Tag Archives: Wedding

Our One Year Anniversary

One year ago today on 11/11/11, I married the love of my life. In some ways it feels like it was yesterday, but it also feels like it was so long ago since so much has happened since then.

We sure have fit a lot into one year. Since then we have gotten pregnant and had a baby, bought a house, ran a ton of races, taken trips to Costa Rica, the West Coast, and Pennsylvania (many times!), both started new jobs, and I finished my Masters Degree. Whew!

When I think back to my wedding day, I clearly remember how I was feeling. A combination of intense joy, anticipation, gratitude, and nerves. After being engaged for a year and a half and planning every detail of our wedding together, it was amazing to watch it all come together like we had imagined and be able to celebrate with our family and friends.

On my wedding day, I was so excited about what the future held, but I NEVER would have imagined we would be where we are today only one year later. All of my dreams are coming true and I couldn’t be happier.

The reason we chose 11/11/11 as our wedding date is because we started dating on 11/11/09, after Kevin told me at 11:11 p.m. that he made a wish that I would be his girlfriend. Since then 11 has always been a special number to us, and we always make wishes whenever we see the clock hit 11:11. One of the things I would wish for constantly was a happy, healthy marriage, and to eventually have happy, healthy children.

While sitting next to my baby right now, it’s weird to think that he didn’t exist yet when I look at these pictures. But then again I feel like he did exist inside both of us. We knew we wanted to try to have a baby soon after we got married but didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. We are so thankful that it did and now we have a beautiful, happy baby boy.

To celebrate our special day one year later, we exchanged gifts almost as soon as we woke up. The traditional gift for the first anniversary is paper, so Kevin wrote me an amazing love letter and I made him a little book out of a deck of cards that contained 52 memories from our first year together. I dressed the baby in a special onesie that said “Make a Wish,” since he is what we wished for many times at 11:11.

Then we went to visit our wedding venue with the newest addition to our family. It was crazy to be there and stand where we said our vows with our baby. I felt so lucky and blessed.

After that we continued our celebration by going to Riverside Dinner Theater to see the Sound of Music.  We love dinner theaters (Kevin even proposed to me at one!) It was our first “date” post-baby so it was very strange and exciting at the same time. The baby stayed with Kevin’s sister and brother-in-law while we enjoyed the Sunday afternoon show.

Once we got back home it was time to break out the cake and champagne from our wedding night! I had low expectations for a cake that was a year old, but it was actually DELICIOUS! Our wedding was such a whirlwind that I barely remember eating it that day, so it was awesome to be able to have cake again tonight.

We had an amazing day celebrating our one year anniversary. I am looking forward to many, many more years together. It’s only the beginning!

Wedding Recap Posts:

Our Costa Rica Honeymoon

One week after our wedding, on Saturday, November 19th, we woke up at the early hour of 1 a.m. and left for our honeymoon. We were heading to Dulles Airport for our 4 a.m. flight to COSTA RICA! We were lucky that Kevin’s sister Kara and her fiance Brandon offered to drive us to the airport at such a strange time. When we got there the airport was pretty much empty, except for the people on our flight. We checked our bags (for free – thanks TACA airlines) and went to our gate to wait. We were so excited!

We knew from the start of our wedding planning that we wanted to go to Costa Rica for our honeymoon. I have a lot of friends and family who had traveled there and had nothing but great things to say about the country and the people that live there. We loved how Costa Rica offers many different outdoor activities and had beautiful rain forests, beaches, and wildlife. We had also heard that it was much less touristy than other common honeymoon destinations, like the Bahamas or Cancun. We liked that aspect as well.

One day I was checking my email and I saw one from Living Social Escapes that was featuring a 7-day, 6-night trip to Costa Rica for an unbelievable price. It was for 2 people and included traveling to three different locations in Costa Rica. It started in San Jose, went to the Arenal Volcano for 2 nights, then to Tamarindo Beach for 4 nights, and finally back to San Jose to fly back home. The deal also included breakfast each day and 3 excursions: zip-lining through the jungle, sea kayaking, and a volcano hike. It sounded PERFECT! We booked it immediately for the week of November 19 – 26 (over my Thanksgiving break from school). We also added an extra white-water rafting excursion in the beginning of our trip, which extended it by one more night.

