I hate clichés, but June 18th really was the best day of my life.
People commented, repeatedly, on how relaxed we both were. Maybe it was our personalities, maybe it was because there just wasn't anything to worry about. Not this late in the game! I wasn’t that nervous or anxious, though little butterflies appeared from time to time. It helped that there was almost no free time; the less I sit still, the less I'll fret.
The day started out with manicures at a cute place run by Vietnamese ladies who were very into the USA-Slovakia World Cup Game. My best friend and matron of honor, Kerry, did my hair and makeup. She did an amazing job-making me look just like myself, only fancier. I felt glamorous and gorgeous! The room was pretty full of people before we were finished: my mom, sisters, and friends, as well as my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law, who was my other bridesmaid. They were trying to steam my dress, which was resisting the portable steamer and had to be hung in the bathroom with the shower on high heat for about 20 minutes. Terrible waste of water, I know, but it was the only thing that worked!
I was really glad we decided to do pictures ahead of time and see each other before the ceremony. Not only did we save time on the boat, leaving that much more for partying, but that “first look” was priceless…seeing the love of my life standing in the garden, waiting for me…trying not to trip on the stairs as I walked down in my red satin heels and carrying my train…the way time just stopped for a few seconds as he saw me for the first time. The only real information I'd given him about what I was wearing on the big day was that I wasn’t wearing a “white” dress and he had seemed surprised and just a little disappointed. I was a little nervous about his reaction. I shouldn’t have been. His jaw didn’t drop, exactly, but the look in his eyes was priceless!
The boat was beautiful, but HOT. Even with the air conditioning on high, the accumulated heat from earlier in the day wasn’t leaving. After the rest of the wedding party made their way to the front of the boat, my parents led me down the aisle to the sound of Yo-Yo Ma on the cello (Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring). In pictures, it kind of looks like they’re dragging me, but that’s because the wedding coordinator told us that I should walk a half-step behind them, so we fit in the skinny aisle better. Having both my parents walk me down was important enough to me that I didn’t care if it looked funny…
Richard, our pastor, was standing at the front of the boat with us, his head just inches from the low ceiling, ignoring the huge drops of sweat beading on his face. His message, combining snippets of our story together with Bible passages, had everyone laughing and reflective. It was a beautiful message and ceremony, with remarks I'll remember for the rest of my life.
The party was a smashing success, with most of the evening a glorious blur, full of dancing and wine and a perfect soundtrack, surrounded by family and friends from all the eras of our lives. Childhood friends, grandparents, people we bonded with in college, coworkers and siblings. We had guests drive from Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee and Michigan, fly from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California and Canada. People came from all over Texas, on both our guest lists. (Picking a centralized wedding location was perhaps the only way we could have united so many of our scattered friends and family in one place!) Everyone was having so much fun that one of the guests negotiated an extra hour on the boat so that the reception could continue a little longer! Thanks to our amazing crew, the evening was stress-free and just so much fun! Guests played crossword puzzles about our lives over dinner. As we had no mutual friends, the crosswords served as a good icebreaker, encouraging the guests to mingle and find answers to questions such as “Did Jenna graduate from her high school” and “What is the groom's second “job”?” Later, wild dancing ensued and hair blew in the wind, fireworks lit up the clear night skies and the soft lapping of the waves provided the perfect background to a perfect day.
We were the second to last to leave, I think, and we walked the dimly lit sidewalk along the docks together, my wedding dress hiked up to show my bare feet. Exhausted and happy, we laughed like a pair of teenagers when we found a fruit plate and bottle of wine laid out on our bed, a “congratulations to the happy couple….Kristopher and Charlotte.” Someone either sent the basket to the wrong room, or someone stole it for us! Either way, it was delicious and a great source of amusement…