Funny memories come to mind from the days leading up to our big day, like when Thomas thought picking up our marriage license at the register of deeds meant we were legally married, or when I threw caution to the wind and headed to Five Guys for a big, juicy burger with Jamie minutes after I picked up my freshly tailored gown.
I remember nervous moments, like when I pulled up to Boone that Wednesday before and it was pouring the rain...and had been for 10 days leading up to the big weekend, or when I caught the stomach flu the night before the wedding (thanks to a doctor who was willing to call me in anti-nausea pills that are supposed to be for pregnant women with morning sickness, I was good as new in time for the big day).
But most of all I remember the unforgettable moments on that sacred ground. I've never been as present as I was that day, and I doubt I will be again until, I don't know, probably when we welcome our first little one into the world.
I met up with all the girls in the Grandfather Suite at Crestwood, where we would begin the primping ritual of hair, makeup and a mimosa for good measure. I remember feeling a tendency to be more quiet than my usual self, partially because I was still feeling a little queasy from the bug and partly because I just wanted to take it all in and remind myself what the day was all about.
Thomas and I met around 2:30 for our first look and pictures together. Upon meeting him, I finally felt completely at ease and ready for the day ahead. I couldn't take my eyes off of him and just couldn't believe it was our day. The day I would marry the absolute love of my life.
After the pictures, we had about 45 minutes to freshen up while the guests arrived. I specifically remember a special moment with my sister-in-law. Everyone was running around nervous about the upcoming event, and I remember being a tad stressed that my dress was all wrinkled from the pictures.
Lauren graciously and calmly took it upon herself to carefully steam my dress while it was on me, and she'll never know how much those few moments meant to me. She sensed my nerves and completely put me at ease. Just another sweet reminder that I was so abundantly blessed with these people I was about to be able to officially call family.
Once all of us were fresh and ready, we gathered out on the deck overlooking the lawn for a quick toast and then back inside for a few sweet words from the bridesmaids, my Mom and a prayer with our pastor. Those moments were magical, tearful and just what I needed as a send off. We watched through the big window overlooking the lawn as the guests filed in, and then it was time for the wedding party to head downstairs.
I met up with my Dad, and we had a sweet little conversation while trying to figure out how to sneak out to the patio to watch the procession. We succeeded, tucking ourselves behind a big tree so we were able to see yet be hidden at the same time. I'm so glad I found that little clearing; it was so special to be able to see all of our sweet friends and family, process in to stand with us ready to give us their blessing. I will never forget it.
Then it was our turn. Me and my Dad. Everyone told me that the wedding day would be a blur, specifically the ceremony. I couldn't disagree more. Right after I had descended the stairs and stepped onto the lawn, a wave of peace and presence washed over me. It's like nothing I've ever felt before.
After describing this to a dear friend recently, she said, "I know that exact feeling; I think it's God reassuring you that you're exactly where he destined you to be". I couldn't have said it better myself.
I remember every single detail of the ceremony. The sweet kiss on the cheek as my Dad gave me away, the thoughtful words of our pastor, the most meaningful communion shared with my husband, the way our eyes were locked the entire time unaware of our audience, the beautiful duet, the scripture we had picked out for each other, our first kiss as husband and wife, and last but certainly not least, being introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Ward.
The reception was icing on the cake - filled with lots of hugs, love, dancing and soaking in the one moment where everyone you love and adore is at the same place at the same time living life to the fullest. It was magical.
This weekend, we'll travel back to that sacred ground. Check into the hotel that housed all of our loved ones a year ago, enjoy a romantic dinner on the patio where all of our friends and family danced their booties off 365 days ago and we'll certainly kick off our shoes and stroll down the lawn remembering where we vowed to, for better or for worse, love each other forever.
I cannot wait. I love you so much, Thomas, and thanks for making all of my dreams come true. I love you to the moon and back. I can't wait to celebrate with you this weekend!