• Chapter Fifteen: Party Time*

    It has been a long, long time.

    Almost two years in fact. Can you believe it? I can’t. I seriously thought that it had only been a few months, but as a friend continued to gently nudge me to write the next chapter I realized just how long it had been. I have to be honest–I was a bit hesitant to pick up a thread that I’ve left alone for so long.

    …but then I remembered the reason I started writing Our Story in the first place–it’s only been 5 years, and I’m already starting to forget those little details and moments that makes Our Story… ours. I started writing out how we met and fell in love so that I would always have those memories to have and cherish, to remember through good times and bad, and to smile and laugh about some where down the road. I love our story, and I think, at least for a while, so did many of you.

    So, without any further ado… (this one’s for you, Miss Gentle Nudge)

    I really wanted to pull a One Tree Hill and fast forward a bit through time, but as I was reading through the last chapters I wrote, I realized that while I told you the story of our actual wedding, I never did get around to detailing our reception.

    And oh, my lovelies, it was a party. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

    I was never one of those girls who dreamed about her wedding her entire life. To be truthful, I really don’t think I ever imagined my own wedding or reception until I had to plan it. My mom, with patience and guidance, helped me to make decisions I had never thought about–food? Flowers? Decorations? Guest list?

    …ummm, what?

    The planning was so overwhelming. We finally hammered out a guest list of 190 people, chose colours (pink & white), decided on food and flowers all that jazz.

    At the time, I hated the planning part. I couldn’t visualize anything. It was all notebooks and pictures and boxes. It didn’t feel real to me until it was time to actually get my hands dirty and make it happen.

    We were able to get into the building where I was having my reception two days early to begin the arduous task of transforming a gym into something a little more… elegant. The first night involved a lot of heavy lifting. I wanted the head table to sit a little higher than the rest of the room, so it required a small stage to be set up. Then there were the tables and chairs…

    Oh, the tables.

    Can I just say how insane it is to try and organize enough tables to fit nearly 200 people in a small space? It was like the ultimate 3D puzzle. Thankfully, I had the most amazing crew in the world. Several people came and pitched in–people who hardly knew me at the time but just wanted to help. Some wonderful friendships have blossomed out of that act of service, and I haven’t forgotten it.

    I was exhausted, but it was beginning to feel real.

    The next day (the day before the wedding) was decorating day. It began with just my immediate family–my mom and sisters, but more family and friends came to help as the day wore on. My aunt, cousins, maid-of-honour and fabulous friends all came and pitched in, and slowly we transformed a basketball court into a reception hall. It was simple, but it was exactly what I wanted.

    A few short hours later, I was married. After a beautiful ceremony and many pictures, it was done: I was Mrs. Shop Girl. What now?

    …party time.

    To my mother’s (initial) dismay, I decided to forgo many “traditional” wedding practices at my reception. The first thing to go was the reception line.

    I have never, ever liked reception lines. I understand why people have them, but I find them so awkward and uncomfortable for everyone involved. They take forever, and it just wasn’t… us. Instead, my parents greeted and welcomed guests to the reception and guided them to the seating plan, and later that evening the Hubster and I walked around to every table to hand out our wedding favours and thanked all our guests then.

    Once everyone was seated, my uncle (who was our MC for the evening) began the program. The wedding party all waited in the wings for our cue, and then began one of my favourite moments of our evening: the bagpipes.

    If there was one thing that I was fiercely passionate about having at the reception, it was bagpipes. My maternal grandfather–my Gumpo–passed away in 2002. I still miss him terribly, and I wish he could have been there. While I personally loved the idea of being piped into our reception, I think it’s something he would have loved too. I have a  strong Scottish and Irish heritage and red hair runs through my family, and he was always known by his nickname: “Red”. It made me feel like he was there, in some small way.

    As the piper (who happened to be a close family friend) walked and we followed toward the head table, I finally felt that rush of reality and excitement: this was it. This was our wedding.

    We decided that we didn’t want the fuss of a big fancy dinner, so we opted for a later reception and offered a large buffet of “finger foods” that were available throughout the evening. We also weren’t partial to long speeches, so we opted for short, simple toasts instead by family and a few close friends. I was welcomed into the Hubster’s family, and we became a part of mine.

