted tablecloths on the picnic tables (I talk about that briefly in this post), something that I originally was not planning to do. She had another concern too that was related to us not having a deejay. And that was who was going to "introduce" us at our reception. I had told her that Ken and I weren’t concerned about that. But then as she pressed the issue a little, I realized what her bigger concern was. She herself wanted to be "introduced," and make an entrance into the wedding too. So I had asked Ken if either his stepdad or the pastor could "introduce" us and our families at the reception. He said that the pastor could definitely do it since he had a big booming voice.

So I went to track down my mom and dad so that we could all be "introduced" at the reception. They had wandered off somewhere after we were done with the family photos and when I went to talk to the guitarist. Well, where did I find my mom? In the reception pavilion already warming up by the fireplace! I guess she had forgotten about her desire to be "introduced!"

At some point that day, I had made the decision that I wouldn’t change into my "reception" dress until right before the first dance. I really, really liked my ceremony dress and I just couldn’t quite bear to take it off so quickly.  So, without changing into my reception dress just yet, Ken and I walked into the pavilion. Even with the patio heaters, the fireplace, and the tent walls, and about 140 people, it was still pretty chilly in the pavilion. I was a little worried. I hoped the guests weren’t too cold and miserable.

One of our goals for our wedding was for the guests not to feel "trapped" at their tables like I know I have felt like happens at other weddings. But once I saw people standing around and laughing and interacting with each other, I was all smiles! The cold weather was actually a good thing! It led folks to get up from their tables and congregate around the fireplace and heaters!

Ken and I walked up onto the stage in the pavilion to welcome our guests and give them some info about the wedding, such as when dinner would start and where the restrooms were.  As soon as our guests noticed we were up on the stage, they all started applauding us. It was so fun! 




But as we stood up there I glanced down at the food tables, which were set up directly in front of the stage. One of those tables was the cake table. I was aghast. My genuine smile was gone. It was more like I was just showing my teeth in an attempt to make it look like I was still smiling.

Our cakes were all wrong.


T-2 Days: Part 1; Part 2Part 3

T-1 Day: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4

Wedding Day: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7

** Unless otherwise noted, photographs in this post were taken by our awesome professional photographer, Debi Parker **


We kicked off the ceremony with a very well-kept secret. Only the pastor knew. We called it our "camera ceremony."

Photographs are very important to me and Ken. We both have digital SLRs and we just love taking pictures. I had the idea very early in the wedding process to photograph our guests. Because, while the professional photographers would take pictures of our guests, they’d never be able to photograph the guests from our perspective of standing there in front. Ken and I wanted to make sure we captured that moment, from our own perspectives, forever.

I also realized that I’d probably be paying no attention whatsoever to where different guests were seated and such. So, Ken and I decided that it would be a great idea to take pictures of our guests! We had provided language to the pastor and he read it at the very beginning of the ceremony:

“As Melissa and Ken stand before you this afternoon, they’re probably a bit nervous but undoubtedly excited.  They want to make sure they never forget this moment and all of its details. Therefore they could like to capture this moment, from their perspectives, forever."

I then signaled to my sister, who had been holding both of our cameras. Even she had not been let in on the secret, although later she told us that she thought we might be doing something since we made such a big deal about her holding our cameras.

She stood up and brought us both our cameras. We lifted the cameras to our faces and began snapping photos of all our guests. We then turned the cameras towards each other and took photographs of each other. There were lots of giggles and laughs coming from our guests!





We stitched together the photographs to create a panorama of our perspective. This was the end result

(personal photographs)

Ken’s Perspective:


My Perspective



Here are the photos we took of each other. Again, these are our personal photographs:



I love the professional photographer in the background. You can tell she’s smiling behind her camera!

The rest of the ceremony is a bit of a blur, but I’ll do my best to recap the things that stood out in my mind.  Some very talented relatives that sang songs during the ceremony.

Ken’s stepdad, sister, and my sister all delivered readings. When my sister came up to give her reading, I signaled to her that I wanted my jacket, a vintage Oscar de la Renta ivory sequin jacket I had bought from an Etsy seller for $34. She helped me put on the jacket and then she read her reading.


The homily was short, as I had hoped. I had asked Ken if we should ask the pastor to ditch the homily since it was going to be fairly chilly outside and I didn’t want the guests to have to sit out in the cold for so long. But it was nice and short. I can’t be sure, but perhaps even less than 2 or 3 minutes. I’m used to those Catholic homilies. Ugh! He started out his homily with "As you can tell, pictures are very important to Melissa and Ken. Do you remember when you first got their invitation?"

He then continued to "paint a picture about God" or something like that. 

