The Wedding At Last

I’ve been wanting to write for several weeks now, but getting settled into my new married life has taken up all my time – and I love it! However, especially for those who were not able to be at the wedding I did want to do one final blog about the week leading up and the actual day. So here goes…

One of my best friends, Christina, came in the Saturday before the wedding to spend the week with me, so that was a lot of fun. It really made it special having a close friend here to do things with (that’s been one of the hard things moving…again…is going through that season where you haven’t made those close relational connections yet, especially when I’m going through one of the most exciting phases of my life – my wedding – to not have my close friends here has been sad). So we hit the ground running and did some major house cleaning the first few days of the week, ran lots of errands and had plenty of girl-time.

One of the great things about doing most everything yourself for your wedding is that you often save lots of money, and you get to do it exactly the way you want. The reason more people don’t is because it is incredibly stressful to go that route. I knew it would be, but I wasn’t quite prepared for how much it would be. There had been quite a few tasks I had delegated to that last week because I knew I’d have help and also, some of them like decorating, flower arranging, etc. could only be done that week. So as the week progressed and every day my list to get accomplished for that day still had items undone and carried over to the next day, my stress level went up. I wasn’t sleeping well and had to start taking Advil PM mid-week. I had about one emotional melt-down per day. The high stress combined with the lack of sleep and the general emotion of such a momentous event made for a very emotional Shannon.

Most of my bridal party had arrived by Thursday, which was the evening of my personal shower. Earlier that day as we had been decorating and cleaning the building, there had been all kinds of drama. First off, Joel and I had to go get our marriage license – we had tried earlier in the week, but Joel’s ID was expired, so we had to go get that renewed first (which is at a totally different place) and therefore had to come back for the marriage license. So we’re off doing that, everyone else is waiting on our rentals to arrive as they do other decorating. The rentals finally get there, much later in the day than I was anticipating – oh, and this was after we called to check on their arrival time and the company couldn’t find a record of my order. But all is well, they arrive and start to unload when the lady who owns the local rental place down the street comes over in a furry. We are still gone, so Elisabeth, Joel’s sister, asks her if she can help her, and this lady unleashes on her. Apparently we committed cardinal sin by not getting all of our rentals from her – mind you we did spend about $400 with her, and it was purely to support local business because she was much more expensive than the other company, which is why we were using them in the first place. So this lady totally starts cussing Elisabeth out, storms out, proceeds to call Joel’s dad at the restaurant informing him that she’s never eating there again (he meanwhile has no idea what is going on). All in all an incredibly unprofessional, rude and very stressful exchange. So we get back to hear all about this, and that is just one more stress on me as I feel that because of this I’ve hurt Joel’s professional relationship with this woman. At this point I’m tired, emotional, stressed that we haven’t gotten everything done and need to go home to get ready before my shower.

The shower was lovely and tons of fun. Christina did an amazing job making everything look and taste lovely. We had so much food! It was enough to feed 5 times the amount of people than were actually there J but we had fun. The next day we got up early to go pick up the flowers in St. Louis, got a little lost coming back, but made it just fine and started arranging them and continuing to decorate and set up. I should perhaps mention at this point, that we made the decision to move the ceremony indoors on Wednesday or Thursday as they were predicting a 60-70% chance of rain on Saturday. We had had nothing but incredibly perfect, beautiful weather every weekend in April so far, but of course for our weekend it was going to rain. But we figured everything out and got things moved and rearranged, so it worked out fine. So back to Friday, I LOVED doing the bouquets and boutonnieres and all – it was so much fun to create exactly what I had been envisioning. It was stressful because we were way behind schedule with the set up, but it was a lot of fun!

That evening at the rehearsal was when everything really started going in rapid motion. I can only describe it like being taken on a train, and you’re trying to make sure you have everything you need, but the train is moving and carrying you regardless. After the rehearsal we still had to connect extension cords to all our lights to make sure they could all be lit up, make table numbers and place cards (which ended up being one tent card with all the names for the table on it), pack for the honeymoon – basically it was crazy. But amazingly it all got done – well mostly! Teresa and Christina did the table numbers and place cards by hand, I went to the house and packed, we got the last minute stuff at the building done, and finally it was sleep.

