Y’all have been bugging me absolutely TO DEATH for this recap, and here it finally is. I hope it lives up to your expectations! It’s certainly long enough!
A week before the wedding I started obsessively checking the weather. Mid 80s with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms. Pretty much sums up any June day on the east coast. As the week went on, the temperature forecast started rising and rising; upper 80s, then 90, then 93. When it reached 97 with no chance of rain for the entire weekend I stopped looking at it. It only got worse.
Wednesday, June 4th was my last day of work. Thursday the 5th I got up and ran a few errands, cleaned the house a bit, texted Jimmy to remind him to pick up tuxes, that sort of thing. My best girl Genevieve (who I forced into being a brideslave) came into town Thursday afternoon. We grabbed dinner and saw the Sex & the City movie. It was an awesome hangout time.
Friday morning, my friend Laurel came over around 8:30 to do everyone’s nails. My sisters came over and we all got manicures. Laurel surprised me by giving the whole morning to me as my wedding gift. She’s awesome. My mom came over and we loaded up her vehicle with all the decorations, programs, signs and other wedding paraphernalia and headed to Rajput Indian restaurant for lunch. We had a delicious meal and I gave everyone a little thank you gift and a letter. I made a few people cry. Score!
We headed over to the Fred Heutte Center to unload the thousand pom poms and try to get a headstart on setting up a few things. I had spoken to the manager there on Thursday when I got the keys and told him we’d be bringing by some decorations and things to set up on Friday. There was no event booked and he said that would be fine. We showed up around 1 and he told us we could set a few things up as long as we didn’t turn on the air conditioner. We were fine with that, and brought some things in. About twenty minutes later he came into the room and just stood there, staring at us for several long moments. Finally someone looked at him and said, “Yes?” He angrily said that he had to go to the bank, and that someone needed to lock up when we were finished. We said okay and he left. He had not returned by the time we left a half an hour or so later. I hoped that would be the end of it. It wasn’t. My mom headed back to her house to make some preparations for the rehearsal dinner. She said she’d see us there and wouldn’t be at the rehearsal since she had a lot of stuff to do.
We headed back to my house to chill out for a minute and let people change and relax. It was near 100 degrees and extremely humid, we were exhausted from setting up and running around. We freshened up and headed back over and arrived a few minutes before five. We were scheduled to hold the rehearsal outside in the garden that evening at five, which was already cleared with the manager guy. Everyone arrived and when my father needed to use the bathroom, I went to the door and began to unlock it. The door swung open and suddenly his face was about six inches from mine. “What do you want?!” I took a step back, startled. “My father needed to use the bathroom.” “Look, we already had this conversation!” “I’m sorry, what?” “You did not rent the venue for today!” “I know sir, we are going to have the rehearsal outside, which we already cleared with you, my father just needed to use the bathroom.” “I don’t understand why you are trying to get another full day’s rental out of us that you haven’t paid for!”
At this point he was very visibly angry and yelling and so I asked him to give me a moment. I was really rattled at having someone in my face yelling when I had been given permission by this same person to do everything we did that day. I stepped outside and asked Shayna, our wedding coordinator if she would deal with him. She stepped inside and handled him swiftly and professionally. The gist of the conversation they had was that he was going to charge us $50 to use the bathroom (which I gladly would have paid to avoid the unpleasantness). Shayna assured him there would be no problems, and we did not see him again the rest of the time. After all was said and done, they did not charge us anything extra. I will be posting an entry with vendor reviews and will go into more detail about the whole thing, but to say the least it was upsetting. Anyhow.
The rehearsal went smoothly even though it was BLAZING hot. Shayna was wonderful, and you’ll get a glowing review of her in the wedding vendors post too. We all loaded up in our cars and headed to my mom’s house for the rehearsal dinner.
I was expecting a laid-back barbecue in the yard, but my family went ALL OUT. It was amazing. Two tents, decorations, a bbq grill big enough to fit three bodies inside, and tons of delicious food all prepared by my dad. We had a great time, I was so glad Jimmy’s whole family got to come and hang out with us. We had an impromptu toast session and my family said some awesome things to us, very heartfelt and touching. Jimmy’s friends tried to dump a cooler of ice on him at the end of the night, but they were unsuccessful in getting anything but the grass wet. Ha. Genevieve and I left, totally exhausted and I fell asleep pretty much immediately when I got home. I slept straight through the night until 5am when I woke up and couldn’t fall back asleep.
