Quick update on what's up with me and Ben: still in Thailand, still enjoying amazing food, lying in the sunshine, reading a LOT and freaking out over Dexter Season 2.
So, wedding day.
I woke up at my parents house, showered and packed my bag for the day with my shoes, jewlery and random emergency items. Julianna and I loaded both our bags, my dress and her dress into the backseat and took off for our 8am hair appointments.
The only part of planning the wedding that made me regret not hiring a wedding planner was the logistical nightmare of getting all of the girls, whose appointments were at different times, down to the St. Olaf campus without their cars because my dad had hired a limo-bus to drive the entire wedding party from the ceremony to the reception. Finally we worked it out so that I would drive my own car, with one or two other people in it, down to the ceremony. All of the bridesmaids arranged to be dropped off, and my mom and my aunt Gayleen (Alisha's mom) would show up at the salon around 10:30 (when I needed to leave) to chauffeur the remaining bridesmaids and their dresses. My friend Emily also kindly agreed to drive my car from St. Olaf to the hotel parking lot for me so that my car wouldn't end up stranded in Northfield... thank you Emily!!
The hair appointments were kind of a blast! We watched each other get primped, laughed at how ridiculous we looked in various states of done-ness, drank Aveda tea and munched on pastries that Julianna and I had picked up at Taste of Scandinavia Bakery on the way there.
Julianna is waaaay too smiley for 8am
Definitely a good look for Alex
At 10:30 Julianna, Rachel and I were finished so we took off for Northfield. Poor Rachel had to sit in the back underneath my dress because it took up the entire backseat. Sorry RT! We made it to campus just in time for my 11:30 makeup appointment.
One thing about the wedding day that was really tough was staying hydrated! I wasn't as worried about getting enough food - mainly because a) dehydration is a bigger worry especially in the July heat and humidity, and b) this might be waaaaayyy TMI but when I'm anxious my digestive system goes into overdrive. Which can be a problem when you are wearing a poofy white dress and have to go for a substantial amount of time without access to a bathroom. I think you get the picture.
Luckily, fellow Kombucha lover Alex was thoughtful enough to bring me a bottle of Cosmic Cranberry! What a sweetheart.
She also brought one for herself, which I attempted to open for her while she was getting her makeup done. Unfortunately, it was an especially explosive one (if you're a Kombucha drinker you know exactly what I'm talking about...), so one of my most hilarious memories of my wedding day will always be spending about 25 minutes carefully attempting to open a bottle of Botanic No. 3.
It's kind of hidden but you can see me in the back talking to Kristin and battling away with the rogue Kombucha bottle
While I inhaled my Kombucha and made sure everything was set with my vendors, the flowers were delivered and in the right place etc., the bridesmaids finished getting beautified... (or, more beautified than normal I should say because these ladies are ALWAYS gorgeous!)
Tess and Julianna
Finishing touches for RT
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why we're friends
After getting all made-up, it was time to put on my dress! I never wrote in detail about my dress shopping experience, but the dress I ended up with was the first dress I tried on. I loved it the second I put it on, and even though I tried on probably 20 others, none of them matched that feeling of being "the one" that I had gotten from that first dress.
The shape was perfect - a modified A-Line, so it is modern but still timeless, and not ballgownish but not a mermaid either, which was exactly what I was looking for. I fell in love with the lace pattern, which was floral without being too girly, and had a gorgeous pattern that continued through the layers of the skirt. Weirdly I wasn't looking for strapless though... I have this weird insecurity about my shoulders and upper arms, which have always been broad and muscular compared to my size and I feel like strapless dresses accentuate my "man shoulders"... but if there was ever a motivation to just suck it up and get over that insecurity it was this dress.
Julianna and Alex helped me into my dress, which despite its delicate appearance is quite substantial and has a ton of layers and aLOT of structure...so consequently it's a pretty heavy item of clothing.
Julianna's "Take No Prisoners" bow-tying stance
So many thanks to these beautiful ladies!
Meanwhile in the groomsmen's dressing room....
...and also, Smion using his iphone to find a bow-tying tutorial. The wonders of technology at work.
When we were both finished getting dressed, it was time for our couples shoot! Ben and I had no problem seeing each other prior to walking down the aisle, and Kelly suggested that the schedule would work much better if we did the couples shoot before the ceremony. We still obviously wanted the whole "seeing each other for the first time" thing to be special, so Kelly had Ben stand with his back to the student commons while I walked towards him....
.... and then, he turned around and there were were :)
Someday, I'll write down the story of how Ben and I met, became friends and eventually (much later...) started dating... but for now, sufficed to say that saying our vows on the same college campus where we met ten years ago meant so much to both of us.
Next was the family and wedding party shoot! It took about an hour and a half to get through all of these photos but it was completely worth every second.