    Then it was our turn to speak. This is the part of the story where I find myself filled with both gratitude and guilt towards all those who helped make my special day what it was. I was young and so distracted by what was happening that minute that I didn’t prepare myself to speak. I generally thanked everyone who helped–and my gratitude was genuine–but I’ve always felt that it wasn’t enough. I’ve always wished that I had mentioned my sisters by name to thank them for the countless hours they poured into preparing for our wedding, to thank them for being the examples I have looked up to all my life, for them being who they are. I wish I had made it known that I couldn’t have survived those months leading up to our wedding without my mom–who supported me, guided me and loved me even when I was being absolutely impossible. Who sacrificed time, patience and funds to make our wedding a day to remember. For just being my Mom.

    Thank you.

    After a whirlwind of toasts, music and food it was time to dance. Because we had so many people attend, there wasn’t space for a dancefloor in the initial floor plan. Once people had finished eating we removed several tables and rearranged chairs.

    And then I walked out onto the floor to wait.


    Big Dad walked out to join me, and together we danced to one of my favourite songs of all time, “Daddy’s Little Girl” by the Mills Brothers. We danced and he sang to me… I even got a twirl. I love my Dad. :)

    Listen: Daddy’s Little Girl

    Dancing with my Dad*

    As the music finished, the Hubster walked out onto the floor, took me in his arms and together we danced our first dance as husband and wife. We chose “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley. (I like old music.)

    I think I was serenading him... it was probably beautiful. haha

    …and then, it was time to dance. I know everyone is biased about their own weddings, but I have never seen people dance like they did at our wedding. And the best part? Our wedding was completely dry–100% alcohol free, and that didn’t stop a soul from getting in on the party. We did every stereotypical “wedding song” you can think of, and it was hilarious. People I never expected to see on the floor were lighting it up to the funniest songs.

    Rasputin - Bony M
    No one does Rasputin like Big Dad. haha
    Macarena - Los del Río
    Forced to do the Chicken Dance by myself... haha

    And last but not least, a little something to represent my northern roots: Shania Twain.

    My Wedding – Line Dancing* from Shop Girl on Vimeo.

    It may not have been a reception you’d see detailed in a bridal magazine, but it was a ridiculous amount of fun, and to us, it was a perfect evening.

    Even though it’s now five years later, I cannot express enough gratitude to those who made it happen and who stayed for hours afterward to take it down. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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  • Chapter Fourteen* Happily Married with Happy Meals

    In my entire life, nothing has ever compared to the way I felt in those first few moments after the Hubster and I were pronounced husband and wife. After months of waiting it was finally real!

    After taking a few moments to complete some paperwork, the Hubster and I made our way toward the front door where both of our families and friends were waiting outside. It was like being a mini-celebrity being chased by the paparazzi! Before we had even made it all the way through the doors pictures were being taken right left and center. “Look over here!” “Now here!” “Yoo hoo! Smile for the camera!”

    Luckily my littlest brother was there to serenade us with beautiful guitar music to calm my nerves… as he started playing Stairway to Heaven outside the temple on his guitar he insisted on bringing. haha!

    We were eventually able to clear the doors and our photographer took charge. We wanted to get through the photos as quickly as possible as, a) People wanted to go for lunch, b) we needed to drive back to B Town to finish getting ready for the reception, and c) I hate getting my picture taken. haha! (I have this bizarre lazy eye thing in photos… apparently my face finds it difficult to keep both eyes open at the same time… *sigh*).

    It was nearly 1pm by the time we started taking photos, and my goal was to be finished by 2pm. As we got started it went off without a hitch (minus my lazy eye photo syndrome) and as we finished taking photos with families and friends people started leaving to make their way back for the reception a few hours later. Obviously the Hubster and I were there throughout and left a lot of our individual photos until the end so we wouldn’t inconvenience anyone else.

    (All my siblings and I… Teep looks incredibly impressed. haha! He’s my youngest brother and the one standing right next to me)

    (My bridesmaids and I)

    (All the men)

    I’m not sure if you can tell from the pictures, but by mid-afternoon the sun had dipped back behind the clouds to make for a very humid, hot, overcast day. It was easily 30°C outside, and I’m pretty sure it was at least 50°C inside my beautiful (albeit heavy) wedding dress.

    By 2pm or so all the group photos were done and it was just the Hubs and I left to shoot. The photographer wanted to take a few individual shots of us, and the Hubster’s turned out beautifully.

    Then it was my turn.

    Remember how I told you in my last post that I had neglected to eat breakfast in the midst of getting ready that morning? Never, ever forget breakfast. I had also forgotten about the whole
    drinking water thing. Apparently these things are important. The photographer called me over and had me stand in front of a pretty setting and began giving me directions of how I could “pose”. As I stood there in the 30° heat and I looked at him, I thought “Gee, it’s a little odd that he is swaying back and forth…”

    …and then I got reeeeeally dizzy and felt like I was going to be sick.

