(Unfortunately, I have no pictures after the rehearsal dinner. I was too busy being insanely excited. Hopefully, I’ll update as the pro pics come in!)
As I mentioned, the wedding day started bright and early at 5:30. Judy had told me the night before that I could totally bow out of our pre-planned run if I wasn’t up for it. I figured I’d set the alarm anyway, and if I was exhausted, I’d text her and bail. Of course, as soon as that alarm went off and I realized I was getting married that day, there was no going back to sleep! I met her in the lobby at 5:45, and we were off! We had a really nice almost 3 mile run through the college grounds, and I felt so relaxed and happy to be doing something totally normal on such a big day. It ended up being a good thing that we got out there too because I noticed a large banner notifying me that the main street between the hotel and the church would be closed to vehicular traffic exactly during the times we would need to shuttle back and forth. Oof.
When we got back to the hotel, I checked with the front desk to make sure this wouldn’t impact the bus, and they didn’t seem worried, so I didn’t worry. I just headed upstairs to shower and dry my hair before our awesome stylists arrived. My mom and sisters were in my room by 6:45, and the stylists and bridesmaids arrived not long after at 7 so the real fun could begin. The hotel treated us to an awesome spread of bagels, yogurt, granola and coffee and tea. Contrary to all my expectations, I was famished, so I ate a bagel and a yogurt and sipped some coffee while I watched all my girls get done up.
Before I knew it, it was my turn in the hot seats. The makeup artist got to work on my face then my hair got all beautified. I felt really relaxed and happy. I mean, it’s hard not to when people are pampering you. There was a little bit of stress and drama for a moment, but my hair stylist actually totally calmed me down, and Judy poured me a big mimosa, and things were good again.
Chris had been texting Judy throughout the morning to keep up with anything he needed to know, and I told her to tell him about the street closures but tell him not to worry because it was going to be fine. She informed me that he had just texted her the same thing! Talk about meant to be. What a guy.
The stylists finished up and headed out around 11:30 right as the hotel delivered an awesome lunch spread courtesy of Chris’ mom. I carefully ate a sandwich while trying not to mess up my lipstick, and Andrew and Travis met us upstairs and traded us our bouquets for some lunch. I couldn’t resist asking them about Chris, and they said he was happy and really excited. Phew!
Our photographer had arrived at that point, and she took some fun shots of us eating and getting ready. Then, we actually found ourselves with some free time! On a wedding morning! Go figure!! I couldn’t believe it, but we actually had about two hours between when our faces and hair were done and when we had to head out. We sat around chatting and watching TV for about an hour. Then, it was time for me to get into that dress for bridal portraits and the first touch!
My mom helped me into the dress while our wonderful photographer took about 300 pictures. I was still feeling really relaxed and happy until the look was complete. Something about standing in the dress and the shoes and the veil and holding the bouquet totally put me over the edge, and I just started crying. I wasn’t sad just really emotional! The whole thing just hit me like, “I AM GETTING MARRIED IN AN HOUR!” The girls forced me to sip some champagne and calm down or else risk ruining all that beautiful makeup, but I was a nervous wreck for the next 20 minutes.
Finally, it was the moment of the day I had been waiting for. Our photographers went and got Chris and set him up in the hallway. Then, they led me out and we got to talk to each other and hold hands while exchanging gifts and notes as the photographers captured it all. As soon as I grabbed Chris’ hand and heard his voice, my heart immediately calmed down. I could seriously feel every muscle relaxing and my breathing go back to normal. We gave each other our gifts. I got Chris a silver guitar pick inscribed with “I will always pick you” and our anniversary, and he got me two beautiful pearl bracelets. Our photographer teased us about the “novels” we had written each other, and we both later confessed that we were too nervous to even read them. We actually sat down and read them together the day after the wedding, and it was perfect. Next thing I knew, it was time for Chris to go finish getting ready and catch the bus over to the church. I headed back to my room and had a little quiet time with the photographer while my mom and bridesmaids got dressed and ready. At 2:15, we all met back up and headed down to the lobby to board the bus to the church.
I was so stinking proud of myself for being on time. It’s a silly thing, but I love punctuality, and everyone loved telling me that brides are always late, so I was really excited not be. Then, as happens, everything went a little crazy. The bus was nowhere to be found. Apparently he was lost? We had contracted out a Rutgers bus to take us around the Rutgers campus, so I was a little confused as to how the driver got lost, but things happen I guess. Finally, we showed up right as Chris aunt and uncle arrived with his grandparents. I had a minor panic attack because I thought they were at the church already. We boarded the bus thinking they would follow, but everyone went into the hotel to use the bathroom, and the bus left without them! I didn’t worry too much in that moment because it’s like a 5 minute drive back and forth, so I figured he’d drop us off at the church then swing back for them, and we’d just wait there until they arrived.
Well, things continued to go awry. On the way to the church, the bus driver actually passed the street for the church 4 times. I finally ran up to the front of the bus and asked him why he wasn’t turning on to the street. He said he couldn’t make the turn even though we watched the buses in front of us do it with no problem. Finally, he dropped us in front of a different local church. The two aren’t far apart, but there’s a big hill in between them. I kindly (really, I was still normal at this point) asked him to please take us to the other church, but he adamantly asserted that this was as far as he could go. I then realized he had been dropping all our guests off at the base of this hill to climb their way to the church, and I was livid! I mean, come on! I begged him to please take us around the hill and drop us off at the right church, but he kept insisting he couldn’t get any closer.
Frustrated and feeling the stress, we climbed off the bus and began trekking up the hill. Once we cleared the hill, we nearly got hit by the same bus flying down the street in front of our church! I couldn’t believe it. We made our way into the church which was thankfully cooler than the previous day but by no means frosty. We were a little late from our detours, and Chris mom kindly offered me an opportunity for us to start processing before the bus returned with Chris’ grandparents, but they mean a lot to Chris, so I volunteered to wait even though my nerves were killing me…