Friday, March 23, 2012

The Ultimate Wedding Week: Before the Ceremony

It's time for another installment of the "Ultimate Wedding Party"!  Today's link up can be found over at Along the Way with V&J, so go join the fun if you want!  

I for one am having a blast looking through all of our old photos again.  We have a few in the house and the best ones are in an album, but seeing all of the candids and the various photos ones that are not displayed has been nice.  But enough about that... let's get on with today's topic.

Because our wedding was in Miami in June (yeah, call me crazy) our ceremony did not begin until 6:00 PM.  This was planned in an attempt to avoid the daily afternoon rain shower and horrendous summer heat and humidity.  Since the festivities started so late in the day it allowed us plenty of time that morning to relax and soak it in.  I stayed up at my parents' house the night before with a couple of out-of-town friends, and all of us headed down to Miami pretty early to meet for breakfast.  It wasn't like I could sleep the night before anyway!  The bridesmaids, moms, and grandmothers all met at the Original Pancake House for the most important meal of the day.  Josh's grandmother surprised me and paid the whole tab, which was so sweet!

After breakfast we headed over to the bridal suite and literally spent the day lounging in the robes I gave everyone the night before.  It rained off and on (which I was excited about as you can see above... for the luck aspect of course... plus it rains on every important day for Josh and me it seems) which was perfect "lazy day" weather.  We ordered some light appetizers from room service for lunch and then around one o'clock I had arranged for two ladies from the salon come to us!  One of my bridesmaids did all of the make-up (except for mine and my mom's) and we all took turns getting our hair done.  As a thank you to the girls, I paid for all of their appointments since they had already done so much for me.  If you talk to the salon in advance, many places are willing to set up group discounts, which I took full advantage of.

In all honesty, having the hair and make-up people beautify us in the suite was probably one of my best decisions of the day.  I was so excited that it was my wedding day and I really felt like staying in one place with no real agenda allowed for me to stay stress-free and enjoy every second.  It was just a full day of girlfriend time, which never gets old.  The only thing I would change would be to have the photographer come later, after I was ready.  I really really wanted the "getting ready" photos, but now they just don't seem as important.  I would have much rather had an extra hour on the back end of the night (since you pay the photographer by the hour) for more reception photos.  I also probably would have used more of his time between the ceremony and reception to get photos of just me and Josh, since we got very few.  And don't even get me started on pictures of me by myself before the ceremony... because there are none.  Nope, not a single picture of just me in my wedding dress.  Sad but true.  And I do not blame my photographer one bit as he was fabulous and only following the schedule that I set.  The good news is, in a lot of the pre-ceremony candids that he did take, I have several of my Nana whom we lost last year.  So in a way, I guess it was all worth it after all, but I just wanted to throw in a little bit of my advice just in case a future bride stumbles across this.  My two cents are done... moving on.

Meanwhile in the boys' camp, the day started early for them as well.  We got married at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa, which just so happens to be where I (still) work, where Josh and I met, and home to one of America's most famous courses.  What kind of future wife would I be if I did not get the boys out on the course?  My only rule was to make sure the groom didn't get sunburnt, and he didn't.  He did tell me, however, that it was pretty much the worst round of golf of his life since his mind was on other things.  Hmmm... wonder what that could've been.  All in all, a good time was had by all, except for maybe my father who hates to golf.  So my other advice?  Don't golf with my dad.  He would be okay with me saying that here.

A perk of me working at our wedding venue is that the staff did some extra favors for us, so the groomsmen all had a suite to get ready in, too.  I will say that I actually really like their getting ready pictures, maybe even better than the ones of the girls.  Then again, maybe I just like seeing the boys all decked out in suits... they all looked so handsome:

The suspenders and aviators were part of the grooms' gifts and were a big hit!  They also were given real Cuban cigars on the golf course... only the best for our big day!

