I could hear Drew and the menfolk downstairs stirring. I was excited! And ready to get on down there and get to picture-takin'! I tried to get some things together for my honeymoon bag but I was to anxious and excited to really get anything together that was necessary. I dumped all the personal things that needed to be brought to the venue (that I'd forgotten or not had time to pack at the rehearsal) by Mom's bedroom door and hoped for the best. I walked downstairs, greeted the groomsmen, and admired by bouquet... lots of white garden roses, peonies, astilbe, three small yellow roses (AST WHAT WHAT?!), and brooches I'd given Hillary. A "K" embroidered vintage hanky hung from the stem. And then I was being led outside (IT WAS SO STEAMY!), just beyond the picket fence, and there was Drew, facing my favorite tree that looks into my second-story bedroom window. I got maybe 25 feet away from him (enough to somewhat resemble what it'd be like to walk down an aisle to him if we hadn't done a first look) and said in a singsong voice, "You can turn around!!!!" He was grinning ear to ear! I showed off my gown and the ostrich feathers in my bouquet (he had teased me all our engagement long about how he hated feathers), my veil, and we just held each others' arms and talked about how we couldn't believe it was here! We kissed (but not too much to mess up my lipstick), and we did it all over again so the videographers could get another angle:) At that point, I realized I was being eaten ALIVE by mosquitos under that tree. Kristine suggested that I try to "blow" them off, but it didn't work. We relocated to the field behind our house, took pictures in the garden, flipped my veil over our heads for Pinterest-inspired pics, laughed and chatted (routinely being hushed by sweating-to-death videographer Jon, who kept reminding us to "talk with our eyes"), posed and smiled smiled smiled. Our bridal party hobbled out to join us for group pics (my sister falling flat on her face!), most bridesmaids sinking into the ground. We laughed heartily, they leaned on each other, we did some goofy poses, and then we split up to do different combinations of people posing. I made my honorary bridesmaids come outside (despite Kat struggling with an ankle/foot cast from her accident earlier that week) because I'd asked them to come early for pictures and didn't want to miss them. The girls posed like boys and the boys posed like girls. And then the bridal party went back inside to cool off (IT WAS SO HOT!). Drew and I posed beside our enormous cedars (more Pinterest and Joy Kayser Claybrook-inspired photos), he picked me up threshold-style, and we were eaten even more alive by mosquitos.
We came back inside and the bridal party was eating barbecue leftover from our rehearsal dinner. I had an ice water to cool down and Julianna and Heather iced my bugbites to make them swell less. We laughed hard about it. The kitchen was packed with people. The whole house was a zoo. I think Dani's in-laws were in the dining room with the kids. And then we took family portraits outside the front door. James & Riley got hot and tired and didn't want to take pictures despite Kristine's convincing that Elmo was inside her camera. We laughed more. We almost forgot Granny. Then it was Drew's side. So many combinations (thank you, mixed in-law family). We went back inside. Then remembered to take the traditional Grandaddy's rocking chair picture. Then it was over and we drank more water and I had to pee, and our documentation crew peaced out to go eat and photograph/tape our wedding venue details. I couldn't eat, I was too excited. I grabbed what I could remember I'd forgotten from upstairs, panicked when we couldn't find Drew's wedding band (my nephews had taken it out when they were playing with their ring bearer boxes and left it on a round suitcase downstairs -- YIKES!), and then we headed for The Livery Stables. I rode with Dan, Cassie, and Noah in the Dellingers' leather-interiored, air-conditioned Mountaineer. EXCITED!