I was very cognizant of not jumping the gun during the promises like I had during the rehearsal (which led to me saying, "Oh Shit!" very loudly during the rehearsal).  During the vows, Ken started to get choked up. I just squeezed his hands and smiled at him. I made it through my vows without so much as a voice waver. I guess I had gotten it all out of the way the previous night at our rehearsal when we practiced our vows in their entirety.

I had been really worried that my hands would be shaking so much that I would drop Ken’s wedding ring or something as I put it on his finger, but there was no shaking. Just like my nephew as ring bearer, I was as cool as a cucumber. Something I never, ever expected.




Our sand ceremony went beautifully, although the sand took longer for the sand to go through the funnel than I expected and I tapped the funnel a few times to make all the sand go through the funnel.





When we were pronounced husband and wife, I could barely stop smiling long enough to close my lips for the kiss! It had been such a lovely ceremony! We were very cognizant of our 1-one-thousand, 2-one-thousand kiss length that we practiced. Long enough for folks to capture photos, short enough to not be mistaken for a gross public makeout.




The guitarist played our processional song, "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles, and we walked up the "aisle."


And that was it! We were married. At the top of the "aisle," the pavilion was just a few feet away and I could see that everything was set up and ready for the guests. Although I still hadn’t been inside of it to see everything clearly and in its entirety!


Wedding Day Recap, Part 7 [Wedding Recap Wednesday]

by Melissa on February 29, 2012

T-2 Days: Part 1; Part 2Part 3

T-1 Day: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4

Wedding Day: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6

** All photographs in this post were taken by our awesome professional photographer, Debi Parker **

The processional began.

Ken’s Grandmother and Uncle walked down the aisle.


My grandmother would’ve walked next, but she remained in the hospital. So then Ken’s mom and stepdad walked down the aisle.



Then my mom, escorted by my Brother-in-law (my sister’s husband).


Then it was time for the ring bearer and flower girl. I couldn’t believe it. My nephew was as cool as a cucumber.

In the months leading up to the wedding I was pretty much convinced that he wouldn’t cooperate as ring bearer on the wedding day, and I decided that wouldn’t push the issue if he wouldn’t do it at the last minute. I had mentioned a few months ago about how he was scared to be a ring bearer, so I set him on my lap and showed him YouTube videos of ring bearer’s walking down the aisle. His poor little leg started shaking as he sat on my lap. He said to me while watching those videos, "I’ll be too NERVOUS!"

He had cooperated the night before at the rehearsal, especially after we showed him his special Lego box he would get to carry. And then I told him that if he would walk down the aisle, that I had a very special Buzz Lightyear toy I would give him. I also told him that he had to hold the flower girl’s hand because she might get scared (which was total BS, because she was ready and raring to go as flower girl. I just thought it might encourage him to feel like he had an extra special responsibility). But I still had my doubts!

But there he was, standing tall and proud as a ring bearer! He started to walk behind my mom and brother-in-law. But they were following them too closely down the aisle, and I was afraid that the photographer wouldn’t be able to get a good picture of them.


So, I stopped them as they started walking and said, "Hold on for a few seconds." Then, a moment of hilarity. The flower girl looked at my nephew and with a determined look on her face, promptly let go of his hand and marched back UP the aisle towards me. My nephew quickly followed her. Here they are actually walking back up the “aisle.”


After a few seconds longer, I gave them the go-ahead again to walk down the aisle.

As it turns out, they still ended up catching up to my mom and brother-in-law, since my mom was taking her time walking down the leaf-covered path. From my perspective, I couldn’t see what happened when they got to the bottom, but Ken said that my nephew knew he had to walk up to the pastor and give him the rings out of the ring box, but the flower girl walked right up to the pastor with the ring bearer! Ken said it was really cute.





It was time for my dad and I to walk! Holy shit.

I started the biggest giggling fit OF MY LIFE. No kidding. I almost never get the giggles. But there I was, giggling uncontrollably. My dad started to laugh too, but you could tell there were tears mixed in with those laughs. I regained my composure as we walked down the aisle.


You know, it’s really interesting as I write this. Prior to the wedding, there were all sorts of things that I had worried about regarding that moment of walking down the aisle. The hem of my dress getting dirty as I dragged leaves and other outdoor dirt while walking. Feeling the need to look down as I walked because I was worried my dad, who does not get around too well anymore, would trip over a rogue branch or hit a slippery patch of leaves. Worrying that tears streaming down my face would ruin my makeup.

But in that moment, I had no worries. None of those thoughts even entered my brain, not even for a second.



We reached the “council circle” where all the guests were seated "in the round." My dad took my hand and placed it in Ken’s hand. My dad kissed me, and he went and sat down next to my mom.


It was time to get married!



Wedding Day Recap, Part 6 [Wedding Recap Wednesday]

by Melissa on February 22, 2012

T-2 Days: Part 1;   Part 2Part 3

T-1 Day: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4

Wedding Day: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5

The precious few minutes before we headed to the ceremony site were spent looking for mints.