    Fortunately my mother had been watching me and was concerned by my glassy expression as she was nearly positive that I was not drunk. haha! She and the Hubster came rushing over and helped me sit down before I could pass out. Big Dad sprinted for the car to get water (I didn’t know he could run that fast) and I sat there looking beautiful with my head between my knees fervently thinking to myself, “Do not throw up on the dress. Do not throw up on the dress. Do not throw up the dress.”, whilst trying to pretend that everyone could not see me looking as lovely as I’m sure I did at that moment.

    I can only imagine what the Hubster was thinking, as he had no idea that I had forgotten to eat or drink anything all day:

    “Is she sick?”
    “Is she having second thoughts?”
    “Does marrying me really make her that nauseous?”

    (No, my love! I love you! I’m just an idiot. haha)

    At that point we decided that the photo-taking was pretty much done and that I needed to eat something immediately. I did manage to pull my head out of my knees for one photo though! AND, you’ll be pleased to know–I did not throw up on my dress. :)

    I sat in a collapsed heap of satin for a few more minutes before we piled everything into cars and headed back. As we had a drive of over an hour back home Big Dad and the Hubster decided that I needed to eat something right away, so the Hubster sped towards the nearest restaurant.

    Lucky for him, it was a very classy place…


    Yes folks, we went to McDonald’s on our wedding day. Luckily I had quickly changed out of my wedding dress into something more comfortable before getting into the car, though the Hubster was still in his suit. We decided to go in so we could sit down, much to the Hubster’s chagrin. (He was thrilled about being the best dressed man in there, let me tell you!) I got the only thing I felt appropriate for that most special day: a Happy Meal. :)

    (He wasn’t really that angry… deep down he loves his McDonald’s.)

    After finally having something to eat we piled back into the car and realized these were probably the only quiet moments we’d have together until after the reception. As the Hubster drove we talked quietly for a few minutes, then he turned on some soft music and I curled up in the seat beside him and fell asleep.

    I needed to rest up… as the macerena, YMCA and chicken dance were on their way!

    Shop Girl*

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  • Chapter Thirteen* Stranded At the Altar

    After nearly a year of writing it’s finally here: The Wedding Day post. As I write it feels as though something is coming to an end… in reality, this post really signifies not en end, but a new beginning of our life together.

    I last wrote about the night before our wedding. If you are just reading for the first time now, I have been writing out the story of how I met my Hubster-to-be at just 19 years of age and how we then dated, got engaged and married in less than eight months. You can read Our Story* in entirety by clicking on it to find out about our first date or how he proposed just two months after we met. In any case, it all lead to here…

    August 20th, 2005

    When my alarm went off at 7:00am Telly flew out of bed and into the washroom. I slowly became aware of the commotion occurring upstairs, obviously signaling that I was not the first one awake. As I tried to register why Telly, who loves sleep like I do, would rush out of bed, or why anyone else in my family would be up so early on a Saturday, my foggy brain suddenly snapped:

    I’m getting married today.

    I knew there were a hundred things I needed to be doing and that my hairdresser would be arriving momentarily to do my hair for me, but I also knew that this would probably be one of the only moments of the day that I would have for myself… so I lay in bed trying to imagine how this day would be. This day that little girls dream of, this day of all days–our wedding day. In five hours I’d be married.

    I’m getting married. Today.

    Telly came back nearly dancing from the bathroom and pulled me out of bed. I snuck upstairs and was greeted with a big hug from my already very excited and stressed mother. She shooed me into the shower before the rest of my hulking little (big) brothers awoke and took all the hot water. Which they like to do. Often.

    As I stepped out of the shower I heard the doorbell ring and I knew that my wonderful hairdresser had arrived and as of this moment it was going to get reeeeeally busy. When I came downstairs my hairdresser had transformed my laundry room into a salon and she ushered me into a chair as we were running on a tight schedule. I sent Telly upstairs to eat breakfast, and it never occurred to me to do the same myself.

    Note to anyone getting married: never ever forget to eat on your wedding day. I’ll explain why later.

    By around 8:15 my hair was done. As it was forecasted to be a hot overcast day with the possibility of rain, I wanted something that wouldn’t get messed if I was hit by a tornado. My hair is long and thick, so I wanted it all up off my neck.

