Friday before the wedding:

This was the day I had to get it all done. The pressure was so intense. If only someone warned me about the day before the wedding! As a bride, YOU WILL GET NOTHING DONE! All the productivity comes from the people helping out with the wedding! The day will be filled with running errands and trying to remember things you can never remember.

In the morning around 9am, I called David to come over so we would finish the programs and get them printed at Kinkos. David was still asleep when I called and I told him that if he didn’t come over in 15 minutes, I was going to find something else that needed to be done (probably to pick up my flowers from the flower shop). Surprisingly, David came very promptly. We worked on the programs for an hour because we couldn’t figure out the wording and we had no clue how to format. Our wedding etiquette was pretty terrible.

By 10am, we went to FexEx Kinkos, and the lady at the desk helped us with our programs. We wanted 5x7 programs because I made envelopes for a 5x7 card. I was expecting everything to be around $300, but when the lady rung up the total, she said it was going to be $700! I almost fainted. The reason was because a 5x7 size card could only be printed once on each sheet of cardstock. Her solution was to make the size smaller so it could be printed twice on one sheet. We did that option and the total was about $400. If only I would have done them earlier, it would have been cheaper but a lot of the information I needed for the programs was dependent of other people’s answers.

Afterwards, David and I had to go to the flower shop to pick up some stock that I ordered. Originally, I wanted some beautiful cream colored stock flowers with purple tips. It would have been so nice with my garden themed wedding. Sadly they were out of stock online and I went to the flower shop a week prior to the wedding to see if they could help me out. The lady said they could definitely help me. She did warn me that having cream with lavender tips might be hard to be exact because of mother nature, but worst case scenario, they would be lavender. I said it was fine because lavender was still a light color. BUT, when we went to pick up the flowers, they were NOT lavender! They were a dark purple! I did my best to not cry when I saw them because it totally threw off my theme! It was no longer going to be light and airy, but harsh. The lady asked if I liked them, and I said it was not what I expected. I’m sure she saw the disappointment on my face. David did a really good job of calming me. I think he understood the stress I was going through and did everything he could to not make it worse. He kept assuring me that everything would be okay. Looking back, it seemed kind of silly that I would cry over flowers, but I think it had more to do with me being stressed, the lack of sleep, and the pressure to exceed expectations than the flowers themselves.

After that, David and I went back to the church to decorate. Everyone was already there since 10am and my parents would soon bring everyone lunch around noon-ish. I had my friend Hailey in charge of a banner I was going to make- it was a DIY project that I could not complete in time. I took her to Michaels to buy her some supplies and we also met up with my cousins Bas and Kaley to buy last minute things. I told Kaley (who was also my maid-of-honor) about my flower situation, and she said I could buy floral paint to spray on the flowers. I had no idea those things existed! I was excited there was an option to still save my flowers. I bought the floral paint, but sadly, the lady doing my flower arrangements did not use the paint. It got to the point where I was so tired of making decisions about the details that I just started handing people $100 bills to buy stuff for me and when they asked about my opinion, I just said, “it’s whatever.” I just didn’t care anymore, I was mentally and emotionally drained.

When I look back, I am so glad we had Liberty Church as our venue. It was right across the street from my house. If only I counted how many times I drove from my house to the church! I’m also extremely glad that I lived really close to all the craft stores! There was always a list going through my mind of what I needed to do and what I forgot from my house. It was only around 2pm and my phone only had 30-20% battery life left. I tried to write down all the things I still needed to do, but once I started writing down something, I would stop halfway and try to remember something else. I would try so hard to remember that “something else” that I forgot what I was writing down before I was distracted! I was just a mess. So frustrating.