I instructed them how to get there, and we pulled up. I saw McCauley directing people outside. She hugged me and my heart was full -- I loved everyone who was a part of our day!!! They let me out at the side door, and I walked in by myself. I took one sweeping look around the room. The floral arch wasn't exactly what I had expected (there were orchids) and the coffee/espresso bar was blocking the large green barn doors at the back of the venue, the cake was near the food tables instead of at the front, it was REALLY warm (I later found out the buttercream had been melting off the cake!), and there was no kids' table in sight or petals down the aisle. The tables were pretty packed, honestly. But boy, was it gorgeous and lovely and PERFECT. I took in what I could quickly observe (since people were arriving and I didn't want to be seen) -- the beautiful string lights, a fleeting glance of a pink table linen with a pretty glass-and-floral centerpiece, stunning arrangements of family photos and florals and glass jars for the salty & sweet bar, our wedding cake with a Barbie & Ken cake topper and our engagement portrait book and our monogrammed flutes. Hillary and her staff had surprised me with a GORGEOUS ribbon hanging backdrop for our cake table (hiding the ugly fleur-de-lis brown painted door). Hillary came up to me and I cry-cry-cried with joy and declared, "It's PERFECT! Oh my gosh, it's so beautiful! It's just perfect." I hugged her and Ronelle and Mary Alice (I think) and skittered on upstairs to our waiting room.
Then it was the waiting game! I was eventually joined by my bridesmaids and non-crippled honorary bridesmaids. Dani played "Goin' to the Chapel" and "Am I a Muppet? Or Am I a Man?" on YouTube on her iPhone and we sang along, restless. I cozied up with Laurajean on a wicker seat. Almost everybody's satin dresses were seriously wrinkled from sitting down during the car ride, but it was unavoidable so I didn't care. Our bouquets were arranged in a line of vases with the 'maids' pink pumps, and I finally got to admire them. They were PERFECT! Just what I'd envisioned, if maybe a little bit on the magenta side. Dani touched up my makeup and we recreated the moment once Kristine came upstairs for last-minute pre-ceremony pics. Laurajean prayed over our marriage and we all held hands. I think Mom and Granny watched. And then we practiced the Wobble! So much nervous anticipation!!!!!! My stomach was just knots! I paced, feet sweating, and then McCauley came upstairs to say the infamous words: "IT'S TIME!"
I jumped up and down a little, Laurajean called me Kelly STACK a few last times, Mom & Granny went downstairs, the honoraries lined up, my 'maids followed closely behind, and Daddy met me at the top. We opened the door and I could start to hear the music playing. I was freaking out!!!! I stepped delicately on the stairs so as to not CLACK-CLACK-CLACK once all the bridesmaids were down on the main floor. I got halfway on the stairs and stopped there. I looked down and saw our sweet flower girls fighting over the pink-ribboned basket and locked eyes with Drew. The music ("Finding Hope," which Drew had written me -- performed by dear friends Julia, Daniel & Daniel) swelled to a really pretty part and I was overcome. I breathed deeply to hold it together. Everyone made their way, and then Mary Alice beckoned for us to come down. The music got really dramatic and I breathed in, and apparently started BOOKING it down the aisle with Daddy. And then SOBBED. Sobbed sobbed sobbed. Sobbed right as I passed Katie Ragsdale Miller and Betsy and Joy's table. Then laughed laughed laughed. Laughed-cried. We made it to the altar. The music came to a beautiful close. I composed myself, and looked back at everyone (ever the "milker" of dramatic moments!), laughing my butt off (which turned out to be one of my favorite photos!). Ben Shearron, our sweet officiant, helped me to breathe and laugh and wipe my tears with that antique "K" hanky, and then the ceremony began.
