Thursday, October 18, 2012

Marrying Medina

I'll warn you now..this is a bit of a novel. But it's been a little over a month since I got married and those of you who I'm friends with on Facebook have already seen the oodles of pictures I've shared so I don't feel the need to regurgitate ALL of those (though I am posting several of my faves here and a few not on facebook! :)). But I wanted to elaborate on how the weekend played out and how I felt...because I fear one day all the little emotions and thoughts will escape me as I try to think back and remember how it went.

The weekend started with many of our friends & family arriving in town Thursday afternoon/evening, Sept 13th. My Maid of Honor, Danielle (who had just moved to Florida the week before - YAY!!), was helping me pack for the weekend and collect my sanity. Scrambling around to make sure I had everything I would need for the next few days and the wedding day itself was frazzling! Thank goodness she was there to help me focus lol.

Then I drove to Tampa to meet my family at the hotel. My mom & step-dad also just moved to Florida the month before, but my sister (Matron of Honor) and her family had just arrived that afternoon from Maryland, so I was super excited to see them and the kiddos! That evening we all went to dinner at Bahama Breeze, a waterfront restaurant nearby with live music, and while we were there we ran into some of Markus's family who had also just gotten into town! Here's a little snapshot of me and a few of his siblings & their families:


Then me and my fam went back to our hotel and headed down to an outdoor lounge area by the pool. We got to have a few drinks and catch up. Later, Markus arrived with some of his family and then my dad & step-mom came, so it turned into a fun little impromptu gathering with everyone just getting in to start the celebrations!

Saturday morning me and my fam went to breakfast at iHop, then me, my niece Hailey, my mom & step-dad headed to the pool to get some vitamin D in our lives and relax before the festivities started that night. It was a BEAUTIFUL day and my favorite part was playing on a couple of rafts my mom bought. They look like fighter ships with water guns that hose down from the pool water so they always stay full..cool right?! Totally felt like a kid again and had a blast playing on these with my niece. Her imagination never fails to amaze me with the things she comes up with...such as backing our floats into the stairs was apparently our "docking station" and we had to stay there until the count of 3 before we started to attack each other. LOL I also saw a few other members of Markus's extended family by the pool that day and got to catch up with them some. Everyone kept asking me how I was feeling, and I honestly felt super calm. I wasn't nervous at all, and I kinda felt like I was a visitor too, there for someone else's wedding. It didn't really hit me that it was my own wedding everyone was here for. But I liked it that way.

This is actually honeymoon week and me & my mom..but these are the rafts!
Later that day, Markus picked me up to head to rehearsal at our church. Several members of the wedding party were late due to traffic (Friday @ 5ish leaving Tampa..not a good idea lol...guess we could have planned that a little better). But it worked out OK because while we were waiting, me and Markus's mom had time to set up the pew decorations. His mom actually made them for us, and they were white, wicker angels with bows and flower garland, and she even affixed starfish and sand dollars to each to tie in to our beach theme in a subtle way. They turned out great. Here's a pic of the decorations and a few from rehearsal:




Next we headed to the rehearsal dinner at Brio Tuscan Grille. This gave Markus and I plenty of practice walking around to each table and greeting everyone and thanking them for coming. It was so nice seeing everyone of our immediate family & friends of the wedding party, but it was also a little overwhelming. I think that was when it finally hit us that everyone was here for us and our wedding haha. However, after we got around to everyone and his dad made a hilarious welcome speech, we finally got to calm down some and enjoy the wonderful food. Crab cakes were my absolute fave! Perfect for this Maryland girl! :)

Deer in headlights - little overwhelmed at this point
Me & Marky with his siblings & their families
Me and most of my fam
A couple of my beautiful bridesmaids!
After dinner, we headed downstairs to a bar called Blue Martini. I'd never been there before but could right away tell it wasn't my cup of tea lol. The point in going was to welcome most of our friends into town who weren't a part of the rehearsal or rehearsal dinner. This was not the best place to do so. It was basically like a club, kinda dark and super loud, booming music. You could hardly hear anyone talk and it just wasn't my scene. G'sss...I sound like a grandma, right? Oh well..it just wasn't me. So me and a few of my bridesmaids stayed probably all of 30 mins then headed out. This is when Markus and I parted ways until the wedding the following day.

