Our wedding ceremony was such a blur. I hardly remember walking down the aisle and seeing David’s face for the first time. Afterwards, several of the groomsmen and bridesmaids told me they were crying throughout! I had no idea! I was looking straight at David the entire time! One of the best memories I have is walking down the aisle with my dad and having Fenway, our precious puppy, walk alongside of us. He spent the entire ceremony at my parent’s feet.
The officiant was Judge Hallock, a Rath Family friend. We had a civil ceremony since neither David nor I really align ourselves with any specific religion. We wanted the ceremony to be personal… and quick. We wrote our own vows, and everyone was wow-ed by just how romantic David’s were. (I see that side of him more often than everyone else!) Right after we were pronounced Mr. and Mrs., we took a private moment to ourselves in the backyard. Soon, Juneau caught up with us and we were off to take pictures!
The ceremony was set up the morning of the wedding. We stole some of Dad’s wood from the woodpile, place some flower pots on them, and it worked out perfectly. I had mentioned to my parents that I thought having hay bales for the guests to sit on was a great way to tie in the backyard feel to the ceremony. A few days before we arrived in New York I called my mom asking if my dad had found hay bales. She gave me a very diplomatic answer, but come to find out later, Dad had a pretty tough time nailing down them down! Fortunately, he and my mom came through.
Funny story: the night before we had everyone over for the rehearsal. We were all dressed up, ready to go to the rehearsal dinner when I decided the ceremony should take place elsewhere in the yard. The words were hardly out of my mouth when the men started picking up and moving the hay bales across the yard. Everyone laughed — what the bride wants, the bride gets!
How glamorous did our wedding party look?! Okay, maybe glamorous isn’t the right word to describe a backyard wedding, but I cannot imagine a better looking of people. David wanted a relaxed look for his guys, so he chose a white dress shirt, blue khakis, and a leather belt. For shoes? His favorite… flip flops! We got more than a few strange looks when we told people our groomsmen were wearing flip flops, but I went barefoot, so it was a good choice. David’s groomsmen included his brother, best friend, cousin, uncle, and a friend he served with.
When I picked my bridesmaids, I knew it would be difficult to get us all together to try on dresses before the wedding. My older sister lives out in Denver, I live in Virginia, and the other three all have pretty conflicting job schedules. So instead I asked them all to find a pink/cream/champagne dress, and they each found the most beautiful dress for each of them! My favorite moment was when I walked out from around the corner after putting my dress on. They saw me for the first time, and I saw them! It was so emotional. I had two of my lifelong friends and my two sisters in my wedding party. David and I figured with such an relaxed and personal ceremony, our wedding party didn’t have to match. Instead, Carrie just got to walk two guys down the aisle ;).
Another favorite thing we decided on was having a combined head table with each of our attendants’ dates sitting together. It’s always awkward to be the date of a guest who is in the wedding, so we thought it would be nice to give everyone a spot at the table with us!
Thank you to my wonderful photographer, Rajaa of I Romanticize for all of these wonderful memories!
The morning of our wedding was so hectic! My bridesmaids and I spent the night at my parent’s house the night before and I woke up at 6am ready to start the day. I couldn’t sleep any longer; there was so much to do! The morning of the wedding we set everything up ourselves. Family came over to help, which was such a relief, but I didn’t sit down to relax until I had to get my hair done. You can see it on my face in the pictures: I was stresssssed!
Now don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have wanted my wedding morning any differently. I found out later that David and his guys simply hung out at the hotel, got lunch, and took their time getting ready. If I had time to sit and relax, I think I would’ve gone crazy! As I sat down to have a cup of coffee before all the madness began, I started to tear up at how anxious and excited I was. I walked inside and turned on ESPN to distract myself!
I invited the women in my life over for brunch in the morning. The pastries and other goodies came from A Bakery Creation, a local favorite. My mom and grandma also made some awesome food. I found my makeup artist and hairstylist through a website called Thumbtack. It could’ve gone completely wrong, but ShannonLajuett of Colour Me Pretty and Krystal Means of Krystal salon Sei Bella were absolutely wonderful! They were professional, traveled to us, and were fun to be around as I was having a moment about getting married in just a few hours.
