In our case, the celebration was a wedding - though just the wedding isn't the only fairy tale part, the whole relationship is. As with many fairy tales, ours is a true love story; one of romance and love and respect and all those details that make a love story work. No frogs to kiss, no dungeons to breech (though there is a wicked witch who pops her head up occasionally and tries to cast ridiculous, jealous-rage-induced spells).
Invitations went out to guests across the land. The flaming heart is a subtle nod to our having met on Match. There were a few of those throughout the event.
Of course, what is a fairy tale without some creativity? We decided the guests should have some hand in that; behold the RSVPs. A few women refused or gave up - one said we made her think too hard, but most came through with shining flags a-flying.
Occasionally we had help with food. Even some of the food staff (like this one, from Dickie's BBQ) got in on the fun. Guesses at whose is whose (hint: the queen likes it hot).
Just like any good king, this one takes care of his queen. Even nails that are used to being short and broken need to be pretty-fied for special occasions.
Flowers were brought in to transform the tables and walkways. The woman at the checkout counter at the grocery store (another middle-man left out was a florist), was flabbergasted when she rang up $134 worth of flowers and I didn't so much as flinch. It was far below budget! The only slight disappointment was in the choice of yellows and pinks. I would much rather have had oranges, but I think because of Mother's Day the weekend prior, there wasn't much of a selection - the next weekend there were tons of flowers in shades of oranges.
My BFF Stephanie and I made all the bouquets for the vases - seven clear ones for the tables, four large orange vases for the aisle, and the bouquet I carried.
These two pictures are of my bouquet. I will always wish that pink was orange. One of those details that, at the time, you think you won't care about, and then it's too late when you realize you do. There is nothing in foresight to be done about that, though. There were many other details I never did end up caring about, so it's impossible to know which you will and which you won't.
The tent hearkened back to days of old, when kings and queens traveled with tents when they set out on long voyages. It was so spacious inside...I see the draw to that. Like a miniature moving castle, there is something magical about the way they communicate that a transformation is taking place, and anticipation of treasures hidden inside. When it came time to have it taken down, my mom commented that she was going to miss having it in her yard.
We completed Cinderella tasks - wrapping and decorating and mopping.
Of course kings and queens must have a runner to walk on - a gentleman's coat on the ground would have been much too small for this area!
And while it looks like everyone was just sitting around, there were a lot of hands to help get all the work done.
The tent and decorations turned out beautifully, conjuring up visions of beauty and gaiety and celebration to come; a small palace on the grass. Sea green and coral intertwined with whites and greens. The chandeliers, initially discarded as being too small, were a gorgeous addition, suspended on white chain for more impact.
All of our significant dates were printed and framed - with a little match man and woman at the bottom.
May 15, 2013 - We met on Match
May 22, 2013 - Our first date
July 5, 2013 - He said I love you
July 6, 2013 - She said it back
November 28, 2014 - He asked, she said yes!
May 22, 2017 - We said I Do!
After all the decorating was done, I had time for a very short nap on the couch.
Against a backdrop of nature's greens, we took our places about an hour and a half before the ceremony to go over with our officiant the order of events and things to be said. He is a childhood friend I've reconnected with in the last decade or so. Jedd was a great choice because he's comfortable in front of people, and we were comfortable with him. We knew he would give a valiant effort, and help vanquish the nerves we were starting to feel by that time.
Of course we had to rehearse the kiss...although unfortunately he didn't actually execute it like this during the ceremony.
We rehearsed quite quickly from about 4:00 to 4:30, and then had only an hour to transform ourselves into visions of royalty. Gowns, tuxes, polished shoes, and glittering jewelry.
It is always an interesting quest, finding a gown. It can't be just any gown, and there are so many out there. The first time I did this, I had one custom-made. This time I wanted to do the "real bride" thing: go shopping, find "the perfect dress." I wanted white and fancy and "a real wedding dress." I only went to three stores - two were consignment stores. I tried on dress after dress, really liking many of them. But this dress...there was something about it. And I didn't even know it would hang so lovely on a hanger! The lace, the train, the satin peeking out at the bottom, the fit, the white. It was idyllic and beautiful and I was extremely happy with it, so my search was over.
Unfortunately, the tailor didn't work out so well. A woman we have both employed many times, she is, we learned, quite scatterbrained. One week when I was supposed to go in for a fitting, she had to reschedule. There were a lot of wanna-be princesses going to proms that week, and she was in over her head. We rescheduled, but when I showed up for that fitting, she had done the wrong dress, having put someone's else's name into her schedule. After rescheduling again, I showed up to collect the dress and she tried to hand me a veil instead. It's almost as if she just has no way of keeping her customers straight.
Ariel and his dad, Harry.
Also, and I didn't discover this until I was getting into the dress for the ceremony, the little latch hook at the top of the zipper was missing. Kind of an important piece of a dress that is as fitted as mine was. My cousin had to perform some safety-pin magic at the last minute to get the dress to stay zipped. So while I love the work the tailor does, to my dismay I don't know that I'll be using her again.
Even the two knights, who would bring their own virtues to the evening, needed to look charming.
This was my final posed photo, right before I walked down the aisle to marry the man of my dreams.
(Most photo credit: Carmen Williams Photography http://www.carmenwilliamsphotography.com)