After me and two of my bridesmaids swung by another bar to drop off my friend's bf and have a hilarious run in with a few of my other college girlfriends, we headed back to the hotel to get comfy and unwind. I gave them their bridesmaid gifts and we ended staying up much later than I'd planned, just chatting and laughing...what we do best. I was super tired from the night's events, but when it came time to actually lay down and go to sleep, that wasn't happening. All of the sudden my mind was running a million miles a minute thinking of everything I needed to be sure to do in the morning, did I have everything? did Markus have everything? would he remember to pick up drinks for the limo? did he drop the bubbles off? did I have my bag packed for the day? did i have all of the vendor tips ready to go?....the questions racing through my mind were endless. And of course, most of it had already been taken care of, but that's what my mind wanted to do apparently instead of sleep. Finally I drifted off in the midst of driving myself crazy with wedding day to-do's, and I woke up around 5:30---only 4-5 hours of sleep under my belt...awesome. I quickly showered and found myself very hyper and eventually I couldn't hold it in anymore and thought it would be a good idea to jump on the bed like a kid announcing "it's wedding day!!" "wake up friend!!" (excitedly singing to my friend Danielle who was still asleep lol) Then I skipped my way to my family's hotel room to wake them up too haha. Gathered my sister and niece and headed back to my room in time to meet our hair/makeup stylist at 7am. Here's a pic of me & my niece making our way back to my room...she's the mini bride/flower girl of course!


Then the rest of the morning until noon'ish included all of us getting hair & makeup done, downing coffee like it was my job with a mimosa in between, and just chatting and enjoying the morning. Again, I felt really calm, a little tired, but excited and ready to get the show on the road! The only time I got a little frazzled is when the limo driver called me 45 mins before we were even scheduled to leave, to say he's outside waiting. Great...do you want a medal? I felt like saying...but it seemed like he was trying to rush me out so I had to explain, sorry, but we're not leaving until 12:30...we'll be out around then..thank you! Sheesh!

So after rounding everyone up we headed to the limo and made our way to the church. At this point I was still pretty calm, just starting to wonder if we were on time with everything and everyone was where they were supposed to be...which they were, but again...these are the thoughts of a bride on her wedding day.

Me with two of my BMs on the limo ride to the church
Then we spent an obscene amount of time, it felt like, just waiting around in the bridal suite of the church. After I got dressed and the photographer started with pics of all of us, he then headed to photograph the guys, so it felt like we were just waiting around for a long time. I was so eager to go, that this part just seemed to drag on. Finally, the time came to line up... FINALLY!! I was so ready to marry this man that I felt like I was 2 seconds from running down that aisle to get the wedding started haha. But my Dad took my hand and calmed me down. He actually seemed a little nervous so it kicked me into caretaker mode to keep him calm, which was great! :) I happily watched each of my beautiful bridesmaid friends start their way down the aisle until last but not least was my wonderful little niece who happily bounced down the aisle until the doors shut and the music changed. That was our cue. Finally the doors reopened and we made our way around the corner and down the aisle. I literally felt like I couldn't have smiled more if I tried. I was so happy the moment was finally here. I've been with Markus for just about 7 years now and have been ready to marry him for a long time...so this was heaven for me to finally be joining our lives together. As we walked in it was so exciting seeing so many familiar faces of friends & family I love, then looking down to see Markus, visibly trying to hold back tears. Sorry..but I LOVED it! haha I honestly thought I was going to be a bawling mess (as I always am when other people get married), but I was very calm and focused and taking it all in, and happy to see my husband-to-be with tears of happiness. Doesn't every girl secretly want that?

Tears!!

Love this angle
We had a catholic ceremony with a full mass, which lasted just about an hour. I know some people may dread that, but it was our wedding and it was important to us to have it as such to thank God for bringing us together with our friends & family to witness the holy sacrament of marriage. We enjoyed every second of it. I especially loved the homily our Deacon gave. We spent many, many months of meeting with him during our marriage prep classes and it was evident he got to know us well. He spoke to how we met, our views on family and marriage, and really kept everyone engaged and made it so personal. We got so many compliments on his speech, it was really touching. He speaks with great energy and passion and he was able to vocalize our love and relationship with God for all of our friends and family. We are so thankful.

One of my absolute faves! - Prayer to Mary
Finally it came time to pronounce us husband and wife, and when the priest said "you may kiss your bride" -- Markus holds up his hand and darts over to his brother Ray who opens a tin of altoids and Markus grabs one, nods his head in approval, then grabs me and kisses me! haha it was hilarious. At the time I was like, what the heck are you doing? Do you really need to think about whether or not you want to kiss me?! But it was just Markus being Markus. Same silliness he exuded when he proposed. What a jokester! :) Love him!

Didn't even know he fist pumped his excitement until I saw this!
After we walked back down the aisle together and made our way for a private moment together, is when all of the emotions of the day finally came flooding out. Everything I'd been feeling and holding in and refocusing elsewhere, came at me at once. I was just so happy and finally letting it out, so it was nice to have a moment together then and enjoy it and take it all in together. Then we proceeded to formal pictures in the church then back to the limo for the ride over to the Rusty Pelican in Tampa for our reception. This was fun too because we had our entire wedding party with us in the limo, along with our parents. Markus and I had a little love seat at one end of the limo with a perfect view of our friends and family there to celebrate with us.


