If you’re just tuning in, it is my first wedding anniversary – hurrah! Picking up from where I left off in part one, I can still remember that entire long walk down the aisle. I was so overwhelmed with emotions, and didn’t know where to look or what to do.
I finally made my way to the top, where I met my handsome groom and our pastor. Casey and I hadn’t seen each other or talked all day long – it was so nice to finally be with him again. We’re not used to being apart! Even though I had seen his tux and knew what he would be wearing, in the moment I was still totally dying over how good he looked.
After the opening words and two poems read by friends, we made our way onto the altar for our vows and exchange of rings. We spent a LOT of time planning our ceremony. So often couples spend months and months planning the reception and party, and the ceremony itself becomes an afterthought of pick-and-choose bible verses and songs. We wanted ours to be a reflection of us, and I think in the end it was exactly that.
We said our vows, traded rings, and sealed it with a kiss!
It was probably a 25 minute ceremony, but it felt like it was all over so fast! I tried to take it all in and cherish each moment, since I knew the rest of the evening would go by just as quickly.
Finally, a moment just the two of us.
Our first picture as a married couple! We hung out for a few minutes by ourselves, taking some time to catch after a day spent apart. In the meantime, our family and friends gathered outside…
After a beautiful send off in rose petals, we headed to the reception site not as a fancy bride and groom, but as Casey and Emily, and drove ourselves there in our Honda Accord.
Over a year of wedding planning, we stirred the pot quite a bit, and made it clear that we wanted our wedding to be a reflection of us, and not necessarily a sequence of events played out simply for “tradition.” It was important to both of us that we spen
d as much time as possible with our loved ones, rather than hours and hours of painfully long photo sessions, so we raced to the reception site and did 30 minutes of pictures with Shannon, before anyone else got there.
Our reception was in the garden courtyard of the Taft Museum of Art in Cincinnati, and I loved it from the very first time we visited. It was the perfect day in May with plenty of sunshine, and beautiful flowers just starting to bloom around the garden.
After a few minutes of pictures, our families arrived, and we snapped a few more with them. I am so lucky to have not one, but TWO amazing families now!
As we wrapped up our pictures, the guests started to arrive, and the reception was finally in full swing. The food was all laid out and ready to go, including our glorious cake table. This was one of my favorite aspects of our entire wedding, and one I probably spent way too much time planning! Rather than pay $800+ for ONE fancy wedding cake, I decided to have seven! :)
My favorite Cincinnati bakery, The Bonbonerie, has the most delicious cake in the entire world, and beautiful decorations to compliment. We simply ordered their most popular cakes – opera creme, carrot, and spring strawberry – as is, no extra decoration or embellishment needed. I spent months shopping for seven of the most beautiful cake stands I could find, and we set the entire spread up on a table covered in lace. On the plates, we had custom cookies that were silhouettes of me and Casey that my amazing friend Lindsey made for us – over 200 of them!
When we first started talking about food for the wedding, we both agreed that we hated going to weddings and ending up trapped at a dinner table for over half of the reception. To avoid that we decided to go casual – lots of fun bite sized food that was served all night long. My favorite thing of all – tomato soup and grilled cheese. I am a crazy soup fiend, and I was so excited when our caterer brought my idea to life – shot glasses of chilled gazpacho soup with grilled cheese bites perched on the edges!
The museum had a gigantic white tent, where we had all our tables and a nice big dancing area. When we first asked our wedding coordinator if we could hang the pompom balls she was really hesitant because they had a “no ladders” policy. Casey knew how much I loved them and assured me that he would make it happen no matter what. The morning of our wedding day, he was at the museum at 8am, using a broomstick and a paperclip to hang 20 pink pompoms from the ceiling – just for me. True love!
My mom literally spent months sitting in her chair at night watching tv and making paper flowers. There were 16 of these arrangements, and each one had 20+ flowers. She is AMAZING! We had so much fun going to antique shows all summer long, shopping for vintage milk bottles and ball jars to fill with flowers and candles.
Instead of a guest book, we decided to make a wedding quilt. Using the leftover fabric from our table runners, we cut out quilt squares and asked guests to leave us messages on the squares with fabric pens. I have all of these tucked away still, and am hoping to have them all put into a quilt that we can hang on our bedroom wall. I need to find someone who knows how to quilt!
The reception was perfect, and it was so much fun to get to see so many people that we loved. So many friends and family came from so far away! With a manageable number of just 100 guests, it felt really good to be able to talk to everyone, and to know that everybody there was someone who was special to us.
Eventually we all sat down for some beautiful speeches by my sister and Casey’s brother…
And then it was time for our first dance! We considered a lot of different first dance songs, and ultimately landed on one that was perfect for us – Johnny and June by Heidi Newfield…
I wanna love like Johnny and June
Rings of fire, burnin’ with you
I wanna walk the line, walk the line
Till the end of time
I wanna love, love ya that much
Cash it all in, give it all up
When you’re gone, I wanna go too
Like Johnny and June
And when we’re gone there’ll be no tears to cry
Only memories of our lives
They’ll remember remember
A love like that…
After our dance, we cut one of our cakes because for some reason it was really important to my mom. She was such an enormous help in making our wedding come together, and I figured the least I could do was cut some cake and make her happy. :)
And then the dance floor opened up and things started to get a little crazy…
And when it felt like it was just getting started, it was over…
We hugged our families, said t
eary goodbyes, and headed back to our cozy little house together. The next morning we were off at 6am for the Caribbean!
Going back through these photos and reliving the story, it is so hard to believe that it was an entire year ago. So much has changed in that year that I guess it makes sense. It has been the craziest year of my life so far, and I have a feeling this next year will only get crazier.
Through the process, I learned that while a marriage is about a bride and a groom, a wedding is about so much more. Countless days and hours of planning and laughing with my mom. Hours of long distance phone calls to my best friends soliciting advice and support. Spending an entire weekend with all of the people that I cherish so much that it makes my heart ache.
When we got home from our honeymoon, our house was filled with boxes and cards and gifts. But the best gift of all is the one that is just special one year later – a husband who I love more than words can capture. And I can see in his eyes every single day, how much he loves me too.
And now if you’ll excuse me, I have some wedding cake to go eat…