After Brad and I walked out of the chapel together. It was time to gather together the bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers, house party, flower girls, ring bearer, parents, sister, grandparents to start taking pictures.
We did the typical formal photos. Me with my dad, with my mom, with both, with my grandma, Brad with his parents, add his sister, etc etc etc. It was fun, and we got some great formal shots, but formal is not really US.
After pictures with everyone were done, Brad and I headed outside with our two photographers to take some pictures of just us two. We got to walk, hold hands, kiss. He dipped me, I sat on his lap, he spun me around. We just got to play together like we always do, just this time we had two photographers snapping our every move and we were in formal clothing! Those are the pictures I cherish the most! I can't wait to get them printed out and frame them!!
After pictures of Brad and I were done. We said goodbye and went our separate ways until 5 pm. I was in the brides room (obviously) with my mom, Brad's mom, my grandma's, bridesmaids, and flower girls. Since I was so calm, and seriously having an out of body experience, I dont remember if it was hectic, or busy. I was just a fly on the wall, or so it felt. I know Kirby touched up my lipstick one last time. People were taking pictures around me, and with me.
I got out my "statements" (Brad and I did the traditional vows, but we had also decided to write statements to one another). I read through my statements to myself. Not trying to memorize them, but trying to make myself more comfortable with them. I can write about Brad all day long, and about why I love him, but getting up on the stage and reading them out loud is a totally different ball game! These were the words I was going to say to my future husband. These were the promises I was going to make to him. These were important words.
Finally, it was time. The moms and grandmas disappeared out of the room, as well as the bridesmaids and flower girls. I was in there for a split second before my daddy joined me. I had already seen him, but he looked so handsome in his tux. All I could do was smile. He smiled back. I dont think either of us cried at that moment....but we were both touched by what a special moment it was.
I tried to frantically search for some lip gloss (like that mattered right before I was about to get married). All my daddy had on him was his Vaseline. It worked like a charm. I applied it. I checked my teeth to make sure I had no lipstick on them...and we were out the door.
On our way to the doors of the chapel, we were talking. I could tell Dad was nervous. We ran in to one of his very good friends, Charles Cella. Mr. Cella owns Oaklawn and his lives in St. Louis, MO. He has Parkinson's that is not very good to him, but he had flown to Little Rock that morning for my wedding and went straight to the airport after the wedding so he could fly back home. What amazing friends my dad has!
We were both shocked to see him, because we knew he was not doing well. As he passed us he said "I wouldn't miss this for the world, I gave away my little girl, and this is an emotional day." What a great man he is.
We headed to the doors of the chapel. There are two sets of doors. One set leads into the chapel, the other set (only a few feet away from the first set) divides those doors from the rest of the church (which is huge and has many sections). The outer set was open, so the only thing between us and the guests was one set of doors. Dad and I stood there for a few minutes, talking to the Ushers (who were supposed to open the doors when they heard the music), and the wedding coordinator. The wedding coordinator reminded the ushers to be listening for the music. I thought I heard it, but wasnt going to say anything. My jobs were done! I was there to enjoy! The ushers started to listen, heard the music, and opened the doors.
Side note (which I found out later): The ushers had indeed not been listening, and while Dad and I were standing out there waiting on the music to start and the doors to open....our music had already started to play and had run through once already. When Brad told me this, I asked him if he was nervous that I wasnt coming. He said he could see me moving through the crack in the doors, so he was calm, but he was sure that everyone else in the audience had had a moment of panic on his behalf. LOL
The doors opened, and dad and I started down the aisle. I had always envisioned that I would smile at a few people and my eyes would be locked on Brad for the rest of the trip down. That is not how it happened at all. I had a hold of my dad's arm, trying to keep him from running down the aisle, and I spent my whole trip down the aisle looking at both sides of me. Looking at people, smiling, acknowledging. I didnt realize how far we had made it down the aisle until we were at the end. I dont even remember who I saw...lol....but I remember feeling bad that I didnt look at Brad the whole way down. (I confessed this to him later, and he said he didnt even notice).
Brad took his place by dad's side. Robert Lewis said some words, Dad gave me a kiss, gave Brad a hug, and took his seat. Brad moved in beside me. The rest of the ceremony is kinda a blur. I remember being really happy. Smiling the whole time. I kept wanting to steal kisses from Brad (but couldn't, we weren't officially married yet). I rubbed his back a few times. I definitely cried and sniffled during my statements. We held hands.
Andrea Dean sang and played piano. It was beautiful. That was when we did the unity candle. I was afraid wax from my candle was going to drip on my dress. I was also afraid that I or Brad would blow out the main candle that we had just lit when we were blowing out our small candles. Neither of my fears happened. Whew!
At one point, after the ceremony, and the unity candle, I looked at Brad and said "We are married" to which our pastor replied "Not yet, not until I say so". HAHA. I was just so ready to be his wife I guess.
The pastor prayed. He pronounced us husband and wife. We kissed and then we headed down the aisle hand in hand.
