|Simple, breath-taking and romantic ceremony|
|Bride's cake, groom's cake, and cheesecakes from the Cheesecake Factory where they had their first date and where they went the night he proposed.|
|Entering down the grand staircase|
|The bride with her college best friends, sister-in-law, and new step-daughter|
|First dance, feeding cake, some bridesmaids, bubbles!|
|Izze Sodas as escort cards and favors; guest book and table setting|
It was a lovely Southern summer wedding, and I was so happy and honored to be part of it. It has almost been three months since my own wedding, and I sort of miss all of the exciting preparations and planning and festivities. Although it was stressful and I am glad it is over, I can't help but think back on all of the fond memories from our special day. I can relate to how Kiley was feeling while getting ready, walking down the aisle, entering her reception. It truly is the best day of your life. I felt so incredibly happy and relieved and excited when we were done with the ceremony and were starting the reception. Everything turned out almost exactly as I had hoped and planned. The few things that didn't, were not important enough to matter or worry about, because at the end of the day, I was married to my best friend and love of my life. It was perfect.
America has a strange obsession with weddings, and it's evident in shows such as "Say Yes to the Dress," "Four Weddings," "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding" and even "Bridezillas." I am guilty of watching these shows and others, but it doesn't seem healthy. Women get so preoccupied with the wedding that they tend to forget about the real reason for the wedding: the MARRIAGE. There were times I would call Robert, upset because something wasn't working out the way I had wanted or it was too expensive, and he would gently remind me that the wedding only lasts a day, but the marriage lasts a lifetime.
Still, most girls dream of the perfect white wedding where they are a princess for a day. When I shared my wedding plans with my grandfather, he asked why we don't just get married at our (very aesthetically unappealing) church, and serve cake, punch, mints and nuts in the fellowship hall afterwards. Oh, Grandaddy. This is 2012, not 1954. Then again, he was married to my grandmother for 57 years. Till death did they part.
So, I did my best to plan a wedding without forgetting WHY I was planning it. I am particularly attracted to weddings because of their inherently theatrical nature. Theatre, after all, was developed out of religious ceremonies, so basically, my wedding was a show I got to cast, direct, design and star in. Well, co-star. See? It’s so easy to get caught up in the darn thing! However, the most poisonous thing about the wedding industry, in my opinion, is the temptation to compare. Comparison is the thief of joy, so it is sad that so many brides feel pressured to spend more money to get a certain look or second guess what they really like in order to have something that is more "in style." My wedding was definitely not the traditional church and ballroom wedding, although that is what I had always envisioned. Ours turned out much more unique than what I had always envisioned, and I think that the best thing a bride can do is follow her own style, whatever that may be, and trust her instincts.
I was beyond thrilled with how my wedding turned out. (The marriage? So far so good. After returning from my trip to Texas, it felt like Robert and I were on our honeymoon again. We really missed each other!) I had incredibly talented vendors, especially my photographers, who were only high school juniors. I’m going to share some of their work (among a few other talented wedding guests), mostly so that you can see the fruits of my 15 long months of labor. Also, feel free to take this as inspiration if there is anything you like.
|Bridal set by Neil Lane from Kay's; Men's wedding band also from Kay's|
|Custom hanger from Etsy, about $16|
Dress: Mori Lee 4202
|Getting hair touch-ups|
|Having my dress laced up by my Maid of Honor/sister|
|We did a "First Look." This is just before Robert sees me.|
First look: Most romantic moment. Ever.
|One of my favorite shots|
|Waiting for the ceremony to begin|
|Highlights from the ceremony|
|Walking back up the aisle as husband and wife. Love the bubbles.|
Right after the ceremony: joy, relief, excitement, disbelief and more joy
|Dancing in to our reception with our bridal party to Pink's "Raise Your Glass"|
|Our first dance to Brad Paisley's "Then"|
|First dance with my dad to Tim McGraw's "My Little Girl." Our reception was in a renovated barn, and it was rustic elegance/country chic/southern magic all rolled into one. :)|
|Toasts, champagne and a kiss!|
|Cutting and feeding each other the cake (white cake with raspberry and bavarian creme filling with buttercream frosting)|
|Our big get-away complete with sparklers and my one-of-a-kind after-party dress|
I cannot imagine how my wedding could have been any better, even if the horse-drawn carriage, champagne punch and fireworks show had panned out. I had my best friends in the world, all of my awesome family, the absolute best husband a girl could dream of, and a heart full of beautiful memories. I love looking back on this happy day because it was the gateway to our future. We are living out the vows we spoke to one another on that windy spring evening. And I know that I would love Robert just as much had we been wed in my dark, windowless church with punch and mints in the fellowship hall. So to all those future brides out there: don't second guess your decisions. Be the bride you want to be, because when it is all said and done, your groom wants the woman he proposed to, not some bridal clone. After all, the only things that really last after your wedding day are the pictures and your marriage, and neither is guaranteed. But one is FAR more valuable. Remember, till death do you part.
*Photography by Caroline Rook, Bailey Barret, Rachel Buehler and Sarah Winter
*Venue is Centaur Arabian Farms in Flint, TX
*Flowers by Two Dandelions by Diane Reis
*Cake by Marti Platt