A little about these beautiful ladies... from left to right:
Tessa and I have been friends since we were about 7 years old. We bonded over our love of dragons and unicorns in grade school, our strange fondness for going dancing at clubs in the suburbs in high school (still can't believe we went to some of those places...they were shady! And we were sooo naive...), and at St. Olaf we had adventures on campus as well as in Greece and Italy where we roomed together for a study abroad. I'll never forget getting lost in Rome at 3am...oops. After college we were roommates for 3 years before I moved to my own place to be closer to the U when I started school, so it's safe to say that Tessa is one of my oldest and colsest friends.
Alex and I have been friends for a LONG time too - we only went to school together for a year in grade school, but we rode horses together and lived in the same neighborhood which we freely wreaked havoc in...although that havoc was mostly to ourselves and the occasional tree. I can't even imagine the many near-heart-attacks our mom's must have had watching us do backflips off of the "Tarzan Swing" (basically board with a rope tied around the middle, hanging from a tree branch) in Alex's yard. Alex is now a professional violinist playing with the New World Symphony in Miami and graciously lent her talents to the ceremony, as well as doing me the honor of standing next to me as a bridesmaid :)
Julianna is my little sister, and despite being five years apart we are really close. We share the same awkward and occasionally inappropriate sense of humor (thanks dad, for that...) and more than occasionally buy the same t-shirt or bathing suit on separate occasions without even realizing it. We're definitely unique in our own ways but we get each other in the way that only sisters really can. Julianna is finishing up her undergraduate degree in Psychology at St. Thomas and has a job at Fraser working with children with behavioral problems. I can't even tell you how much I admire her... and she's my maid of honor!
Rachel is one of my best friends from St. Olaf - every once in a while you meet a friend where everything just clicks... one of those friends where when they're not around you feel like a part of you is missing, and that's definitely the kind of friend Rachel is. We studied under the same voice teacher, Margaret Eaves-Smith, at St. Olaf and sang our junior half-recitals together (culminating with the sull'aria duet from Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, which I still have on a recording somewhere). RT lives and sings in Boston now, and I miss her like crazy! But I'm so glad she could make it back for the wedding.
Alisha, belive it or not, is my only first cousin! My mom and dad each only have one sibling - my uncle on my mom's side never married or had kids, and my dad's brother and his wife have one daughter, Alisha. The "California Gorders" as they address all of their cards to us, obviously live in California so we get to see them only on rare occasions, but in the last couple of years Alisha has come to visit by herself a few times. It's been so wonderful getting to know her as the lovely young lady she has grown into - she is smart and hilariously funny, and we have a lot of the same interests. I was so honored when she agreed to be a bridesmaid and so glad we got to spend so much time together leading up to the wedding!
...and a little about this motley crew.
Matt is Ben's older brother. Matt and his wife Julia also met at St. Olaf, and they just recently moved from Chicago to Washington, DC where they now live with their adorable little baby Lillian! Matt is a great guy and I'm sad he and Julia don't live closer, but I guess this just means that some fun trips out east are in our future :)
Simon is Ben's younger brother. In one of life's great ironies, Ben and I actually tried to set Simon and Julianna up during college because we thought they would get along so well - they did, as it turns out, but only as friends which is probably for the best considering how things turned out.... Simon is a fantastic musician (how do we know all these music people??) - be sure to check out his facebook page.
Chris is a great friend of Ben's (of both of ours actually) from St. Olaf - all three of us were actually in that first class together in Holland Hall, and Ben and Chris spent much of their college years running the improv comedy club "Scared Scriptless", speaking in silly accents and learning to teach small children and turn them into their minions. Today they pretty much do the same thing, only Chris has moved his operations to Paraguay where he teaches Psychology and Philosophy at an international boarding school. When Ben and I take over the world, Chris will be our second-in-command, provided we equip him with the necessary Attack Zebras. And yes, he is insanely tall. 6'5". The rest of us are not as short as we look.
Krista is a lifelong friend of Ben's from Great Falls, Montana, where he grew up. I had never met her before the wedding but now I'm pretty sure she is one of my favorite people on the planet.
The whole gayng!
And oh yeah, we both have families! Parents! And such.
My family: sister Julianna, parents Diane and Mark
with Ben's family: brothers Matt and Simon, parents Bekka and Bruce
... And now that I've succeeded in probably putting everyone to sleep I'm going to take a break before getting to the actual ceremony :) Tomorrow is our one month anniversary, so we're planning some special & fun things (not that lying around on the beach all day isn't special and fun...).
Also, I realized that I've thought about work for probably a total of less than 2 minutes since I've been here. I was worried that I would spend my whole vacation worrying about the 500 emails that are inevitably piling up in my inbox, but I've barely given them a second thought. I'll deal with it when I get back but for now I'm just going to enjoy the sun and the beach, and this amazing time with my husband :)