OK, so I’m going to try the blogging relatively on time thing! But hold on to your hats, folks, this is going to be a long one!
Lauren and Jim are the type of friends who make it a point to come visit you on a regular basis if you don’t come to them. That means that since we have 3 kids and are pretty busy, they are almost always the ones to travel to see us. When Lauren asked me to be her Maid of Honor, there was one thing I really wanted to give her the week of her wedding: my time. For once, I wanted to be able to go to where she was and offer my services for whatever it was that she needed.
A few cogs were thrown into my plan. First, my lovely cousin Rebecca decided to get married on the same day. (Apparently it’s a good anniversary to have!) Not only did that mean that I would not be able to attend her wedding, it also meant that my parents would be out of town to be at her wedding, leaving me without babysitters in the area of Lauren’s wedding. Also, about a month before the wedding, after 4 years of working for the State, they finally decided it was time to send Josh to a Microsoft Conference. Of course, it was the week before the wedding, and he wouldn’t be getting home until late Thursday night.
But, as usual, God orchestrated things much more beautifully than I ever could have. First, we made the decision to leave Izzy with our friends Brad and Melanie to play with his buddy Jack. They were super gracious to agree to this. I was afraid that he would feel left out since he would be the only one not making the trip up to Georgia, but Melanie kept sending me pictures like this…
…which assured me that we had made the right choice! Thank goodness for good friends!
I still had to decide what to do about the other 2 kids. Ava was an honorary flower girl, which means that she, of course, needed to be at the wedding. However, I knew that if she tagged along with me for the days before the wedding during which I would be trying to help, it would be lots of frustration for both of us. Egan is still nursing a little, and I didn’t feel comfortable leaving him for 3 days with one of my friends who has lots of kids since he is pretty high maintenance.
So we did something we have never done before! We traveled with a babysitter! A new friend, Morgan, from church who has a preschool background is (or was) in between jobs, and she agreed to come along! I was so appreciative of having her around, I really cannot imagine how hard the weekend would have been without her help!
OK, so here is how the marathon wedding weekend went! Thursday morning before the wedding, I dropped off Izzy, picked up Morgan, and we headed to my parents’ house, which was sort of our “base” for the weekend. I left Morgan and the kids there, and I went to meet Lauren to see how I could help her. We first ran errands in Donalsonville, including a stop at the florists and depositing Lauren’s life savings to use to purchase Jim’s ring:
You just don’t see a bag of cash often anymore!
We then drove over to Dothan for Chik-Fil-A, a haircut appointment for Lauren, and shopping for the perfect shade of purple tissue paper. Back at Lauren’s house, we tackled some projects, namely, helping Lauren figure out what song the violinist needed to play for the processional on Saturday! I finished “making” my shoes for the wedding while we listened to various classical Youtube videos and Pandora stations. Lauren’s mom, Lynn, made us a pancake dinner at about 10:30 PM. There’s nothing much better than a blueberry pancake at that hour. I finally had to head back to my parents’ house for a short night’s sleep!
Friday morning, it was back to Lauren’s house for a practice run of putting product in her hair. We also made THREE lists of things that Lauren needed to have packed and ready to go that day. We had originally planned to travel to the reception site in Bainbridge together to put out placecards, but the placecards had not arrived yet – and Jim and Lauren’s wedding rings had not, either! So Lauren stayed behind to intercept the mail and/or UPS guy, and Lynn and I headed to the reception hall to meet with the caterer and let the florist in.
I happened to see my hubby for the first time in a week at the reception hall where the guys had been busy tying the chair covers on. Jay and Kristy had also arrived there, so it was a bit of a reunion! The guys headed to Dothan to get their tuxes (yes, there was A LOT of driving going on that weekend!) I had some things to prepare at my parents’ house, so Kristy agreed to drive Lynn back to Donalsonville so that I could do what I needed to do and get back in time for the rehearsal.
SO, I drove back to Blakely, stopping for food for the bridesmaid breakfast and dinner for Morgan, since, well, I should probably feed the babysitter! At my parents’ house, Ava and I got ready and headed to the rehearsal. At the rehearsal, Lauren’s third bridesmaid, Whitney joined us. She had driven down from NC that day – about 12 hours! Aaaaand let the pictures commence!
Lauren had the most impressive bow bouquet ever!
I gave Ava the camera during one of our run-throughs so that she wouldn’t get to antsy. The following is a sample of her work.
After the official rehearsal, Lauren had Ava spread the petals along the aisle. She even made her a flower girl basket!