I obsessively checked and double checked all my lists of things to do and bring for a while, woke Genevieve up and we got ready and headed over to Wink Salon, where we were all due for beautifying at 9. While Matt, Megan and Tori whipped everyone’s hair into a frenzy, my friend Nicole (our photographer for the day) started taking photos and Genevieve and I did everyone’s makeup. Mine was half done and hers not at all when we piled into the cars and headed over to the Freemason Inn to take some pictures.
The Freemason Inn is a renovated turn of the century Victorian home in downtown Norfolk that’s been converted into a bed & breakfast. It’s absolutely gorgeous and Jimmy and I had reserved the bridal suite to spend our wedding night there.
We arrived and Nicole got to snappity snappin while Genevieve and I finished our makeup. I loved what she did with mine, I felt totally gorgeous. Everyone looked smashing. Seriously I was so proud. We spent a while there and before I knew it, it was 12:55. We were supposed to be at the venue at 12:30. I rushed everyone out and we headed over to the venue.
Shayna and her crew had already set up decorations and everything looked beautiful. Gourmet Gang was there setting up the food and Peter our DJ was doing his thing getting the sound ready. It was hotter than hell by this point, probably around 98 degrees and with insane humidity, and everyone was pretty miserable. The building was air conditioned but with as many people as were inside moving around, it might as well not have been. I know some of y’all will want to see our menu for the day. Gourmet Gang did a completely top notch job with the catering and you’ll hear more about them on my vendor post too.
We started taking the posed shots with my family and bridesmaids since Jimmy & crew were set to arrive at 1:00 and he was adamant about not seeing me in my dress before the ceremony. We didn’t finish in time and I got really annoyed at everyone hollering, HIDE HIDE and throwing sheets up in front of me and stuff whenever they would spot Jimmy anywhere nearby, especially since I didn’t care if he saw me in my dress or not. Haha.
Nicole moved on to Jimmy and his family’s photos and we went inside to try and cool down. Shayna kept coming in and telling me things like, “all the food has to be inside, it’s melting.” or “we had to move the entire ceremony setup into the shade, I almost had a stroke over by the lathe house and we can’t make all those people sit in the full sun.” I just nodded and tried not to pass out or melt. By this time the temperature was 101 degrees. My girls were all really attentive and kept bringing me water and stuff. I felt very princessy and tried not to feel guilty about that.
I asked Jimmy’s friend Dan to run upstairs and grab the rings out of my bag so I could give them to Heidi and Donald (the best man). He came back reporting that there was only one ring box there. That’s when I realized in horror that I’d taken my wedding band out at Freemason Inn so Nicole could take some pictures of it. And it was still in the room. I alerted Shayna and one of her girls was dispatched immediately to get it. She returned shortly. Crisis averted! (I’ll go into this more in my vendor reviews but everyone, EVERYONE should hire a day-of coordinator for your wedding).
And then it was 3:00 and Shayna was lining us up. And then Peter started playing Denison Witmer’s cover of Songbird which was for the seating of the families. And then Here Comes The Sun by the Beatles which was for the wedding party to walk in to. And my bridesmaids started to disappear one by one. And dad and I kept scooting up closer and closer to the side of the building, and then I could see some of my friends sitting around in chairs scattered through the shade, and then the opening notes of Sigur Ros’ Hoppipolla started playing, and then dad and I were walking. And I couldn’t stop grinning.
I got to the front and everyone looked extremely good and EXTREMELY hot. I could not BELIEVE how hot it was. The temperature that day set a record for Norfolk. 101 degrees. It’s usually 80 in early June. I don’t know how Pastor Terry didn’t pass out. I think he had an air conditioner under his robe or something. The ceremony seemed to go on FOREVER even though I remember it being fairly short. My mom, brother and Genevieve all did readings during the ceremony. On Children by Khalil Gibran from my mom, Habitation by Margaret Atwood from my brother, and Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy from Genevieve. Cassie and David read two scripture passages (Ephesians 5.21-33 and Ephesians 3.14-21).