Once we arrived at the Rusty Pelican, we took lots of fun pictures outside then made our way in to enjoy another private moment together with some champagne and a plate full of all the appetizers we had so carefully selected months earlier. Everything was DELICIOUS! Considering I'd only had a bagel that morning and a truck load of coffee, my stomach was profusely thanking me. Next came introductions into the ballroom followed by our first dance to "I won't give up" by Jason Mraz. We chose this song because not only did we love the tune, but the words seem like vows to us and we love that. Then I danced with my dad to "I loved her first" by Heartland. This one I cried during because I'm a Daddy's girl and he said a lot of sweet things during those few minutes together. I loved it. Finally, Markus danced with his mom which was so sweet because she's a bit of a crier too and just adores him...understandably. He's one of 6 kids, but he's the baby, and it's hard for any mom to let go of her baby.








Next came dinner and speeches by the Best Man & Matron of Honor. Eric's speech was both touching and funny and Julie's speech, well, we were grateful she made it through. My sister and I are both super emotional when it comes to us and being sisters. We're best friends and I'd honestly be lost without her. She had some tears and kind words, then wrapped it up by thanking us for doing our wedding in Ravens colors! OMGosh..it was really sweet until she dropped that bomb! But it cheered her up and got a good roar from the crowd since many of our Maryland family & friends are of course, Baltimore Ravens fans. She knew this would be funny because we have a fun family dynamic since Markus and I are both Pittsburgh Steelers fans, so that was pretty humorous.


Yup..she just yelled GOOO RAVENS!
Markus and I got to enjoy dinner and then started making our way around to the tables, again, welcoming everyone and thanking them for coming. Exhausting again...but we truly were so thankful everyone made the trip down. We know it's not easy with the cost of flights and hotels and everything and it meant a lot to us to have all of them there. Then we got our picture taken together in the PhotoBooth and noticed many of our family members had already started dancing so we made our way to the D floor to join them! The rest of the night was filled with dancing, cake cutting, and enjoying everyone being together to celebrate with us. The surprise of the evening came when Markus's cousin Danielle came up to me and said "Markus said to go to the middle of the dance floor...I assume you know what he's talking about." LOL ummm...no I DON'T know what he's talking about....ohhh no...what is he planning??! Then I notice the DJ had started playing the Justin Bieber "Baby" song and all of the sudden I see Markus strutting out to the dance floor, no longer with his wedding vest and tie on, but with suspenders and a bow tie!! AHHH!! This was HILARIOUS to me because I had made jokes for months during the planning process how I wished he and the groomsmen could wear bow ties and suspenders. I just think they're nerdy and fun! But I didn't get my wish until then, when he was all decked out! He DOES listen to me!! lol Apparently he had made a last minute decision that morning to surprise me at the wedding with a dance. A little background info, Markus is actually a really good dancer. He's got moves like Jagger, let's say. So he strutted over and started dancing until I started feeling awkward just standing there so I leaned in and whispered asking "am I supposed to just stand here or do you want me to dance with you?" of course he says "dance with me" so I'm like great, thanks for the heads up! Totally unprepared! And I'm not the dancer Markus is...comes much easier to him. But I did my best and luckily, we dance together a lot at home and I'm able to play off of him pretty well so I think we did OK. He picked that song because I'm a nerd and know every word of the rap part Ludacris does and he thinks it's hilarious. He catches me belting it out quite often haha. So any way, it was a super fun surprise and a great memory. A lot of people thought we planned it which is a compliment that we actually might have looked like we knew what we were doing, but we (I) absolutely did not. Eeek! A little scary, but really fun! Isn't he great? And yes...it was all caught on video thanks to my wonderful friends. Check it out!



Another favorite part of the night was on the last song, our DJ played "Country Roads" by John Denver per our request. We met at WVU so it only made sense this song had to be played at least once. But all of our guests came onto the dance floor and formed a GINORMOUS circle just singing and swaying to the song. I loved it! Perfect way to wrap up the night! Afterward, we exited through a tunnel of bubbles by our guests and made our way to the hotel. After changing and getting comfy, we had a little after party with a lot of our family & friends at the outdoor lounge by the pool again. We finally made it to sleep at about 3 in the morning.

It was such an AMAZING day and weekend really. Things couldn't have gone any smoother and I'm so happy to be married finally to my best friend. OK...that was basically a novel. I'm tired of typing, and I know it was super long, but you probably just glance at a few pics here and there and maybe watch the video anyway right? And that's OK! I honestly wanted to do this for me too so years down the road I can look back and remember everything I was feeling and thinking through reading this. So thank you Blogger for providing me this outlet! :)

Sincerely, 
Brittany Medina 
(haha..had to do it!)





1 comment:

AAPK said...

So sweet and so happy for you!! You made a bueaitful bride!!!!