It was very sweet!
We had a little time to kill before the Rehearsal Dinner, so we headed back to Lauren’s to finish up her packing! Then it was BACK to Dothan for the dinner!
The dinner was at the restaurant we ate at the night they met. It doesn’t get much more perfect than that!
Jim also decided to give the groomsmen their gifts at the dinner. So this is what happened:
After the dinner, the ladies headed to my parents’ house for the night, and the guys headed to Jim and Lauren’s apartment.
Saturday morning we had to keep a tight schedule! We kicked things off with the bridesmaid breakfast!
Yep, that would be recycled decorations from the bachelorette party and my parents’ china!
Whitney was a doll and cooked the bacon and eggs for us!
It was Kristy’s first time drinking sparkling grape juice!
The beautiful bride! Rats, I forgot to make her re-wear her pin!
All of us! Well, except me. And you can only see Egan’s feet.
Then it was time for Lauren and Whitney to head to their hair and makeup appointments. Kristy, Morgan, and I spent that time frantically trying to do our hair, pack everything up, and load the van. Since I couldn’t go to Lauren’s hair appointment, Whitney was kind enough to take Olympus with her and get some pictures.
We arrived at the church just half an hour later than we wanted to, and it was more of a flurry of emergency hair repair and getting dressed while trying not to be in the background of the photographer’s detail shots. Then it was time to get Lauren all dressed up and gorgeous to get some bridal portraits! My friend, of course, looked incredible on her wedding day. I didn’t get a good full-length photo, so you’ll have to take my word for it until the photographer gets her pictures to her!
After lots of pictures, we got to hang out in the “getting ready” room for a while before the wedding, so I did get to snap a few photos then.
Annnnd then it was wedding time! It was a beautiful ceremony, and I even managed to get Jim’s ring off my thumb without dropping one of the bouquets! (It was one of those “I don’t think I’ve thought this plan all the way through…” type moments.)
So then it was back to the “getting ready” room to wait for portrait time! Of course, I got more pictures…
First wedding band shot!
I didn’t want Jim to have to take any pictures on his wedding day, but he insisted!
Jay and Kristy!
Ava with my flowers!
After MORE pictures, we headed to the reception! A side note on the pictures: I am waaaaay out of practice being on the other side of the camera, so I apologize in advance for having no cool poses for the silly pictures! Also, rumor has it that Lauren and I donned our pointe shoes for some pictures for old times sake. Let me just say…I have had THREE children since I last wore those shoes. Fortunately these were still pictures and not a video – there wasn’t much grace going on for my part!
At the reception, we had a great dinner, and then it was time for some dancing! And my first, and most likely last, toast I’ll ever make with a microphone! And cake cutting! And CAKE!
I think Ava was one of the top 5 most enthusiastic dancers there!
They surprised Jay and Kristy with a “first dance” since they had had a church reception and didn’t get to dance. Can you say SWEET?!
And this begins my favorite segment of the pictures. I must give you a little back story so you can appreciate this. You see, Jim has been a groomsmen approximately 86 times. And he is NOTORIOUS for being a very thorough car decorator. And he may have ruined a few paint jobs and dash boards. And glitter in the air vents? Yeah…someone found out the hard way that that can mess up your vehicle!
SO, needless to say, outside the reception, there was a veritable army working on Jim’s car.
It was so beautiful to see so many people working together for a cause!
I am proud to say that my husband was part of the brains behind this endeavor!
Ava was so fascinated, she decided not to pass out the bubbles!
I think this is my favorite pic of the night! I can’t help thinking of the verse “train up a child in the way he should go…”
Finished product! I think Josh was a little disappointed because he was hoping to make it even MORE epic.
But it’s still pretty awesome!
The flower-filled socks were my idea…unfortunately, I think the flour was packed too tight to have the effect we wanted!
I bet you CANNOT guess whose old whitey tidies those are!
After all of that decorating fun, and some fun in the photo booth with the bride, it was time to send the couple away in an array of bubbles!
It was a full weekend, with a lot of back and forth! I have used my amazing Paint skills to make you a little map to demonstrate what I’m talking about.
Does this remind you of anything? Like Paul’s missionary journeys?
I thought so, too!
But more importantly, it was an incredible weekend celebrating with some of our best friends. It’s not a secret that I’m so, so, SO excited that they are finally married and able to start this portion of their lives together! I can write a lot more sappy stuff, but I pretty much already wrote everything when they got engaged.
Congrats to Jim and Lauren! We are so excited to see you start your Happily Ever After!!!