Saturday, October 2, 2021

Our Wedding Day (Part One) - Getting Ready

 Two weeks before our wedding I checked the extended forecast, desperately hoping and praying for a beautiful clear day for our planned outdoor ceremony and reception. 

Rain. Not just rain, but thunderstorms. That was the prediction for the day, two weeks out.

Oh my. Oh my, my, my. We started brainstorming rain plans.

I checked the forecast every day, hoping and praying it would change. 

Ten days before the wedding the forecast had altered slightly. Rain and possible thunderstorms in the morning, but clear and sunny in the afternoon. That was better! Not ideal, but certainly workable.

I continued to check the forecast.

One week before the wedding - CLEAR and SUNNY!!! No rain predicted until the day after the wedding! THANK GOD!!

So it was, our wedding day dawned clear and beautiful. I would know, I was up at five that morning! Not because I had an alarm set or anything like that, but because it's down right impossible to sleep in on your wedding day! 

So very many thoughts were running through my head.

"I'm getting married today. Actually getting married. The day is here."

"I'm going to be spending my whole life with the man who's upstairs sleeping in the guestroom right now. Are we really ready for this?" (Yes! But pre-wedding nerves are a thing!)

"After today everything will change. My name. My home. My day-to-day routine. Everything!"

And then, along with all these life-altering thoughts,

"AHHHHH, we have so much to get done before getting married at 3 o'clock this afternoon!!!!!!!!!"

It was time to get out of bed and get started!

I began the day by sitting in the living room and enjoying a cup of coffee with my dad before the rest of the household awoke. I'm a daddy's girl, and this was just the thing I needed to start off my wedding day right.

I sat on the couch, drank my coffee, talked to my dad, and finished assembling the gifts for my mom and mother-in-law. Yes, in true Alyssa fashion, I was running behind on a few things.

By 6:30 my mom was awake and my parents and I took a short walk outside, looking at the ceremony and reception sites, discussing everything that needed to be accomplished that morning, and making sure we were all on the same page for how things needed to be set up. My florist had already been by and delivered the first round of floral decorations.

 Around 7 o'clock, I woke up my bridesmaids - my two best friends and my sister. Then I went up and woke my groom.

Once I was in my wedding attire, he wouldn't get to see me until I was walking down the aisle to him. However, as the wedding was to take place at my parents' home and there was a lot to get done to transform it into the wedding venue of my dreams, it just would not have been practical for us not to see each other that morning. 

That said, my poor groom had actually been bitten, on the foot, by a spider 5 days earlier. So he spent most of the wedding morning in the recliner, elevating his foot in hopes that he would be able to walk, rather than limp, down the aisle that afternoon, and be able to dance with both me and his mom at the reception that evening. 

Getting a spider bite less than a week before your wedding is not recommended, but it does make things memorable!

Somewhere around 8 or 8:30, my brothers and the groomsmen arrived on the scene and set-up began in earnest! Tables and chairs were unloaded and arranged. Tents were put up. A dance floor was assembled.

Table cloths, dishes, and decorations were brought out.

Tables were set and centerpieces were arranged.

We were incredibly blessed by a friend of my mom's who had two daughters get married last year. She gave us all of the dishes they'd collected for the weddings, loaned us all of the silverware, and gave or loaned us almost all of the decorative items that went on the tables. The burlap table runners, white candles, circles of wood, and the "Goat Milk" jars we used as vases all came from her. To this I added lavender table cloths, ordered online (Turns out it's cheaper to buy table cloths rather than rent them.), green gingham table runners and napkins, cut from a bolt of gingham I bought from Fashion Fabrics Club, and citronella candles we decided to include in the table decorations in hopes of repelling the mosquitos away from our guests on that warm June evening.  

As for the flowers on the tables, I'd intended to go out the day before the wedding and pick a bunch of wild flowers to fill the vases with. Unfortunately, very few wild flowers were in bloom yet (two weeks later they were everywhere!). A few days before the wedding I had to admit the wild flower idea might not work, and I began to worry. How would we fill the vases on the tables?

My mom's friend came to the rescue again, and offered up anything we wanted from her lush and beautiful flower garden. What a God send! She hadn't even known I was worried about the flowers!

The day before the wedding, while my best friends and I were in town picking up the wedding cake and other necessary items, my mom and sister went and cut enough flowers to fill all the vases!

And when all was said and done, the tables were just as pretty as I'd imagined - if not prettier! Thanks to the hard work and generosity of friends and family my dream wedding venue was coming into existence!

While the reception site was getting set up in one yard, the ceremony site was coming together in the other. At the entrance to the yard, a beautiful trellis was set up, built by my uncle for my cousin's wedding two weeks earlier, and graciously loaned to us for the day. (Turns out it's useful to have a cousin get married within a couple weeks of yourself! We were able to loan quite a few items back and forth for both weddings!)

The front porch of my childhood home would serve as our altar. Leading up to the wedding, my best friend's mom planted flowers on either side of the porch and my mom re-painted the door, window trim, and stair railings so everything would look fresh and pretty on the day. On the day of, we hung a beautiful vintage chandelier I found at an antique mall (which my maid-of-honor cleaned up for me!), and a decorative window my parents removed from our house when they re-modeled a bathroom. My florists covered the posts with gorgeous floral arrangements in our wedding colors - purple and green. 

