The Ceremony

Filed under the only anxiety of the day, the bus situation was not good. Twenty, then thirty minutes passed with no sighting of Chris’ grandparents. I was getting hot and very anxious, and I felt for all our guests sitting in the hot church and waiting for us. Finally, Chris’ dad got a call letting him know that Chris’ grandparents were waiting in the wrong church thanks to our bus driver’s lack of direction. I panicked at that point knowing it would take them at least 15 minutes to get to the right church, and everyone saw me panic and quickly suggested we start without them.

That was a hard moment for me. I knew Chris would have wanted them to process up the aisle, but I also knew we couldn’t make our guests or the church wait any longer as there was a 5pm mass scheduled. I spent the first half of the walk up the aisle panicking (thankfully my Grandpa was very calming) about whether or not I had done the right thing, but then I realized “Oh my God! I’m walking down the aisle for the first and last time! Get it together!” So, I grabbed my Grandpa’s arm, looked up and saw my love standing up there and everything else just faded away. I locked eyes with him and teared up a bit and he did too, and it was perfect. I set my sights on him and just enjoyed the rest of the walk.

20140724-080006-28806685.jpg

The ceremony was perfect. It was cool on the altar and we were all able to sit and avoid some of the heat. Chris looked so handsome and happy, and it was just so wonderful being in that church I have already spent so many Sundays in on the most important Saturday of my life. The moms did a great job on their readings and the Deacon’s homily was relatively short and sweet. There was a lot of confusion as to where Chris and I were supposed to stand and what we were supposed to do throughout the ceremony, but no one noticed or cared, and we ended up man and wife which was all I really wanted anyway.

The only downside of the ceremony is that we had our backs to our guests the entire time. I kept wanting to turn around and sneak a peek, but to no avail. We did decided to head down into the pews to greet our immediate families during the sign of the peace, and that was a really special moment. Chris’ grandparents arrived shortly after the first reading, and I’m so thankful they were able to witness our vows!

We exchanged our vows and had our kiss. Chris put the ring on my finger. He was so cute and afraid of hurting me, so he only pushed it about half way. I made sure to get his on there good and tight! Haha! Time sped up and next thing I knew, we were recessing down the aisle. Everyone was clapping and cheering, and I was so happy I nearly exploded. Chris and I made it to the back and kissed and all our wonderful friends met us with hugs and cheers. It was perfect!

We took a few quick pictures and signed the marriage certificate in the stifling church before sending our guests back via bus (I THOUGHT) and doing the rest of our pictures on the beautiful campus lawns. Midway through our pictures we found out that the bus had never returned for anyone. Luckily, our wonderful friends ran back to the hotel and grabbed some cars to start bringing people back. The hotel offered up their shuttle, but some people still had to walk back in heels in the July heat. No one said anything about it, but I felt just awful. And mad. We were both steaming mad at that bus. Our photographer calmed us down and got some great shots of us before we headed back to the meeting point of the bus to figure out what to do next. To our surprise, he was there. I was so mad I got on without saying anything. He deposited us at the hotel and left without a word. Weirdest vendor ever…

Wedding Morning

(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…

The Rehearsal

So, yeah, we got married, and it was really, the best day yet. I’m torn between rehashing every little detail and just saying it was perfect, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Hopefully, I’ll wind up somewhere in the middle. It’s going to be nearly impossible to capture everything I’m feeling, but I have to try and get it down since the details are already starting to blur in my mind. The whole thing was such a whirlwind.

The Friday of the rehearsal dinner was the first day that Chris took off, so that’s when the fun really started. I had finished all my must do errands on Thursday (dropped stuff off at the venue, contacted all my vendors and had my nails done), so I was feeling really calm and ready to go. We went for a very hot run together in the morning then heading to Westfield so Chris could pick up some shorts for our honeymoon. He had realized that day that he only had one pair of shorts he liked. Seriously. We chased our shopping session with breakfast at a cute little diner where I ate my face off. I thought I’d be too nervous to eat all weekend, but that was NOT the case.

After brunch, we went back home and tied up all our loose ends. We cleaned the house, packed our bags for the weekend and got the pets all squared away. Before I knew it, Chris’ parents arrived to help us bring stuff down. Once they were there, I really couldn’t contain my excitement anymore. I just wanted to get to New Brunswick so the fun could start. I felt sort of bad because I rushed them out the door so we could get on the road, but I was just way too excited for this weekend to finally be here.

We made great time getting to New Brunswick (which made me feel even sillier about all the rushing), and I was checked into my gigantic suite by 4pm. Chris helped his parents unload the car and get all checked in while I got changed and started on my hair and makeup. By 5:30, Chris had come up to get me, and after he picked his jaw up off the floor (wowed by the room, not me, well, maybe me too), we were eagerly jamming the elevator buttons (slowest elevator ever) to make our way down to the lobby and meet up with our people! My heart was racing when I saw so many of our family and friends in the lobby. I couldn’t stop smiling, and I felt like a crazy person darting from relative to relative giving hugs and just generally being ecstatic.