At the end of the aisle were four members of the Air Force Saber Team. They had their swords up. As we walked through them, the last two put their swords down in front of us so we couldnt walk any further. I looked up at the man to my right (David Smith, a man in Brad's unit) and he said "Welcome to the Air Force Family" I, of course, said "Thank you!". Then someone behind us said "You are supposed to kiss". So we did!
The swords in front of us went up, and then one of them popped me on the behind as we walked out of the church. SO FUN!!!
Brad and I went to a back hallway with our family to hide so the guests would head straight to the reception. We took some family pictures with extended/out of town family while the ushers, house party, groomsmen and bridesmaids cleaned up the chapel.
It was time to head to the reception. We were married!!! As we headed out to the limo, I realized I didnt have my purse, and/or my keys...and my dad needed my keys so he could drive my car to his house and then get picked up by his town car. There was a slight moment of panic...but all was resolved. The car the purse was in had not left the parking lot yet! They swung by the limo, I grabbed my lip gloss, razorback sticker for my cheek and my keys to give my dad.
Brad and I piled into the limo and headed to the reception! I have always wondered what a couple who is alone for the first time say to each other right after they get married...and I finally got to find out. We literally looked at each other and couldnt believe that it was finally here and over. WE WERE MARRIED!!
We talked about the ceremony, funny things that had happened, and just enjoyed being alone and being married. When we got to the reception site, our driver immediately took us to the upper level where we met our photographer to take some more pictures of Brad and I. I had applied my razorback sticker to my cheek already, so those were in the pictures too!
Side Note: Every Saturday of football season, if the Hogs are playing, I am wearing the Razorback on my cheek. It is not negotiable. So it only seemed appropriate that I have it on my face for our reception. The Hogs played Auburn earlier in the day, and even though they didnt win, that didnt mean I wasnt a Hog fan. So on the sticker went!!!
Our photographer snapped some really awesome pictures of us with an amazing back drop of the sun setting. She is so wonderful! We also were met at the top by the High Profile Editor. We had been chosen for the Featured Wedding so she was there to get some party pics of us and our wedding party. This was a dream come true so I was super excited!!!
After our photos, we headed back to the limo. The photographer jumped in with us so she could get some limo shots. It was so funny. It was so dark in there, so couldnt see what she was doing, but she ended up getting some really great photos!
We were met at the door by the girl who had helped me with the reception. She whisked us away into a back room where they took our drink order and brought us a plate of food to share from our buffet. I really like how they did this. This way, we could have a chance to eat before we went into the reception and had no other chances until it was 10 pm and time to get in the limo and go to the hotel room. We picked at our food, but neither of us were very hungry. We were too excited to see everyone and enjoy the party we had been planning for 13 months!
Then it was time to walk in as husband and wife!!! They brought us out of the back room and introduced us! People were lined up and were cheering for us! It was a neat feeling. The first people we saw were my bridesmaids and four other girls that I had picked to do something special before we cut the cake! We walked into the reception hall and went immediately to the cake. The 12 girls who I had chosen were instructed to surround the cake and pick one ribbon that was coming out from the bottom of the cake.
I had planned a charm pull!!! Traditionally, only single/unmarried girls are supposed to pull the charms. But it was MY wedding and I wanted the people who were either involved in the wedding or had helped me out TREMENDOUSLY to feel special, so I picked my 8 bridesmaids and Brad's sister Angela, Cassie Howell, Sherri Hawley and Kirby Crone.
Each girl picked a ribbon, not knowing what charm was attached. On the count of three, they all pulled at their ribbon to see what they got. I had to lick the icing off of Cara Beth's b/c she is gluten intolerant. Then they all told me what they got and I told them what the charm meant. The one I remember the most is Jessica Doose. She pulled the stork charm...which means that she will be the next to have a baby. What is so great about the whole thing is that she had just had her son toward the end of July, making him only 3 months old!! It was GREAT!
|This was me pointing at Jessie when she announced her charm!|
After the charm pull, Brad and I cut our cake (promising each other we would not cram cake in the other's face) and did our toast. The toasting flutes I had purchased and had gotten the base engraved with our names and our wedding date. Hopefully we will be toasting to another happy year of marriage with these glasses year after year!!
After cake cutting and toasting...it was time to mix and mingle for a few minutes.That is where Brad and I got separated. I hugged so many people....and I was so thankful for every single one of them for being there. I was so touched that people would give up their nights to celebrate Brad and I. So sweet. I really didnt make it but 5 feet in either direction because I got stopped every few inches by someone. Such a blessing!
After that, it was time for my daddy and I to dance. Like I mentioned in a previous blog. Our song had been picked out by Brad. He was the best one to do it. No one else knows my dad and I's relationship better and he knew I wouldnt be able to make it through a song to listen to it because I would be crying so hard. It was perfect.
Dad and I talked, laughed, and cried. Typical of dad and I. There are some great shots of me hugging him, of us cracking each other up, and just enjoying the moment we had both been looking forward to and somewhat dreading for my whole life!! It was perfect! After the song, he walked me over to Brad, hugged Brad again and then passed me off to my husband.
Then Brad and I danced. It was also perfect. (Have I mentioned the whole day was perfect?). We held each other, and just basked in the moment of our first dance. We cant wait to see the video.
