The wedding was - in a word - incredible.
There were a couple of hiccups. For one, I accidentally ordered 12 centerpieces instead of 13, but we were able to improvise with the chair bows, a vase, and a few of the flowers that fell out of my bouquet so that turned out to be not a big deal. The other "hiccup" was that it rained. We made the decision (with Mom and Josh as the intermediaries between Steve & I) to move the ceremony inside at 9:45. The ceremony was scheduled to start at 11:30, and the clouds started dripping at 11:25. Talk about great timing.
The ceremony was beautiful and it made me so thankful that we picked Atkinson as our location. Because we moved it inside, it was in a room that overlooked the golf course, was big and airy and had lots of natural light that came in. The arbor that they put out for it was very elegant and helped to make the ceremony beautiful. I will never forget coming around the edge of the guests and seeing Steve step into my view; it was at that point that the tears of joy started to come, and I had to breath deeply all the way down the aisle in order to hold it together. My voice was shaky throughout the vows and I was shaking so badly during Communion that I was afraid to sip the wine. But I made it through and didn't cry too hard, I promise. Jed, our pastor, did a great job as well and we got so many compliments about how he ran the ceremony. The music from Alla Breve was gorgeous as well, and they played "Amazing Grace" during Communion which would have touched my grandfather had he been able to make it (we'll be bringing him video as soon as we get it).
The receiving line is 90% a blur. I've never hugged so many people in such a short period of time in my entire life. People telling us how beautiful the ceremony was, how happy they were for us, and me repeatedly saying the words "Thank you so much for coming!!". Thank goodness we decided to do it though, because every time we tried to make it through to visit every table we got whisked away somewhere else. Having the receiving line gave us a chance to see everyone that came to the wedding because we certainly didn't see them all after that.
Pictures went faster than we thought, and the coconut shrimp were delicious (so were the other appetizers, but those ones were my favorite). Once pictures were over, it was time for the reception. Our bridal party was introduced, and then the music changed to a rousing version of "Hail to the Chief" for our grand entrance. We totally did that just to be a couple of hams, and it offered the amusement we were hoping for.
Then came time for the first dance. The opening piano sounds of "Bless the Broken Road" came over the speakers and we fell into each others arms and danced. For those 4 minutes, it was like no one else was in the room and there was just us. I saw people on the outskirts, but they were merely blurred outlines and there was only Steve with me in the room. One of our moms said that they lost it when we started singing to each other while we were dancing, very quietly so that only we could hear but our mouths were clearly moving. When the song was over, our wedding party joined us for a dance to "You've Got a Friend" by James Taylor which was nice (albeit a longer song than I remembered).
After that... the better part of the afternoon is a blur. I couldn't get down the tasty meal that was in front of me so I gave up on eating and didn't even SEE what my slice of cake looked like plated with the ice cream. Thank goodness our co-ordinator Sandra sent plates up to our room with slices of cake so that we could enjoy it later on that night.
Josh, the best man, made an awesome toast and I'm hoping to get a copy of it for our scrapbook (wink, wink - nudge, nudge). The game that the DJ did to give away the centerpieces was awesome and the people who participated looked like they had a lot of fun. We went outside for a bit to take some pictures when the rain cleared up, and I can't wait to see how they turned out. The cake cutting went well and none was dropped at all, which is great. I learned the joys of sweating in a wedding gown and the further joys of putting your petticoat over a fan when you're sweating in a wedding gown (thanks, Mike D!). I got some dancing in, albeit not as much as I may have liked, but that was a great time. Even Steve danced and Ros caught it on camera. So many more people stayed right until the end than I thought would, and that was also very touching to see. The only people who said that they would come who didn't make it were my aunt and uncle - and they just had a newborn baby on June 5th.
After the party was over I went up and took a shower to get rid of all the sweat and we went down for some appetizers and a drink with two of our groomsmen - Derek & Chip - and my brother Jim. That was a good way to wind down I think rather than ending everything abruptly. Then we went up to our complimentary suite that Atkinson gave us, complete with champagne and the aforementioned meals and cake. We opened up our gifts and cards, each took a turn in the jacuzzi tub to relax, watched "Shrek" on TBS and just enjoyed our wedding night.
Sunday was also great. We went to church in the morning, and then met our parents and siblings up at the Country Club again for brunch. Later on we went on a double date with my parents up at Hampton Beach and had a great time. We went to Brown's Lobster Pound for dinner and had some seafood, followed up by a quick jaunt on the strip and some pinball at Playland Arcade.
Overall, this was an amazing weekend from start to finish. Thanks to everyone who came to the wedding, who was in the bridal party, our families, and to Steve for asking me to marry him in the first place.