See, here’s the thing. Ken gets this weird gagging cough thing any time he is either A) Really Excited, B) Really Nervous, C) Really grossed out, or D) in really cold weather. Only one thing helps soothe his weird gagging cough. Those little round starlight mints. Since A and B were definite possibilities for the ceremony, he wanted to make sure he ate a mint before the wedding. He even specifically brought an entire bag of mints with him to the wedding venue when we arrived on Wednesday. They had been sitting on the same table in the Mess Hall for the last two days. But in those minutes before the ceremony, we couldn’t find the mints. We looked everywhere in the Mess Hall, but no one found them or remembered moving them.

Although I didn’t articulate it, I was kind of concerned. I realize this sounds very selfish, but I did not want Ken cough-gagging during the entire ceremony. This had been a worry, albeit minor one, for quite some time. Because once he starts to do it, the cough just gets progressively worse and frequent unless he has a mint. But, there was nothing we could do. The mints were nowhere to be found. Ken’s mom offered him a Hall’s cough drop from her purse. He took it in the hopes that it could have the same soothing effect on his cough as a starlight mint. He walked to the ceremony site with the Halls in his mouth. The next time I would see him was when I would be walking down the aisle!

Everyone except me, my dad, and my sister started walking to the ceremony site.  I walked to the restroom with my clutch purse to freshen my lipstick and lipgloss. Actually, the single restroom in the Mess Hall was occupied, so I had to walk to actual restrooms "building" adjacent to the Mess Hall. I put on my lipstick, but somehow it was a different color than the one I had put on at the hotel. As of today (the time I’m drafting), I still have no idea what happened to that lipstick. Once again, oh well. I put on the different color and walked back to the Mess Hall to meet up with my dad.

We started the approximately 400 foot walk to the ceremony site (the council circle, not the pavilion). My sister was taking pictures with my camera as we walked. She also had Ken’s camera on her other shoulder. We had told her to make sure she held both our cameras during the ceremony. We emphasized it as a very important point.



For like the millionth time that day, I couldn’t believe that the day was actually here. I was about to get married. The day had been unfolding beautifully. 

As we walked, my dad started to get really choked up. I just squeezed his arm and said, "It’s a happy day, not a sad one!" He said, "I know. It is a happy day."

I couldn’t believe how non-crying-emotional I had been all day. Considering that I was practically a blubbering mess simply reciting our vows at our rehearsal the night before, I had not shed even a single tear since Ken and I’s joint cry in the hotel very early that morning. The only emotions I had felt for the last 8 hours or so had been excitement with a few jitters mixed in!)

We reached the top of the gentle slope "aisle" that would lead us to the ceremony. There were several folks standing there. My mom, my brother-in-law (who would be escorting my mom down the aisle), Ken’s mom and Ken’s stepdad (Ken’s stepdad would escort Ken’s mom down the aisle), Ken’s grandmother and Ken’s Uncle (Ken’s uncle, i.e., his grandmother’s son/mom’s brother, was escorting his grandmother down the aisle), and my nephew (the ring bearer), and Ken’s niece (the flower girl). The wedding coordinator’s assistant was also standing there. She had on a black headset, a walkie talkie, that she was using to communicate with the coordinator who was standing at the actual ceremony site just 100 feet away.

I started to wonder if the ceremony musician, a classical guitarist, was there. Because at the top of the "aisle," I couldn’t hear any music. In one of my more recent "wedding disaster" dreams, I dreamt that the ceremony musician didn’t arrive until hours after the ceremony. So I asked the coordinator’s assistant. She said that yep, he was there. Funny, I thought the music would be louder. He said he was bringing an amp with him. This might be a good thing. Anytime I would listen to my processional song, Pachebel’s Canon in D, I would cry. So if I couldn’t hear the processional song well, maybe I wouldn’t cry as I walked down the aisle, something I had been afraid of.


{ 1 comment }

Wedding Day Recap, Part 5 [Wedding Recap Wednesday]

by Melissa on February 15, 2012

T-2 Days: Part 1;   Part 2Part 3

T-1 Day: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4

Wedding Day: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4

All photographs in this post are from our amazing wedding photog, Debi Parker

We had arrived at the venue! We parked in the small parking area next to the Mess Hall. I walked inside the mess hall and there were a bunch of people in there enjoying some snacks that our family friend had made. The fireplace was roaring. And there was Ken. Still in his jeans and t-shirt! Quite a few of the folks made playful comments about the bride and groom not seeing each other before the ceremony! Of course, that was silly, we had seen each other all morning and were about to have our pictures taken together.