He asked Daddy who gave this woman in marriage, to which he responded, "Me and her Mama." He kissed me on the cheek and handed me over to my beaming groom. I couldn't get over Drew. We just grinned ear to ear! Ben said beautiful things and then Callie read a scripture from Ruth that I questioned choosing (since I really hadn't had a lot of time to choose something and just picked a verse I'd seen from Snippet & Ink's Kathryn Grady's wedding ceremony). Then Dani (who I'd forgotten to give a copy of her chosen reading) read a snippet from The Velveteen Rabbit from her iPhone (taken from her Facebook page while we were waiting upstairs!) and CRIED her way through it. And then it was communion time and Julia sang "A Place Only You Can Go" which was heartbreakingly beautiful and I swallowed tears and sparkling grape juice (Jesus' blood was SPARKLING for our wedding!!!). And then, without explaining it to our guests at all, we did the wine box ritual and nailed that sucker shut... Ben's communion reading lasted almost the whole song long, so there were a few seconds of silence that I continued to hammer that wooden box, causing the audience to burst into laughter and confusion. We laughed hard. And then we said vows and exchanged rings and we were pronounced husband & wife, KISSED, then Dani handed me back my bouquet (which I made sure to grab!), and we smiled with our whole faces the whole way back down the aisle (to Stevie Wonder's "Signed Sealed Delivered," which I first heard when been played at my friend/Big Joy's wedding two years prior). MARRIED!!!!!
As the rest of our group recessed, we were met with hugs and kisses from family and friends. It was a blur! We waited a second for the room to clear out (guests went outside for cocktails while we took final photos), Mary Alice stripped the aisle runner, Hillary & her staff started filling food containers and putting out things for cocktails & the reception, and we tried to wrangle up extended family for pictures. Drew & I posed with each other and then Ben. Then we did final bridal party portraits in front of the arch, and they were dismissed to go get cocktails and mingle outside. My side of the family (Mom's & Dad's) is so large we couldn't all squeeze together so I yelled at my aunt Marcy for suggesting we do it separately, but then we did it separately anyways. Drew's family was much easier and smaller. Then Daddy was holding Poppy and I crashed their photo. I saw my favorite Aunt Net and Debbie sitting at a table in the front, and went over to hug them. (They'd traveled from Florida to come, rather miraculously. I about had a nervous breakdown after the rehearsal dinner when they couldn't make it out to Front Porch Farms, so I'd spent the night before the wedding at Granny's house, sobbing and thanking these sweet ladies for coming all the way... it meant so much!) I said hi to our DJ and our sweet musicians. Then I walked around a little aimlessly and traipsed on upstairs with Drew. We sat on the couch in a little stupor. We didn't really know what to do (and in retrospect, might have even wished we'd attended cocktails instead -- we didn't ever get to see anything outside, and our time was so limited with our guests as it was!) but started to pray. Then Aspen came upstairs and apologized for interrupting, but then Dani came up and gave us some champagne punch. Daddy came upstairs cussing the venue owner, having discovered earlier that day that rental tables she'd lied about were locked in a closet up there. Someone brought us water bottles. I think Mom bustled me and took off my veil. Then it was time to come back downstairs for the reception.
We were announced in to Hall & Oates' "You Make My Dreams," which I loved from the movie 500 Days of Summer. We went immediately to cut our DELICIOUS cake (with the late Margaret Elliott's sterling knife that Mom & Dani had used in their weddings), sip some champagne from stripe straws in our monogrammed flutes, and then be swarmed with guests at our sweetheart table. My mother's cousin talked our ears off for at least 30 minutes. Drew brought me a raspberry shortbread cappuccino. I hugged friends.
Stephen gave a sweet toast. Then Konrad read a slightly scandalous (I was terrified what would come out of his mouth) but hilarious and wonderful speech. Then Dani spoke (very tongue-in-cheek and funny, very characteristic of her!). Then Drew and I gave a little thank-you, in which he let me have the last word. I forgot to thank our friendors for everything they did for me, but I did mention how amazing it was to be surrounded by people from every different aspect of our lives, all together in one place.
And then it was time for our first dance. I surprised Drew by having our friends play our song (Jon Foreman's "In My Arms") live. They filed in from the side door and Drew, slightly confused, joined me on the dance floor. He didn't recognize the song at first but finally got it. And they did a beautiful job!
