This past weekend was definitely the craziest, most emotional two days I’ve ever had. It was also the best time of my life. Family started coming into town the week before, and were able to help finish assembling the favors and hospitality bags. The last couple of days leading up to the wedding were a bit of a mad rush. Everything had to be done, because we were scheduled to leave Friday to drive up to Antrim 1844 in Taneytown, Maryland.
We arrived at Antrim just in time for the rehearsal, and I was a little anxious from frantically making sure I hadn’t forgotten anything. The rehearsal was nice—and a little surreal. When it was over, we changed for dinner and drove to the Sheppard Mansion in Hanover, Pennsylvania, for the rehearsal dinner.
The rehearsal dinner was amazing. The majority of our family was there, along with all of the bridal party. It was great to see the two families getting along so well! During the course of the evening, our loved ones began making spontaneous toasts to Ben and me. I think the ones that got to me the most were our dads’, because of their heartfelt sincerity. The rehearsal dinner was the start of the love-fest that would be our wedding weekend.
After dinner, I brought my bridesmaids, readers, and Ben and my moms into my room to hand out gifts and thank them for being part of my special day. This was very emotional for me, because these women are my support group. They mean the world to me, and even though I’m not losing them in any way, this is a huge milestone in my life.
The next morning, the girls began getting their hair and makeup done while the guys relaxed. (Guys definitely get the more relaxing end of the pre-wedding fun.) At around 4, it was time to get into my dress and shoes. It was around this time that my mom started to cry, and I almost lost it.
Ben and I decided to see each other for pictures before the ceremony, thinking it would help to quell some nerves. It did, but the “first look” definitely gave me some anxiety—I think because you’re seeing each other for the first time and everyone is looking at you and it feels a weird. While it was great to see Ben, after that was when the nerves kicked in and I needed a moment. I went back to my room and talked with my girls for a little bit, then Ben and I had some time alone before the ceremony. I would suggest this to any couple about to get married. It’s an oasis of time in a very busy day to be together and connect before a very important turning point.
Hand in hand, we walked to the golf cart that would transport us to the main house where we’d have the final pictures taken before the ceremony. When we’d gotten our pictures with the family and bridal party and everyone had gotten their boutonnieres, it was go time.
The music began, and I watched the bridal party begin their descent. Soon, my dad and I were walking arm in arm down the aisle. After half the walk, I noticed that my blusher was getting caught in my eyelashes and sticking to my lipstick, so I decided to stop for a second and throw it off. The rest of the walk was much better.
The ceremony itself was extremely surreal. It almost felt like I was watching myself get married. Before I knew it, it was over and Ben and I were walking back down the aisle. I’m looking forward to seeing it on video so I can watch all the little pieces I might have missed. After the recessional was finished, a very friendly Antrim staffer named Janice brought us some appetizers and our signature cocktails. After this, it was more pictures, then off to get introduced for the reception. Before this, though, Ben and I made sure to sneak away and just have a moment together. I think this time, too, was extremely important.
Dinner was wonderful, the cake was perfect—beautiful and delicious—and the band was fantastic. I tried to greet everyone and make my rounds, but I think that’s almost impossible because you’re constantly getting stopped. The reception was a blur but a good one. My dance with my dad to Chuck Wicks’s “Stealing Cinderella” was emotional and wonderful, and Ben’s and my first dance was a blast. We danced to Barry White’s “My First, My Last, My Everything,” and just winged it and had a good time.
Before I knew it, the night was over and Ben and I were physically and emotionally drained. As we went to bed, we talked about how this day had lived up to everything we’d hoped it would be. It was amazing how our wedding wasn’t about just our love but the love between our friends and families. The whole weekend was basically a chance to for all of us to bond, reconnect, and show one another how much we care. I can’t think of a better way to start our marriage.
Read Diana's story from the beginning, here.
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