On the plane ready to get out of DC!

I wasn’t sure what to expect from a trip I bought through Living Social, but it exceeded all of our expectations. The company we went through was Latin Explore, and their travel agent Eduardo helped us with anything we needed as we prepared for our trip and booked our flights. He also provided us with free transportation to all of our excursions and hotels in very nice shuttle vans and made sure everything was organized for us.

Switching planes in El Salvador

When we arrived in San Jose, our driver took us to our hotel for the night and told us all about his country on the way. He kept apologizing for his English, when it was actually really good. This seemed to be the case with a lot of people in Costa Rica. They knew English much better than we knew Spanish, which was pretty embarrassing since we were in their country. When we arrived at our hotel, he gave us a packet with all of our information and vouchers for hotels, transportation, and excursions and then we were left on our own to explore!

The view of San Jose from our window

The following week was amazing and so much fun. Here are the highlights of our trip – the condensed version (which is actually pretty long… oops!)

Early the next morning we were off to the Pacuare River to go whitewater rafting.

This was my third time whitewater rafting (I went in Australia and New Zealand) and Kevin’s first. We were in a boat with 4 other people that were on the same Living Social trip that we were – another couple who were celebrating their 25th anniversary, and also two girls who were friends since college. And we were all from Northern Virginia! What a coincidence. Our trip was 4 hours long and we went 20 miles total. We went through some seriously scary rapids- I don’t know how I didn’t fall off the boat!

At halfway we stopped for a delicious lunch of fresh fruit and everything we needed to make tortilla wraps. It was all made by our amazing raft guides.

When we got back to the base we enjoyed some Imperial beer, changed out of our wet clothes, and hung out with “Team Virginia” as we called ourselves. Eventually we had to get back on the bus to head to our next destination: the Arenal Volcano.

Unfortunately, the best view we got of the volcano was while we were driving towards it. It was really foggy the entire two days that we were there, so we never got a great view.

We arrived at our hotel, Magic Mountain, later that night. We ate dinner, had some drinks, then went to bed because we had to be up early for our volcano hike!

We were picked up and taken to a park at the base of the volcano. As we walked the trail our guide told us about the history of the volcano and pointed out wildlife.

EEKKKK!

We arrived at our destination, a field of lava rocks, and it immediately started to POUR! But we were in the rainforest so that’s to be expected 🙂 So we hiked up to the lava in the rain.

Our guide cut our walk short because it was raining pretty hard. We made our way back down and out of the park. On the ride back to the hotel he told us he was going to make a special unscheduled stop. He took us to his local (FREE) hot springs and told us to jump in.

We jumped right in and it was seriously AMAZING! This spontaneous stop was one of my favorite parts of our trip. I couldn’t get over how it was like a completely natural hot-tub. Nature is awesome! I didn’t want to leave!

Eventually we had to get out and head back to the hotel to get ready for our second excursion of the day: Zip-lining!

Toucan!

Our Living Social package included an amazing zip-lining tour. We were able to zip-line from 13 different platforms! One of them was 800 meters (a half mile) long! It was scary at first but the scenery and the feeling of flying through the rainforest was amazing.

Our zip-lining fun ended with a Tarzan swing, where the guides basically pushed you off a ledge and you swung back and forth. They also spun you around when you came back towards the platform. I was feeling a little nauseous by this point (I get motion sickness pretty badly) so I was hoping I wouldn’t get sick!

I felt better once we were back on solid ground, and we went back to the hotel for dinner and sleep. We woke up early the next morning to catch our shuttle to our third destination: Tamarindo Beach!

Can you see how foggy it is?

The roads in Costa Rica are not the best, so after a long and bumpy ride we finally arrived. We were soooo excited to be at the beach! Our resort was called Tamarindo Diria, and it was beautiful. They knew it was our honeymoon, and we walked into a cute surprise on our bed.