Finally Jimmy and I turned to face each other and said our vows. Every time we’d repeat after Pastor Terry and think we were done, he’d say another phrase, and then another, until Jimmy and I were both fully cracking up and couldn’t stop giggling.
I kept blowing at a drop of sweat that was creeping down my forehead and hoping Pastor Terry’s mic wasn’t picking that up. I tried to put Jimmy’s ring on his right hand instead of his left. He put my band on backwards.
And then it was time for the kiss. I had been anticipating this moment with a slight sense of dread because I know Jimmy and he is such a jokester and I have never known him to do public displays of affection without some element of humor involved, which I normally love, but right then I was a little afraid.
“You may kiss your bride,” and we looked at each other and shared an awesome kiss. As I was kissing him, I started thinking, “you know, I was wrong, this is a really GOOD kiss, like a movie-worthy kiss, he’s not going to do anything goof…”
…and that was just about the time he licked me. Big, huge dog lick, right up the side of my face. I’m keeping this photograph in the Evidence for Future Divorce Proceedings file. He said, “Ugh that tasted bad,” and I said, “I hope you got a mouthful of MAC.” Hee.
We turned to face our family and friends and waited for the cue to leave, which was the fast part of You And Me Song by the Wannadies. It didn’t come, and didn’t come, and we stood there looking doofy for a minute, and then it finally came. And we hightailed it out of there and back inside to the air conditioning. We were married! And very sweaty!
We spent the next thousand hours taking posed pictures with both our families. This was the most unpleasant part of the day because forcing people to stand still in 101 degree heat in dress clothes was like herding cats. People kept wandering off, Shayna kept having to go find them. I started getting unpleasant and I knew I was going to start acting redneck if we didn’t finish soon. I wondered why I hadn’t kept that list of photos shorter. Nicole was a champ and stayed in high spirits the entire time, or at least she’s one heck of an actress. Finally we finished the photos and it was time for our grand entrance.
Now this, I was excited about. I had planned this with Liz, the owner of Daley DJs one night at her gorgeous Williamsburg home, where we spent three hours nerding out over music. The plan was to have everyone in the wedding party enter the building to their own music clip, just the hook of the song, and Peter would announce them as they walked in. I was totally loving all the choices, and they were either meant to make people laugh or I just felt they really fit the person. I didn’t tell anyone I was doing this, so it was going to be a total surprise. It went a little something like this.
My parents: Bad to the Bone by George Thorogood
Jimmy’s dad & Sam: The Boys Are Back In Town by Thin Lizzy
Jimmy’s mom & Ronnie: Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy by Big & Rich
Bridesmaids: Maegan: London Bridge by Fergie
Genevieve: Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani
My sister Grace: Crazy by Britney Spears
Groomsmen: Jordan: I’m too Sexy by Right Said Fred
Kenny: Cherry Pie by Warrant
Dan the Man: Iron Man by Black Sabbath
Matron of Honor: My sister Heidi: Beautiful Day by U2
Best Man: Donald: Dude Looks like a Lady by Aerosmith
and finally Jimmy & Me: Back In Black by ACDC
It flowed PERFECTLY and people were cracking up, especially at Donald and Joe. Everyone was cheering and Peter’s voice sounded great announcing everyone. It was so so awesome. I got a ton of compliments on it and I highly recommend doing this if you get the chance at your own wedding. Hiring Daley DJs made such a big difference in our whole experience. More on them on the vendor post too.
Right after that it was time for our first dance (Shallow Grave by Elvis Costello). Another little surprise up our sleeve! Nicole not only is an awesome photographer, she had been training Jimmy and I for months on some basic swing dance moves. We busted em out! People were shocked, so was I that we did pretty well under all that pressure and considering we had been so busy that we hadn’t practiced in over two weeks.