We made our way to the church to find that, of course, our Deacon had neglected to book our rehearsal. He was so absent minded throughout this whole process. He kept ragging on me for being so organized, but seriously, dude, you’re supposed to be on top of this. Luckily, our friends are just the best and were all there early, so the priest who had reserved the space for an earlier wedding the next day let us quickly rehearse while the other couple waited for their guests to arrive.

I guess if he had to neglect to book something, I’m glad it was the rehearsal and not the ceremony, but still. The church was easily 80 degrees inside, which took everyone, myself included, by surprise. The Deacon kept saying how surprised he was that it was so cool in there which made me pretty nervous for the next day. We sped through the rehearsal at breakneck speed to accommodate the couple waiting. I started off pretty upset about it (and I’m getting even more so as I type this up), but I was so thrilled to see everyone that I couldn’t waste a minute being upset. Looking back, it really was a bummer that he dropped the ball and we had to rush through our rehearsal. The moms didn’t get a chance to practice their readings (something they were both really looking forward to), and everything was so rushed, I had no idea what to do the next day.

The worst part of the botched rehearsal, which I didn’t realize at the time, is that it created a lot of anxiety surrounding the ceremony for me the next morning. I was hoping the rehearsal would help me visualize a calm, beautiful ceremony to look forward to, but every time I looked back on it the next morning, the frenzied rush really stressed me out. Luckily, none of that at all ran through my mind in the moment. I was just so happy to finally be there.

After our speedy rehearsal, we headed up the street for dinner. Harvest Moon was absolutely amazing. They were all set up and waiting for us, so we were able to sit down early. They sectioned off the prettiest part of the upstairs, and the service was just so wonderful. The food was fantastic too! I ate a little of everything and left feeling totally full and happy.

20140724-074430-27870823.jpg

20140724-074431-27871219.jpg

There were about 25 of us at dinner which was a great size. It allowed me to really talk to some of the people I’m closest with which made me feel a lot better about not getting to spend much time with anyone the next night. Chris’ dad and my mom gave beautiful, heartfelt toasts. Chris’ dad reminisced about Chris’ childhood and told a cute story about his foray into computers that I had never heard before. He is not a very emotional guy, so I was totally blown away about all the sweet things he had to say about me and my family. It meant so much to me. My mom gave a beautiful toast about how happy she was to become my mom and how wonderful meeting Chris was. She followed up with a fun game where she read a few romantic quotes and had everyone shout out guesses as to who said them. Everyone got really into it! My sister gave me the most perfect wedding gift. She compiled a scrapbook full of marriage advice and funny observations of us. The best part is that she didn’t want to tip me off to what she was up to, so she used our guest list to cull everyone’s names and SNAIL-MAILED the surveys to everyone! I couldn’t believe she went through that much effort, and it seriously meant so much to me.

20140724-074629-27989306.jpg

20140724-074630-27990250.jpg

Chris and I also got to give out our gifts and notes at the dinner, and it was great watching everyone react to the gifts we had spent months dreaming up and putting together. Even though I only had two glasses of wine, I was so happy and excited that I left feeling totally drunk. We all walked back to the hotel together, and some people were genuinely very drunk, so it was a great fun walk through our old college town.

Back at the hotel, I joined the groomsmen and their wives/girlfriends plus my dad and younger brother for a quick drink. And a shot. I told myself that the second I finally calmed down and felt sleepy, I’d head upstairs to bed, so after my first yawn, I asked Chris to walk me to my room.

He happily obliged and gave me a sweet kiss goodnight. We had agreed to go totally “radio-silent”, meaning no texts or calls until our first touch the next day. So, our goodnight was surprisingly emotional. We both got a little choked up knowing that the next time we actually saw each other, we’d be married! After our goodbyes, Chris headed back down for more fun, and I headed straight to bed. By the time I finished brushing my teeth, it was like 11:55, and I remember putting my head on the pillow and thinking, “I’m never going to be able to sleep tonight.” Next thing I knew, my 5:30 alarm was going off, and the covers were totally undisturbed as I clearly had slept like a stone and not even moved once throughout the night…

Happenings lately

So it was my attention to post more than once a month, but things have been predictably busy as we get closer to the one month mark for the wedding. Let’s see what’s been going on lately via pictures…

20140609-062257-22977783.jpg

20140609-062258-22978130.jpg

20140609-062257-22977966.jpg

20140609-062258-22978315.jpg

Chris and I spent the night in Red Bank to celebrate his 29th birthday (a tough one to celebrate because of course you want it to be big, but you gotta manage expectations for the next year :)). We saw Jim Bruer live at the Count Basie Theater, and he was hilarious! I had to put my head down and tune him out at one point because I was laughing so hard my stomach hurt. We spent the night at the Molly Pitcher Inn which was so fun. I felt a little silly staying in a hotel less than an hour from our house, but it felt like a real vacation. Totally worth it. The next morning we had the best diner breakfast ever. One of my favorite things about NJ are our diners, and this one was awesome!

