April 30, 2011: Our Wedding Day

The wedding was over 2 months ago (crazy!), but I wanted to give a final recap and tell the story of how the day evolved into our wedding day…

From the beginning we wanted our wedding to be simple, elegant and fun. We wanted it to feel like an elegant party we would have thrown in our backyard, had it been big enough to accommodate everyone. With such a great church and venue within blocks of our house, it almost was like hosting a party in our backyard!

We also knew we wanted to add lots of personal touches and I really wanted to make a lot of things myself. We were blessed to have the help of family and friends to help with all our DIY projects. Our DIY projects included, the invitations, programs, menus, favors, luminarias, ribbon wands, guestbook and the welcome bags. All our projects turned out just the way I hoped, we really were so lucky that our family pitched in to help.

I woke up early Saturday morning, just couldn’t sleep. After a bagel and a shower, it was time to get pretty. I had both a hair stylist and makeup artist come to the hotel to make everyone beautiful. Dave was having his own adventure that morning, a minor parking incident, I think he was a little nervous. I had some nerves too, it was a big day after all, but somehow I knew it would all fall into place. I enjoyed spending the morning with my bridal party as we all got ready.  Dave made it safely to his parent’s house to get ready with his guys. Eventually the morning came and went. The limo got us both to the church and the show was ready to begin!

We were married at the Catholic Church in our neighborhood (2 blocks from our house). The church has a simple beauty inside and represented “us” since in some way its part of our everyday lives (we walk our dog by the church and hear the bells ring every day).

The priest that married us was the same priest that married Dave’s parents some 30+ years ago. It worked out perfectly that Easter was the week before because the altar of the church was still decorated with various pots of lovely spring flowers. We had hydrangeas in colors of blue, purple and white hang from the pews, which were later brought to the reception.

Aisle decorations

The music selection was really important to us as we wanted something beautiful, but not too traditional. Our moms were seated to Ave Maria and my bridesmaid walked down to Simple Gifts. My dad and I walked down the aisle to an orchestra piece from the movie Love Actually, the Glasgow theme. It was lovely to hear the beginning of the song play, but as I made my way down the aisle, the music faded, I was too focused on Dave.

Here comes the bride!

I do wish we had the ceremony on video, it would be nice to watch it again in a few years. Saying our vows to each other was a wonderful memory, a happy moment in my life, declaring our love and commitment to each other in front of our family and friends. Without a video, I do think of that moment fondly, I can vividly picture the moment in my mind. Its hard to picture anyone around us because I just remember our eyes locked on each other, it felt like we were alone saying our vows to each other. And we kissed right after, I think our priest could sense we wanted to seal our vows with a kiss. The homily had a theme of love, working hard to make our marriage work and a nod to us as the ‘other’ royal wedding. And we stayed true to royal wedding form and kissed again at the end, pulling off the double kiss! The song at the end was special to Dave and I, the E.T. flying theme from the movie, something only Dave and I understand, but it was fun to hear our lovely song played as we left the church as husband and wife!

We're Married!

After the ceremony there were a lot of pictures to take. We took pictures with family outside of the church (it was such a gorgeous day!) and then went to a couple different spots with our wedding party to take pictures. There was a time gap between events, but somehow the time seemed to fly by.

Another one of my favorite moments was arriving at the Art Museum and seeing how all the pieces came together for the reception. It really was perfect! From the luminarias to the cake, everything all set out together looked amazing! And just looking around and knowing that my family helped with all the personal touches, really made me feel so thankful. Everything really did come from the heart! I’m excited to see how our ‘guestbook turns out. Instead of a traditional guestbook, my mom put together some fabric squares in our wedding colors, which she will sew together to make a quilt. Guests signed their names or left us well wishes on the squares. It will be a fun thing to display in our house and remind us of our day!

