I did a thing recently.
I changed my name.
I know I’ve been gone for….ever. But y’all, weddings are HARD! Everyone had told me this, but I had just no idea what we were in for. I planned this wedding on my own with the help of an overstuffed binder and the Knot app, and now I see why wedding planner is actually a career option. It felt like a second job planning this one day!
We also had a slight disturbance on our wedding day that made everything about 37 times more stressful. It was Matthew, our uninvited crasher.
The Saturday before our wedding, it was an absolutely gorgeous day- cool, crisp, sunshine; the first day that really felt like Autumn had arrived. I went out for an awesome 10 miler with some running friends, and as I walked back to my car, I called my mom about some minute wedding detail.
“Have you looked at the weather for next weekend?” she asked me.
“Yeah! I looked a couple days ago. It’s going to be in the 70s and sunny!” I replied absent-mindedly.
“Oh, baby… There’s a hurricane coming.” If you can imagine hearing a frown in someone’s voice, then you can understand how my mom sounded on the other end of the phone. My thoughts immediately jumped to my perfectly-planned, Pinterest-inspired, craft beer and BBQ themed wedding…. that was to take place in a tent.
I of course spent the next four days doing what any normal bride would do. I panicked and refreshed the Google Weather/Accuweather/Weatherbug/The Weather Channel/National Hurricane Center websites and apps on my phone about every five minutes.
It didn’t look good. The storm kept strengthening, moving slow as molasses in January, while I sat in denial, horror, and panic that my wedding day would not, in fact, be the picture-perfect day I had planned.
By Tuesday, things started changing. This went from a pretty superficial concern to something a lot more serious. Things were not looking good for Haiti, and our bartender called me Tuesday afternoon.
“Is the wedding still on? I just saw that Aiken County cancelled school for the rest of the week.”
I about started hyperventilating, somewhere between bewildered and livid. I had just left work without hearing a peep about this. I stayed late readying my sub plans and materials for the next week in keeping with my usual OCD self, which ended up being a blessing in disguise!
After assuring the bartender that yes, we would be getting married, I refreshed my weather apps and continued about my day. Our families started arriving–earlier than planned, because my mom had to evacuate her house in Hilton Head–where Matthew was predicted to hit directly at category 5 force.
By Thursday, we started talking options., but I still refused to believe that our tent couldn’t hold up to the winds. You see, our venue was my dream venue. We booked The Rye Patch knowing that we couldn’t fit everyone inside. I envisioned having a huge tent on the lawn, kids dodging in and out between playing in the grass and exploring Hopelands Gardens adjacent.
On Friday morning, the tent company told us they couldn’t set up the tent, but they could still deliver our tables and lighting. First, we thought about squeezing everyone into the mansion at The Rye Patch, but I knew it would make our guests uncomfortable and the party would be over within 30 minutes. We called our Church, which has a huge hall that would more than accommodate our 150 guests.
It was expensive. Really expensive.
I hung up the phone in tears. I remember sitting at our kitchen counter, my mom on one side, almost-husband on the other, and seeing everything I planned for the past year crumble, unsure if the wedding was even going to happen.
The phone rang not five minutes later. It was our Priest. He said we could have our reception there – no strings attached.
After that, I was running on pure adrenaline. It started getting really nasty Friday afternoon. The Rye Patch called and said they couldn’t have the wedding there due to the city shutting down for the storm–again we counted our blessings that our Church took us in at the last minute. It poured all through the rehearsal dinner. It poured all night Friday night, and as I lay in bed with my best friend, my last night as an unmarried lady, I listened to the wind howl outside for hours. I think I slept maybe two hours.
Our hairdresser texted me Saturday morning. “Are we still on? It’s pretty bad outside. I think downtown lost power.”
At this point I had to laugh. If I had to show up to this thing with my hair in a homemade updo, then so be it. This wedding was going. to. happen.
By the grace of God (again!) we had power at the salon. And around 12:00, something amazing happened. It stopped raining.
Our original plan was to get ready upstairs at the mansion. We got ready upstairs at the Church.
The boys got ready at the hotel, and our Best Man played messenger.
Those last 30 minutes before the ceremony were agonizing. I can’t put into words how it felt sneaking across the way to the Church and hiding back in the spiral stairwell to the choir loft with our sweet ringbearer, listening to Canon in D. It was like all of the stress of the past year, and especially the past week, melted away. My mom took my arm and it was go time. I thought I would want to see all the faces of our family and friends who traveled for this day, but as soon as the doors opened, I had tunnel vision.
The ceremony passed by so fast. We picked our readings and music months before, and I hadn’t thought much about them since.
First Reading –
“On their wedding night Sarah got up, and she and Tobiah started to pray and beg that deliverance might be theirs. He began with these words: “Blessed are you, O God of our fathers; praised be your name forever and ever. Let the heavens and all your creation praise you forever. You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve to be his help and support; and from these two the human race descended. You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a partner like himself.’ Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine not because of lust, but for a noble purpose. Call down your mercy on me and on her, and allow us to live together to a happy old age.” Tobit 8:5-7
Second Reading –
“Brothers and sisters: Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. But I shall show you a still more excellent way. If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 12:31–13:8a
“Jesus said to his disciples: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.” Matthew 7:21, 24-25
Can you believe that Gospel?! I still find it hilarious that we picked that out, VOLUNTARILY, in May. It’s almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whoops!
After the ceremony, it was time to PARTY! After 769 pictures, that is.
It was the most fun night of my life. And we still ended up having a fairy tale ending.
We popped some champagne took off in a horse-drawn carriage for a ride through downtown. There were so many people out due to all the evacuees from out of town. We wound up at the Willcox, our home for the night, exhausted, relieved, and best of all… married.
It wasn’t the picture-perfect day I had planned. We didn’t have gold chiavari chairs. In fact, our chairs didn’t even all match due to miscommunication from the rental company. We had to borrow linens from the Church because the order got messed up. The weather was clearly less than ideal. A few of our guests couldn’t make it, and some had to stay longer than they planned.
It wasn’t a perfect day. But it was the best day.
And for that, I will forever hold it in my heart. Flaws and all.
More info about our wedding:
- Dress: Allure Bridals, purchased at Elegant Bridals in Augusta, GA
- Bridesmaid Dresses: Dessy, purchased through Weddington Way
- Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse
- Photography: Dailey Alexandra Photography
- Florals: Dyson Designs
- Catering: Dukes Barbecue, An Eventful Year (cake) and Ed’s Bartending
- DJ and Photobooth: M&S Mobile Designs
- Favors: activity books for the kids and handmade beer soaps from Etsy
- Rehearsal Dinner: The Stables at Rose Hill
- Bridal Party Entrance: Canon in D
- Bridal Processional: Prince of Denmark’s March (Trumpet Voluntary)
- Communion Hymn: Ave Maria
- Recessional: Ode to Joy
- First Dance: Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show
- Last Dance: At Last – Etta James
- Mother-Daughter Dance: Forever Young – Rod Stewart
- Mother-Son Dance: My Wish – Rascal Flatts
- Father/Daughter in Law Dance: Only Time – Enya
- Bouquet Toss: Goldigger – Kanye West
- Garter Toss: American Woman – The Guess Who
- Cake Cutting: The Sweetest Thing – U2
- Send-off: Signed, Sealed, Delivered – Stevie Wonder