In my previous post I wrote about the morning of my wedding getting ready. Now I'm sharing photos by my photographer, Kellie Warren of KWU Weddings. These are only of the few images she shot and burned on a disc for me the night of the wedding. It was super sweet to be able to walk away with some images - something visual to recall moments that so quickly passed by.
After we all slipped into our dresses, Kellie took some photos of us on the balcony of the hotel, as well as around the small town. My photographer led us around the downtown area, taking photos of us on old stairwells and cobblestone streets. We made our way back to the rose garden, which was on the way to the venue. While we were in the rose garden, some of my friends walked past on their way to the ceremony. We quickly exchanged hellos, as if the surprise was ruined, but it was still so nice to see familiar faces in my town.
And this is the part that I get stumped - I barely know what words to use to describe how I felt and how it happened. I enter into the reception room through the back in order to not be seen by the rest of our guests and my groom and his groomsmen lined up to walk the processional. Upon walking into the reception room, waiting to start the ceremony, I see all of my favorite vendors and all of my plans and ideas come to life. In that moment, it was hard to take it all in, it was hard to realize that everything was there because we planned it that way. It's still a hard thought to swallow. It was everything I ever wanted.
I stood at the doors to the ceremony patio with my bridesmaids, peeking out into the crowd. I felt that if I didn't see the ceremony and our guests beforehand, that it would be too overwhelming. So I took a peek at everyone taking their seats. I knew in my head that we had a 5:30 pm ceremony start time. But at that point, I had no concept of time. Even when one of my bridesmaids told me we had 10 minutes, I couldn't comprehend. I just shook my head in understanding, even though I really didn't. I can't say exactly what was going through my head as I waited, I only know that a lot of it was breathe, bend my knees, cherish the moment. Smiling came easy, smiling was the effortless part.
Everyone lined up, my dad by my side, and we were ready to walk the processional. My coordinators assisted in sending everyone down the aisle. I heard the song change from the wedding party song to the song I chose for my dad and I. The doors opened, and we walked. At first, too fast and I felt my dad's pace slow down which was the reminder I needed to be in the moment and enjoy every step. I got 5 feet from S before I started tearing up. My maid of honor said she started counting how long it was after S saw me that he started tearing up, and she said she couldn't even count to 1 before he started tearing. My dad shook S's hand, I gave him a kiss on the cheek, and then S and I held each others hands.
Our officiant, a friend, told all the readings exactly as I imagined he would. He told my favorite story, a 2400-year-old love story from Plato by way of Aristophanes, about the longing many of us feel for another half to make us whole, that you can hear here. Following my favorite love story was our vows. My vows were inspired by a contemporary poem, making promises like knife-fighting the snooze button to give S five more minutes of sleep. S's vows were inspired by luck and a chance at love. Then we did the rings, followed by the kiss, and then the party.
Our guests went inside the old train depot for cocktail hour while our photographers, family, and wedding party all took photos together. There was a patch of jasmine (most know how much we adore the jasmine that grows in our neighborhood) that looks as if it bloomed just for us to take family photos in front of. There also was the train tracks which run along the building, perfect for photos of just us.
After cocktail hour and photos, it was time for introductions. We lined up outside of the reception room and our DJ introduced our wedding party, couple by couple. Then he introduced us and we walked in to many cheers to start our first dance that we practiced many times in our living room. Before we could start our dance, guests were already hitting their glasses with silverware - requesting a kiss. We dip-kissed in the middle of our dance floor, just like the movies, and that too we practiced in our living room.
After our dance together, we took our seats and our toasts began before dinner. We started the toasts with S's younger brother, who spoke about how if anyone knows me, they know that I'm quiet at first, but as I get to know people, I open up and I have so much to say. Thinking of all our toasts now, brings happy tears to my eyes. My maid of honor, my best friend from high school, toasted next and reminisced about how she and I met just before S and I met so she was witness to our entire relationship, journey, and love story. Finally, we ended toasts with my older brother, who said how perfect it was that we ended up together, and that it wasn't a coincidence, that it couldn't have happened any other way. My brother held his drink up, and all of our guests toasted to us with his toast leading the way.
We ate dinner with glasses of red wine and friends and family coming up to us to give hugs and kisses and well wishes. Our caterer was amazing because they would bring us different plates from each food station instead of us getting up which saved us so much time to enjoy our meals as much as possible. I knew the food was going to be great, but it was so nice to hear from our guests, even days later, how much they enjoyed the food. We ate from cheese and charcuterie platters for appetizers while servers passed chicken and onion cornets. For our entree food stations we had chimichurri flank steak, truffle mashed potatoes, grilled vegetables with an aoli sauce, goat cheese raviolis with a roasted red pepper sauce, and a sausage, chicken, and shrimp paella.
After dinner I danced with my father, S danced with his mother, and I requested a surprise dance with my brother. His reaction was priceless and I picked the perfect song for us to dance together to. Halfway through, our DJ invited everyone on the dance floor to start the evening of dancing. We danced the hora, fan farra, and even the wobble. Desserts were made by our dear mutual friend. When she lived in town she used to have us over for dinner and make the most amazing lavender cupcakes with lemon butter-cream and also mixed berry tarts with lavender-vanilla cream. They were a hit and everyone couldn't wait to get their hands on one.
Suddenly, it was our last song and we were all on the dance floor, a little sad, but oh-so celebratory. We did our exit and walked one block over to the hotel's honeymoon suite that we were staying at. I could barely fall asleep, details from the entire night ran laps through my head. I woke up the next day, my body tired from dancing, but my mind refreshed, still anxiously replaying favorite moments from the evening before. We sat on the balcony outside with coffee and muffins, as I tried to comb out all of the knots in my hair from a night of dancing and hugging.
For a photo inside the reception room (we'll get more photos in a month or two from the photographer!) you can check out this Instagram photo from a friend during our toast, this Facebook photo of the room setup from our DJ, or check out our Instagram hashtag, #danielleandsteven. All of these lovely images were photographed by KWU Weddings. Thank you Kellie + Lindsay!