I am awful...it's been nearly a month since my last post. Having just taken a quick trip to the Dominican Republic (another post coming about that this week), being busier than ever with work, my sister's wedding, and a marketing conference in Boston, I haven't had two seconds to write. I'm not complaining at all, just giving some good excuses for my lack of blogging.
As strange as it sounds, I actually miss all the wedding planning. I joked around at times, saying it felt like I was planning my wedding all over again. But I have to say, I wouldn't trade a single moment of that precious time. My sister and I became closer than ever, and I am so thankful for that!
Laura's wedding "weekend" really started the Saturday before, which was her bachelorette party. Massage, lunch, shopping, and a night downtown. What fun we had! The limo, the lingerie shower, Bar None, Silky's, and Paula Raiford's...my sister sure knows how to party!
Laura and me at Silky's
Wedding week officially started on Wednesday night. The family went to a fun dinner at My Favorite Place in Cordova. I say "fun" because we were all together...the food was just okay and the atmosphere wasn't at all what we're used to. We need to stick with ol' faithful from here on out: El Mezal never lets us down. :) Nevertheless, we had a great time with even better company! That night, I went over to my Mom's to start putting together the wedding program fans. I actually enjoy doing these stationary projects for my family and friends' weddings, but 300 of them...let's just say I am SO thankful to have had help from my Momma and aunts!
The "before" pic :)
I was off from work on Thursday and Friday, which was much needed. Went for a good five-mile run Thursday morning, followed by my sister's bridesmaid luncheon at the beautiful Heartwood Hall. Everything was gorgeous! Denise truly takes care of her brides, and she definitely made Laura (and all of us ladies) feel like she was one of her own.
Good food and good wine and champagne later, the majority of us headed to Esthetiques Skin Spa for a mani/pedi. While we had fun goofing around and catching up, we were there for over four hours...I don't know about you, but I run out of gossip way too fast for that. We still had a good time, and everyone's nails and toes looked spectacular. FYI, if you go, make sure you ask for Terri. She's fabulous.
Aunt Mignon and me
Laura and her new sis, Jennifer!
That night, my Aunt Mignon and I picked up some dinner for the family and headed back to my Mom's. A couple bottles of wine and lots of laughs later, we finished the lovely programs. Thanks again to Mom, Aunt Mignon, Aunt Lisa, and Tony (the tape master). Couldn't have done it without you...well, I could have. Just not in two days. :)
Laughing at Aunt Lisa after she messed up...again ;)
Friday was jam-packed with errands, and an overall crazy day. It started with a trip to the vet for Buster's annual shots (he was such a good boy!). Next it was a HOT 4.5-mile run...a little later than I would've liked, but that's what I get for sleeping in. After that, I went to my OB-GYN for a checkup (I go every six months now after being diagnosed with PCOS). Things look good for now! Eventually I'll write a post on all that...
I had written Laura a poem, which I was planning to read at the rehearsal dinner. But I had yet to write an actual speech. Waiting rooms are perfect for such thing, so I was able to get it done. After running some last-minute errands, I rushed home to get ready for rehearsal. I went out to my car to grab my speech, and then I realized I had left it at the doctor's office! Luckily we had to go right by there on the way to the venue, so crisis averted! I'd like to say that I'm a good "from the heart" speaker, but I'm way too emotional for that.
Rehearsal started off well...extremely hot, but there was nothing we could do about that. We made it through the ceremony once, and just as we were about to line up for round 2, I started feeling lightheaded. I sat down and tried to compose myself, and after about a minute, I got back up to stand in line. Not 20 seconds later, I knew I was going to faint. I remember trying to sit down and Laura asking me if I was going to faint. Next thing I know, I'm waking up in my Dad's lap with the entire wedding party crowded around me. Sweet Jennifer had caught me before my Dad came rushing to take over. Supposedly I came to and then passed out again. Geez...leave it to me to steal the couple's thunder! Kidding...but at least I was gracious enough to get everyone out of the heat. ;) Having barely eaten anything that day, getting my blood taken, running in 100+ degrees, I'm pretty sure that's a recipe for disaster. Thanks to Jennifer, my Dad, and a couple of Cary's groomsmen for making sure I was okay. Needless to say, the rehearsal ended there.
The rehearsal dinner was so nice. The food was great, I got to catch up with Laura's sweet boss from the Grizzlies, Nicole, and we all got to express our love and well wishes for the happy couple. Next it was onto T.J. Mulligan's for a couple more drinks, and then Laura and I called it a night. It was a special moment for me, staying with my sister the night before her big day. She was just glowing with excitement!
Laura, Melanie, and me at rehearsal dinner
Laura and Cary being silly!
Invitation tray I made for Laura as a wedding gift
(it's so easy and a unique, sentimental gift)
(it's so easy and a unique, sentimental gift)
Finally, Wedding Day was upon us! Mom so graciously brought us breakfast, and then we took our time to get ready before Melanie picked us up to get our hair done. A few braids, curls, and lots of hair spray, and then we headed to Heartwood Hall to start getting ready!
When we arrived, a few people were in a state of panic...the cake lady (Brandi Marter of Brandi's Sweets) had dropped the cake. When Heartwood Hall came in to set it up, the cake immediately started falling over. So what did Brandi do? She tore up the check and said "it's not my problem" and walked right out. Umm, excuse me?!?! At least they didn't have to pay for it, but what the hell kind of business is this wacko running? It's their wedding day!! Word to the wise: do NOT use Brandi Marter! But never fear, Denise with Heartwood Hall to the rescue! She called her friends at Oh My Ganache! Bakery, and they came right over, took the cake bake to their shop, and had it back in time for the reception. AMAZING, I tell you...these people are truly amazing!
The girls continued getting ready, and then it was picture time. Savannah and Philip with Ava Grace Photography do some incredible work. Dealing with the insane heat that day on top of a rowdy group of groomsmen...they are angels. Here's a sneak peak of the wedding pics: http://www.avagraceblog.com/weddings/laura-and-cary-a-heartwood-hall-wedding/. See what I mean?! :)
Before the ceremony
Just as the ceremony was about to start, we were notified that a huge storm was about to pass through. Everyone quickly got in line, and we made sure to start on time. Prayers work, I tell you...an amazing breeze (albeit a little too much at times) came through and cooled everything down. And not a single drop of rain fell. It was absolutely perfect. As said by Laura, "Today I marry my best friend. I am so blessed and grateful! I love you, C!!" And let me tell you, the love Laura and Cary share was seen by all who were lucky enough to be there on June 11.
The cocktail hour was cut slightly short due to the storm; but that only extended the reception, making the night that much more fun. It was quite the party! Of course, who would expect any less with these two. Good times with friends and family and lots of dancing...that's what life's all about. Congratulations to the happy couple!
THANK YOU, Oh My Ganache! Bakery!!
Laura and me at the end of the night!
Mr. and Mrs. Cheston!!
To Laura and Cary: Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your most special day. I was honored to stand beside you both, and I am so excited for the adventures that lie ahead of you in this new chapter in your lives. Best wishes and a lifetime of happiness to you both!
Another round of thanks to all those who made this day so special...Heartwood Hall (especially you, Denise!), Oh My Ganache! Bakery, Mahaffey Tent and Party Rentals (linens, tables, and chairs), Ava Grace Photography, Holliday Flowers and Events, and Bead Euphoria Handcrafted Jewelry (bride and bridesmaid jewelry)!