We went out to explore the town and the beach and we were in awe of how beautiful everything was. It was truly paradise! We had nothing else to do that day so we got some lunch at a beachfront cafe and relaxed.

Our hotel's bar... where we spent a lot of time 🙂

Later that night we caught the sunset while having drinks at the bar, and it was GORGEOUS!

Notice Kevin's fruity frozen drink and my beer... LOL 🙂

The next morning we had our last excursion: sea kayaking! Our guides met us at our hotel and took us down the beach to the kayaks. They told us that we would be kayaking to an island where we would do some exploring.

You can see the island that we were kayaking to in the distance

We were together in a double kayak with me in the front and Kevin in the back. I have kayaked before, but I was still afraid of tipping over because it felt so unstable, especially in the waves. Once we got past them it was smooth sailing to the island.

The view of the mainland from the island

The island was very rocky and full of huge bleached shells. It was tricky walking around on the slippery rocks and the sharp shells, but we found some awesome things!

The last thing we did while on the island was some snorkeling! We were able to see all kinds of fish and some other creatures, including giant jellyfish. One got me on my arm, but it was all good 🙂

Since kayaking was our last excursion, we were excited that the next 2 and a half days were free for us to do whatever we wanted. We did a lot of eating, drinking, and relaxing. We also were able to run a few times on the beach. One morning I woke up early and couldn’t sleep,  so I ran right before sunrise. I almost had a heart attack when I heard the loudest, scariest noise I had ever heard. It sounded like a monster from a horror movie. I quickly realized that it was a howler monkey! I kept running, but every time I heard the noise it surprised me and scared me to death.

Here are a few highlights of our last few days in Costa Rica.

I don't know how these little howler monkeys make such a loud, scary noise!

We don't want to go home!

I wanted to dedicate the last little part of this post to the amazing food we had in Costa Rica. Everything was fresh and DELICIOUS. I basically ate rice, beans, fresh fruit, and avocado at every meal… and I loved it so much. It was extremely easy to eat as a vegetarian too. Our favorite places to eat were the little casitas, which mean small houses in Spanish. They were the places that the locals like to eat where they have authentic typical Costa Rican food. My usual order was Casado Vegetariano (rice, beans, plaintains, salad, and vegetables). So good!

Our favorite place to eat was Passion Fruit in Tamarindo

Typical breakfast - gallo pinto (rice & beans) with fresh fruit juice

Another breakfast - loved the fresh fruit and plaintains!

Sandwich with egg, avocado, and beans

Chips fresh from the frier, guacamole, and yucca fries (my new favorite thing)

Casado Vegetariano for Thanksgiving dinner ... who needs turkey?

Another Casado Vegetariano

Our honeymoon was everything we wanted and more. We loved everything about Costa Rica – the beautiful scenery, the people, the food, the weather, the wildlife, and the endless opportunities we had to explore and be active. It was the perfect honeymoon and I would love to go back some day. We’re already keeping an eye on new Living Social Escapes deals since we had such success. I can’t wait to go on more trips like this one with my husband. He’s the best traveling buddy a girl could ask for 🙂

Recap of 2011, Goals for 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I am so excited for 2012. I have a lot of goals for this year and a lot to look forward to. But before I talk about what’s in store for the future, I want to look back at what could be the best year of my life so far: 2011.

January

2011 didn’t start off the best.  I was driving into my apartment complex after work one day when a truck backed out of a parking spot at full speed and slammed into the side of my little blue Honda Civic.

Unfortunately, the impact bent the frame of my car, which totalled it. I was upset because it was in great condition, had very low mileage on it, and was paid off. The accident led me to make my biggest purchase to this date, a new Toyota Corolla that I named Baby Beluga 🙂

We also had a bunch of snow/ice in January, which led to a few amazing days off from school. One of our snow days we joined our gym. I’m so thankful that we decided to join Sport & Health. It’s helped me expand my horizons so much beyond just running and made me stronger.

February

This month we ran a Couples 5K around Valentines Day, where we had to run and finish together We finished in 24:44 and had so much fun wearing cheesy matching shirts!

