“Are you ready?” My mom whispered in my ear as we waited to turn the corner and walk down the aisle. A few short hours earlier, I had been stuffed in a hotel room with my bridesmaids getting our hair and makeup ready. In a few short hours, our wedding would be over, and Andrew and I would head to Jamaica on our honeymoon as husband and wife.
The entire Friday of our wedding melded together in a blur of elation, panic, and pure joy. Starting out in the Courtyard Marriott with our hair and makeup consultants dolling us up, the day seemed to be smooth sailing, with just a few small hiccups in the morning activities. Even as I stepped into my dress and my hairdresser secured my veil, things seemed fine, and I felt relatively calm. All the ladies headed to Meadowlark before the ceremony to take some photos, and it started to downpour as we stepped into the limousine. But miraculously, the clouds literally parted as we arrived.
It wasn’t until my mom asked me at the church if I was ready that I panicked. Or not panicked, exactly—there’s no word exactly right for what I was feeling. It wasn’t that I thought for a second that I didn’t want to marry Andrew, but the absolute intensity of the walk down the aisle was overwhelming.
Nevertheless, after a few seconds of deep breathing, I took my bouquet and walked down the aisle between my parents. One of my bridesmaids told me later that she could see me shaking from the altar as they opened the doors to the church, but as soon as I locked eyes with Andrew she could see me relax. I focused right on him and tried to block out the rest of the people, and suddenly the walk down the aisle wasn’t as intimidating.
The ceremony was perfect, compliments of our amazing pastor Father Chuck. His special way of including those not familiar with the Catholic faith made even my Jewish boss say, “This guy wants to make me convert!” We kissed and he declared us husband and wife, and just like that we were in the limo and off to Meadowlark. The formal photographs were captured (which turned out fantastic thanks to our photographer Rachel Naft) and the bridal party was announced, and there we were enjoying our beautiful reception.
The reception can be recapped in two words: amazing fun. Everyone danced, laughed, ate decadent food, drank, and enjoyed each other’s company. Did everything go according to plan? No. . . we were running about 40 minutes behind schedule, I dropped lipstick on my dress, and my bustle fell out at least ten times throughout the night, including during our first dance. Did it matter one bit to any guests or either of us? Not at all. We were so thrilled to be surrounded by our friends and family, all blissfully happy that we were finally husband and wife that nothing trivial about the day could have bothered us. Even when Andrew shoved the picture-perfect cake in my face, I just laughed. It just wouldn’t be our wedding if I wasn’t covered in chocolate.
Everyone tells you how fast the wedding will fly by, and that’s the most accurate advice I’ve received through this whole process. I’m so thankful that we secured a location for an after-party, because 80 percent of the guests agreed that the evening ended too early and there was more fun to be had. Our 4 AM wake-up call to go to Jamaica didn’t stop us from staying at the party until the wee hours of the morning, soaking up the last few moments of our perfect event.
Now it’s time to close the chapter of my life where my mind is filled with caterers, linens, and first dances. Andrew and I are moving forward with our lives, and while I can’t wait to see what happens next, I’ve enjoyed this wedding-planning process so much more than I could have imagined. I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to share my experiences with you all, and hope that my successes and trials will help you in the planning process. The one thing I know for sure is that no matter how big of a deal an issue may seem, your wedding day will be perfect if you let yourself relax and enjoy.
To follow Lisa Marie's adventures from the beginning, click here.
To read the latest Bridal Party blog posts, click here.