Announcement 1: Since I can't upload photos in Thailand and probably won't be able to until I get home, instead of writing ridiculous and useless nuggets about mangosteen (see previous posts) with pictures I got from Google Images and the computer camera at my hostel, I will spend the next week and a half recapping the wedding! I wanted to do this anyways, and now I have a week with nothing else to write about - perfect timing. These are mostly for my own nostalgia so I can read them again later but I hope they're at least somewhat interesting :) When I get home and can upload my photos, I'll recap the honeymoon!
Announcement 2: My cousin Alisha, who was in my wedding, is a published author! She is interning at a local magazine this summer and wrote a great article about calorie info at chain restaurants. Since I know all of you guys are interested in health and nutrition, I'm posting the link to her article here. So proud of my little cuz!
OK so here begins the wedding recap.
After the bachelorette party, I woke up on Friday morning feeling inexplicably anxious. My sister Julianna and my aforementioned cousin Alisha, who got to be in town and hang out with us for most of the week, spent the night at my place after the bachelorette, so the three of us went to yoga to de-stress before the rehearsal.
I can't really explain why I was so nervous, other than the fact that I'd suddenly realized the weight of making sure all 185 of our guests had an amazing time was on my shoulders. Granted, I'm the type of person who tends to feel like everything is on my shoulders anyways, but since Ben and I chose to forgo a wedding planner and do everything ourselves, I was suddenly worried we'd made a terrible mistake and had overlooked something crucial.
I felt on edge all through lunch with Ben's friend Krista and her boyfriend Paul (Krista was a groomswoman in the wedding, and is also now one of my favorite people on the planet), and as I was frosting cupcakes at home before the rehearsal (like I said, I crazy over-committer). When the four of us piled into Ben's car to drive down to Northfield for the rehearsal, I was beginning to understand why brides sometimes take a little something to relax before the big day. Not that I would ever do that....
I'm not sure how, but the second I walked into the chapel all of my fears melted away. The first person I saw was Lindsey Reed - Lindsey is one of my best friends from college, and was my roommate for a year after graduation. Linz has her Masters in Divinity from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkely, has a job as a real-life hospital chaplain and is about to become ordained in the Presbyterian church! We keep in touch on skype and e-mail but hadn't seen each other in person for three years! It was quite a joyous reunion.
Linz is honestly one of the most amazing people I know, and I can't even begin to say how honored I was to have her as a co-officiant for our ceremony. Ben's great uncle John, who has been ordained for a looonnng time, was there to do the legit marriage pronouncement part so that Linz wouldn't get in trouble, since she is not officially ordained yet.
We all lined up at the back of the chapel, and when our organist started the processional and the wedding party began their march down the aisle, I felt a sudden rush of reality wash over me - this is my wedding! I mean, obviously it wasn't actually my wedding yet, but after imagining for a year how this was going to feel, nothing could have prepared me for actually seeing it happen, even in a rehearsal.
Best Man and Maid of Honor, giving the royal wave.
Side note: evidently the event managers at the chapel do not understand fun. We got yelled at for our shenanigans, which included skipping and running during the recessional. "Too fast," apparently. Who knew.
I also realized how much I loved the way we had organized our ceremony - totally worth all the effort we put into planning it. Alex and Rachel, two of my best friends (and bridesmaids) performed Morgen by Richard Strauss - one of my favorite pieces, and also a favorite of my grandmother who passed away five years ago, so for me it was a special way to remember her and to celebrate my amazingly talented friends.
So many of the people we care about were involved in the ceremony, that it really felt like a celebration of love with our whole family - the families we were born into, as well as the family we have built over time through love and friendship. With Linz and John as co-officiants, Rachel and Alex as musicians, and our good friends Evan (mentioned here), Katie (mentioned in this post) and Kathy, and readings we picked based on the literature we love, the ceremony felt that much more meaningful.
After the rehearsal we drove back up to Minneapolis for the rehearsal dinner. Ben's parents generously offered to host, and served Indian food catered by Bombay Bistro, our favorite Indian restaurant in downtown Minneapolis.
I really think the backyard rehearsal dinner is the way to go - the vibe was so relaxed and laid back, and it was much easier to mingle and talk to people. Sitting at a table with all of our friends, I felt like I was back in college in a good way. The best friendships are the ones you grow with and that grow with you - and I have more of those than a girl could ever ask for.
After things started to slowly wind down, I said goodbye to everyone and took off for my parents' house, where I had decided to spend the night before the wedding. Ben walked me to my car to say goodnight, and it felt like our first date all over again - nervous and excited, but still confident and secure.
Contrary to what I expected, I fell asleep right away, knowing that regardless of whether everything went totally according to plan, tomorrow would be amazing.