On Valentine’s Day Kevin surprised me at school with flowers and chocolate 🙂

My best friend Christy came to Virginia to visit and came to a bridal expo with me!

And Kevin got four impacted wisdom teeth extracted…

March

We were deep into marathon training this month to prepare for the Country Music Marathon in April.  Most of our weekends involved this:

My baby sister turned 21 and we went to Pennsylvania to celebrate with her!

We missed the start of the National Half Marathon due to horrible traffic, then we both ran amazing races and PRed! Kevin took 10 minutes off his previous time and I took off 6!

April

I went to Virginia Beach for a friend’s bachelorette party, and managed to sneak in a run on the beach – my favorite!!!

We went to Nashville with our friends and Kevin’s family for the Country Music Marathon – Kevin’s first one!

May

I started my blog!!!

We celebrated one year of being engaged by going back to the Mystery Dinner Theatre where Kevin proposed.

Celebrated my cousin’s wedding with my family.

Listened to some good country music at WMZQ Fest!

And took a trip to Myrtle Beach for Memorial Day Weekend. We even ran a random 5K while we were there and placed in our age groups!

June

We ran the Warrior Dash and got really, really dirty!

Another summer concert – this one was Rascal Flatts (one of our favorites!)

July

Marathon training in full swing once again! We had some good runs and some very bad runs this month.

Another concert! Darius Rucker with friends 🙂 He sings our song “History in the Making” so it was awesome to hear him live.

We went back to Myrtle Beach for a few days.

And I went to Baltimore for my good friend Cynthia’s bachelorette party!

August

My friends and family threw me an amazing bridal shower.

I was able to spend a couple days with one of my best friends Ashley at the Jersey Shore.

We went to two weddings and helped some great friends celebrate their marriages.

I outran Hurricane Irene on my last 20 mile run before the Air Force Marathon!

September

We had a big flood that closed schools after only being back in school for 3 days.

One final concert – Toby Keith!

We ran the Air Force Marathon in Dayton, Ohio and finished hand-in-hand in 4:00:04! I finally got my 4 hour marathon after 7 attempts!

And I went to my first Steelers game when we decided to spontaneously take a detour through Pittsburgh on the way home from Ohio.

October

I turned 25!

And I spent my birthday weekend in Atlantic City with my friends for my bachelorette party!

We went on our annual trip to French Creek with my family, and Kevin came along for the first time.

We both PRed and placed in a small local 5K for Autism!

And we had some fun on Halloween!

November

Definitely the best month of the year! We finally got married!

We ran our first race as husband and wife.

We went to Costa Rica and had the best honeymoon.

December

I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K with friends from my school [recap is coming soon!]

I got a new tattoo!

We went to many, many holiday parties.

I received a very special copy of the Washington Running Report in the mail [more on this to come in another post!]

We celebrated our third Christmas together, and our first as a married couple!

One of my favorite parts of the holidays this year was going home to Pennsylvania to spend Christmas with my family and friends.

Finally, we ended 2011 at my in-law’s house with friends and family.

Wow, what a year!!!

Goals for 2012

I had such a great year in 2011, but now it’s time to look towards the future. I’m a big goal setter so I wanted to set some goals for things I want to accomplish this year. Goals [not resolutions] help keep me motivated and give me something to work for. Here they are:

  • Complete my first ultra-marathon in March. Training is going really well so far. I’ll be writing a post about what I’m doing soon.
  • Run a marathon in LESS THAN 4 hours. My current PR is 4:00:04. I am going to try to do this is either May or June. Yes, I am currently signed up for 3 races of 26.2 miles or longer from March – June! I’ll be writing about that soon too (I have a lot to catch up on, obviously!)
  • Be active in other ways than just running. I was much better at this in 2011 than I have ever been before, but I want to do more this year. Yoga, strength training, swimming, cycling, stretching, foam rolling – I need to incorporate these things into my routine. I’m going to try to do at least 2 things on that list per week in addition to my running.
  • Save money and stick to our new revised budget. Within the next couple of years we want to buy a house and start a family, and obviously both of those things require money! We just redid our budget and we’re going to try hard to stick to it and remember our priorities.
  • Be on time! I don’t know why this is so difficult for me! I am totally committing to getting places on time or early this year.
  • Sleep more. I was so busy with work and grad school last year that my sleep was compromised too much. I could tell it was really affecting me at work and in my running. This year I am shooting for at least 7 hours a night and getting to bed earlier.

