The Making of My Sister’s Wedding: The Big Day

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On August 31, 2013, my sister got married. It was a wonderful day filled with love and joy, and since I’d like to make sure that I do it complete justice, I’m going to take the time to really write out this post as I remember the highlights of the day.

We spent the entire week leading up to the wedding upstate at the bed and breakfast where it would be held. This was easy enough, since said bed and breakfast is owned by our grandparents, who graciously turned their house over to the wedding and wedding guests and let us make a mess and make a lot of noise and pretty much impose on their quiet life of inn running. Another post of wedding prep will follow, but for this post, I want to focus on the wedding itself.

The night before the wedding, we all headed to bed pretty early, being exhausted from the week of prep. Having had trouble sleeping in a weird bed all week, this night was no exception and thus it was that the rain woke me up around four a.m. We had been watching the weather leading up to the wedding date, and saw the precipitation percentage go up and up and up… and while we started to worry about it, we all remained positive, sure that everything would work out for the wedding, which was meant to be outdoors, with a back up plan inside the tent. And so it was that I felt the rain at 4 a.m. to be a good thing, because Mother Nature was getting it out of her system well before we had to even be awake and ready to leave the rental house.

It turned out I was right. Though it was still quite damp and overcast by 8:30 when we left the rental house, it wasn’t raining. We would, however, keep a close eye on the sky over the next few hours.

When we arrived at the Hitchcock House, we immediately got to work in the tents. The tables had to be set and the appetizers needed to be partially plated (the two waiters would do the rest). I headed inside to prepare the bridesmaids’ breakfast while everyone was doing that, and to set up the makeshift bridal suite in the living room of the Hitchcock House. I prepared croissants (purchased, not made them!), bacon (thanks to my cousin’s boyfriend who graciously agreed to cook the bacon for me!) and mimosas, along with some yogurt, fruit and various jams to make sure that Lindsay all the bridesmaids were well fed for the morning.

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And I want to pause here and just say that there is no better team of bridesmaids than these girls. Everyone was amazingly supportive and willing to help out. A few of the girls, including one who wasn’t even a bridesmaid but a good friend, schlepped around with us all week long in the heat and humidity, drove to the store, ran a million errands and were just all around awesome! If professional bridesmaid was a job, these girls would come highly recommended!

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At ten o’clock it was time to get ready, and Lindsay headed upstairs to take a shower. All of a sudden, I heard her calling my name from the top of the stairs. In mid-shower (and mid-conditioner), the water suddenly shut off. Finding no other shower that worked in the main house, Lindsay streaked across the property in her towel to the upper house to find the showers out there as well. It turned out that the water tank was clogged, causing quite a few problems in the house. I am happy to say however, that Lindsay was able to get the conditioner out of her hair and that this was the only crisis of the day. However, it did prevent the rest of us from having toilet access and we had to go out to the porta potties which had (thankfully, as it turns out) been brought in to deal with all the extra bodies around for the wedding.

The bridal suite was then a flurry of activity from then on. Eleven girls had to get themselves ready for a wedding, and this meant hair, make up and getting dressed. Our goal was to be ready by noon for pictures but, as you might expect, we began to run late. Kara tried to finish her hair before working on Lindsay’s, while the rest of us scrambled to help each other with make up and hair.

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By noon the flower girls arrived for pictures, and we gave them their headbands. Bella, one of the most charming two year old’s you could ever meet, was not a fan of having it on her head, and kept pulling it off and declaring, “Mine broken!” Smart girl, that one. For the most part, we just had her hold it rather than wear it. Hey, when you’re working with kids, you have to expect a few little snags in the plan.

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Our aunt Willa was awesome and did the photos. She snapped away while we were getting ready, and then we headed outside to take some formal pictures. Albus, Lindsay’s dog, of course wanted in on the action (he was eager to hang out with us again after we kicked him out of the bridal suite for knocking over the champagne glasses with his tail!). This made for some interesting pictures with Bella, who was far more interested in the dog than she was in having her picture taken!

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The ceremony loomed closer so we were all on “Paul watch.” The guys would soon be arriving from the path leading to the B&B down the road, and we wanted to keep the bride hidden until she walked down the aisle. So we headed into the upper house to hide out (and snack on the hor d’oevres that the wait staff was prepping) until we got the go ahead to begin the ceremony.

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The ceremony was lovely, and everyone remembered their places, despite our really brief rehearsal the night before. It was performed by Pastor Fries, who was the pastor at our church when we were children. During the beginning of the ceremony, Lindsay stood with dad for quite a bit, prompting my grandfather to say, rather loudly, “Is Gregg marrying his own daughter?!” Real appropriate Popops, thanks! (But it was met with laughter so we can’t really complain!)