    Next I was pulled into the bathroom so Telly could make me beautiful. I don’t usually wear a ton of makeup (a little foundation, eye liner & mascara) but Telly (my esthetician/ maid of honor) opened her massive box of magic and went to work. When she finished, I felt like a different person (in a good way!). I somehow suddenly had a tan, huge beautiful eyelashes (more on this later) and felt like a princess with my pretty hair and make up. As she packed up I stood in front of a mirror (wearing my jogging pants and white collar-shirt) and put on my jewellery the whole thing suddenly felt so surreal…

    I’m getting married today.

    By 9:15am my mom called me upstairs saying it was time to go. My dress, veil and shoes were packed in the car, along with all other emergency items (makeup, bobby pins, etc etc). Now then–I have a really big family, and my wedding ceremony was being held an hour away from my parent’s home in Btown. We all crowded in the front hallway trying to decide who was going in which car and who was driving. In the end, instead of driving down with my Mom and Big Dad (which would have been the wisest choice) Telly & I voted to drive down with Peeah & Fireman, who live about 25 minutes away from the Temple, assuming they would know the area pretty well. As Big Dad gave everyone last minute directions and asked if everyone knew how to get there, everyone nodded yes and we piled into cars–my dress in one car, and I in the other.

    It was now just after 9:30am. As we pulled out of the driveway we had about an hour and a half to get down to the temple… which should have put us in good time. As the bride, it was required that I be there at 11:00am to meet with The Hubster and complete some last minute things before we could be married. I thought it would be lots of time, right?

    As we slipped onto the highway Peeah and Telly talked animatedly while I listened quietly. I kept waiting to feel nervous, as everyone had expected me to. In fact, Peeah and Telly asked me repeatedly in the car if I was “nervous yet”, but I just felt really calm and relaxed. I felt so relaxed that I fell asleep. On the way to my wedding. Yup. :)

    I woke up as we turned off the highway toward the Temple, the way we always go–and the only way the four of us in the car knew how to get there. It was now 10:40, and without any interruptions we would arrive there just on time. That was when we started seeing orange construction signs. Lots of them. But that was ok… so long as the road was open I didn’t care how many orange signs I saw.

    …and that was when I saw the man in the construction hat and vest holding a huge sign that read:


    …are you kidding me?!?!?

    Fireman pulled up beside the construction man for a quick chat. The construction man informed us that the entire road was closed, and that we would need to take an alternate round-about way to the temple. Unfortunately, the man was not from that city and could not give us directions. He merely pointed in the general direction other cars had headed and wished us luck.

    I will not panic. I will not panic. I will not panic.

    10:47am – We begin driving in what we hope to be the direction of the temple.

    I’m going to be late for my own wedding. I’m going to be late for my own wedding.

    10:52am – We realized that we have no idea where we are and frantically begin calling Big Dad’s cellphone for directions. (This was the pre-GPS era).

    The Hubster will think I’ve had cold feet!! He’s going to think I’m not coming!!

    11:01am – I am not at the temple. We are still driving aimlessly through the back roads of a city which none of us know well.

    This will all be ok. This will all be ok. This will all be ok.

    11:07am – We finally get directions and realize we are going absolutely the wrong way.

    I’m going to make it. I’m going to make it.

    11:19am – We arrive at the temple…twenty minutes behind schedule.


    While we were on our “adventure drive” / trying to find a way to get to the temple, the Hubster was much better organized and prepared and arrived early. Minutes ticked by as he sat in the waiting room with family as our guests began to arrive. When 11:00am passed he thought maybe I was running late. By 11:15 he was just a wee bit concerned that maybe I had had cold feet. The constant questions about where I was, combined with Big Dad’s running jokes about why I wasn’t there (no doubt to ease the tension), were not much help. Unfortunately, as the Hubster was in the temple, his cell phone was turned off and I had no way to reach him to ensure him that I was on my way and that he was still going to be stuck with me for eternity!
    When we finally pulled into the parking lot, Big Dad came running out of the temple with a concerned / stressed expression on his face. I was ushered (running) from the parking lot to the temple, leaving Telly and Peeah to grab all my things and follow behind me. Big Dad quickly helped me get organized and brought me to the Hubster, who sat quietly in a chair wearing a nervous expression. As I rushed toward him apologizing over and over he looked up, smiled and pulled me into a tight hug. We were then completed some paperwork and went our separate ways to get ready.

    I’m getting married in 15 minutes.

    As my mom helped me get ready in the bridal room all the stress of the car adventure slowly melted away. As we stood together in the mirror I still couldn’t believe that it was finally here.

