And it didn't. Once everyone arrived, we got right to it because I wanted to run through it all at least twice.
As expected, this was the hard part...lining everyone up, seeing what would look best for a stage needing to hold 24 people.
I'll let you decide if the guys or girls were more attentive.
In the meantime, most people just sat around and chatted.
I'll spare you the photos of everyone practicing walking down the aisle. You'll see those in the Ceremony post. BUT, I do have to show you these cuties. They've grown so much since then!! #nephewlove
My dad married us along side this guy, Mike Webb, who was our Youth Minister back in the day and who is now a very dear friend of ours.
(Side Story... We both frequented this church we were married in when we were teens because several of our friends went there. However, it was not either of ours "home church" AND we weren't there much during the same time. We knew who each other was, but our time spent there didn't overlap much. So while we both have a close relationship with Mike, those relationships formed at different and separate phases of our lives. Make sense? Moving on...)
I cannot say enough good things about this man. He conducted our per-marital counseling sessions for us...many more hours than we were required to have to get the discount on the marriage license. I am SO glad we spent those hours with him; we learned so much and in fact, there are principles that he opened our eyes to that we still catch ourselves incorporating into our marriage today. He's just such an important person in our lives that it was never a question that he wouldn't be up there with us!
After we ran through everything and got the music lined up a couple times, everyone headed to our Rehearsal Dinner hosted by Stephen's parents.
I knew they were going with a BBQ theme, but was blown away by how great everything looked!!
The food was AMAZING as expected. Stephen's brother is a chef and along with their parents...they can COOK a meal!! I LOVED the assortment and display of mini pies; that may have been my favorite.
For dinner, we had smoked pulled pork, BBQ chicken, baked beans, mac and cheese, cole slaw, and corn on the cob that Stephen's grandmother stood guard over dipping each ear into a vat of melted butter before laying it on everyone's plate!! #havemercy
Stephen's family went above and beyond in preparing and hosting this dinner for us! I married into a great family and I can honestly say, they LOVE me just as if I had been born to them. I love the relationship I have with Stephen's family and am so thankful for each of them and the support they have been to us!
As everyone was finishing eating, Stephen's brother, Evan, gave a speech for us. Sharing some memories of he and Stephen growing up and also of hopes for our future.
Then, it was my sister's turn...and she was crying 30 seconds into it. She's seven years older than I am. Growing up, it sometimes felt like we were leading separate lives as only kids. Now, that we're grown, I couldn't ask for a better sister or a better friend. I was so honored to have her by my side during all of these events and standing beside me on our special day!
Present time!! My mom spent countless hours reading "I'll Love You Forever" to me growing up. (She also read every Berenstein Bear book at least a few hundred times each.....but there was no memorable quote worthy of embroidering on a handkerchief years later from those books.)
I wish I had a photo of the handkerchief but alas, didn't happen. It was white with blue embroidered flowers and also embroidered were these words: "Mom, I'll love you forever. I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, my mommy you'll be. Love, Erica. September 28, 2013 "
CUE THE TEARS!!!!
My dad collects pocket watches, for his gift I had a watch engraved to commemorate our special walk down the aisle the next day. "Dad, thank you for always walking by my side. Love, Erica 09.28.13"
Annnd now....cue the tears from yours truly.
More tears and a comforting impromptu group hug.
Such a fun night with our family and closest friends!!
At some point when everyone started slowly leaving and going their own ways and others started cleaning up...it all hit me. Like a big 'ol ton of bricks. My friend and bridesmaid, Kayla had gotten into town earlier in the day and was going to spend the night at my apartment with me.
We got in her car and before we got on the interstate which was about three minutes away, I was having a huge meltdown. Big, huge ugly cry kind of meltdown.
I was thankful, I was scared, I was overwhelmed. It was all finally here. And as any best friend would, she let me cry all the way home and then reassured that my feelings were normal and everything was just fine. And the thing is, I knew everything was fine....I was just overwhelmed. It was REALLY about to happen. EVERYTHING leading up to a wedding was over. I was getting married TOMORROW!!
After ten months of planning and 30 years of waiting....MY wedding day was only hours away!! I never had any doubts or cold feet, but man was it hard to believe that it was finally here. Every detail, every event that goes along with a wedding....it was all checked off the list. The only thing left to do was get married!
If you've missed any wedding posts up to now, you can catch up below:
Nursing Girls Shower - here
Church Family Shower - here
Stafford Family Shower - here
Flatt Family Shower -here
Girls Night Out Little Black Dress Party - here
It Takes a Village (Wedding Setup) - here