Friday, November 8, 2013

I Do: The Wedding Weekend - Part 2 (The Ceremony)

The next morning we woke up early. The first thing I did (and admit to doing pretty much everyday starting 2 weeks before the wedding) was check the weather: 65 degrees and sunny with 0% precipitation. Hallelujah; praise Jesus! I then went downstairs to eat breakfast. (It was a B&B after all.) I had to text my bridal party to make sure David hadn't already gone downstairs (but I should have known better since he loves to sleep in.) I was in the middle of eating when I got a phone call from both my friend (and hairstylist), Kate, as well as our makeup artist, Ginger

(Before I go on, I must gush about both Kate and GingerKate is the creative mind behind The Small Things Blog and all those amazing DIY hair tutorials you see on YouTube. I would just like to say that I take full responsibility for introducing  Kate to her husband, Justin. You're welcome, Kate. ;) Ginger just happens to be the gorgeous wife of our wedding photographer, Brian...and I must say that having a makeup artist who understands photography and lighting is a plus! Also, Ginger uses airbrush makeup, which turns out flawless..."like velvet.")

Anyway, with hair and makeup arriving, I brought breakfast upstairs for Emily...and soon the other bridesmaids and my mom joined us for the glam party. Priscilla scheduled me to have my makeup/hair done later than the rest of the group, so I spent some time (freaking out and sending panicky texts to the groom, MoG, planner, etc.) At one point, I snuck upstairs to a quiet room to write my a special note to my groom. We had discussed exchanging gifts before the wedding, and I had the perfect gift for him: a swiss army knife. You're probably thinking, "A knife? Why?" Well, I'll tell you why. When David and I went to apply for our marriage license, he forgot he had a swiss army knife keychain on him, and since they have security scanners at the Register of Deeds' office, he took the knife off and (discreetly) stuck it into the dirt of a nearby planter. On our way out, he (sadly) discovered his knife had been stolen. It was a gift from his father, and something he used all the time (pen, nail file, knife, etc.) I found the exact same knife, only this time in blue (which he'd much prefer over the previous red-colored one) and an LED flashlight, which I knew he'd find handy. I had it engraved with his initials and our wedding date. More about this later.

First Look? Not for me! 

While Kate was putting the finishing touches on my hair, Brian and his assistant, Jenn arrived. Before I knew it, it was time to put on my dress! It was a fun experience with my two best friends (and Matrons of Honor). They helped me put on my dress, shoes, garters, and jewelry. Then Kate put on my veil for me before my mom had her "first look." I never really knew about "first looks" with grooms, dads, etc. until I was engaged. David and I decided we did not want a first look, even though some couples do it to save time (with photography, etc.). I discussed this with him when we were in the planning process, and he and I both agreed that we wanted that magic of him seeing me for the first time when my dad walked me down the aisle. I also spoke to a lady who owns a popular wedding venue, and she told me that there is just something about the look on the groom's face when he sees his bride for the first time, and if you spoil that before the actual ceremony, it's just something that can't be "captured" again by the photographers. I am 110% glad we did not do a "first look," and know that we made the right decision. I can't wait to see our wedding photos!

So back to the "first look" with my mom. When my mom came in to see me, it was a very special moment. Even though she was with me when I picked out my dress, sash, veil, etc., she hadn't seen me wearing everything together, and all done up for the day. It was a special moment to me, and at the same time, a hard moment for my MoH, Emily, who lost her mom in college before she got married. When I saw Emily tearing up, that did it for me. I started tearing up, and I knew that I was going to have to really hold it together to get through the day. I didn't ever used to get super emotional at things like weddings, etc. I guess you change as you get older and you start hitting certain milestones.

When I was finished getting ready, the bridal party and photographers arranged for David and I to exchange gifts (without seeing one another). They had us on either side of a door, and we could hear each other, and pass our gifts around the door without seeing one another. I gave David his gift, and he gave me mine: the Royal Carriage Pandora bracelet charm--how perfect!! 

When it was time to go downstairs, we took some photos (with bridesmaids) on the front porch of the Magnolia Inn. I got to see our horse and carriage (driven by Frank, our coachman) for the first time! The carriage (and horse!) were all done up with flowers and ribbon, and Frank was wearing a straw skimmer. It was perfect! Before I knew it, it was time to head to the ceremony location! The carriage ride was a special moment for my dad and I. It was arranged for us to take the 30 minute ride to the ceremony together. I am very close with both of my parents. I think of my mom as my best friend...but at the same time, I also have a special relationship with my dad. He lovingly refers to me as his princess, and what little girl doesn't love being daddy's little princess? It was during this carriage ride that I gave my dad a special gift. My dad has always always had a handkerchief with him at all times since I was little. As a little girl, I could always count on him having it in his pocket, and it was used for many things: wiping off sticky fingers, wiping a runny nose, etc. As a special gift, I had a handkerchief (with hand-rolled hem) embroidered with a special message for my dad. I took this time together to give it to him, and held his hand the whole way there.

It was so much fun riding through the Village of Pinehurst in the carriage...and it was especially fun because I was in my wedding dress and veil! People waved and smiled...and a guest later told me that when her little boy (4-years-old) saw me, he said, "Mommy, look there's a princess!" I felt like a princess. I really did. 