    I’m getting married in 5 minutes!!!

    We walked toward the room where the Hubster was waiting with our family and friends. As he stood waiting for me his eyes shone and I was overwhelmed with happiness: I’m going to married this man for time and all eternity.

    Right now.

    As we held hands and looked into each others eyes it felt like time stopped, if just for a second. We were given some wonderful advice to begin our lives together as a married couple–a family. Our family.

    …and then, it was over. We slipped rings onto each other’s hands and I was no longer Single Shop Girl–we were married… and I became the Wifester. :) As we stood holding hands amidst all the love and congratulations from our family it finally felt real… I could never remember feeling so happy.

    I just got married to the man of my dreams!!!!

    (You can click on pictures to enlarge them)

    Shop Girl*

    P.s. I love you, Hubster. xo

    P.p.s. Stay tuned for more photos and details of the wedding reception!

    Previous* ———————————————————————– Next*

  • Chapter Twelve* The Wedding Eve

    I know I wrote another chapter only yesterday, but it was really just a catch-up chapter to get me to where I wanted to be–right here. The night before our wedding. If you missed yesterday’s post (Chapter Eleven* The Day Before The Wedding) you may want to read that first before reading this one.

    Friday, August 19th, 2005

    As we finished setting up the hall for the reception the whole thing just seemed really surreal to me. Maybe it was because I was so overtired, or because I hadn’t seen the soon-to-be-Hubster in days, but in many ways it hadn’t set in that all the fuss was for me… like I was watching someone else’s wedding preparations. It was such a bizarre feeling.

    The Hubster and I decided not to do any kind of a rehearsal dinner as we purposely planned to have our reception be less formal, so we felt it wasn’t necessary. So, by 5pm I came home from setting up the reception hall to my mom’s “wedding workshop”. :) My entire family was engaged in different tasks all over the house–Big Dad was constantly running errands, my aunts and uncles were making different kinds of food for the dinner, and my mom was head of the entire operation, somehow managing to do 100 things at once.

    Telly, my maid of honor happens to be a fabulous esthetician, so we ducked down to the basement for a quiet place where she began to give me my wedding manicure and pedicure. Sitting in my quiet basement with Telly was the first time that weekend that the reality that I was getting married the next day really sunk in. Actually, the conversation went like this:

    Telly* SO. What color do you want your toes to be?

    Me* Oh it doesn’t really matter… I’m not fussy. The Hubster likes pink I think. Do you have a nice pink?

    Telly* Oh this will look cute with your wedding shoes!

    Me* Haha… wedding shoes. Wedding… shoes… HOLY TOOT I’M GETTING MARRIED TOMORROW.

    Telly* Hahaha… um, are you just figuring this out now?!

    Me* No, of course not… it’s just… I’m getting married TOMORROW. Like, the day after today. As in a matter of hours. As in by this time tomorrow I’ll be Mrs. Hubster. Wow.

    …leave it to me to have shoes be what make my wedding seem real to me. haha! Sitting in the basement with my toes have painted I realized that after 5 months of waiting I was finally going to get to marry the man of my dreams. I waited for the nervousness that everyone said I’d feel to sink in, but I just didn’t feel it. I assumed it must be more of a wedding-morning thing.

    After Telly made my feet pretty, we went upstairs to see if we could help in the kitchen at all… and ended up peeling eggs until nearly 1am. haha!!! My uncle was making trays and trays of deviled eggs, and so we peeled… and peeled… and peeled… until I realized that it was getting late and I hadn’t yet called the Hubster.

    In the eight months that we had been dating, we never once missed a day of talking. Even when I escaped to the bush for a week in July to be help out with a camp, I managed to find a way to call him every day. As I snuck up the stairs to find a quiet bedroom to call him, I realized that this would be our “last” phone call… and I felt a little nervous. I had no idea how he was feeling as he was 2 hours away with his family, and I was in B Town with mine.

    I dialed his number and after a few rings I heard that familiar “Hello?” and my heart melted once again. I could be incredibly corny and pull a Jerry Maguire “he had me at hello moment”…

    …but I’ll spare you. haha!

    I honestly wish that I had had the foresight to write down what we talked about that night. I remember our conversation wasn’t long, but just by hearing the sound of his voice I was reminded yet again of all the reasons that I loved this man, and I couldn’t wait to marry him the next day. He didn’t sound nervous or distracted, he was just… himself. And I wished that I was with him.