 Outside was a bustle of activity, and inside the house was no different! Around 10 o'clock the photographers arrived, as did my sister-in-law and her twin sister who would be doing hair and make-up for myself, the flower girls, and the bridesmaids. With their arrival, it was time for me to come inside and start getting ready. 

Great! Except. . . there was still a lot to get done before the wedding and I felt like I needed to be everywhere doing everything and people were asking me questions and I kept thinking of more things that needed doing and more places I ought to be - outside, inside, one yard, the other yard, the kitchen, the porch, the living room, the dining room, everywhere! I started to get overwhelmed. I broke down and cried. People comforted me. I answered a couple questions. My sister-in-law and her sister started to get set up. The photographers began taking pictures of the wedding stuff. My parents, the bridesmaids, and the groomsmen kept on with getting things set up outside. Other friends and family worked on the stuff inside. And I went and milked my goats.

My sister and sister-in-law both volunteered to milk for me that morning, but on that exciting, overwhelming, beautiful, but unfamiliar day, I needed to do something comfortable and familiar.

So I milked my goats.

After I milked the goats, I took the milk inside, handed it off to someone else to strain, answered a couple questions, then took myself off to my mom's bedroom and sat down so my sister-in-law's sister could start on my hair.

While she braided my hair I held her son and kept him happy and entertained. Holding a baby is another one of those wonderful, comforting, familiar things that really helped me to feel calm and at peace even with the flurry of wedding activity going on around me. 

While I was (figuratively) tied to my seat, things were still getting set up, arranged, and perfected outside.

Windows and doors were being touched up with paint, curtains were being hung, fences were being set up, fire pits were being arranged, and yard games were coming out.

Inside was equally busy!

In the kitchen iced tea and lemonade were being made for the reception.

And my sister (with the help of the flower girls!) was finishing up the allergy-friendly cakes.

Meanwhile, my sister-in-law grabbed the flower girls and the bridesmaids one at a time to do their hair and make-up.

Everyone was looking so pretty!

My maid-of-honor made the flower arrangements for the bridesmaids' hair one evening a couple days before the wedding.

The flower girls made their own flower crowns (from a kit I ordered) when I had them over about a month before the wedding to be measured for their dresses.

I think they enjoyed getting to help make part of their outfits!

Once hair was done, I dashed out to see how things were coming along before putting on my wedding attire and sitting down again to have my make-up done.

The florist arrived around noon with our bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, my flower crown, and the cake topper!

I opted for a plain 3-teir white cake from Sam's club, which my florist arrange flowers on and my brother 3-D printed a custom cake topper for it of my own design.

As the tiered cake didn't have quite as many servings as we needed, I also purchased two round, white-iced chocolate cakes. Between those and the allergy-friendly cakes my sister made, we would have plenty of cake to go around!

After seeing how things were coming along outside and in the kitchen, I went back to getting ready.

On went my combinations, corset, and petticoat.

Then I sat down and my sister-in-law pinned my flower crown in place and started on my make-up.

We were running a little close on time, so while she did my make-up, her sister did her hair.

Once my make-up was done I couldn't resist dashing outside one last time to see how everything was coming along. So I threw on my 1860's wrapper over my under things and out the door I went!

Doesn't my truck make a nice gift table?

Everything outside looked amazing! I came back in confident that everything would be just right!

Meanwhile, it was time for the guys to get ready.

After keeping his foot up all morning, taking antibiotics and antihistamines, the swelling had gone down some and my groom was able to walk around alright - Thank God!

On went vests and ties and boutonnieres.

Then the guys got to relax a bit - they'd been working hard outside all morning!

Back in my mom's bedroom, I gave my bridesmaids the tote bags I made for them, and had finished just the day before.

Using just a tight zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine I'd embroidered each bridesmaids' name on her bag, and I was pretty pleased with how they turned out!

They seemed to like the bags so I'm glad I got them done in time!

Gifts distributed, on went dresses!

And hoop skirts and petticoats.

Fancy new boots and my garter - a simple band of stretch lace I'd sewn together the day before. (I may have forgotten I needed a garter until the day before the wedding. . .)

My niece was dressed by her aunt in the outfit I'd made her for the occasion.

Just because she was too little to be a flower girl didn't mean she shouldn't get a fancy new dress made just for her!

And finally, the moment was here.

On went my wedding dress, carefully lifted over my head to avoid touching my hair and make-up.

My mom buttoned me up.

On went my earrings.

My sister-in-law attached my veil.

Then I looked in the mirror, and I saw a bride. What a wonderful and surreal moment that was!

There were still a few little things to do before the ceremony. Some pre-wedding pictures to be taken, some gifts to be given. . .

Flower girl baskets to be filled with flowers. . .

Accessories to be distributed. 

But I was a BRIDE! And somehow, even though nothing had really changed since I put on the dress and veil, feeling like a bride felt a whole lot better than feeling like an overwhelmed woman who just happened to be getting married that day. I WAS GETTING MARRIED!!!

My parents prayed over me.

And my dad was ready to walk me down the aisle when the moment came.

Outside, things were good! The DJ had the sound system set up, and my cousins were there to direct parking.

Soon the guests would be arriving and filling the seats we'd set up for them.

And I would be marrying this wonderful man!

Now this post is long enough already, so check back soon if you want to see and read about the wedding itself!