The next day I took both my moms and my littlest sister to my first dress fitting! I can’t believe that I bought it more than a year ago. Time has absolutely flown by this year. I was nervous I would have “dress regret” simply because it had been so long. Luckily, it was even better than I remembered, and just putting it on made me soooooo excited.

20140609-062730-23250962.jpg

20140609-062730-23250757.jpg

20140609-062730-23250584.jpg

20140609-062731-23251172.jpg

20140609-062731-23251341.jpg

Next weekend (Memorial Day if you’re paying attention) we partied with some our favorite people to celebrate Travis and Laura’s wedding. Theirs was the last wedding on our calendar before our own, so watching them tie the knot took on special significance for me and definitely made our wedding feel super close! The whole night was so wonderful. The ceremony was beautiful, the food was delicious, the dancing was insanely fun, and we ended the night with a candy buffet!

20140609-063005-23405167.jpg

20140609-063005-23405372.jpg

20140609-063005-23405592.jpg

I spent the rest of the weekend celebrating the holiday with friends, family and my favorite four legged girl. It was a great mix of busy and relaxing.

20140609-063314-23594042.jpg

20140609-063314-23594241.jpg

20140609-063314-23594672.jpg

20140609-063314-23594435.jpg

20140609-063314-23594885.jpg

The next weekend was my small bridal shower. Since we had the engagement party, we kept it to just family and bridesmaids, but it was still such a beautiful day. My mom accompanied me to my hair and makeup trials in the morning, and if was so nervous about them. Both artists were new to me, and I was terrified it wouldn’t be a good match. I’ve never had my hair or makeup professionally done before (my mom cut my hair until I was 16), but I was seriously blown away! It was totally natural. I looked just like me only so much better. Haha! It was fun to be able to picture how I’ll look on the big day and more fun to share with my family and friends. My bridesmaids sent me those beautiful flowers, and my mom supplied all the cute decorations. Everyone helped set up the house while we were out, and I felt so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life.

20140609-063700-23820449.jpg

20140609-063700-23820664.jpg

20140609-063700-23820252.jpg

Last week was busy but fun. Wednesday night was the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge (a 3.3 mile race through Central Park which people run with their companies). It was the third time I’ve run this race, and it was just as fun as ever. It’s such a hilly race, and everyone is so speedy, so it’s kind of a challenging race, but it’s fun to get to know some new coworkers in a different way. I met some great people, and had a great time. It was totally worth getting home after 9:45 on a weeknight! The next day was probably the best work day ever since we left at 12:30 and headed for a little team bonding at Yankee stadium! I love watching baseball live and always say I should go more. Of course I haven’t been since 2011, so it was fun to get out there. We were all so nervous because it was POURING in the morning, but the afternoon turned out to be completely beautiful. It was really a great afternoon.

20140609-064132-24092062.jpg

20140609-064131-24091226.jpg

20140609-064131-24091501.jpg

20140609-064130-24090815.jpg

20140609-064131-24091689.jpg

20140609-064131-24091024.jpg

20140609-064132-24092423.jpg

20140609-064132-24092252.jpg

This past weekend (finally caught up!) was very exciting too. Chris and I went on a real date to see X-Men at one of those dine in theaters. It was such a blast! I didn’t think I’d enjoy it that much, but I’m already ready to go back. In fact, I doubt I’d see a movie in a regular theater now. It was that fun! Saturday I took my gal to the dog park while poor Chris worked his 11th straight day. Work is insane for him right now, and we’re all looking forward to July when things lighten up. Layla had a wonderful time like always at the dog park. It’s great for everyone because she comes home completely exhausted and sleeps all day!

Saturday we took Chris’ parents to New Brunswick (my mom was sick :() to see our church and venue! We tasted so much food and made our dinner, wine and cake (!!) selections. Our coordinator at the hotel is so great and asked me a million questions (of which I knew the answer to 5) to help me flesh out the big day. It gave me a lot of direction (as well as a long to do list) for what the last few weeks should look like in order to be ready for the big day. I’ve got some work to do, but I’m ready for it!

Sunday was Steph’s bridal shower at a cute tea house in Morristown. I’d never had a real tea before, and it was really fun. Her family and friends did a great job keeping the day entertaining, and I got to catch up with the bride to be as well as newly wedded Laura! It’s been both insanely busy and incredibly wonderful to have so many friends getting married this year too. Having these women to turn to for advice or just to listen to each other vent has been such a huge help.