Next, I had to run to walmart. Bas had an idea for the ceremony decor. I still had no idea what I wanted to do with the ceremony. As Bas was shopping, I was waiting in the car. I was kinda restless because I still had to pick up my rentals downtown which was a 20-30 minute drive and they would be closed in an hour. Finally, we got our stuff from Walmart, headed back to the church, and Kaley and I went downtown to get my rentals. After I got my rentals, I took the long way home. Kaley and I had some one-on-one time and she calmed me down when I vented my frustration. My brother bought the wrong size suit and he also did it last minute. One of my bridesmaids didn’t have a dress until the very last minute also. Plus, she was going to be late for the dress rehearsal. The stress was just adding. My maid-of-honor was seriously the best maid-of-honor I could have. She made the process so much easier. She always thought ahead and was literally 3 steps ahead of me. As we continued driving in the car, she was calling stores around the area to find a suit for my brother. She took the time to take him suit shopping right after dress rehearsal.

When we got back to the church to drop off the rentals, I stopped by my place to grab a few things I remembered (thank God!), plus my charger. By this time, it was around 5pm and dress rehearsal was at 6pm. Kaley wanted me to relax so she took me to get a pedicure and manicure. As I was sitting in the parking lot waiting for Kaley to make an appointment, I realized that I totally forgot to tell my other flower girl’s parents that dress rehearsal was in an hour! The only number I had was the flower girl’s mother, but she didn’t text me back because she was in class.

Now, I’ve never had a pedicure before…but I quickly concluded that I hated it! I didn’t shave my legs for over a month and I was planning on shaving them that night. I was so embarrassed when the lady was rubbing lotion all over my legs! They probably thought I was an ugly bride that never shaved! I kept tensing up my toes because the hate the feeling of something poking beneath my toe nails! I couldn’t relax. The lady kept telling me to stop tensing my toes and all I could say was, “I’m sorry!” I also have a tendency to repeat the phrase, “This is just a moment in time” whenever I’m in a situation I don’t want to be in because it calms me to realize that my “suffering” is short compared to eternity. I was so glad when it was over. Although I do like the feeling of having clean feet, I probably will never have another pedicure.

When I got back to the church, it was around 6:30pm. Rehearsal wasnt even close to starting yet. Things were starting to come together, the ceremony looked great and the reception was coming along. I talked with a few people and asked my bridesmaids what they thought of my flowers because they looked nothing like I expected them to look. They all told me they looked good and I trusted their judgement. The reality was, everything DID look good. I just had to stop expecting my wedding to look like the weddings on Pinterest and all the wedding blogs I’ve been admiring for the past 6 months. My wedding wasn’t going to look like a copied image on a screen, it was going to look like something I could call my own. I had to get over this thought that my wedding could only be “perfect” if it looked a certain way. When I look back, I can say that I loved my wedding because everything was a stamp of everyone’s hard work. I see the evidence of a person’s personal touch, I see the evidence of community.

By the time rehearsal started, my mom realized the my other flower girl Keisha wasn’t there. She asked me if I told her family knew rehearsal was today and I told her that I forgot. My mom reacted like she was mad and yelled at me for being irresponsible. I felt kinda bad, but at the same time, I knew that my mom liked to overreact and then act completely fine a few minutes later.

As I was waiting for rehearsal to start, I sat in the front row watching people decorate the stage. Mary sat next to me and what she said to me made me teary-eyed. She told me to take a look at everything around me-everything was for me. This was MY wedding. I think all the errands earlier in the day made me lose sight of the fact that I was preparing for my wedding. It started to hit me that I was getting married! I looked at all the people who have spent hours making my wedding possible. It was amazing to realize that everybody sacrificed their entire day for David and me, not because they felt forced to, but because they cared. People could have easily stopped working and left, or just stood around socializing, but nobody abandoned their duties when they were needed.

