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:
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!|
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 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|
|Love this angle|
|One of my absolute faves! - Prayer to Mary|
|Didn't even know he fist pumped his excitement until I saw this!|
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!|
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! :)
(haha..had to do it!)