Saturday morning arrived, and I went over to the house, so Joel and I could have some alone time before the rush of the day. It was overcast and certainly going to rain. All the girls were over to the house by 10:45 or so, and we all got ready. The guys also arrived sometime in there and all the family because the plan was to have some family pictures before the ceremony, so basically downstairs was a zoo (or so I hear). I meanwhile am trying to finish packing for the honeymoon while I get ready, and I just have a total melt-down. I’m not sure what I still need to pack; my brain is too tired to remember everything; it’s getting late, and we’re not ready for pictures yet…yeah, I was a basket case. What I really needed was like two full days of sleep, but as it was  I was doing the best I could with what I had. My friends were amazing!! You all are rockstars, ladies! They helped pull me together, finish packing, and get me ready. It was starting to drizzle so we had just a few minutes to do some of the pictures with me outside the house, then it was about time to get over to the building for the ceremony anyway.

I was still pretty emotional at the building, and kept thinking of things that I wanted to make sure were done – as everything had been rushed at the last 24 hours or so I had a hard time shutting off and getting out of planning mode and into enjoying mode. It didn’t help when I realized I hadn’t printed out my vows either, however, Chris being the amazingly prepared man that he is, had the copy that I had emailed him! We took a time of prayer together – me and mom, Jess and the girls – and that was good. Then it was time to start.

The ceremony went perfectly. I couldn’t have asked for anything better! It was beautiful, and everyone looked great. Chris did an incredible job, and really it was everything we both wanted it to be. (I do have a video coming, so I will post that when I get it.) After the ceremony the chaos began again as we got the rest of my family pictures done, while our amazing team of volunteers started transforming the room for the reception.

Meanwhile the bridal party took off to Tower Park in St. Louis for pictures. It wasn’t where we were originally going, but they have covered pavilions, so we figured it would be a good choice considering the weather. It was starting to get quite windy and they sky was looking very ominous. A few people got lost along the way (which is one reason I see why people rent limos to move everyone around it), but everyone finally made it, and we got some pictures done, and then it started raining. This is when I had my second emotional melt down. We had gotten hardly any pictures, everyone is telling me it’s going to be all right, and I was just like, “No! It’s not going to be all right. This is the only time we can do this. Sure Joel and I can go out later, but the flowers won’t be the same, and no one else will be here!” So we stayed a little longer and took a few more pictures, but then the tornado sirens went off, and we had to go. Within minutes it was pouring down sheets of rain – visibility was measured in feet, and the amount of rain on the road was intense.

We made it back to the reception, a little wet and windblown, but not too worse for ware. The reception started on time (a small miracle in of itself, as they rarely do), when low and behold about mid-way through the meal the sun starts peaking out. So we decided to step out for a few minutes to take a few more pictures while we could. The rest of the reception proceeded along, although we rather rushed through things more than we wanted because people were leaving or needing to leave. Our cake was lovely, and apparently delicious. All I tasted of it was the all-frosting bite Joel gave me during the cutting. We had our first dance to “If My Heart Was A House” by Owl City (this was a really special song to us during our courtship). We had gotten some help with some choreography for it, but the week had been so crazy that we hadn’t gotten to practice or work on it anymore, so we just danced as we knew, but it was nice. I love dancing with my baby! My dad and I danced to “Cinderella” by Steven Curtis Chapman which was also really special.

We ended the evening saying hi to as many people as we could, you feel bad that you haven’t been able to connect with everyone or even know who was really there.  In retrospect we wish we would have done a receiving line because at least then you can say hello and thank you to each person if only for a few seconds, but because of time constraints we had opted not to. So future brides, bear that in mind! To everyone we didn’t get to say hi to – know that we love you, are soooo glad you could celebrate with us and wish we could have had more time to connect that day!

All in all it was a beautiful day, crazy and wild, but as many people have said to me, the wedding lasts a day – the marriage lasts a lifetime. Thank you to everyone who made it so special and to everyone who blessed us so much!! Thank you notes are forthcoming, as are pictures. A chapter in my life has closed, and a new one is under way…


~ by Shannon on May 21, 2010.

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