Our Wedding by-the-Beach
This post is long overdue (and long) but the end of the year calls for reflection and I've found myself recently reflecting on the best day of my life which took place 4 months ago on August 25th, 2017...the day I got to marry my soulmate.
Soulmate was a word that I never used to like. How do you REALLY know if that person is the MOST compatible person for you in the entire world? Even if you love them, how do you know they're your "soulmate"? I always loved Bryan but it took time, and little random moments for me to know that he was truly the one. To this day, after our engagement and after the wedding, those little random moments continue to define soulmate for me. It is those moments that led us to 8.25.17 and that will be the foundation and growth for our marriage <3
The beach has always been a theme in our relationship. We had one of our first dates at the beach, got engaged at the beach, and have created our most memorable times at the beach. It's our happy place. After looking at Windows on the Water in Sea Bright, New Jersey, we could not picture our big day anywhere else. We tried to keep looking at other venues but we knew it had to be there. What drew us in the most was that the ceremony was on the beach...in the sand (not overlooking the beach).
The actual day was everything I dreamed it would be plus so much more. Everyone always tells you that your wedding will be the best day of your life. I knew that it would be a great day but didn't quite understand the depth of what they meant until I went through it. The first look was one of my favorite parts. Bryan waited at the end of a boardwalk facing the ocean. The walk to him seemed like FOREVER and I could see him taking deep breaths as I approached his back but when I finally got there everything fell into place.
During the planning stages, we were both really excited for the reception but not as excited for the ceremony. Oddly enough the ceremony ended up being our favorite part. While the reception seemed to "fly by" the ceremony was a pause in time. Being up there it felt like it was only me, him, our officiant and the beach. I actually barely remember seeing people in the seats around us or ever even looking at them other than when I walked up and down the aisle. There are a number of things that may have contributed to why the ceremony memories were so crisp - the beach setting with the waves crashing behind us (reminding me of our engagement), our officiant Nick who is also our good friend and delivered such a personal and engaging ceremony, and the fact that I knew Bryan was fully present up there with me. There were so much nerves and build up leading up to it but he was there with me and I could feel and see the love (as cheesy as this all sounds).
The reception was also a blast. Some of my favorite moments were our first dance (which we taught ourselves from YouTube). I was so worried I was going to trip on my dress but our 3 coordinated moves perfectly fell into place. I loved the speeches (all of them), my dance with dad...we started our morning off with a beach run and he was there to calm my pre-ceremony nerves. I was dreading more than anything leaving him at the alter (and have been my whole life). I could feel him shaking a bit and tearing up as we hugged which of course made me emotional. I also decided last minute to do the bouquet toss and am so happy I did. Watching one of my best friends, Jen, dive at it was priceless.
Tips for Future Brides:
- Photographer and videographer are a MUST. Our videographer sent us a 1 minute teaser when we were on day 1 of our honeymoon and it was so special to re-live the memories after all of the craziness. We can't wait for the full 5 and 20 minute videos! Our photographer made us a beautiful hard cover photo book which we've been bringing around with us to show family.
- Bryan and I stayed together for almost all of the day/night. We said we would and I'm so happy we actually did because it's so easy to get pulled apart,
- We had a private 15 minutes up in the bridal suite after the ceremony. This was so special and important to take a step back after everything that just happened and have some alone time together before seeing all of our guests. We also got to eat the cocktail hour food during this time which was great because you don't end up eating anyyyy of that good food at cocktail hour when you're too busy talking (after allllll of those revisions on revisions to the cocktail menu).
- Things will go wrong. IT'S OK. My mom brought the wrong size dress for Scarlett and it was way above the floor and we put 2 sets of people at one table (assigned them all to the same table # - so double and triple check these!!). These were our two biggest mess-ups and obviously not ideal but we were so caught up in the excitement of the day that we didn't even care.
- I made my own menus and favors (palo santo!). As much as I didn't want to add anything else to my never-ending list of things to do, I really enjoyed adding these little personal touches to the day.
This day would not have happened with all of the love and support from both of our families. I want to especially thank my mom Lin, Bryan's mom Ros, Aunt Deb and Aunt Ruth for the extra help, and my lovely bridesmaids Jaclyn, Scarlett and Megan.
And of course to my love and my soulmate Bryan...I love you forever.