Well, the house is quiet except for my cat who is cleaning herself and seemingly snorting at the same time. I suppose I would too if I had to lick all that fur to make it gleam. In a nutshell, we're back and married.
It was all such a blur.
We arrived Wednesday night, and made baskets for the rooms on Thursday morning. Then we delivered said baskets. It was revealed to me later that some friends of mine thought they were from the Red Apple and that they were not free. Thank goodness they talked to me before they left so they were able to eat their goodies and take their baskets with them.
I know we did more things on Thursday, but for the life of me I can't remember. Oh, yeah - we met with the photographer, had some dinner, found the aunts that were lost in the hills of Arkansas. Thanks to a nice little wreck on the main highway, they decided to detour without the help of TomTom, and they got very very close but at the end, needed a little help getting in.
Friday was more basket stuff, and meeting with the officiant to go over exactly what we wanted in the ceremony. Then we headed out to the dam site where our little cookout was held that evening. We had BBQ sandwiches, potato salad, baked beans, and coleslaw, and of course, three types of dessert - chocolate brownie something, which was great, peach cobbler, which was pretty good, and strawberry shortcake, which has to be the best I've ever had. This was one of the views of the lake:
This is part of Greers Ferry Lake. Awesome. Just awesome. As you can see, the night could not have been any prettier.
Saturday morning, you'd think that there'd be a lot of running around to do, but Wiley's parents and sisters did most of the running around, delivering baskets. They decorated the interior of the reception site with flowers, candy bars with special wrapping on them, our cookie cutters, and rose petals and rocks, and it looked like it was straight out of a magazine. I'll never be able to convey to them in words just how appreciative I am for all they did for us to make this a wonderful weekend. So as they worked their tails off, I had a massage and then took some friends out on the lake. Some friends were very gracious and drove us around in their boat, and we had leftover BBQ sandwiches sans the BBQ sauce. (I guess I was a little preoccupied.) After that, then it was off to get ready for the big show. At 5, my bridesmaid showed up to help me in my dress. Up until that point I was walking around in my slip and strapless bra. At 5:30, the photographer, who had been taking pictures of everything and everyone but me, stopped in to take a few pictures while the finishing touches were added (a little hairspray here, a necklace there). At 6:00, it was show time. But Wiley's sisters, who were to get me, were absent. I started pacing, and the beginning of panic set in. What if they changed the plan and I forgot what it was? Maybe I was supposed to go out there by myself. at 6:03 I sent a text message asking if they were coming to get me. At 6:04 (by my watch), they knocked on the door and out we went. Apparently, at the same time, Wiley was inside looking at his watch, telling his best man, "If they don't get Melinda soon, she's just going to show up on her own." So enter music, and the bridesmaid runs down the aisle. Well, not really, but I let it be up to her how fast she wanted to walk. Apparently marathon-walking is her style. Then her music played for a little bit, and I was given the push to walk forward in view of everyone. Thinking that I was another bridesmaid, the music kept on playing. The room is L-shaped, so half the people could see me standing there, and half could not. The bandleader finally realized that the bride, she is wearing red, and started my song. While I didn't marathon-walk, I probably walked a little faster than I needed to. But hey, I'd been standing in front of half the room for nearly a minute (which really felt like eternity). As I walked by, I smiled, and promptly stepped out of one of my shoes. "There goes my shoe," I whispered to my friend who drove the boat today, and she giggled and I stomped my heel back into my shoe and carried on.
Unfortunately, the groom was backlit, so I was unable to see his reaction to me. I hope the photographer got it, but when I could finally see him, he was all smiles at me.
I know all of you have been DYING to see my dress, so here it is with me in it:
Now, I realize that upon posting this, most of you know what my face looks like, and this would appear to be nothing more than a gratuitous boob shot, but I assure you, that is not the case. I like a little anonymity for those two or three readers who do not know what I look like (or do not remember what I look like).
But, because I'm feeling generous, I will give you a shot of the back of me as well as the buffet table and beautiful floral arrangement:
Look - short hair!!
So we get up to the front, and we have our ceremony, and as we're doing our vows, I start to tear up just a bit, but thankfully was able to keep them from rolling down my face. Messing up makeup was not an option. I'd worked way too long to get those fake eyelashes to look natural.
After we were pronounced husband and wife, the music started. We kept this a surprise from everyone but knew it would be the perfect way to end our ceremony. We played the Peanuts theme song, and it hit exactly the right note. Everyone recognized it and started laughing, which made us laugh, and later, the keyboardist for the band said if he knew, he would've played it for us.
We ran outside to get photos, and missed a few shots that I really had wished to get, but then we got back inside, said hello to everyone, sat down for just a moment, then got back up to cut the cake. I wish I had a picture to show you, but I don't have one just yet. But it was four square layers, one layer each of raspberry, chocolate, red velvet, and carrot. It was perfect. There were compliments on it all night long, with raspberry coming in as a favorite, if not the favorite, as it was the biggest layer and we didn't have much left at the end of the night. After the cutting of cake, a few toasts were said, and then it was time for the first dance. We chose "The Way You Look Tonight", and you'd think I'd be nervous being out there all alone with Wiley, but the man can dance. Sure, he stepped on my dress a couple of times, and I was a little worried, but apparently it looked a little comical because we heard loud laughing from the crowd. Maybe they heard me tell Wiley that he was on my dress. "We didn't practice with you in your dress! I don't know where my feet are supposed to go!" I guess that's the downside to not seeing the bride in her dress before the ceremony. But that puppy wasn't going anywhere. I was in that dress, and nothing was getting out.
We danced and talked with friends and family and shut the reception down a little after 10:30. All in all, it was an absolutely perfect wedding. The decorations were beautiful, the flowers could not have been more like what I wanted (and I really wasn't sure what to expect except that flowers are always beautiful because we'd done most chatting over the internet and had an illness to deal with in-between meeting for the first time in July and the wedding), and I didn't freeze under all that attention.
So thank you, Dear Reader, for reading about the wedding from the bride's perspective, and to all of you who read this and showed up, we are so happy you were able to join us. We know it was a long way to travel, but we can't tell you how much we appreciated seeing all of you. To the best man and matron of honor, you both looked great, as did your spouses, and I appreciate Sewing Momma lacing up my dress. You two kept Wiley and me calm, and I think we each got to bond. Technically I guess I'm related now to the best man! Neato! To Wiley's families, as stated above, we can't possibly show you how much we loved everything that you did for us (but we tried), and to the Mother of the Golden Children, who made all the invitations, notecards, labels for the water and candy bars, programs, who tried to cut rocks, all while dealing with two children under 4 and planning a child's birthday party to happen the next day, and to the sisters who helped decorate and keep the florist's wits about her and to calm a nervous bride just before walking in, thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you.