On the morning of May 19, 2012, I woke up in my own bed in my parents house. I sat up, stretched and looked out the window to see a beautiful sunny day. I smiled, because I knew that everywhere else in Nashville was expecting rain. But I had ordered sunshine for that day. I jumped out of bed, shoved my feet into some ratty slippers, and shuffled to the bathroom where my mom was already up and getting ready.It was a typical morning routine for me to hug her good morning on my way to the coffee pot. This was an extra special hug. This hug was full of emotions that are hard to put into words. I said good morning and told her I loved her and she said the same back. Fighting back happy tears, I went to the kitchen for my coffee. It was gonna be a busy day and I would need every drop of caffeine. It was my wedding day.
I'll never forget how surreal that morning felt. After 4 months of planning, the day had FINALLY arrived and I couldn't believe it. I loved every second of it. There was so much to do before leaving, I wasn't quite sure what to do first. Of course, that was cured right away. My mother was never far away with her trusty lists and timelines that we had set up for the day and I was soon busy getting myself ready and helping her put together last minute stuff like the awesome chalkboard welcome sign. Also on my to do list was "eat food". I was determined to not be that bride that goes through the entire day with no time to eat. My Dad and brother had their own to do lists that Mom had given them. They weren't even home when I got up, because she had sent them to pressure wash bird poop off the floor of the park pavilion where our reception was going to be. I'm tellin' ya, this woman thought of everything.
My cosmetology school graduate bridesmaid, Hannah, arrived around 10 a.m. to do my hair and the rest of the bridesmaids, including my Sister, were there by 11 a.m. so we could all eat lunch together. There was much giggling and exclamations of "Omg, you are getting married today!!" My face hurt from smiling already and we hadn't even started pictures yet.
After lunch, it was time for the grand event of getting my dress on. I'd been staring at the silly thing hanging up in my room for the last four months and was dying to put it on! My mom helped me get my veil and yellow converse shoes on and after a quick peek in the mirror, I was ready to go. After a few pictures, our limo arrived, and me, my little brother, and my parents climbed in. My mom looked amazing. Her navy upscale sundress fit her perfectly and my Dad couldn't stop staring at her. His hadsome-ness matched her beauty and they looked so cute sitting there next to each other in the limo. Ross, also, looked pretty spiffy in his wedding get up. I wasn't going to be a single girl much longer and I was doing my best to soak up every last minute of that precious time I had with my family.
When we got to the park, the pavilion was already an ant hill of activity, thanks to our dear friend, Janet who was helping my mom coordinate the whole affair. Pictures started right away with me and my bridesmaids and then I was hidden away in a white tent to make sure Ben and I wouldn't see each other when he arrived. It was so hot in that tent.
Up to this point I wasn't nervous. Obviously I was excited and bubbly, but I was also calm....that is until I heard someone say that Ben and his family had arrived. Then the butterflies kicked in high gear and didn't settle down till "you may now kiss the bride". There were scheduling conflicts with the limo and by the time the groom and his family got there, it was almost time to start and they had to push back their picture time to after the ceremony.
My mom had given strict orders that the bridesmaids and groomsmen be in their spots my 3:50, and they were. My Dad made his way to the tent around that time and my mom went to her seat after stopping by the tent for a hug and a hair check in the mirror. Then the music started.
I'll never ever ever forget standing there with my Dad, just inside the tent, waiting for our cue to walk down the isle. It seemed like it took FOREVER. I noticed that my Dad still had his sunglasses on. "Dad, take your sunglasses off!", I whispered. "Oh!", he said, and quickly put them in his jacket pocket. Then it was time to walk down the isle and see my beloved for the first time that day. I wasn't sure how he would react. I kept seeing two scenarios in my head. One of him smiling from ear to ear and one of him bawling like a baby. I wish I could describe to you the look I saw on his face as I looked down the isle. He was fighting back tears like crazy while at the same time looking so happy to see me and giving me that adoring look I'd seen so many times before. It was heart-wrenching in a good way. I was soon crying as my Dad and I made our way down the isle.
The whole ceremony is kind of a blur. I don't remember a whole lot of what Stephen preached about and it was over before I knew it. I do remember staring at Ben the whole time and the look in his face as he read his vows to me. I also remember trying to read my vows and failing because I couldn't see through the tears. But somehow I got through it and I heard Stephen say, "you may now kiss your bride." And kiss we did. :)
After the ceremony, began the funnest party ever! We danced, goofed off in the photo booth, made our rounds talking to all of our guests, took more pictures, ate some amazing BBQ, and danced some more. I wish I could go back and relive every moment. Before we knew it, the night was ending and it was time for the send off. We had these giant 3 foot sparklers for our guests and they created a tunnel for us to walk through. When we reached the end of the tunnel we gave hugs to our immediate family, I handed the bouquet to my mom, and we turned to get in the car.....a balloon stuffed, saran wrapped, window paint covered Mazda. Thank you, Ben's college buddies. :)
I popped my head through the sunroof and waved goodbye as we drove off. (I've always wanted to do that!) I couldn't believe it. After a year of dating and 4 months of engagement, we were finally married :)
Today, we've been married a year and it's been the best year of my life. Not to say it didn't have it's challenging moments, but each challenging moment brought us closer together. I can't wait to spend another year and many, many more with my best friend. I love you, Ben :)