I will slowly share more photos over the next few weeks. Wedding photos are my favorite — even those of people I’ve never met. Thank you to my wonderful photographer, Rajaa of I Romanticize for all of these wonderful memories!
Whenever I find out someone is getting married, my first question is “are you honeymooning?” I’m always so interested in where people decide to travel! However, when David and I were planning a wedding, a honeymoon seemed like a monstrous task that, in addition to all the details of the wedding, I was just not capable of planning all at once.
David, however, spent a lot of his time searching for places to honeymoon. We both wanted to go somewhere different, that we will likely never get a chance to visit again. Oh, and one more criteria: David wanted to fish. Some might think I’m crazy for going along with the fishing thing, but I figure if I can get a pretty awesome vacation out of the deal, and he takes a day to fish, go for it.
We searched a bunch of places and found an unbeatable deal to… Belize! We tried to make it work out for the week after our wedding, but the planning started to stress me out. Instead, we pushed back the honeymoon to December, and the week after our wedding we decided to mini-moon.
Apparently this is a trend, but David and I totally feel we deserve credit for the term “mini-moon”. After months of planning, we wanted to escape without a plan. After a day of rest on Sunday – which was much needed – David and I hopped in the car Monday morning and decided to drive East.
We told some people we were spending time in the Adirondacks, others we mentioned Boston. The truth is, there was no plan. We just wanted to see where we went.
On Monday we took the New York State Thruway to Saratoga Springs. I’d never driven through the town before, so we did just that. We toyed with the idea of staying the night there, but decided to keep driving. We stopped for ice cream in Lake George, but kept going north. At some point in the drive, we decided to stay in Burlington, Vermont. We took the last ferry over Lake Champlain, found a hotel near Church Street, and got ready for dinner. We decided to grab flatbread pizza at a local restaurant. It was fantastic. I don’t know if this happens to other brides, but I felt like I couldn’t eat enough after the wedding. Maybe it was the months of working out and eating semi-right, but I feel like I ate enough for four full-sized men the week after the wedding!
The next morning we walked Church Street a bit and I got a cup of coffee straight from a tap! (I did pay nearly $5 for it!) We left Burlington around noon, eating leftover pizza in the car ride to Waterbury, Vermont. We stopped at Ben and Jerry’s factory. I was shocked the tour was only $4 a person, and we both enjoyed the free ice cream at the end of the tour.
Afterwards, David wanted to check out a local fly shop he had heard of. After a disappointing visit there, we continued to Stowe, Vermont where I used to ski with my family when I was little. The mountains were gorgeous, and the little town at the bottom was adorable. We considered taking a gondola ride to the top, but opted to get back in the car because we wanted to make it to Boston before dark.
The best part of the mini-moon was the time in the car with my new husband. At one point David said “we really do travel well together!” I’m sure some couples would have freaked out having had no reservations, no time frame, and no plans. But we thrive that way!
We made it to Boston just before dark, but the bad news was, we couldn’t find a hotel room! We called what felt like a million places before our phones died! We backtracked back up I-93 to Concord, New Hampshire. We found a dumpy hotel on the side of the highway, but they didn’t have any rooms that night. Feeling defeated, we asked to use their lobby to charge the phones quickly. After a quick search, David found a fancy looking place just 8 minutes away. We called and they had rooms available, so we quickly made our way there.
The Continental Hotel was just a block from the Capitol building in downtown Concord. I loved the little town – it felt very New England. David told the hotel our story of frustration, and they gave us a heckuva deal. To top it off, we had the best meal of the trip in the 5-star restaurant inside the hotel! It all worked out in the end 🙂
The next morning we woke up early to try for Boston again. We made it into the city around 10am, and headed for the aquarium. We were less than impressed with it, but we continued to walk the Boston Harbor and Quincy Market. Boston is a cool town, but we were in relaxation mode, so we hopped back in the car after about 5 hours in town, and went searching for Wahlburgers. (The only request David had for the entire trip was to go to Wahlburgers – Mark Wahlberg”s family restaurant. I think that’s the only reason we ended up in Boston, too!)
We found the restaurant in a shopping center in the suburbs of Boston. The food was good, and fortunately there was a Verizon store next door. We bought a car charger for our phones and headed back north. The scenery was beautiful and kept us distracted as we tried to decide where to spend our last evening of the trip.
