Monday, June 29, 2009

Natalie's Wedding

I'm still a little overwhelmed, but I wanted to reflect on last week and Natalie's wedding. She was absolutely the most beautiful bride I have ever seen, and the wedding and reception were wonderful. Maybe I'm a little biased, but I really think it all was just perfect.

Our weekend started on Thursday when Natalie's two friends from ETBU got to Paris after trips to China. Brittney (BRob) and Brittany (Jones) spent the day finishing all kinds of projects for the wedding - tying bows on bubbles, stuffing welcome bags for hotel guests, and generally taking care of everything that Natalie and I needed. My sister Karen and her awesome husband Mark also got here on Thursday. They brought the table toppers from the rental store in Texarkana, and were ready to help with whatever needed done. Thanks to all their help, I even found time for a manicure and pedicure!
Brandon and his family arrived on Thursday also. They checked into the hotel and then came to our house for dinner. Chris did a fabulous job of grilling hamburgers and hot dogs, and we spent a very relaxing evening talking and laughing and enjoying ourselves. It was great.
The girls and I went to Chili's for a party hosted by Taylor and Melissa. They called it "Natalie's Final Fling Before the Ring." We ate some snacks and cake, and then all the girls went to Taylor's grandmother's house to swim. It was a fun night for all of them. Nick, Angela, and Ethan arrived Thursday night, so everyone was here for all of the wedding activities.

Friday was BUSY!!! We met at the church at 9 to decorate and then went to the Country Club for the bridesmaid's luncheon hosted by my good friend Paula. Nat and the girls went to get their nails done while I joined Chris, Karen and Mark, and several friends at Heritage Hall at 1 to decorate for the reception. We had a grand time getting everything done, and I loved seeing Natalie's expression when she arrived to see it all together.

Next was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. We were all a little concerned about Ethan - we didn't know if he would walk down the aisle with Brittany or if he would balk at the door. After running through the processional a couple of times, he was walking down the aisle like a pro. He just had a wonderful time. Brandon's dad Jay and my friend Becky did a great job of making sure that everyone knew where to stand and what to do. Once we were sure that the ceremony was good to go, we headed to Magel's for the rehearsal dinner.
The Wash family did a great job of decorating and hosting a wonderful meal. There were a few roasts with various people telling stories about Brandon and Natalie. Then, things got kind of serious as Natalie thanked her attendants in a very special and unique way. She brought Chris and me to tears when she made comments about us. I'll never forget them. We came home to try to get some rest while the kids spent some time together. It was a great night for all of us.

Wedding Day finally arrived! Nat and I were up early for hair appointments and brunch hosted by friends from church. Bless Elizabeth's heart, it took her almost two hours to get Nat's hair up. It just didn't come together as easily as it had for bridal pictures last month. Nat got her make-up done after her hair was finished while I ran home to get our clothes. I picked her up and we headed to the church. The girls got dressed, I got dressed, and then I helped Natalie get dressed. I stopped in mid-dress and said that I couldn't believe I was helping my daughter into her wedding gown for her wedding!!! I had helped her into it and out of it so many times through fittings that it kind of caught me by surprise that this was the last time and the most important time that I'd help her into it. I stopped myself from getting emotional about it and finished getting her ready. We quickly went into the sanctuary to take pictures and then hustled back to the fellowship hall to wait for time to go. The girls and I had a sweet prayer time together, Natalie had a last conversation with Brandon on the phone, and then I had a couple of very special minutes alone with her. We were both almost giddy we were so happy.

Everything about the ceremony was perfect. The brass quintet, the decorations, the lighting, the girls' dresses all were a beautiful background for Natalie and Brandon as Jay led them through their vows. There were many special moments throughout the ceremony including a beautiful song by Taylor and Jordan and a marriage braid ceremony. I had never seen this done during a wedding, but it was perfect for Natalie and Brandon. I can't wait to see the video because I know I'll see details that I didn't see during the wedding.

After a couple hundred pictures, we headed to Heritage Hall for the reception. Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves as they ate and visited with one another and watched Nat and Brandon cut cakes, drink milk with the groom's cake, dance, toast, throw the bouquet and garter. They left through a cloud of bubbles as many friends and family stayed to see them off.

We cleaned up the reception and headed home while Nat and Brandon headed to Dallas and then to Orlando.
All in all, we had a wonderful week full of memories to last a lifetime. Melissa, one of Natalie's attendants, summed it up by telling me that the weekend was such fun and exactly what it should be for a bride and her bridesmaids. What a compliment!! All the work that went into the wedding and reception was completely worth it. With God as a partner in their marriage, Natalie and Brandon will have many happy years ahead of them.


Sherrie Kulwicki said...

What a sweet, sweet commentary on this special day in your daughter's life. I pray God's richest blessings on your family in the days ahead. God bless you all.

Dee Martin said...

Everything truly was beautiful. The flowers, decorations, dresses, music - all of it. I had never seen the braid ceremony before and thought it was touching. I also didn't realize Brandon's dad was doing the ceremony. His and Chris's involvement was a nice change from what is usually more Mom's domain. You were almost as radiant as Natalie. I hated I couldn't make the reception but we had another commitment that afternoon. See you soon :)
PS Love the new blog dressing!

Christia said...

It was a truly beautiful ceremony! We were all so glad we got to come share it with you & your family. I wish the very best for Natalie & Brandon.

Beverly Reavis said...

The pictures are wonderful and your commentary of the days leading up to and after the wedding are such a treasure for you all to remember the feeling of that day! Natalie looks beautiful and so happy! I love the milk!....God's blessings to them for a long, joyful marriage!