I hope everyone has a great year! What goals have you set for yourself?

Our Wedding: The Reception [Part 4]

Previous wedding posts:

After taking photos outside, Kevin and I headed inside the clubhouse for our reception. The staff at Osprey’s Landing had set everything up perfectly and it was all beautiful. We met our wedding party in the foyer to get ready for our entrance. I heard the DJ playing music in the bar area and guests mingling and talking during cocktail hour. I was so excited to get in there and start celebrating with them. Someone brought me a glass of wine, and a little of my favorite [tequila], and then I was all warmed up and ready to go! We heard the DJ start the song our wedding party would be entering to: “Yeah 3x” by Chris Brown, and our entrance kicked off with my dad dancing into the bar area with Kevin’s mom.

Then came the rest of our wedding party…

The song switched to “Give Me Everything Tonight” by Pitbull and then it was our turn!

It felt amazing to come into a room full of people that I love, knowing that they were all there for us. I was so happy and couldn’t stop smiling. Our wedding party joined us on the dance floor and we all danced together for a minute.

The song switched to “History in the Making” by Darius Rucker, and everyone cleared off the dance floor for our first dance as husband and wife.

Kevin and I sang to each other as we danced and just enjoyed the moment. This has been our special song since we started dating [exactly 2 years before on 11/11/09] and it meant so much to be dancing to it on our wedding day.

After our song ended we took the microphone and thanked our guests for being there for us. Then we told them we would be lighting a candle in memory of my mom, who passed away in 2004 from cancer. We wanted to light the candle and have it burning all night to symbolize her being there with us in spirit. It was an emotional and special moment for me and many of my guests who knew and loved my mom.

Then it was time for dinner. We all went into the dinner room and our guests found their seats with the place card I had attached to their favor (personalized M&Ms with our picture, names, and wedding date on them!)

For our table numbers we had a picture of us at that age. So Table 7 had a picture of Kevin and I at age 7. These were a big hit 🙂

We sat at our beautiful little sweetheart table. It was hard for me to sit down right away. I wanted to talk to all of our guests! But I knew it wasn’t time for that yet. First up were the toasts! My sister wrote an amazing and funny speech that left everything laughing. It was personal, sweet, and honest… maybe a little too honest! 🙂

Kevin’s best man was his dad, who also had a great speech, although much shorter and to the point. It was something along the lines of, “bring on the grandbabies” 🙂

Then it was time for the FOOD!

The staff has already made us plates of the delicious food, so we dug in while our guests were called up by table. Our food was from Windows Catering Company and it was so, so good. We heard nothing but great things from everyone about it. After we ate a little bit, we were informed it was time to make the rounds to all the tables to say hello.

Once we made it to all the tables the DJ announced that it was time to go back into the bar/dancing area for our dances with our parents. I danced with my dad to “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts. I love this song and it was really special to dance to it with my daddy.

Kevin danced with his mom to the song “Do I Make You Proud” by Taylor Hicks. This has been a special song for Kevin and his mom since he joined the Air Force, and it was another emotional dance for both of them.

After these dances the serious parts of the night were over and it was time to PARTY! Many of our guests told me that throughout the whole wedding, they went back and forth between laughing and crying – and by this time the tears were finished. We all had TONS of fun!

Of course we had some of the traditional wedding traditions during our reception. This included cutting the cake, which turned into a little bit of a battle!

And the garter removal, to the song “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off” by Joe Nichols, because tequila is my favorite 🙂 Kevin thought it would be funny to use some props, including a mini bottle of Patron and Steelers underwear!

The bouquet toss was next… caught by Mamaw!

Followed by the garter toss… caught by my soon to be brother-in-law Brandon!

