Tom and I met freshman year of college at The University of Cincinnati through mutual friends, and began dating when we finally admitted to ourselves that we were a pretty good match. For months my friends would say to me: “Why don’t you guys just date, Tom likes you,” but of course I truly didn’t think he thought of me in that way. Fast forward four years and we are still dating, steady in our jobs and buying a house. It was a rainy Friday night when we closed on our house and got the keys, so we decided to get take-out to the house to eat on the empty floors and begin the cleaning process. We walked into our first house for the first time and as soon as the door shut behind us, Tom got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was a whirlwind after that, stepping into the next phase(s) of our lives, and the planning had begun!
It still amazes me how many people can ask “So, have you set a date yet?” in the same conversation that you tell them you had JUST gotten engaged 30 minutes before. And so began our list of I Guess I Do moments. The wedding date. I had always pictured a fall wedding, mid-September to be exact. Bright colors, leaves on the ground, nice breezy Fall day. However, Tom played football at UC and a couple of his close friends still play, so we went through the calendar trying to avoid football season, spring ball, and summer camps. We finally agreed on a weekend at the end of April which turned out to be perfect. I still got the colors I wanted and the best wedding day weather we could have imagined.
The rest of the wedding planning went fairly smooth, mainly because my sister and cousins were in charge with most decisions. This was 100% fine with me and how I preferred it. Anyone who knows me knows that I can’t make a decision to save my life, especially when given ample time to change my mind. There were a few other I Guess I Do moments along the way with deciding to have no children in the wedding or at the reception, the need for three showers in three different cities to cover all those invited, and the hotel telling me kindly that due to a contract of one of the sports teams staying at the hotel the same weekend of the wedding, the only rooms left for my guests would be king beds. Luckily, they were very easy to work with and it all turned out just fine. Most of our I Guess I Do moments occurred that Friday night before the wedding and the wedding day itself.
Being from Sandusky, which is four hours north of where we live here in Cincinnati, we knew we would have many out-of-town guests, along with our families who were living all over. We decided to have the reception and rehearsal dinner at the hotel in which everyone was staying so that all of the guests could just walk up to their room afterwards and so we could set up the centerpieces and other decorations after dinner the night before.
As for decorations, we decided to use a company from Sandusky (did I mention Sandusky is four hours away?), so getting the decorations down to Cincinnati was the first dilemma followed by having to put the centerpieces together, by hand, the night before. When we were told the week of the wedding that we couldn’t set the venue up until 3pm Saturday afternoon (cocktail hour began at 5:30pm), it left for one stressed bride and all others involved. Little did we know that this is normal and the staff was used to tearing down/setting up in less than three hours. We were promised a room next to the hall for the night before to set all of the decorations in so that come the day of, we could have people just carry the centerpieces into the ballroom and set them on tables. Well, after unloading the trucks of decorations and placing them in that room we were “promised,” we find out that THAT room, too, had been booked for Saturday morning (along with the ballroom where the reception took place). Out to the hallway we go, literally. So there sat our centerpieces in the hallway all night before our reception the next day. No big deal, right?
Rehearsal dinner was fabulous, as was that whole night. The night ended with the guys going back to our house and the girls staying at the hotel. Not being able to sleep, I sat with my sister in the hallway as she wrote her speech. We laughed, we cried, and talked about life, almost opening a bottle of champagne at 2am. After imagining what I could be like with no sleep on the most important day of my life thus far, we returned to the room for everyone’s sake and got what little sleep we could. Saturday morning we left the hotel at 8:15 in order to get to the salon early and be ready to go by 9. We had nine people to get hair done and three to get makeup all by 11:00am. Turning the corner right before the salon, we encountered I Guess I Do moment #1 of the wedding day... The Accident.