And then the father/daughter mother/son dance which we did to All You Need Is Love by the Beatles. Which I thought was a fairly short song but good lord it got long when all those people are staring at you. Dad was really sweet. Jimmy and his mom kept goofing off and Jimmy danced her over to the food, got a snack and kept dancing. Peter invited everyone to join in but no one did. It was just way, way, way too hot for dancing of any sort. I kinda felt bad that Peter didn’t really get to get the dance floor going but no one, including me felt like dancing at all that day. It was just TOO hot.
Finally we had a minute to breathe. The groomsmen all bolted for the upstairs and changed into shorts and tshirts. Jimmy and I went around and talked to as many people as we could. A lot of our friends had left by this time, especially the ones with little kids. I was sad we missed out talking to them but I understood why they wanted to leave. Heck, I wanted to leave. We got to visit with a lot of people. I got to finally meet one of my awesome online pals, Kells, who drove all the way up from South Carolina for the day. That was so cool but I wish I’d had more than five minutes to hang with her. Soon, Kells! Soon!
Jimmy’s family especially his grandparents were melting, and everyone ended up leaving really early except his dad and Sam. We decided that if we didn’t cut the cake soon, no one was going to be around to eat it, so we gathered everyone around for toasts.
Donald, Heidi and my dad all toasted us. Donald was funny, Heidi was a big crybaby who didn’t get to finish a very moving toast which she gave me in writing later, and my dad was the best of all. He swaggered up to the front of the room and when Peter tried to hand him the mic was all, “I don’t need a mic!” in his commanding I’m-an-ex-cop-and-ex-Marine voice. And then seconds later was in tears and whispering. Haha so awesome. I said some words and made more people cry (I was on a roll) and then Jimmy wrapped it up. Cake time!
This was another part that I was a bit apprehensive about cause I’m not all about shoving cake all over each other, but after the licking incident I was ready for revenge. I got him GOOD. Can you hear me say, “you’re gonna regret licking me now!” at the beginning of the clip? Ha. He got me pretty good too but he looked worse. That’s all I’m sayin.
Nicole whisked us away for a few bride & groom portraits. Then we visited for a few minutes longer and decided that since nearly everyone was leaving and the few people who were sticking it out were REALLY REALLY hot, we would cut the party short. It was supposed to go til 8 but it was clear that NO ONE wanted to dance, not even the bride, and we might as well just stop torturing people, and besides the Freemason Inn had that jacuzzi tub and I desperately wanted an ice cold shower.
I got ready for the bouquet toss. Turned around and gave it a good throw. It landed on the ground, just like on that Sex & the City episode! What a bunch of worthless ninnies! Y’all could have at least tried to catch it! I blame the heat.
The garter toss was pretty hilarious. Jimmy uses that chair like a diving board haha. Do you hear my parents scream, “Don’t break the chair!!” Donald caught it!
We ran upstairs to change into our “going away” outfits. Good lord it was hotter than hades in the top room of that building. We tried to change without having to go into the bathroom which was even WORSE but if we changed in the main room everyone could see us through the huge windows, so we pretty much sweated to death. I watched everyone lining up outside plotting our deaths with tiny packets of birdseed. Shayna rounded up some food for us since we didn’t get a chance to eat anything at all and stuck it in Jimmy’s car along with our luggage for the honeymoon.
We ran out through the gauntlet and dang! that stuff hurts! One that was thrown didn’t bust open and so I got a hard packet of birdseed right to the chest. Ow! We ran to Jimmy’s car, which was lovingly decorated by his guys (who can’t spell “bubble” apparently [Jimmy's inside joke nickname is Fat Bubbles]). We continued to be pelted with birdseed until we drove away.
We headed over to the Freemason Inn and got there around 6:30. I had birdseed EVERYWHERE. Hair, bra, underwear, shoes. It was a mess! We finally got to relax. Later that night I was in the shower and heard a weird noise outside. I thought it was a plane, but it went on for a while. I shouted to Jimmy to see what it was. Harborfest was going on that weekend, and they were doing fireworks downtown. We climbed out onto the fire escape in our bathrobes and watched the grand finale. Thanks city of Norfolk, that was awesome. Perfect ending to our day.
There are tons more photos here! Check em all out if yer not sick of us yet!