The bridesmaids were lined up and so were the ushers and our dogs (the ring bearer and flower girls). I could hear the string trio playing pretty Prelude music. Then I heard them play "Falling Slowly" by Glen Hansard and Mark√©ta Irglov√°, and I knew they were seating the grandmothers and mothers. Then they began playing the Processional ("Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop" by Landon Pigg) and the bridal party made their way down the aisle. My dad asked what song they'd play for us, but I had kept the Bride's Processional song a secret from him. When they began playing Pachelbel's "Canon in D," he goes, "I know this song!" and I laughed. I picked it just for him. It's a special song (and favorite) of both of ours, and we listened to it all the time when I was little, specifically the recording by James Galway on flute.
Yes, we did give a shout out to our childhood dogs, Shiny, and Abby. :)

I vaguely remember walking down the aisle...this part starts becoming a blur. I had chosen to wear a blusher veil, just like my mom did when she married my dad. I actually don't recall having ever attended any weddings where the bride has worn a blusher. I've seen many brides and many veils--cathedral, fingertip, birdcage, etc.--but no blushers. Many aspects of our wedding were actually quite traditional, and I really liked it. It was something different, a bit unexpected, and something that reminded me of my mom. My bouquet was handmade (by yours truly!), and inspired by Macie's bouquet (a bride whose wedding was featured on The Wedding Chicks.) I added a few special touches: photographs of my beloved grandpa, my childhood dog, and an anchor (for my grandpa, who was a Captain). I also had my "something old," which was a special brooch my grandpa had given to my mom years ago. The flowers in my bouquet included gardenias, hydrangeas, and cymbidium orchids...and yes, they were all fake!

Ceremony Highlights
When my dad gave me away, it was a really sweet moment. He lifted my veil, kissed me on my cheek, and then he did something he hadn't done at the rehearsal the day before--he placed my hand into David's. This was a sweet gesture, and something that meant a lot to me. David's dad gave a special "Charge to the Bride and Groom," which was a message directly to David and I, which was also very special. For the longest time when we were in the planning stages, David and I had discussed how the generic unity candle and sand ceremonies were just not for us. We rattled our brains for creative ideas to do for our unity ceremony. We joked about making waffles, shooting rockets, mating lizards, etc. It wasn't until I brought up the dilemma with my mom that she suggested we do a Chinese tea ceremony. I absolutely loved this idea, as David's paternal side is British-Canadian, and "tea time" is a special tradition in their family. I also loved the idea of incorporating some culture and Chinese heritage into the wedding. It was perfect. The day of the wedding, we served jasmine tea (my mom's favorite) to David's parents and then my parents using a special tea set that was given to my parents when they got married years ago. My good friend Vince, of the band Army of Me, played the song "Beloved" by Tenth Avenue North during the ceremony. 

The ceremony itself was beautiful. We had a number of pre-marital counseling sessions with our pastor, Jason. Jason also conducted a really neat "covenant" ceremony, which is a bit different than the generic wedding ceremony with the typical "Do you take the bride..." script. It was really special, and afterward, I had guests mention to me how much they liked it. When we were saying our vows, my voice started wavering, and I did my absolute best to keep from crying. It was really hard...because once those tears start flowing, I just can't stop--and I'm an ugly cryer! You absolutely can't understand a word that comes out of my mouth when I start crying. Luckily, I was able to keep it together (for the most part) though it started affecting David (and apparently some of my bridesmaids too)...but I made it through the vows, Jason pronounced us husband and wife, and we were married! The end.

Just kidding. That's not the end!

After the ceremony, the guests began heading over to the reception venue, and Brian and Jenn began posing us for our family portraits. It wasn't until then that I really got to take a look at the ceremony space. It was absolutely breathtaking. I hadn't done any of the decorating for the ceremony or reception--Priscilla wouldn't let me--and that was really hard. I'm a control-freak, very Type-A, and especially when it came to the wedding. I mean, I planned every little tiny detail from beginning to end...but I couldn't believe it when I saw it. It was absolutely perfect! The pergola was decorated in lush, hanging white and purple wisteria--straight out of Twilight. There were birdcages hanging and pearl and crystal garlands that caught the sunlight just right. The rustic log benches (that we made) were perfect, and the aisle was lined with blush, lavender, and white rose petals, with purple hydrangeas in glass jars hanging from shepherd's hooks. It was breathtaking. One of my favorite touches was the floating flowers--I made these with silk stephanotis blossoms.

The cherry on top was the love bug that we got to use as our "getaway car." In the weeks before the wedding I had been searching high and low for a new Beetle to use for our car. If you recall, I have a history with Volkswagen Beetles--I loved watching The Love Bug with my dad, I drove a new Beetle throughout college, and we used a vintage bug in our engagement shoot. After calling multiple rental companies, I started resigning to the fact that I wasn't going to be able to locate a bug to use...but the week before the wedding, I got in touch with my friend Ashton, whom I helped with a few projects for her college portfolio. Her family has a vintage cream colored bug and her father was gracious enough to offer to drive it all the way to Pinehurst to let us use it for pictures! (This wasn't actually confirmed until 1:30pm the day of the wedding.) After the ceremony, I walked out of the Pergola Garden and saw the bug and was just ecstatic! Ashton's dad, Ken, was so sweet and nice. Our plan was to take the carriage halfway to the reception venue (and a car the rest of the way to save time), and he agreed to meet us and take us to the reception in the car. It totally made my day. :)

One of my favorite shots.
Arriving at The Fair Barn.
I am smiling as I write this. It really was the wedding of my dreams! And can you believe that it gets better? I can't wait to share the details from our reception! Stay tuned.

Next post: I do: The Wedding Weekend - Part 3 (The Reception).

the Bride

Here is a list of the songs that were played during our wedding ceremony. All songs were played by Opus One Strings (trio: violin, viola, cello) except for "Beloved" which was played by Vince Scheuerman of Army of Me.


Air in G 
The Way I Am 
Vivaldi Largo Con te Partiro 
Over the Rainbow 
In My Life 
Annie's Song 
Here Comes the Sun

Seating of the Grandmothers and Mothers

Falling Slowly 


Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop 

Bride's Processional

Pachelbel Canon 

Tea Ceremony



I'm Yours


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