We all got to bed late following the rehearsal dinner, and, before we knew it, the wedding day dawned. I was up early again and headed over to the house looking a little rough and begging my Aunt for a hair tie (for my humidity-crazed hair) and a cup of coffee. After a few days of going straight out, it starts catching up to you as all event people know. Fortunately, with caffeine and a new group of helpers that showed up, we were able to get all the last details completed—ribbons tied onto the bouquets, urns delivered down to the river ceremony site, the wedding arch decorated, etc. I took my five minutes to soak it all in when I was down on the sandy beach by the river where the ceremony would take place. After we put up the two urns, I sat down on one of the hay bales, covered with a quilt, and realized that the sun was streaming down directly on to the site where Brodie and Jake would be married. Here were my helpers who happened to be standing there when I grabbed my phone and snapped a picture.
I sat back just to remember all the times I had brought Brodie and her brother Chris down to this very beach to swim and cool off in the hot Virginia summers when they were little. I could almost see them splashing in the water. Am I really this old to be getting sentimental like this, I thought? I guess so. That was more than 25 years ago. Wow. I was already feeling a bit watery eyed and the ceremony hadn’t even begun! My five minutes was up, though, and I got a call that Brodie had decided she needed hair flowers for the top of her veil. I rushed up to the house, made a simple little comb of flowers and eucalyptus and went upstairs to find her. There she was in the most beautiful, flattering, simply elegant dress one could ever imagine. The light was streaming through her mom’s bedroom window where all of her bridesmaids were helping her get ready. It was, as usual, me barging in on a bride and her maids with flowers on their big day, but it was my cousin this time! What an honor to be here with her doing what I do. There aren’t any pictures to go with this part of the narrative because things got hectic with less than an hour and a half before the ceremony started. I had my kids to organize, last minute issues down at the wedding tent, back up to the groomsmen for missing boutonniere pins, back to the house to literally throw on my dress (not even do my hair), and I raced back down to the ceremony site where I arrived less than 5 minutes before the ceremony started!!!! I did, however, arrive just in time to see the bride and her bridesmaids and flower girls arrive at the tent on my Aunt’s flat-bed pickup truck sitting atop covered hay bales. My aunt had done that to surprise Brodie and it was incredibly picturesque for a farm wedding to have the girls arriving on the truck!!! So cute. I heard they took pictures with the horses on the way down. I can’t wait to see the photographers pictures of that when they come in!
I rushed into the ceremony and found a seat atop a hay bale with my hubby (who earned an A+ doing a myriad of tasks for the wedding all day with my son in tow). I sat and held his hand and waited for the bridal party to begin the procession. It was time to take in everything. Time to breathe and slow the release of adrenaline that had been coursing through my veins for the last hour of rushing. Time to watch as my Aunt walked her daughter down the aisle holding hands. What a moment that was – the two of them with fingers clasped walking down the pathway lined with river rocks headed down to the beach where Jake, and all of us, awaited them. They walked slowly and stoically, a solid pair – just like the two of them had always been. A team that could do anything together. I always cry at a wedding, but this one was a bit of a gusher for me. It was so touching and beautiful, and seeing them all holding my flowers was lovely. I saw her brother up there watching her be married, and the little flower girls peering at the bride attentively, and my sweet grandparents all with that dark reflective water drifting by in the river. It was such a lovely ceremony officiated by the Groom’s father. So personal and intimate, just like the setting.
As everyone filed out after the wedding, we all found our way to the tent. It was a huge sail-cloth tent like none I have ever seen before. IT WAS GORGEOUS!!! There were so many special touches everywhere. Flags that many of us helped sew throughout the year for decorating the tent, signs that others painted, family trees that were displayed, little branches filled with sepia-toned pictures of the bride and groom throughout their lives, amazing garlands that the Bride’s sister made, and so on. There were these beautiful sitting areas outside of the tent where people wandered out to throughout the night to sit in serene bliss, fun areas for the kids with crafts, and cornhole. I was admittedly a little tired but so unbelievably happy with how everything turned out. We danced the night away and headed home happy and tuckered out. The Bride and Groom went up to their incredible glamping tent on the top of the hill where they stayed. I think it was an authentic Turkish tent, and it looked like something out of a movie set with candles lit up everywhere, ancient rugs on the ground, a canopy bed, and the full moon peering through the clouds. What a night.
We woke up on Sunday, my hubby and I cleaned out the basement, and we headed to the brunch before catching a flight home with my kids. It was quite a weekend. I think I wrote all this down as a way to journal the adventure so I don’t forget it! It definitely has to be one of my favorite weddings ever (second to my own of course, which was also outside under a huge tent too). My kids jabbered on about the wedding and all their favorite parts as we traveled home. I slept and slept as I’m sure many people did after this weekend. But we all slept the blissful sleep of a job well done, love witnessed, a weekend in the great outdoors, and the contentment that being with all of your family brings. Cheers Brodie and Jake! It was an amazing weekend. Here is wishing you a lifetime of love, endless joy, beauty, health, and plenty of adventure together. Following photos by Sarah Cramer Shields.
I hope you enjoyed this tale of wedding flowers and walks down memory lane. People often ask what its like to be a florist, so sometimes it’s fun to give a blow-by-blow account of what it takes to do wedding flowers. Each event is entirely unique, but I so love the creative endeavor and collaboration with the couples. Looking forward to our next wedding coming up in Sioux City!