Then it was his turn to dance with his mom. She is the sweetest human I know and she looked just like a little porcelain doll the whole night. Their dance was so sweet and I know that they both loved every minute of it!!
After the dances, the dance floor was opened up and the party started. We did the cupid shuffle, we did the chair dance (I will explain this later), Brad and I danced to "Down" by J Sean (this song has reminded me of him from the first time I heard it) and we just had fun. If you wanted to see me, I was on the dance floor. It was a blast.
During the bouquet toss, the single girls lined up to try to catch my bouquet. I of course did a "false toss" for the photographer and then it was time. I THREW the bouquet so hard and so far that none of the girls even had a chance. It flew so far that BRAD was the one who caught my flowers. BRAD! The next thing I knew, as I turned around to see who caught it, my husband came shooting through the girls with his hands up in the air and my flowers in one hand. It was hilarious!!! We hugged and laughed and then I got the flowers back to try again.
I tossed them a second time, a little easier this time, and my dear friend Amanda caught them. I love this girl. She and I became good friends at OBU, and although we have lost touch over the years, we know we are still here for each other. She came all the way from Texas for our wedding, and I just think that was the sweetest thing! I am so glad she caught my flowers! I hope they bring her luck!!!
Then it was the garter toss! I sat in the chair, threw my leg in the air and waited for Brad to take the garter off. He removed it gracefully and then tossed it. Ethan, our ring bearer, caught the garter! It was too perfect!
After the flowers and the garter were tossed...it was time to dance again. I will explain what the chair dance is. It started back in high school. My best friends in high school and I loved dances, and we were more interested in dancing with each other than our dates. One of our good guy friends (who is still a good friend of ours) was my date to all of the dances. So, occasionally we would sit him in a chair and dance around him.
When Trisha got married, we made it a point to put Patrick in a chair and all dance around him. When Amy got married, we put G in a chair and danced around him. So when Ashley came up to me asking me if it was time to do the chair dance....I was so excited!!! I grabbed the chair and moved it to the center of the dance floor while Trisha went and got Brad and Ashley went and requested the song. We sat Brad in the chair and when the song started, we started dancing around him. It was great! It was me, Trisha, Ashley, Leah and Amy....then all of my college friends and bridesmaids joined in as well....so it became a HUGE circle of girls dancing around my husband!! It was hilarious! I loved every minute of it (and I am sure Brad did too).
Also, at some point during the end of the night, the DJ played "Dirty Pop" by *NSYNC. (This was a requested by me song). I know the whole dance, so naturally, I started doing the whole dance, complete with the part when they get on the floor...in my wedding dress. Needless to say, by the time Dirty Pop was over, I had broken my bustle and my train had fallen. I really didnt care at that point, but they tried to pin the dress back up so it wouldnt get in my way. A few minutes later, the pin broke and I decided to just drape my train over my shoulder....so i look like I am wearing a toga in a few of the pictures from the end of the night!!!
We also had a money dance. The DJ called Chris Johnson and Kirby (soon to be Johnson on March 26th) up to the dance floor to be our cashiers. During this dance, people could give our cashiers money to dance with us. This was so helpful because it gave us some cash to be able to use on the honeymoon!! So, THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED US OUT A LITTLE BIT THAT NIGHT! At one point during the money dance, I looked over and saw Brad on two knees dancing with our flower girls!!! He is such a sweet man! I love him so much! Some of his groomsmen paid to dance with him, some of my bridesmaids and friends paid to dance with me. Kellee, the girl I work with who has been a saving grace, paid to dance with me as well. It was a fun way to get to spend a little bit of time with people and make some moolah!
|On his knees dancing with a flower girl|
All in all it was an AMAZING evening and I had so much fun!!! Here is a picture of my high school best friends and I....the second picture is very typical of us! We had a great high school group and its so fun to get back together and just be goofy!!
Side Note: That morning I realized I didnt have any flower petals to be thrown. I had called Fresh Market and they had already thrown out their old flowers. I was scheduled to be headed somewhere the morning of the wedding, so I asked my dad if he would just go and buy some roses and I would get them de-petaled. He agreed and headed to Fresh Market to buy my flowers. Next thing I know, he calls me and tells me that he will go ahead and take all of the petals off because he doesnt want me to worry about a thing that day. How sweet! So he bought the flowers and de-petaled them. What a sweet daddy!
So we headed down the stairs and into the limo, being pelted with rose petals! It was so much fun!
|Here we are in the limo, getting ready to leave!!|
Once in the limo....we noticed four or five boxes sitting on one of the seats. The reception site had boxed up food from our buffet so we could take it to the hotel and eat it if we were hungry! How fabulous are they?!!?
When we got to the hotel room, we changed out of our wedding clothes and chowed down on our cake and pie (we served pumpkin and pecan pie as well as cake)....we didnt eat much of our other food...only the desert! It was awesome!
It was the most perfect day EVER and the most beautiful wedding! I am so blessed with amazing true friends and wonderful family and an AMAZING husband! He is so good to me and I dont know what I did to deserve him and his unconditional love!!!