So hopefully you’ll hear from me a few more times before the wedding! Until then, I’ll be a busy bee!

Our first real outing!

This past weekend, we took Layla to South Mountain Reservation which has a few trails as well as an awesome dog park. I was a little nervous about how she’d react because she’s still pretty timid in the house, and she hated the car trip out there. Once we got to the trails though, she was a different dog! She was so excited to be out and about in the fresh air and sunshine. It was really sweet.

IMG_4482

IMG_4485

IMG_4490

IMG_4491

IMG_4492

 

After our hike, I felt like she was up for the dog park. She’s skittish around people, but she seems to really love other dogs. I was still on the nervous side though. Obviously, this dog has a dark history, and I was worried being around so many dogs and owners would freak her out. Of course,  I was totally wrong. She had a blast at the dog park. She ran around and played. It was really sweet when she would come back to us almost as if to “check-in” and then take off running again. She came home and after a much needed bath, slept for hours.

Rescuing Layla has been a challenge in a different way than I expected. Honestly, we go so lucky. She’s kind and calm and incredibly well behaved. She loves us, and shows it. However, she does have moments where something we do, (me- talking too loudly, Chris- playing guitar) sets her off into a panic. She’ll shake pretty hard and nothing we do can make her feel better. A lot of the time, it feels like we’re doing everything wrong. This weekend we finally felt like we did something to make her happy, and that made us very happy.

3 Years

Today is our three year anniversary. I thought of posting a million pictures and writing a lengthy post, but honestly, I just want to say that I’m so lucky I’ve found my person. Chris makes me happy every single day. The good times are magnified because I have someone to share them with, and the bad times are made a little easier by someone willing to help carry the load. I never could have imagined my life would take this direction. I always used to wonder how I would know when I found the one, but it’s true; you just know. This year is the year we get married and our anniversary clock resets in a way, and I hope the next 100 years (yes, 100) are just as sweet.

IMG_3975

I’m 27 now!

So, a few weeks ago I turned 27, and my 27th year has already been so busy that I’ve haven’t been able to update forever. Regardless, I’m another year older and none the wiser. Or something like that. It was a pretty great birthday. Maybe the best I’ve had since the big 2-1. Since my birthday was a Tuesday, day-of celebrations were pretty tame, but still wonderful. Chris made me breakfast (extra impressive since it was 5:30 in the morning!), and the eat-razaganza continued for the rest of the day.

IMG_4429

My coworkers surprised me with mini cupcakes by setting up a fake meeting which I totally fell for (and actually panicked a bit about since  I wasn’t prepared #typeAproblems). Later, Chris took me out for Thai at the best Thai place in the county. Seriously, this place is legit. It’s in an old-school air-stream trailer, and the food is delicious. The only participant of the day who didn’t cooperate was the weather. It went from 70 and sunny to freezing rain throughout the day. It was pretty gross. Otherwise, I felt super loved and happy. My mom dropped off beautiful tulips (which the frost and my black thumb have already killed) and delicious cupcakes. I was also treated to about 20 cards. I love giving and getting cards, so this was a big deal!!

IMG_4427

IMG_4438

27 definitely started with a bang and kept getting better. The following weekend, we went to Atlantic City to spend the night at Harrah’s with Debbie and Mike. Cameron and Rich (who live in South Jersey now!) met us for dinner at El Camino. The food was great, but the drinks were really excellent. I had a strawberry margarita with prosecco in it, and it was a real challenge not to gulp the whole thing down. After dinner, we all hit the casino floor for a little gambling, and everyone came out on top! I couldn’t believe it! I played a few hands of blackjack and doubled my money, and Chris hit a number in roulette! Casinos are definitely more fun when you’re winning.

IMG_4447

IMG_4454

IMG_4455

IMG_4457

We wrapped up the weekend with Saturday morning brunch followed by our church’s Easter Vigil. It started after sundown and lasted longer than 3 hours which sounds awful but was actually beautiful. I can’t really describe it, but the combination of music, readings and celebration were so uplifting. Luckily, our church is in a college town, so when we came out starving after midnight, we were able to grab some great BBQ for dinner.

IMG_4461

The next morning was Easter which we hosted. Chris’ mom, dad, brother and uncle joined us along with my mom and sister. Chris’ mom brought their dog, and the two girls (plus the two cats) got along great! We had the food catered by a local company which was absolutely the right choice. We picked everything up the day before, so all I had to do the day off was re-heat. I got to spend so much more time with everyone than if I had been cooking, and the food was awesome.

IMG_4462

We ended the weekend happy and exhausted which is usually the sign of a great birthday!