Before I knew it, the afternoon was upon us and it was time to get in the dress... the moment I had been waiting for!  Here's the thing about my dress... it really did pick me rather than the other way around.  I knew exactly what I wanted when we went shopping, tried it on, and thought that it might be a winner.  Before making the purchase, however, my consultant wanted me to try on her favorite dress in the store.  I have to admit, I hated it on the hangar.  For one, it was not even white or ivory... it was champagne... which I had never really seen.  But when I walked out of the dressing room, everyone in the store turned to look and my sisters and mom literally gasped.  Yep, that was the moment every bride hopes to have... I felt like a million bucks when I had it on, so I couldn't wait to wear it on our big day!

Once I was dressed the girls all headed outside for a few pictures.  Again, here is where I should have had time to get some bridal shots done, but my lack of planning did not allow for it.  Never fear, however, because my good (and very talented) friend Cory and I have some plans for that in the near future.  Any excuse to put it back on works for me!  But anyway, quite possibly one of my favorite pictures of the day was taken on our way to do pictures- I love this shot of the girls traipsing across the courtyard for some reason:

Here are a few of the shots he took of me and my beautiful friends:

Josh and I planned all along to wait until the ceremony to see each other, so we made sure to be out of each other's way for photos.  I believe they took theirs right before we took ours.  One of my favorites is the close-up shot of the groomsmen in the reflection of Josh's sunglasses:

By the time we got through this, the guests were beginning to arrive.  In fact, my only "bridezilla" moment was when one of the guests spotted me before the ceremony and waved.  I'm not sure why, but it almost sent me over the edge and I rushed to get inside!  Looking back it seems so silly as she was going to see me fifteen minutes later anyway, but in that moment, it was a big deal.  And if that was my only stressful moment of the entire day, I'd call that a win.  With official pictures done, guests arriving, and a little bit of time to spare, the room pretty much cleared out except for the bridal party, my mom, and my Nana.  It gave us some time to take our own little last-minute family shots.

The upper left is me and my beautiful mom, who made me promise to wait until she had hair again before having a wedding.  She had lost it all when she went through chemotherapy for breast cancer treatment, and not only did she have hair, but probably my favorite hair cut and style of all time that day.  The upper right photo is me with my mom and her mom, my Nana.  Like I mentioned earlier, we lost Nana last year and I still have a hard time believing that she's gone.  She was so excited when we found out that I was pregnant with a girl last year (the first great grand-DAUGHTER after four great-grandsons) and think of her a lot when I look at my sweet Lilly.  And I'll always remember how excited she was about her dress that day... talk about looking like a million bucks!  She practically sashayed down the aisle.  The bottom photo is my mom and her three girls... the two best sisters a girl could possibly ask for.  The two of them did more to make my wedding experience more special than anyone should ever deserve.  They sure know how to make a gal feel loved and everything they did and planned was so perfect and thoughtful. 

Shortly after these were taken my dad arrived to escort me to the ceremony.  Unfortunately nobody had a camera to capture that moment, but it's one that I will never forget.  There is a photo from the ceremony that I will post on Monday (in the ceremony post) that says it all though, so that will be coming next week.  If you have read all the way to here then I must say that I'm a bit impressed!  I don't think I meant to make this so long, but re-living this day has been quite a joy to say the least.  So thanks for letting me share it with you and I look forward to reading about the others who participated, too!

Oh, and to give credit where credit it due, most of these photos were taken by my fabulous photographer Jason Jerusalem.  The top two collages, the golf photos, and the bottom collage were the only ones taken by us non-professionals, but you probably could have guessed that on your own!

Happy Friday, all!  I hope you have a fantastic weekend!


  1. I love all those photos! How fun! The one with shades is so cute -- and I've never seen something like that!

  2. you were such a stunning bride! love your gown :)

  3. Please tell me I wasn't that guest that waved! I'm sorry if I was, I'll never wave at you again.

  4. Thanks, ladies! I love looking at everyone's photos!

    And Laura, it wasn't you. :) And I've overcome my angry attitude when someone waves at me, so please do so when you see me in the future!

  5. i love your wedding gown - you look beautiful! so glad you linked up!!

  6. Gorgeous! I absolutely love the lace detail on your dress!