Then it was time to put the garter on the person who caught the bouquet. It just so happened that it was Brandon who had to put it on Mamaw (his soon to be grandmother-in-law!) This was HILARIOUS! It started like this…

And ended it like this when he attempted to take it back off (with his teeth)…

Don’t worry Mamaw was okay 🙂 She definitely knows how to have a good time!

We also did an anniversary dance for all the married couples. It came down to my aunt and uncle, and my friend Ashley’s parents. Ashley’s parents won with 33 years of marriage! We had a bottle of wine and beer dressed as a little bride and groom as their prize.

One of the last things we did was for my bridesmaid Sandy’s birthday, which was the same day as the wedding! We surprised her by playing the beginning of 50 Cent’s song “In the Club” where it says, “go shorty, it’s your birthday…” and gave her a Georgetown Cupcake! She was embarrassed and it was great!

The reception went by way too quickly and before I knew it, the DJ was playing our final song, “Marry Me” by Train.

After the reception some of us actually went out to a local bar and restaurant called the Bungalow Alehouse. We had some snacks, some more drinks and hung out. We didn’t want the party to end! But it eventually did, and we went back to the hotel room to this…

Our wedding was truly the best day of my life. It was imperfectly perfect, and full of love, laughter, and tears. I have the most amazing memories of this day, that’s why I wanted to document it here on this blog about my life so I will have it all written down forever. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Kevin and me. He’s my best friend and the love of my life!

I will end this post with a few of our favorite special details from our wedding.

Our card box covered in a race t-shirt and race bibs!

Our programs with a crossword puzzle all about us on the back

Our blessing bowl after guests dropped their stones into it

My beautiful bouquet

Our personalized M&M favors

Our Wedding: The Ceremony [Part 3]

Previous wedding posts:

Finally, our wedding was about to begin. Our guests were outside in their seats waiting, and someone told me that Kevin and his parents had just walked down the aisle.

The bridesmaids and I all stood by the door listening for our cue.

I took a deep breath and listened to the string trio play the songs we had picked out, while the DJ played the same songs outside for our guests to hear.

Before I knew it the processional song began, “Falling Slowly” from the movie Once, and my first bridesmaid was walking out to the pergola by the river with the rest of them close behind…

Our ring bearer accompanied by our junior usher, and our flower girl went out next. All of a sudden it was just my dad and me left in the foyer. I was so excited to finally walk down the aisle and see Kevin. I heard the song switch to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s “Over the Rainbow” and then my dad and I started walking.

The walk seemed so long, and finally my dad and I turned to walk down the aisle. I saw everyone standing up looking at us, I saw our bridesmaids and groomsmen, and I saw Kevin waiting for me at the pergola and I immediately started to cry [tearing up again as I write this].

I finally got to Kevin and I felt nothing but happiness and just pure love. I gave my dad a hug and went to join him on the pergola. I almost gave him a kiss accidentally – it’s just a habit by now – but I caught myself before I did!

On the pergola I could not stop my legs from shaking uncontrollably. I think it was a combination of nerves, excitement, and the wind! Our officiant welcomed everyone and then invited our parents up to the front to put their stones into our Blessing Bowl. We had each guest take a little stone when they arrived, and then drop it into our Blessing Bowl before sitting down. It was our way of asking our guests to give us their blessing. Our bridesmaids and groomsmen also dropped in stones on their way to the front, and our parents were the last to put theirs in.

Before long I felt completely relaxed up there with Kevin and just took it all in as our officiant went through the ceremony we had created ourselves. Next we had our first reading: “I Carry Your Heart” by e.e. cummings. We asked my godparents to read this poem:

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

After the reading we asked our officiant to read a passage called “Union” by Robert Fulghum, which we absolutely love.

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.

The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things that we’ve promised, and hoped, and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.”

Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same.

For after today you shall say to the world –
This is my husband. This is my wife.

Then it was time for the vows and the rings. Unfortunately, at this point our officiant told us that he had forgotten the special vows we were going to say to one another. We were very, very disappointed, but we went with the flow and said the standard vows. We plan to use our special vows to renew in the future. As we said our vows we exchanged rings.