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The only thing that marred it was the arrival of a really annoying bee, who camped out in my bouquet as the girls stood in their places and made me and Shane, the co-maid of honor, very nervous. However, said bee seemed only interested in the flowers I was holding and not in the people, so we made it through.

And then Lindsay and Paul were declared husband and wife, and the recessional began. We took some pictures, but everyone was eager to get to the snacks at the reception (what can I say, we love eating!).

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The reception started up with a speech from my dad talking about how well Lindsay and Paul complemented each other. I wish I could remember some of his exact words (or that someone had gotten the speeches on tape), but it was a great way to begin the party. We always make fun of how my dad always says he doesn’t want the spotlight, but then makes a million speeches, but in this case he actually did want to make a speech! (He and Lindsay didn’t do the father-daughter dance thing; neither of them really wanted to.)

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Here’s where the evening’s events begin to blend into each other, because the reception happened so quickly. Dinner was served and I was given the task of making Lindsay a tray, which I quickly discovered gave me the power to cut the buffet line! However, I also dropped one of the trays I was attempting to get and they had to get me a new one… way to go, maid of honor! Of course, we also took the time to get some more pictures, this time more casual.

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After dinner, it was time for my own speech. I was really nervous about it, mostly because it was relatively sentimental and I don’t do sentimental in public. I’m a hopeless romantic when I’m by myself, but expressing emotions to others makes me really uncomfortable (I thank the Roberts side of my family for this!), and so I was not exactly excited to make my speech. However, I prepared well in advance, and knew exactly what I was going to say. I tackily had to read it off of my phone, since I tried to email the speech to myself that morning at our rental house (so I could print it at grandma’s) and the internet was down. I kept mostly to the speech, talking about how Lindsay’s first marriage to our cousin Joe (with me as the officiant with a copy of Little House on the Prairie), but a little ad libbing actually came pretty naturally once I got started. Apparently I am my father’s daughter when it comes to speech-making. I got many compliments afterwards, which is now a source of pride for me (my favorite being my dad calling out to my stepmother at one point, “Kathi, come tell Kelly how good her speech was!”). But that’s enough about me – despite my success, the day wasn’t really about making my speech!

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At around five o’clock, the dark, ominous clouds finally rolled in, and we unhooked the music and the lights from the generator to prepare for a thunder storm, just in case. Many people took this opportunity to head back to their various lodgings, particularly those that brought children, and we all prepared for the storm! And thunder storm it did… but it was kind of awesome. Everyone was safely in the tent, while the rain poured down the sides of the tent, and they continued to eat, drink and be merry. If anything, the rain made the whole thing a little more adventurous.

The rain continued on and off for the rest of the evening, and we spent the rest of the night dancing, visiting the whiskey bar, and at one point having a jump rope contest, which I started by challenging Jack to a jump off. Sparklers came out to liven up the party while we had the sound system turned off (eventually the rain subsided enough for us to turn the music and lights back on). I also danced quite a bit, which is unusual for me, but the atmosphere of the wedding just called for it, and I liked most of the music Lindsay and Paul put together for the party.

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It would be really hard to describe every little detail of the night without repeating myself over and over, but it was great fun! The wedding was filled with wonderful people all hanging out and enjoying each others company and, of course, celebrating Lindsay and Paul! I couldn’t help but look around and think about how much I loved (love, cause I certainly didn’t stop once the wedding was over) everyone in that room, and how great it was that we were all together. Until I get married (for I still hold out hope that it WILL happen one day!), this is likely not to happen again in quite the same way.

Sunday was spent breaking down the wedding, which was kind of sad. At around 5:00, we got ready to leave, and as I was saying goodbye to the family I had just spent a week with, I started to tear up. Of course, I tried holding this but, but when I got to my grandma, I lost this battle and just started outright crying. The emotions of the weekend and the feeling of everything being over and my little sister being married just all hit me at once, and I cried for quite a while, especially while still going around to hug everyone. It hit its peak when I got to Lindsay, though my mom and my aunt Carol got a pretty good dose of it as well!

And then, almost suddenly it felt, we were back in Brooklyn. Jenna stayed with me one more night and then I dropped her at the airport Sunday morning. When I got home, I was truly by myself for the first time in over a week. And I joked that since I spent so much time in “wedding land,” I forgot that something called “real life” existed. Seriously though… while upstate, everything was good. Bug bites didn’t itch, food had no calories, etc. I know those things aren’t actually TRUE, but everything else was so fun, the little things didn’t matter for a couple days. And I swear those bug bites became extra itchy as soon as I was back in the city!

So all in all it was a fantastic success, and a happy, happy day!

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