Friday afternoon our wedding crew met at the church to start decorating. It felt like we were moving in -- we filled up my van, Will's car, plus my friend Shen's truck and part of his trailer to head over there. Will went first, to meet the rental delivery guy, but the rest of us followed close behind.
Everyone worked really hard for a couple of hours, figuring out exactly how to set up chairs for the ceremony, hanging lights, putting together the flower arch, moving tables, rolling up rugs to create a dance floor, and trying to set up the photobooth.
When it was time for the rehearsal, the peeps who weren't participating in the ceremony kept setting up, while the rest of us went out back to practice.
In Colorado you can solemnize your own marriage, so we didn't have to have an officiant, and I was willing to contemplate just doing our own ceremony, but Will thought it would be too weird. Lynn is the minister at the church we usually go to (which is where we got married -- subject for a whole 'nother post), and she's also my parents' next door neighbor. Once we decided to have an officiant, we never considered having anyone but her perform our ceremony. Lynn was around when I was going through the hellish drama of custody battles and the draining everyday life of single parenting, and she's watched my boys grow up since infancy. Even so, I was surprised at how emotional she was both at the rehearsal and the ceremony. I think you can tell from this picture how much she really loves us!
When we were planning the ceremony, Will and I talked about wanting to make people laugh and cry at our wedding. Laugh because we are always cracking each other up, and cry because our love for one another is so deeply felt. Even though we just ran through the blocking and didn't actually say any of the words, we met that goal at the rehearsal!
We felt really strongly that we didn't want an "in" crowd at our wedding, with some people invited to participate in things that others weren't. So instead of having a traditional rehearsal dinner, we invited all of our guests to our rehearsal dinner. In order to make it affordable, we had a potluck barbecue.
In order to make it manageable, in addition to the set-up crew at the church, I had delegated a couple of families to set up for the barbecue. So while we were wrapping up at the church, they were already hard at work at the park, firing up the grill, welcoming people and setting out food and tableware.
I'm so glad that they were willing to help. It kept me from completely stressing out when we ran way overtime at the church, and it also meant that I got to shower and change clothes before dinner. If you look at the rehearsal pics above, you'll see that this was more of a necessity than a luxury. Sweat, yoga pants, uncombed hair, and race t-shirt don't really scream "bride!" And that moment, when we rushed home and I rushed in and out of the shower and put on cute clothes for the bbq, was when it first started to sink in that I was a bride...the omg-I'm-getting-married-in-just-over-24-hours-! feeling.
In order to make our wedding weekend totally kick-ass, this wasn't just a barbecue, either. There were about 70 people at this kickoff event, and the highlight was a rousing game of kickball. (Get it? Kick-ass?! Kickoff?! You know, kickball, kickoff, kickass? Get it? Ha ha!) It's hard to tell from these pics, but between 40 and 50 people (kids and adults) played. It was so much fun that I think kickball should become a new wedding tradition.
In fact, it was so much fun that the ball broke in half! Oops! Game over...
I'm discovering that it's hard for me to write about the wedding weekend without getting sappy. As I looked around the park, and saw all of the people who chose to celebrate with us -- eating and laughing and talking and running around and having fun -- I felt like my heart was going to burst with love. Not just love for Will, but for the family and life we're making together.