A Washingtonian Wedding: Signing Off

The wedding is done, the honeymoon over with, packed boxes bound for Wichita surround us—which mean that it’s time to say “see you later” to Washington and “au revoir” to this blog. During the nearly eight months of wedding planning, I wanted time to move more quickly than the 24 hours allotted each day, but now as I look back, the time did seem to move at a sprinter’s pace.

Now our beautiful wedding weekend and our lune de miel (honeymoon) in Paris are done, and there’s a kind of melancholy associated with their being over. Be advised, brides and grooms, your wedding weekend will be a rush of activity, a blur of emotion, and suddenly you’ll be in the car, headed out to your first night, man and wife. Drew and I both wanted to just grasp each moment, take it captive, completely live and feel it, but it was like trying to catch clouds—they are much too big and much too elusive to be contained. You will, however, take back some vivid memories—moments when time stood still enough for you to really feel them. Those are sweet, sweet, sweet memories, but for the rest of them, I suggest hiring a good photographer. Ours caught some great ones.

So rather than detailing the entire affair, I’ll try to give you the highlights, the moments that stuck out.

On Thursday afternoon, my mom and I spent some quality girl time over manicures and Mexican food, while Drew enjoyed his bachelor party—an afternoon and evening of baseball, volleyball, a pool party, and yes, the Democratic National Convention.

Friday morning, after getting a little lost in trailing cars, the bridal party and I made it to the bridal brunch. Southern hospitality emanated from the three hosts—friends of my MIL whom I had never met. They served us up love in the shape of fruit salads, petite blueberry muffins, spinach and sausage quiches, Southern-style fruit tea, and coffee, all on beautiful china at a table dressed in lace and daisies.

Because I nearly rear-ended/sideswiped several cars on the drive to the rehearsal Friday afternoon (I blame it on nerves and too much coffee), my girls took my keys and chauffeured the rest of the weekend.

I remember Drew’s calming hug outside the church before the rehearsal.

As the presiding pastor (Drew’s college pastor and friend) prayed at the rehearsal and Drew clasped my hand, his bowed head resting against my own, all lingering anxiety evaporated.

While rehearsal-dinner guests were enjoying dessert and sipping coffee, Drew and I took the stage and spoke about each member of the wedding party before handing him or her a gift. Drew got his guys framed New Yorker covers, each picked carefully according to personality; I got my girls handcrafted silver necklaces from Odette (odetteny.com), also selected according to personality. We got our parents inscribed eight-by-ten silver frames from Things Remembered with a promise to get them a black-and-white wedding photo later. Drew killed me with his public-speaking and storytelling skills, but still, it was an awesome time spent praising our loved ones.

That evening, the girls and I all headed back to Jen’s for a sleepover, where we spent sweet time munching on tortilla chips and Kashi cookies, chatting, waiting for the last bridesmaid to arrive (Katherine had a medical-school test and was driving from Kansas City), and then finally drifting to different air mattresses and beds around the house to sleep. It was awesome to see how all these friends, from different stages of my life, gelled instantly.

Trying to sleep was ridiculous; I was restless with anticipation and excitement.

The morning brought bagels, fruit, coffee, and then the hair salon, where we each got up-dos and applied makeup while flipping through the September Vogue and Elle. At the church, we changed into dresses, took pictures, talked, prayed. I remember my brother coming in and giving me a hug, wishing me luck. Drew’s brother, Blake, stopped by to hand me a note from Drew. We managed to evade my future husband the entire time—Blake barred the groom’s room door so Drew wouldn’t accidentally glimpse me walking down the hallway, Jen called him several times to make sure he stayed put.

And then it was time. Our pianist played David Gray’s “This Year’s Love,” and the bridesmaids, brandishing daisy bouquets, walked down the aisle. Then it was my turn. “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” played, and my Dad and I made our way down the long stone walk toward my smiling Drew.

The ceremony was a blur, though I do remember distinctly repeating the vows, realizing their importance and tearing up while saying them. I also remember several lines of a breathtaking duet Carley and Rob sang, “And you are changing now, you’re a part of me somehow . . .” One of Drew’s groomsmen, Brandon, prayed for our marriage during the ceremony, and it was seriously moving.

The reception was even more of a blur. I ate two bites of food, got three sips of wine, but then met, talked to, and danced with our guests the rest of the evening. The toasts were beautiful—at times touching (Dad, Jen, and Paul) and at other times hilarious (Blake). Drew’s usher and friend TJ manned the playlists, doing an awesome job as DJ, and actually even switched out my iPod for another when he sensed that the dance-music caliber needed to be raised. Drew and I danced the first dance and cut the cake, my Theta sisters performed their wedding song and ritual, and then it was time to go. We changed out of our wedding attire into suit and cocktail dress, said our goodbyes, which were rather emotional, and then just like that we were on to our honeymoon.

And it was done. Eight months of planning for a flash of an event. There wasn’t enough time to catch up with loved ones who had traveled long distances to be there, nor was there time to even eat, but still, our wedding was so much better than we could have even imagined and we feel so blessed.

Now Drew and I are married, starting out on this new adventure together. . .

 

Emily married Drew in Nashville last month. To follow her adventures from the beginning, click here.

To read the latest Bridal Party blog posts, click here

 

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