    After we said goodbye, I trudged back down to the kitchen where we continued to work until 1am, when my mom finally shooed me and Telly down to bed, as I apparently had a big day the next day or something. ;)

    As I got ready for bed, I knew that even though my body was dead tired there would be no sleeping yet. Telly and I squeezed into the little double pull-out I had been sleeping on all summer and talked quietly in the dark. We talked about adventures she and I had had as single ladies, the boys we had liked, the ones that broke our hearts, and the fact that I was embarking on a whole new adventure the next day. We talked about what my life with the Hubster might be like, how we hoped my wedding day would go, and of course, the impending “wedding night”.

    …but I’ll spare you and leave that part out. :)

    I’m not sure how long we talked, but at some point I drifted off knowing that when I woke up in just a few hours it would be my wedding day…

    …and I’d be getting MARRIED. :)

    Shop Girl*

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  • Chapter Eleven* The Day Before the Wedding

    I know I’m skipping ahead here, but I realized today that it’s taking me so long to finish writing out Our Story because I started writing about all the details of the wedding, and stopped writing about us… and while the details are fun and interesting, they aren’t what Our Story is really about. I last wrote about my adventure in finding my wedding dress, and if you are interested in learning any more details of how we planned a wonderful wedding for 185 guests for $2000, I’d be happy to share. Just let me know.

    For those of you new to my blog, I’m about to finish the story of how my husband (the Hubster) and I went from not knowing each other, to being engaged and married in less than 8 months. If you’d like, you can catch up on all previous posts HERE, where you can read about everything from how I had to chase him down, to our first date, first kiss, and soon after, his proposal.

    Friday, August 19th, 2005

    The summer before we got married flew by. I was spoiled rotten by the five wedding showers I received from family and friends and we anxiously waited for our wedding day to arrive. The Hubster and I found an apartment we both loved and began moving our things to Senior’s City at the end of July. My mom and I were busy with wedding preparations as the responses to our invitations poured in and our final number grew to 186, much higher than either the Hubster and I had ever anticipated.

    I didn’t see the soon-to-be-Hubster the week before we got married. Before your eyebrows start raising in question, this was not some religious or cultural belief we shared. We had lived apart for the previous four months—he with his family, and I with mine. We did our best to visit every weekend, but sometimes two weeks stretched between visits and I missed him terribly. The weeks leading up to our wedding were incredibly busy as we were both working, as well as planning our wedding and moving into our soon-to-be new home. We each had our respective “lists” of things to do: I had been up up late every night finishing wedding favors, table numbers, and other small details, while the Hubster was busy working and moving our things to Senior’s City, where we have been living for the past three and a half years. The two weeks before our wedding were insanely busy and we each had things to complete where we were. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been disappointed at the time—as I hated being away from him—but I knew that we’d be together so soon. (The fact that his allergies to my family’s cat had made him sick also complicated the matter somewhat… haha!)

    I had originally planned to work right up until the Friday afternoon—the day before the wedding. It never occurred to me that this week would be full of things to do and never enough time to complete it. Thankfully, I had the world’s best boss who scheduled me to work all day, every day until Saturday evening (this meaning I’d have to skip my wedding) as a practical joke, but in reality refused to let me work past Wednesday at noon, letting me off early to get things done. With the help of an amazing woman we know in B-Town (and a few strong missionaries and young men) we got the risers, tables and chairs set up on Thursday evening, leaving Friday free to do all the decorating. I was absolutely exhausted when my head hit the pillow on Thursday, but I was so excited that the next day was my “Wedding Eve”.

    Friday, August 19th, 2005 was perhaps the busiest day of my life. I woke up early, and my mom and I loaded up the Vanimal (our big blue family van) with decorations and headed over to the church. I was nervous to decorate as I had no idea what a wedding reception should look like–aside from my cousin’s wedding that I attended as a little girl, the first wedding reception I attended was my own. Thankfully, my mom had assembled an amazing team that I still don’t feel as though I’ve thanked properly for the amazing job they did. Several friends, aunts, cousins, my sisters and especially my mom worked tirelessly to transform a simple gym into a… well, wonderland for me. It was exactly what I wanted—just simple and pretty. It took a few hours, but we managed to have the bulk of the cleaning done by 3 or 4pm. My maid of honor, Telly, arrived early that afternoon to help with the decorating and to rehearse the musical piece I had asked she sing at our reception. She stayed by my side from the moment she arrived.

    I think we were all exhausted by the time the hall was decorated, but that was just the beginning of things to come that evening…

    Shop Girl*

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