I said, "Ken! Go get dressed!” He got up right away and went to the cabin where he had put his suit so that he could change. He was back within like 3 minutes. The joys of being a guy. He sat down at the computer we had set up for the photobooth. He said that it kept crashing. The same photobooth that had been working for 2 days straight wouldn’t work, and he didn’t have time to troubleshoot it.

Oh well. We had lots of technology projects, and we came to an agreement long ago that if one of them malfunctioned, we wouldn’t freak. It wasn’t the end of the world. Anyway, it was still partially working. Instead of it automatically taking pictures when someone walked in front of it, people now just had to press a button to get it to take the photos.

Then came the comedic process of 1) Finding someone that knew how to tie a tie, because Ken doesn’t know how, and 2) figuring out how to put on boutonnieres and corsages. Ken must’ve walked to about three male family members before his stepdad managed to tie his tie correctly.





I buttoned the cuffs of Ken’s shirt.



And my dad’s cousin was doing a pretty good job of getting the corsages and boutonnieres on everyone.



I explained to my nephew what a boutonniere is.




We were having a bit of a hard time getting my nephew’s boutonniere on properly, and the photographer even offered to help. The photographer got it pinned on him.

About 60 seconds later, my nephew was tugging at my dress and pointing to his boutonniere. "Melissa, I don’t like this. Can you take it off please?" It was such a cute way he asked. It was like he knew not to make a scene or start yelling that he didn’t want to wear it (although he’s typically not like that in general anyway, he’s a well behaved little boy). I figured there was no need to force him to wear it if he didn’t want it. I took it off of him and set it on a table in the mess hall. 

My sister remembered that I had not yet put the sixpence coin in my shoe. The sixpence is a family heirloom that generations of women in my family had worn on their wedding day. She said she would go track down a piece of tape to tape it to the inside of my shoe. Wanting to get started with the pre-ceremony photographs, I said, "No, just put it in my shoe, it will stay in there just fine."

Ken and I set out with the photographers to have our "first look" photos taken. Although I guess by that point "pre-ceremony" photos probably would’ve been more appropriate, because Ken and I had already had our "first look." The photographer directed us to a good place to have some photos taken.

As we were taking photos, we could see our guests walking down the pathway from the parking lot. We would wave to them, and I wondered if they had ever heard of a bride and groom having their photos taken before the ceremony, because from what I understand, it is a more recent trend (or at least has become more common recently). I couldn’t stop smiling. We actually did a "fake" first look, where Ken stood facing one direction and I walked up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder and we feigned extra super excitement. We must look like doofuses in that picture (as of the time I’m drafting this section, it’s 18 days post-wedding, and we haven’t gotten back our pro photos yet, so I can’t say definitively that we look like doofuses. Update! We have our wedding photos since I first drafted this, and yup, we look like doofuses)





I could see the pavilion, where our reception was going to take place, but the plastic walls, although they were clear, made it difficult to see the setup and the details. I was so anxious to see the inside! But, there was no time.  It was funny, we had allotted about 40 minutes for first look photos. I would just like to say that that time FLEW by. We wanted to walk to a nearby lake at the venue, probably no more than a four minute walk, but it was about 2:40 at that time, and the ceremony was starting at 3PM. I was determined to have the ceremony start on time. Ken and I had gone to an outdoor wedding on a HOT day back in June that started more than 30 minutes late. We took a few more photos. As we were walking through a grassy area, a bunch of leaves got stuck in my shoe, so I took my foot out of my shoe and shook out the leaves. Here are a few of my favorite first look photos:












At some point, and I’m not sure when, and it might have even been before the first look photos I mentioned the fact that we were going to have the ceremony in the pavilion to protect the guests from the wind (I’m now 21 days past the wedding as I’m drafting this. Happy 3 week anniversary to me). I’m not even sure who I said it to, but I think it was the coordinator’s assistant. No one seemed to know what I was talking about. I wasn’t too worried.

It was amazing. After all the worry and panic earlier that morning, in fact, just like 8 hours earlier, the little things were just rolling right off my back. Photobooth not working properly? Oh well. Ceremony site still not decided? Well, we’ll figure it out.

Nothing else mattered. We were getting married that day regardless of where it took place at the campground and regardless of whether the photobooth was working. 

I mentioned to Ken about having the ceremony in the pavilion. He said no, that he never told anyone that we were having it in the pavilion. I asked him about our phone conversation earlier when he said we should have it in there because it was so windy outside. You know, that conversation when I was barely paying attention to what he was saying? He said that that was never a final decision. I felt kind of silly for a moment because I had even posted to our wedding Facebook group that our ceremony would be in a different location. Oh well!

We wrapped up our first look photos and the photographers headed to the pavilion to take some detail shots. Ken and I headed back to the mess hall to round up everybody. It was TIME.