Then Daddy and I danced to "Landslide." It was sweet. Drew danced with his Aunt Rachel and stepmother, Cassie, to Coldplay's "Green Eyes" (my choice!) -- to which I sat, teary-eyed at our sweetheart table, eating what little remained of our tiny sliver of wedding cake we'd cut. Then all thirty-something of my sorority sisters joined me for our fraternity hymn, group and "family" pictures following, and then Drew's fraternity men serenaded me with the "Dream Girl" song, did their little chant, and posed with him for a huge group pic. Then it was dancing time!!!!
The dance floor was packed ALL NIGHT LONG. I alternated between dancing with Drew, friends, and chatting with people and taking pictures. So many loved ones! I went to go get ice cream and a miniature apple pie at one point (they were out of ice cream -- it had all melted) but had to set the pie down since "Wobble" was playing and "it's my jam!!!!" Even Aspen and family members got down on the dancefloor! SO FUN! I took a group picture with my childhood friends -- a tradition we couldn't miss. I never did get a bite of anything besides a spoonful of slightly unmelted pistachio ice cream (which Hillary's husband Don delivered to me when I was talking with family seated at a table). Then, I'm a little fuzzy on the actual timeline, but Dani and the babies had to leave a little before eleven (for it was FAR past their bedtime). At some point -- maybe before, maybe after that -- I was burning up in my wedding gown, so I asked Laurajean to accompany me upstairs to change into my getaway dress. I told her, "I know it's really early but I am sweating to death!" She then informed me it was only 30 minutes before our departure!!! It FLEW by! She helped me out of my gown and into a pretty, structured white lace lingerie set (that she'd gifted me that morning -- it had shipped to Julianna's house on our wedding day!!!!!) and then my little white rosette mini dress by Amanda Judge, which I wore with my wedding belt and shoes. I came back downstairs (to some catcalls, I'm not gonna lie) and goofed off with Drew, untying his bowtie dancing.
And then, before we knew it, it was over! Brent played "Night Moves" as guests made their way outside to light sparklers, we said goodbye to our parents, grabbed a couple of pink lemonades and stripey straws, and headed down the trail of loved ones wielding handheld fireworks (ha!). I freaked out a little, and then I saw LJ -- knowing it'd be a long time before I'd see her again -- and hugged her goodbye, and then we climbed into Cassie's Mercedes and waved goodbye to all our friends and family!!!!! Stephen drove us out. We stopped at Sonic so that I could check to make sure all our luggage was with us (and see if we perchance had a box of to-go cake or dessert -- no dice:( ), and then made our way to the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. We gave Stephen our wedding rings, Drew's suspenders, and (maybe?) my crystal belt (so we wouldn't have to bring them along with us to Mexico, since we'd planned to leave straight from the hotel that Monday morning for our honeymoon). We hugged him goodbye and checked in at the lobby.
Our room was nice, with a pretty view of the Nashville skyline. We had champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries waiting for us! At 1AM-ish we ordered a $24 room service chicken sandwich, we were so starving after not eating all day. Even though it had mayo on it, I ate around it and scarfed down what I could of the chicken and thick wheat bread.
And that was it!!!! We were married!!!!! Six months ago. We woke up the next morning early to get the Loews' complimentary breakfast (which we had a hard time finding at first and almost ended up spending a large amount of money on, in another hotel restaurant). I wore hot yoga shorts and a loose t-shirt and we walked to Chipotle for lunch. And then we called Drew's dad to bring us the Jeep because we realized we'd forgotten a lot of things we needed for the honeymoon (among them, my razor), and he dropped it off and we headed up to my parents' place (unsurprisingly) for short ribs for dinner and opening beaucoups of wedding presents. We bought a camera at Target that night with a gift card we'd gotten. We left my car at a parking garage on Belmont's campus the next morning and bridesmaid Heather drove us to the airport, wielding suitcases with hot pink glitter ribbon (to designate our bags) and all!
Honeymoon Recollection to come. :)