|*All photos courtesy of Mike Collins, unless otherwise noted|
Well, gang. It happened. After nearly a year and a half of planning, dreaming, working, crafting, worrying, hoping, freaking out, anxiousness, excitedness, giddiness, glee and elation, on May 18th Eric and I said our "I dos" and finally became husband and wife.
And even now, two weeks later, I'm still in awe of the whole thing. I had very lofty goals for this wedding. I was putting a lot of added pressure onto myself and there were times I didn't believe it would all come together. I truly believe the only reason it came together even better than I ever imagined is because I had the most incredible help from so many people... people who jumped up to volunteer to help set up, tear down, make sure everything was running smoothly, brought to life all the little details I'd made and dreamed up... I feel like I owe a million bucks to everyone who helped us in any little (and more often than not, in any huge) way. They deserve it for all their selflessness. Family, friends, our vendors... everyone worked together to make the day nearly flawless. In my mind, it was flawless (aside from a couple technical glitches, which only worked in the favor of my dad's most epic Father-of-the-Bride speech ever... I've never seen a wedding speech receive a standing ovation). I'd resigned myself, weeks earlier, to the fact that this little dream wedding I'd planned up in my head for so long, put so much work behind, might not end up just how I had envisioned, but in the end it was everything I'd envisioned and so, so, so much more.
And even if everything else had gone wrong, it wouldn't have mattered, because our little ceremony was so special to me - from the music, to our quirky little reading that I'm not sure many people understood, to our self-written vows, to the very second we were pronounced husband and wife. I married Eric, and that was all that mattered.
Although all the little details were still pretty important to me...
|Photo courtesy of Jaimer's Floral|
I promise I'll share more about those details later, but in this post I just wanted to touch on the overall feel of the day. So many people have told me they really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of our wedding day, which is exactly what I wanted. I also wanted people to look around them and say "This wedding couldn't be anyone else's but Eric and Rachel's," which is another comment I've gotten from many of our guests. One of Eric's cousins mentioned it was "just the perfect little wedding." That was one of my favorite compliments, because from the get-go that's what I was aiming for: simple, sweet, full of love, full of personality, low on frills, low on pomp and circumstance... and Up to Eleven on fun.
And, oh, was there fun. We're talking multiple people on the dance floor holding full champagne bottles while breaking it down. Shirts fileld with sweat. (I had to pin my bangs back about half an hour into the dance party because they were sopping). Another priority of ours was that we have the best dance party in the history of weddings. While I can't speak for certain, in my mind we accomplished that goal tenfold. Thank you, mid-90s hip hop.
Photo courtesy of Sean Goodwin
All week long I was bracing myself for horrible weather. On Monday morning, the forecast called for 62 and rainy all day that following Saturday. I was beside myself with worry about how we were going to have to change everything about our outdoor ceremony. But each time I checked the forecast (at least twice a day, every day leading up to the wedding), the forecast got a little better.... until finally Saturday morning, the clouds parted, the temperature rose and it became the most gorgeous, perfectly 70-degree-and-sunny day, with just a slight breeze. I couldn't believe the break I got from the weather. Look at that breathtaking blue sky above Lake Michigan!
Two weeks later, I'm still on Cloud Nine about it all. I love perusing through all the pictures from my friends, reliving every moment that rushed by me in a whirl (it's true what they say - your wedding day will pass by in the snap of a finger). I wish I could do it all a hundred times over... perhaps with someone else coordinating all the vendor details. But in the end I truly don't think I would have changed a thing. The wedding reflected our style, our personality, our relationship. It was fun, funny, sentimental, romantic and filled with joy.
There are a few moments that stand out to me as my favorites:
- Coming out from the Pavilion, hearing Ingrid Michaelson's "Can't Help Falling in Love," holding tightly to my dad's arm, and seeing Eric, eyes welled up with tears, at the end of the aisle.
- Hearing Eric's self-written vows to me, and, in turn, reading my own vows to him.
- Turning around after being pronounced husband and wife and seeing the entire crowd waving their "Yay" flags in the afternoon sun. (I worked so damn hard on those things and am so happy to see they were put to good use!)
- Walking into the reception hall and looking around at all those little things I worked on, the things both our moms helped to make and collect over our engagement... all put together in this big room, looking so cheerful, bright and happy.
- Being thrown back by my dad's Father-of-the-Bride speech... it was the exact opposite of what I was expecting (I thought it would be a short little speech overcome by a flowing stream of tears). It was booming, powerful, funny, sweet, kind of wacky, intense and absolutely pumped up everyone in the room. He got multiple cheers, a standing ovation, and so many people told me it was like a halftime speech at a football game (befitting, as my dad spent so many years coaching a number of sports).
- Hearing the wonderful speeches of my lifelong friends Lisa and Brandy, and Eric's best man, Kyle. So rarely do we get to hear our favorite people say such lovely things about us.
- The moment the dance party began.
- The very last song of the night. Weeks earlier, when Eric and I were finalizing music, we were trying to think of the last song we'd play for the night. We laughed and thought, "How incredible would it be to have everyone on the dance floor at the end of the night, arms around each other, singing Boyz II Men's 'End of the Road?'" I wasn't sure if that's what would happen, but, lo and behold, when the night ended and the first notes of that song rang out, everyone circled around and it became the most fun sing-along moment I can remember. I kept shouting, "This is exactly what I wanted!!" I was totally, geekily giddy in this cheesy moment. It was the perfect end of the night.
At the end of the night, after the after-party (which was not in the hotel lobby), Eric and I decided to walk home, in my wedding dress and in his fancy suit. It was a little before 2:00am, and the streets of Bay View were quiet. We were tired, but it was a nice night, and we were happy to have just a little time to ourselves (something we didn't have all day). A cab drive pulled over and asked if we'd like a ride home. My feet were aching by this point, so we hopped in and she drove us the five blocks to our house. When we tried to pay her, she refused and said it was a wedding gift. We thanked her, went inside, still buzzing from the events of the day. Starving, and having not eaten a stitch from our beautiful desserts table, we reached into the freezer to find our wedding cake. At 2:07am, we cut into it for the first time, plopped on the couch, and ate two giant pieces of carrot cake in wedded, blissful glee.
It was the perfect beginning to the rest of our lives.
Stay tuned in the days and weeks to come, as I'll be sharing more pictures, and especially more of all the little details of the wedding. If you have any questions about our wedding or any of the decor, food, vendor information or anything, please leave a comment! I promise I'll answer any question, and can cover anything you want to know more about in future posts.