Two years ago on July 29th I found myself feeling so many emotions that I became numb as I laid in the dark quiet of my bed with one of my bridesmaids (hi, Alecia) attempting to fall asleep. I stared at the ceiling for a while, then rolled onto my side to stare at the wall. Just before getting into bed I had written a note to the man who would become my husband the very next day.
I’ve never been someone who likes being the center of attention, so as you can imagine, being a bride-to-be during our 7-month engagement was a challenge. I did as much planning behind the scenes as I possibly could, and basically only let my parents in on planning. Telling people exactly what I wanted was difficult, and in no way did I want any part of being a “bridezilla”. Honestly, all I truly cared about was marrying Justin and demonstrating God’s love and our obedience to Him through our ceremony. But, that didn’t stop my parents from being the wonderful people they are and making a vision come to life for their little girl.
Back to the night before the big day – I remember praying for peace and calm to any nerves, but I mostly remember giving thanks for the man God had planned for me to marry. As many of you know, my history with men is not the greatest (read my post “Like the Jewel You Are” for reference). I was so unbelievably grateful to God for providing a man who wanted to lead his bride the way God commands. I felt so much redemption and joy from the pain I knew before.
The next morning, I woke up and began my day as the bride. What people tell you is true – the day goes by so quickly and before you know it the reception is over and you’re exhausted. So, I did my best to cherish each moment and take the day slowly. As we arrived at the venue and headed up to the bridal suite with my girls, I definitely began feeling little flutters in my stomach. I watched my bridesmaids open their gifts and couldn’t help but smile at the smallest instances.
Personalized etched glasses and a personalized tumbler for my junior bridesmaid
My bridal party made the morning easy, and we had a blast getting ready together in the suite as if we were just hanging out. Hair, makeup, pictures, laughter, and Backstreet Boys playlists. I loved doing my Matron of Honor’s hair, who has been like my sister since the day she was born – it felt like we were kids again!
Yes, I did my matron of honor’s hair 🙂
Cutest etched glasses from Etsy
As I continued to get ready to walk down the aisle, I still felt a sense of calm and serenity. I began getting into my dream dress, and our photographer captured one of the most special moments that I love to look back on: my mother putting her late mother’s necklace around my neck to symbolize 3 generations of love and faith in Jesus. I felt so grateful to have a little piece of my grandmother with me on that day.
And, of course, the dress. I absolutely loved my dress. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted it to look like – simple, elegant, button-down back. Before we went to the bridal salon, my mom and I looked on their website to make a list of dresses I would want to try on. We both picked my dress as our top favorite on a list of about 10 dresses. It was the second one I tried on at my appointment, and I put it on a again after a few more attempts. The second time I put it on, it just felt right and I knew it was the one.
Justin and I chose to save our “first look” for the ceremony, and instead I did one with my father. The way he looked at me still almost brings me to tears when I reminisce on the photos. This moment was another one I’ll always hold dear.
Because we didn’t do a first look, Justin and I chose to meet with a door between us to exchange notes and pray together before the ceremony. I remember feeling so excited just to be able to touch his hand around the door before we would become husband and wife. After reading our notes to one another, Justin gifted me with his baby ring that he received when he was born. He told me he wanted me to have it to signify the sovereignty of God – that the Lord had planned for us to be married before we were even born.
Before I knew it, it was time for the music to begin playing and the wedding party to begin walking. I always knew I wanted live musicians, and thankfully I have an extremely talented uncle who played the piano along with a cellist and violinist from my hometown – it was simple, elegant, and perfect. The bridal party headed down the stairs to line up for the ceremony and I was gifted with a few precious minutes to myself. I finally made my way down the stairs to meet my dad before walking down the aisle. I linked my arm in his, knowing he’d hold me just like he always had. Then, the doors opened and everyone but Justin disappeared from my view.
Our ceremony seemed to fly by. Throughout the planning process, I always imagined I’d be anxious during the ceremony with all eyes on us. Standing there next to Justin knowing that in 20 minutes he’d be my husband, the guests and eyes melted away. We made it a goal of ours to truly make Christ the center of our ceremony to give Him all the glory in our union. I was very grateful to have a couple minutes of being quietly close to Justin as we completed our unity ceremony – we discreetly laughed and talked (he was really bad at pouring sand) then prayed and soaked up the moment together before were announced as husband and wife. Before we knew it, we were MARRIED!
To me, aside from our goal to have God displayed all throughout our wedding day, I delighted in all the details. The candles, lanterns, Baby’s Breath, pearls, the photo of my late grandparents in my bouquet, magical reception decor, and so much more. Our day matched us perfectly as a couple, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it. I’ll list all of our wonderful vendors at the end of the post!
I kept it simple with white and coral roses and Baby’s Breath
Our beautifully quaint chapel
Justin and I are still so grateful for everything our friends and family did for us leading up to the wedding and on that special day to truly make us feel loved and supported! We couldn’t have asked for a better day.
your sister in Christ – kayley jean, a wife redeemed