Place Cards

Cake

The cocktail hour was outside on the patio of the Art Museum. The weather couldn’t have been better, we really wanted to be outside and were so glad it worked out. The appetizers, the little that I had, were amazing. Dave and I both wish the cocktail hour could have lasted another hour. It was great to mingle, say hi to everyone and just enjoy the evening.

Cocktail Hour on the patio

Once everyone was inside, we did introductions and had a ceremonial opening of the champagne. As part of a new tradition in my family, at special events we serve champagne in a jeroboam. Once the champagne was popped, all eyes were on us for our first dance. There were speeches and dances with our parents. We enjoyed some of the food and went around to say hi to our guests. We were successful in our effort to say HI to all our guests. We cut the cake (the only bite we had) and then the dancing began.

The Art Museum all lit up!

Love our luminarias!

We had a blast dancing, our DJ played all our requests. It was great to see everyone hit the dance floor (although not to O.M.G. – a dance floor killer). Another one of my favorite moments of the day was the last couple dance songs. Everyone danced around us for Journey, Don’t Stop Believin’, but everyone wanted one more song. So the last song of the night was Daft Punk, One More Time. It was a great ending!

What an amazing day!

Now, this is the part of the story where I should say that we rode off into the sunset, but the night does not end just yet. Somehow we missed the hotel shuttle at the end of the night. Luckily, we scored a ride, although it involved 6 people squeezing into a mid-size sedan. I never thought I would leave my wedding sitting on Dave’s lap in the back of a car, but life is full of surprises. In the end, it was the best ride ever, we were had the radio blasting and were car dancing, it was great! We made it back to the hotel and hit up my Dad’s room to continue the fun! Somehow we had a ton of people stuffed into that room, but of course, were a little too loud for the neighbors. We ended up at the bar with a few other brides and their guests. Again, this might be a good time to ride off into the sunset, but after last call, we ended up in my friends hotel room and were dancing ’till the world ends’, literally.

We did eventually ride off into the sunset. After a “polish brunch” the next day and saying goodbye to family, we made our way to Cape May to relax for a few days, it was lovely!

To celebrate such an occasion with all our family and friends was an amazing experience. We were so glad to be able to share our day with those that traveled near and far.The day was exactly how we had imagined and we loved every minute of it. And finally, we are so thankful for all the help and support from our family, we wouldn’t have been able to pull off such an amazing day without them.

To April 30th!

Love, J&D

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I said YES!

March 30th, 2010, was an amazing day! Dave asked me to marry him!

Here’s our story:

Yesterday was also my last day at work and the day I was officially moving to Delaware. So I went to work, unsuspecting of the life-changing events that would happen later. Dave was taking the train in to meet me at work so we could pack up the rest of my belongings and drive up to Delaware together. Once he made it to my office, Dave suggested that we go to one of my favorite place’s so we could say one final goodbye to the DC/VA area. Again, I was unsuspecting, as this seemed like a normal Dave/Jen adventure. So off we went to Arlington House, on the Arlington Cemetery grounds, which is Robert E Lee’s old plantation before the Union Soldiers took it over during the Civil War. The best part about this house is it sits on top of a hillside that overlooks all of DC and you have a great view of all the monuments. We made it to the house and took in the beautiful view. Then Dave suggested we wander away from the crowd to this cool other overlook. Dave began telling me some lovely things about us, our time in DC/VA, and the great place we were standing at and then said, we should leave this area on a high note, and he had a question to ask me. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry me. I was totally shocked, I couldn’t really believe this was all happening, I didn’t really believe him at first, said something to that effect, but then said YES! It took a few minutes for it all to sink in, then I was jumping around, crying, and saying ‘oh my gosh oh my gosh’. We had our own private moment and only after did someone come down to check out our little secret overlook. We had them take a picture of us, so two dudes from Alabama were the first to know. I’m so happy, it was quite the high note to ride off into the sunset together on!

And now we are off to celebrate in Europe!

Shortly after - I'm super happy!

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