Somehow, and I really don’t know how, we ended up in Lake Placid. David had never seen the Adirondacks before. He tried to convince himself that since we lived in Virginia near the mountains, that we shouldn’t spend time in Lake Placid. But as soon as he saw the streams and the beauty of the ADKs, he was in love. He kept saying he wished we spent the whole week there!
We got into town late and grabbed a quick bite to eat. The next morning we woke up and I told David that I would go fly fishing with him. He was so happy! It was the best part of the trip!
As we headed back to my parent’s house, life started settling in. We are married now! How incredible! We loved our spontaneous road trip, but we are so looking forward to Belize in just four short months!
I can’t believe the whirlwind our wedding week was. It was everything I imagined it to be. Sometimes I have ideas in my head that just never come to fruition, or when they do, they turn out like the “Failed Pinterest” projects you see all over the place.
Our wedding was absolutely everything I had envisioned in my head. Getting married in my parent’s backyard was a dream of mine from when I was younger. I never actually thought it would happen – not that I wouldn’t get married, but that I would get suckered in by all those gorgeous photos you see at wedding venues – no way my parent’s yard could compete, right?
Wrong. Everything was beyond beautiful. The weather was perfect, and thanks to two weeks of rain prior to the wedding day, everything was lush and green. My parents worked their butts off to plant flowers, clean up the hedges, paint the house, fix the pool, and more, to get ready for the day. The tent was huge, the pool was full, the bugs were gone (thanks, Shane!).
I wanted the wedding to be laid back and relaxed so we had the groomsmen wear navy blue khakis and a white shirt. A tie or a suit of any kind just would not have made sense. I told the bridesmaids early on to find a champagne-pink-cream colored dress, and they delivered. We didn’t even see all the girls dresses together until the day of, and it was exactly what I had in mind.
My bridesmaids, by the way, were the best ever. They calmed me down, made me feel so special and loved, and went out of their way to make my wedding day so memorable. I truly am blessed with the best friends and sisters in the world!
My dress was everything I envisioned it to be. Form fitting, lace, with a dramatic back. I remember trying it on and feeling like a million bucks. I couldn’t stop starting at myself. I guess you really do know when you know! On top of that, I kept everything else simple. I wore the veil my mom wore on her wedding day – the vintage look was perfect! I went barefoot and found some fun foot jewelry to wear instead. I wore the jewelry my mom and sister both wore on their wedding day – except for the earrings. David surprised me with those!
The thing about having the wedding at our house was that everything was our decision. That made it good and bad. We were able to make decisions on how the ceremony looked and where it took place in the yard, but that also meant all the men carrying straw bales around until the bride was happy with how it looked! On top of that, we had a crew of 15 or so the morning of the wedding setting up everything to match my “vision”… something I couldn’t just spell out for someone to copy. I had to be there – hands on. No relaxation on my wedding day 🙂
All of the people who helped out on our day were friends of ours, which meant so much to us, and made everything a lot easier, too. My mom’s friend made the delicious desserts and cocktails in ball jars. Such a hit! And a perfect drink to grab before taking pictures. The pictures – the gorgeous pictures I’ve drooled over a million times – were taken by one of Emily’s college friends, Rajaa. She is taking the bar exam at the end of the month, but I told her she should just take up photography full time! The band, Everheart, is a Rath Family tradition. They traveled all the way to Indy to play at Emily and Shane’s wedding. They learned so many new songs for us! The bartender, Sarah, is a friend of my dad’s. Billy, the tractor driver, who carved an adorable step with his chainsaw, is a neighbor. Even the catering company my family has known forever! I loved that everyone there was someone special to us!
At the end of the day, everything went magically. Every wedding is beautiful, but I can’t imagine doing anything differently for ours. David and I enjoyed our mini-moon last week. We simply hopped in the car and drove east. It was the perfect thing to do after months of planning! Plus, we get to look forward to our honeymoon in December!
I’m sure my mom will laugh at this, but I don’t think I ever got too stressed out over wedding planning. I thoroughly enjoyed it! I tried to keep things simple, yet meaningful. I had a few breakdowns, but I knew that at the end of the day on July 11, David and I would be married – and that’s what a wedding is about, right?
Now we just have to figure out the next event that all of the people David and I love can be together!