My mom was driving me and three bridesmaids and we were in the inside turn lane. Before we knew it, we heard a crash and realized my mom had failed to turn. Instead, she tried going straight and ran right into the side of a jeep driving beside us. Luckily we were not going fast and everyone was fine. We all stayed calm, no one was hurt, and my sister told me and the other bridesmaids to grab the stuff and head to the salon while she stayed at the scene with my mom. We grabbed the cooler of mimosas and our bags and walked the two blocks left to the salon, passing the police, fire truck, and ambulance on their way to the scene. I’m sure it was a sight to see: three girls, one wearing a “bride” satin robe and the others with matching blue shirts walking away from an accident carrying bottles of champagne and orange juice. Cl-ass-y. Luckily, there was not a lot of damage and my mom and sister made it to the salon a little while after.
We thought we had this whole situation planned out, but what goes as planned when you need it to? While the “drivers” for the bridesmaids (unfamiliar with Cincinnati) had to find the cars and decide which of the two entrances of the hotel the girls would be at, my sister was having a mental breakdown in the lobby by herself where she found one of the photographers lost with no phone waiting for the others to pick him up. Needless to say, it was a complete cluster f***. My parents, sister, and I finally got into our car at 12:40 and we were off. (Perfect! Ceremony begins at 1:00, we should be there right on time!) I am directing my dad from the back seat of where to go, and when he questioned my directions I snapped back “I know where we’re going, I’ve lived here for seven years.”
All of a sudden, I realized we were making our way over the bridge to Kentucky, which is the opposite way we needed to be going. When I realized I was taking us to the reception instead of the ceremony, my dad did a U-turn in the middle of the bridge and just shook his head. If you would know my dad, you could just imagine him talking under his breath and then telling my sister and I he was going to have a heart attack all while we were in the back singing “going to the Chapel and we’re gonnna get marrrrried,” not the least bit phased. Whoops. Plus, the wedding can’t start without the bride, right? After speeding our way to the church (again, 25 minutes from downtown), we all arrived safely for the ceremony to begin and we were only 15 minutes late! On our way there, all I could think about was Tom’s last request the night before: “Please babe, just don’t be late to our wedding.” The rest of the wedding party eventually rushed in, we immediately all got in line, and the ceremony had officially started. As the doors reopened for my dad and I to walk through, it had finally hit me. As I cried walking down the aisle focused on Tom, all of the shenanigans that had occurred that morning no longer mattered.
The ceremony went wonderfully, we got booted from a couple picture locations, and we had an absolute blast on the party bus. The reception was all we could have ever dreamed of and more. As we were on our honeymoon the week after the wedding, we already were reminding each other of the series of events. Honestly, what I remember about our special day is walking down the aisle with my eyes fixed on Tom, our first dance, and most of all having the time of my life dancing and talking with friends and family. I would say I have succeeded in remembering the best parts and most important parts of the day, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
Throughout this process, I would say I definitely learned a few things. For the future brides out there, I would like to remind you of a few things:
- Do NOT sweat the small stuff. Everything will turn out perfectly and the little things that you worry about are usually the things that no one will remember anyway.
- IT IS WORTH IT to pay someone to do everything for you the day of the wedding, which someone had told me prior to my wedding, but I thought that with as many helpful friends and family I had, we would be fine. Trust me, pay someone who is not involved in the wedding to stress about it so that you and your guests don’t have to.
- No matter what schedule you have for that day, it will surely not go the exact way you want. Which is not always a bad thing.
- You can never pay enough for your photographers, those pictures and video will be the only thing you have to look back on in 50 years.
- Everything will turn out the way it’s supposed to, it will be beautiful and a day you will never forget (even for those with a horrible memory like me).
- Have the wedding you and your fiancé have always envisioned and stick to it because at the end of the day, all that matters is that you made it YOUR day.
Photographer: Style & Story Creative Church: Guardian Angels Catholic Church Venue: The Marriott Rivercenter Covington, KY DJ: DJ Butlers Party Bus: Savannah Nite Limousine Flowers: Blossoms Florist Cincinnati Cake/pastries: Cakes and Pastries by George Wedding Planner: Sarah Brennan Decorations: "One Less Worry"