|"This day I marry my friend, the one I laugh with, live for, dream with, love."|
The night before the wedding, I didn't sleep. I laid awake in bed, thinking of the amazing day that we were about to have. Then 2am rolled around and Sawyer decided it was time to wake up... Luckily Derrick took him downstairs so I could get some rest. 6:30am came fast. I was awake and excited - our day was finally here! I loaded up the kids and headed for the salon. Us girls had donuts, pastries and juice. We hung out, joked and laughed.
We left the salon at 11:30. Headed for the church to get ready. The girls got ready in one room, I got ready across the hall. As I was putting on my dress I saw the little heart I had sewn into the back of my dress, a little piece of the blanket that wrapped Gabriel during those few precious moments we had with him. I had a moment, I knew he was with me. The boys all got ready in a room downstairs. I didn't let anyone see me except my personal attendants. I think it hurt my sisters feelings, but this time I wanted her to see me with the group. Everyone got lined up outside while my dad came in to see me for the first time in my dress. We shared a moment before going to see everyone else.
When I exited the front doors my wedding party was lined up on either side of the sidewalk - exactly how I planned, and there stood Derrick at the end - back turned towards me just waiting. I was already in tears. I'd waited so long for this moment and here we stood finally in our wedding attire on our day. The moment was intense. I was more nervous about that moment than I was for the entire day. Derrick was flabbergasted. The smile on his face was priceless, he looked amazing.
After that we took some photos of Derrick and I and then of the wedding party. We went down to vermillion falls for some more interesting settings.
We returned to the church at 2:45 for some lunch and hiding. We got the kids dressed and I fed them... Yes, dress and all!
Time flew by. Derrick had already gone down to his spit in the office at the front of the church to wait his entrance. I felt like I was there for 10 minutes listening to the organ playing as our guests arrived. My heart was beating fast. I was nervous. Next thing I knew it was time. Time to line up.
The wedding party walked in from opposite sides in the back of the church an met in the middle to walk down the aisle. The kids went right before me - Evelyn in her beautiful flower girl dress pulling a simply decorated wagon. She did beautifully. I could hear the "oooohs" and "ahhhhs" as they made their way down. Rumor has it that she was exceptionally cute. Then it was my turn. As I entered the church my personal attendants were there assuring me I'd be fine and reminding me to "look for D!". As my father and I rounded the corner I could see everyone and immediately spotted Derrick, huge heartwarming smile, just waiting for me. I would have run to him, if my dad wasn't so composed and keeping me paced.
The ceremony was beautiful. Our memorial candles for Gabriel and Joe were there on the alter with a rose for my aunt Pam (who passed many years ago). Derrick and I both found ourselves watching those candles flicker through much of the service. The service was great, but I was shaking the entire time. I spewed out the last few words as we exchanged vows because I was on the verge of crying. We had some trouble lighting the unity candle, but eventually Derrick just picked it up and lit it which of course caused the entire church to giggle.
We escorted the guests out instead of a receiving line and made way to our grand exit through all our guests and bubbles blowing. We took family photos outside and made our way to a local bar for a drink.
Our grand entrance into the reception was fun and upbeat to a black eyes peas song "I gotta feeling". We served wild rice stuffed chicken breast in champagne sauce with potatoes, dinner rolls, ceasar salad and green beans. Our guests enjoyed playing with our kissing menu - singing, demonstrating kisses to copy and playing trivia while we ate. My sisters speech was awesome and funny (I was actually semi surprised how put together it was an how much thought she had put into it) my brothers was sentimental and emotional and had us in tears.
After dinner we cut into our 4 tier buttercream bakery cake and served eachother a bite using forks - no cake smashing here. The top 3 layers were Strawberry banana (vanilla cake with 2 layers, one with fresh strawberries and the other with a banana cream), the bottom layer was chocolate lovers (chocolate cake with chocolate fudge in the middle layers)
We had our first dance to "a whole new world" by Peoblo Bryson and Regina Belle. Nothing extreme, no practicing here.
I didn't know what my father daughter dance would be because my dad had picked it out and worked with the Dj himself. About a minute into the song I had a very emotional realization - my father (with the help and backup singing of my sister) had recorded a song for me! "Gotta let go" was the song and I was crying. It was beautiful and amazing, I was so surprised! He even changed some of the words so it was more me. We did fairly well with the dollar dance - I won with the most money brought in (partly because, if people paid $5 or more they could cut in line, I had quite a few of that). Then Derrick and his mom enjoyed a mother/son dance together.
The garter toss was quick, Derrick got that thing out from under my dress and in his teeth in about 30 seconds flat (we were barely into the "wild thing" song!) He tossed it only after I had forced more single guys into the group. The bouquet toss was set up, the song "girls wanna have fun" was playing and I had the flowers untied so when I threw it they flew apart and many ladies got one - surprise! We danced the night away, enjoyed some late night pizzas, and spent time with all our loved ones.
After the Dj stopped playing at 11, we went upstairs and whoever was left went bowling - formal attire and all! It was a blast! I won (of course) but I was the only sober one so it made sense haha! We only played one game before heading up to the bar till bar close.
Here are some other photos I've seen from the day. I await the photos from our photographer as well as our friends and family (That's where all the current ones came from already) and I'll post some more as soon as I get them.
|Getting hairs done :)|
|Playing "Kissing Menu" games|
|My sister's toast consisted of a journey into the past, return of my "missing" possessions and photo memories.|
|Toasting a thank you!|
|Dollar dance - one of the ushers|
|At the lanes|
After nearly no sleep (it takes forever to get the dress off - holy moly!), we woke up, had breakfast with those in the lobby area, and had our gift opening.
That evening we headed 3 hours north to Lake Superior to enjoy a couple days as family. We rode the Duluth train, walked around canal park, and took the scenic route to two harbors. It was so much fun and SO relaxing.
Now we're home, getting used to life as husband and wife. We both agree that it feels different... Very different, but in a good way! We feel stronger, more connected.
Gabriel and Joe were sorely missed. The sadness surrounding Joe's passing is still very fresh in everyone's heart and mind. Everyone knew his spirit was there with us, and Gabriel too. The sadness never imposed on our day and for that I am grateful. I did almost have a fit when I noticed the candles weren't lit at the reception though!
There were some glitches throughout the day, all were very minor though (wrong shoes for a groomsmen, derricks wrong shirt, missing tux pieces, flowers starting to die, a bridesmaid coming back literally minutes prior to ceremony start, etc). Nothing that was enough to ruin my day though.
We thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers, well wishes and special messages. And a very special thank you to everyone who made the day possible, made the day perfect, helped out, and came to celebrate. We appreciate each and everyone of you!