Then it was time for our second reading. We chose “The Art of Marriage” by Wilferd A. Peterson and asked Kevin’s mom to read it.

A good marriage must be created.
In the art of marriage the little things are the big things…

It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once each day.

It is never going to sleep angry.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.

It is speaking words of appreciation and
demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.

It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.

 It is not only marrying the right partner…

It is being the right partner.

After the reading we did our unity act. We poured two different colors of sand into the Blessing Bowl that our guests put their stones in earlier. It was our way to symbolize us uniting together with all of our friends and family members’ blessings.

Finally, it was time to kiss and be pronounced husband and wife!

We walked back down the aisle to the strings version of “Starlight” by Muse. All the ceremony songs were strings versions and they all sounded absolutely beautiful, even though they were played by our DJ through speakers. We were so thankful that our DJ saved the day after our strings couldn’t play outside.

After our guests went inside for the cocktail hour, our wedding party and family stayed behind for a little while and we took pictures.

Then everyone else went inside to enjoy cocktail hour, and Kevin and I got some photos alone.

By this time we were freezing and so ready to get inside and enjoy our reception!

To be continued…

Our Wedding: Getting Ready [Part 2]

Picking up where I left off in my last post,  The Day Before [Part 1], I actually slept very restfully the night before my wedding in my bridesmaid Ashley’s hotel room. I woke up to my alarm excited and ready to get started with my special day. Surprisingly, I felt very calm and not nervous at all. We got ourselves dressed and met my other four bridesmaids in the lobby downstairs to eat breakfast. One of my bridesmaids was Kevin’s sister Kara, who was in constant communication with her fiance and Kevin’s groomsman Brandon, to make sure we didn’t cross paths. While we didn’t do everything totally traditional for our wedding, one of the traditional choices we made was not to see or talk to each other at all on the day of the wedding. It really helped build up the excitement and anticipation of finally seeing him as I was walking down the aisle!

After breakfast we went to my hairdressers to get our hair done! She works out of a home salon with another hairdresser. It was cozy, relaxing, and laid-back and we all loved it.

Before getting all made up!

We made Poinsettias [champagne + cranberry juice] to enjoy and my dad delivered some hoagies, fruit, and veggies that I had ordered from Wegmans for us to have for lunch.

After about two hours all six of us had beautiful hair and makeup!

We went back to the hotel to finish getting ready. The girls put on their dresses and at 2:00 p.m. our photographers arrived, which meant it was time to put on mine.

Then came the veil, garter, and jewelry.

Steelers for Kevin 🙂

Once I was all ready, I opened a card that Kevin had written me and tried not to cry off all my makeup.

Once we heard from Brandon it was clear for us to leave, we all went downstairs for a few pictures in the hotel lobby.

Then it was time to go to Osprey’s Landing! In only the best form of transportation – my dad’s truck 🙂

Meanwhile, in Kevin’s hotel room, he was getting ready, having some drinks, and taking pictures with his guys. I obviously wasn’t there, but we were fortunate enough to have two photographers so one was able to be with him the entire time. It was awesome to see things from his perspective.

 When I got to the venue with my dad and my bridesmaids around 3:00 p.m., I finally experienced a moment of wedding day stress when we realized that nothing had been set up yet. Apparently, there was some confusion since our event coordinator had to go out of town for a family emergency. The staff thought the wedding started at 5:00, when it was supposed to begin at 4:00. They also didn’t think we were going to have it outside because temperatures were in the 50s and it was windy, so they had not set up any of the outdoor chairs or decor yet. WRONG! Then we found out that our string trio couldn’t play at our ceremony because of the wind. I freaked out for about five minutes then I got it together. After clearing up the confusion, the staff got to work getting everything ready for our ceremony & reception, our DJ fixed the issue of ceremony music by offering to play outside [out of the kindness in his heart], while I went out back for pictures with my girls. I finally started to relax again.

