As most of you know, I’ve been away due to my wedding last week. It was such an amazing time, and it’s hard to believe that it’s actually over. All of that build up, stress, and money for one day that flew by.
In the end, it was all worth it. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the entire experience and how much it affected me emotionally.
When reflecting on the day, Ben and I regretted not hiring a videographer so we could relive the fun moments. However, a few friends advised us that it’s better to journal about the event in order to spark the happy memories of the day.
So I created a list of my favorite moments. There are way too many to share in one post. But here are 10 of my favorites:
- My Bachelor Party: The night before the wedding, I treated my three best friends and my brother to a nice steak dinner. It’s not the typical bachelor party but something that I desperately needed to calm my nerves. It was four hours of relaxing, eating, and drinking with people that mean the world to me and that I feel most comfortable around. Even Ben mentioned how relaxed I was after we came back.
- The Gorgeous Space: We got married in the McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum. It’s a five-story museum that is in an actual working bridgehouse. It has awesome views of the city and made for a very memorable space. As icing on the cake, we were the very first wedding there.
- Looking at all of our Guests During the Ceremony: The space was so intimate that there were people standing on the same floor as us, on the stairwell, and on the floor above us. During the ceremony, everyone was so close, we could look them in the eyes and smile at them. Looking around at all of the faces of our loved ones felt like a warm embrace as we made our way through the ceremony.
- Writing the Ceremony: Since we were having a very untraditional ceremony, we got to make it up. Ben and I scripted the entire thing, ensuring that we included everything we wanted like our love story, the vows, and participation from people who attended. We even had our moms get ordained and officiate.
- Sharing a Special Moment with Ben: Although we were looking around during the ceremony, we still got a chance to focus on each other. Getting to look into Ben’s eyes while the incredible words about us were being said was priceless. It was definitely our moment, and I was so happy to get to share it with him.
- Wishing Stones and What Love is: We also wanted to incorporate everyone in attendance in the ceremony. We gave everyone stones to transfer their well wishes. We collected the stones afterwards and put them in our new place as a reminder of the day and the love in the room. We also asked the guest to write us their well wishes and thoughts on love/marriage beforehand. We compiled their thoughts into a reading during the ceremony titled “What Love Is.”
- The Support of Strangers: I have to admit taking pictures beforehand made me a little nervous because of the public displays of affection in such a busy place. I imagined there might be some hate-filled people out there that would say insulting things or worse. However, the opposite happened. As we were kissing on the Michigan Avenue bridge, or holding hands by the Chicago River, people shouted congratulations, “awwwed,” and even watched and smiled as we took the photos. The support felt really good.
- The Restaurant: We ate at Balena in the Lincoln Park area of the city. They set us up in their wine cellar, which was a gorgeous and secluded space. We had our own private wait staff that greeted us as we walked in. Ben also created a slide show with pictures of us and everyone in attendance. Having that 13-year history provided a couple of hours of fun pictures that played through the entire dinner.
- Personalized seating cards: We made a point to write personalized seating cards for every guest, even the infants that can’t read yet. (We stole that idea from my brother’s wedding.) We wanted to let our guests know how special they are to us. Everyone loved them and felt our sincere appreciation for their support over the years.
- Impromptu toasts: We had originally only scheduled Ben’s dad to give a toast. But after he gave his other attendees, including my mom and brother, and Ben’s mom and brother also gave one. Even after that, our friends gave some. The small party allowed anyone the space to say whatever they wanted. One of the most surprising came from our six-year-old nephew. He tapped his glass, stood up and told us that he loved us and he’s happy for us. Very short and sweet, and super impactful.
Reading these now makes me smile. We had such a wonderful day. I hope to keep the feelings alive through my journal of the event.