At last, dress rehearsal was starting. I soon realized that I forgot to give Fred (our musician) the order of the set. I felt bad, it was another thing I failed to accomplish on my to-do list. We were given a few minutes to tell him the order and we all got into our places. I had no idea what to expect from the music, the ceremony lighting, or the bridesmaids/groomsmen order. I had all my bridesmaids wear different colored dresses, so I was pretty nervous how that was going to turn out. Finally my flower girl Keisha came right on time. As we all lined up in the hall, the little boys couldn’t stand still. They had so much energy. I think at one point, we couldn’t keep track of all boys at the same time-someone always ran off. The boys were also getting restless and tired, they didn’t want to hold the banner or walk down. I asked my dad if he knew what to say when he handed me off and he couldn’t say the phrase, “Her mother and I” properly. I think he kept on wanting to say, “Me and her mother.”

As the music began, and I saw everyone walk down, it started to hit me again that I was getting married. I listened to they lyrics of the songs we chose to use for the ceremony and in that moment, I just worshiped. I got teary-eyed again and my heart raced. This was really happening.

When it was time for me and my dad to walk down the aisle, I couldn’t look at David in the eyes. It wasn’t because it was emotional, but I just felt weird! At the end of the aisle, our officiant (Mike Beckham) asked my dad who was giving me away to David. My dad forgot what to say and just said a jumble of words. It was pretty funny. Everybody laughed because it was kinda cute. When David came to take my hand, he didn’t know what to do and attempted to give me and my dad an awkward hug/handshake. Again, everybody laughed. Good thing we had a rehearsal! After the rehearsal, we did it one more time and my mom prepared some food for us to eat. David and I thanked everybody for coming and helping.

The night was long from over. David and his best man, Billy, went to Kinkos and picked up the programs, Kaley took my brother to buy a suit, and I have no idea what I was doing at this time. Seriously, I can’t remember! After Kaley found a suit for my brother, we went to Target to buy some glue sticks for the programs. I told my ushers how to assemble the programs. I remember telling my bridesmaids we were going to go to the hotel because I knew some of they were tired, but I got distracted from telling my ushers how to glue the programs. I don’t think we went to the hotel until 10:30pm. As I was having a pretty fun time talking to everyone, Kaley and David had a plan to get me to the hotel so I could sleep. We were all sitting in a circle and David started to kiss my hand. I was really confused- it was so random. He asked if we could take a walk. When we got outside, Kaley followed. David said he needed to get his suit out of Kaley’s car. Then he just opened the passenger door and made me get in. I still had no idea what was happening. When they told me I had to call it a night and sleep, I was confused why I had to! There was still so much to do.

Once at the hotel, I got ready to sleep, but couldn’t. I still had to write a letter for David for the ceremony. I had an idea of what I wanted to say, but when I actually wrote it down, it was pretty cheesy. I also kept remembering things I forgot to buy/bring/do. I forgot baby wipes for the fingerprint guest book, I forgot to put questions on my sketchbooks for guests to sign, I made some wreaths for me and David’s chair for the reception that needed to be tied on (they never made it, I don’t know where they are to this day), I also forgot about the rock candy and paper straws that were behind the sofa in my house. I constantly texted Kaley these things, I’m sure she was pretty stressed out too. I was also constantly texting Ka (my cousin/wedding coordinator) a list of things I forgot also, like spraying the flowers with water, putting the favors on top of the napkins, where to put spoons and forks, how to decorate my cake table, what time the baby sitters should arrive. I could not relax my mind! Plus, I was still writing David’s letter. I don’t think I slept until 2 in the morning. I remember that when I finally decided to sleep, I still didn’t finish the letter. Also, Kaley and I had to wake up at 7am to get the bouquets.

Friday night was hectic. I don’t know how I made it. Although it was rough, one thing was exceptionally memorable. Throughout the day, people would pull me aside and tell me that David really loved me. They saw it from the way he cared for me and interacted with me. I’m glad that when I married him, I was confident in his love for me. I don’t rest in the fact that David will love me perfectly. I’m glad our decision to marry was made with a clear mind. It hinged on the love of Christ- not “lovey dovey” emotion or superficial expectations to feel “completed.” I’m glad to say that I woke up the next morning in complete confidence in my decision to marry David and commit to him for the rest of my life.