My dad came down at about 3:45 and informed me that our officiant hadn’t arrived yet, which was moment #2 of stress for me. Our wedding was supposed to  start at 4 and he said he would be there an hour early. I went back inside with my girls to figure it all out when we heard that he arrived only 5 minutes before start time. WHEW! The wedding was about to begin!

To be continued with Part 3: The Ceremony!

Our Wedding: The Day Before [Part 1]

The day before our wedding [Thursday, November 10th] I took off from work, so I slept in a little bit then went for a short 2 mile run before my busy day began. I got dressed and finished up our wedding welcome bags.

We decided to make these bags because we had so many out-of-town guests. We stenciled our initials on the front and then filled them up with some of our favorite snacks, a wedding weekend timeline and info sheet, and a map. We sealed the bags of snacks with labels that said “Virginia is for Lovers.” 🙂

   

Once the bags were finished I dropped them off at the local hotel where our guests and Kevin and I would be staying for the weekend. At the hotel I met up with my bridesmaids, who had just arrived, and my dad and sister who were also checking in. I also ran into a few of our other guests that had chosen to come into town the day before the wedding. Seeing everyone arriving got me very excited. It all started becoming very real! I went to the mall with a few of my bridesmaids and my mother-in-law to get our nails done. After that we went back to the hotel to get ready for our rehearsal.

Our big group [us, 5 bridesmaids, 5 groomsmen, parents, flower girl, ring bearer, and various other family members] headed to our venue, Osprey’s Landing at Belmont Bay, for our rehearsal just before 5:00 p.m. We knew we would have to run through our ceremony inside, and outside, because the weather report was saying that it was going to be cold and windy the next day [40 mph winds!] and we weren’t sure if we would be able to have it outside.

When we got to our venue we got some news from our event coordinator that she would be unable to be at the wedding. She had a family emergency and had to go out of town. She assured me everything would be fine, and introduced me to the people on her staff that would be taking her place. I completely understood why she had to go, but it made me a little nervous because she was the one that I had been working with throughout our wedding planning.

By the time everyone got to the venue and we got ready to start it was getting dark and it was FREEZING! But we all huddled up to run through the ceremony. Our officiant did not come to our rehearsal, so Kevin and I were in charge of facilitating everything. It was easy to do because our ceremony was written out very specifically.

We got in line and practiced walking out to the outdoor ceremony space, how everything should be timed, and where to stand once we were all out there.

Once we were outside we ran through the basic parts of the ceremony. Everyone was really great about standing outside in the cold. We felt bad but they didn’t complain once!

After that we went back inside to run through it indoors. We were still crossing our fingers that we wouldn’t have to use our back-up plan!

Once the work was done, we took some group pictures before heading to dinner.

With my dad and my sister

With Kevin's parents

Kevin and all his groomsmen + ring bearer

Me with all my bridesmaids + flower girl

With Kevin's Mamaw

After our photo shoot it was finally time to EAT! Thank goodness because this bride was starving. We had our rehearsal dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, which is also the place where we met: On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina.

We loved the fun, relaxed vibe of On the Border and we LOVE Mexican Food. So it was a perfect choice for us. We had the enclosed patio section all to ourselves with two huge tables and over 30 people. It was so nice to finally relax, eat, drink, and enjoy ourselves and our company! Margaritas were very necessary!

After dinner, Kevin and I got up to say thank you to all of our guests, and give our wedding party and parents their gifts.

Kevin got all of his guys personalized coolers with their initials embroidered on the front, filled with their favorite kind of beer. I got my girls a jewelry set of earrings, a necklace, and bracelet for them to wear at the wedding, a pashmina shawl for when we are outside, and a beautiful flower hair piece that my cousin’s girlfriend had made for them to wear the next day. We wrote our parents cards and told them that we will be giving them a special parent wedding album after the wedding. We also got some toys, games, and snacks for the little ones in our wedding party.

Once the gifts were given and our bellies were full, we all went back to the hotel for the night. Kevin stayed with one of his groomsmen in his room and I stayed with my bridesmaid Ashley in hers. We kissed each other goodbye and went to our separate rooms. I couldn’t believe that the next time I saw him would be when I was walking down the aisle!

To be continued…