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Our Perfectly Imperfect Wedding

13 Aug

Just a little over one year ago I wrote an article entitled, “When You Don’t Plan Everything, Everything Goes As Planned.” I regarded this as one of the most insightful thoughts I had stumbled upon in a long time. It was a great turning point for a self-proclaimed perfectionist and I felt a release from all the pressure trying to control everything this brought about. But in the months since that post, I experienced some big (and wonderful) life changes that really put this mindset to the test. A monumental event like a wedding is something you HAVE to plan for. And there’s an entire industry of vendors who are supported by this very fact. But today I don’t want to share with you the 7 months of planning and prepping that led up to my wedding day, instead I want to share with you the even more important fact that over half a year of planning in no way means everything – or anything – will go as planned.

When It Rains…It POURS.

From the moment we decided on an outdoor venue, I knew there would always be one aspect of the wedding I couldn’t plan – the weather. Back in January, what more could we do than check the Farmer’s Almanac and naively say, “Oh how could it be that bad?” We had countless sunny days throughout spring and early summer until we hit late July. The thunderstorms would hit every afternoon but blow over relatively fast. Still we were optimistic. Whether it was a circling tropical storm or the most comically bad luck, August 4th produced some of the heaviest rainfall we had in a long time. From 11am until 2:30pm the rain flooded the streets and came down in every direction imaginable. Our entire event crew was left scrambling on the farm (our outdoor wedding venue) trying to batten the hatches and save what they could of the items that had already been setup.

It was bad, but the day was young. I still had faith it would blow over and all would be fine for our 5pm ceremony….

The rain continued with a second storm hitting around 2pm. There was too much mud to even get down the driveway of the farm. Scott and I had planned all of our photos before the wedding and I was to meet him in the grove for our “First Look.” There he stood in the pouring raining, waiting almost an hour for me to arrive. Separated from each other all day, we were both nervous, uncertain about the weather and sad for how the other must be feeling right now. I wanted nothing more than to see him and know that everything was going to be okay. This may not have been the wedding we planned, but it was our wedding to make the best of.

Finally the rain went from pouring to drizzling and with the help of my family and multiple umbrellas, I made my way to Scott. With a complete disregard for the cameras and film crew around us, Scott and I fell into an embrace and sobbed into each others’ arms with the relief that we had each other – and nothing, not even rain, could stop us from getting married today. Looking at our “First Look” photos now, they are some of the most genuine snapshots of love and happiness. Had the emotions of the day been any lighter, I know we wouldn’t have such vivid memories from that very special moment.

Wedding First Look

The Outdoor Wedding That Almost Wasn’t.

With the ocean’s worth of rain that had just fallen down and yet another storm on the radar, our wedding planner said that everything would have to be moved under the tent. Our ceremony, our cocktail hour, even our dancing that was supposed to be under the stars would all be shoved under a tent only big enough for our dinner tables. At that point my plans for the day had already been shattered and my emotions shot so what more could be shocking at this point?

The bridal party left the farm to stay hidden from guests and to freshen up. Returning to the farm right before the ceremony, the skies had lightened and our guests were being seated in the chairs outside – we were having an outdoor wedding after all! I saw so many familiar faces of friends and loved ones, who despite the mud and the earlier rain, were thrilled to be there and to see us get married. My heart had never felt fuller.

wedding ceremony

A Dry Wedding?

Given the day’s earlier events, nothing about our wedding should have been dry. But then again nothing about our wedding seemed to be predictable whatsoever. Our event planner told us that the quantities of beer and wine we thought we delivered weren’t all accounted for. We were short 5 cases! It was only cocktail hour and already we were running out. We still have no idea where the alcohol accounting went awry, but at that time we just knew we had to fix it fast. The event crew ran out for us and purchased what we needed. The rest of the night, finding a dry cup was about as rare as finding a dry eye. We have enough leftover to throw a pretty nice New Year’s Eve Party too!

First Dance Follies.

Partly for our wedding and partly for a fun hobby, Scott and I took dance lessons a few months back. We learned all the steps to the basic dances that would help us to look just a bit more polished on our big day. As most weddings do, the bridal party is announced before the bride and groom go into their first dance. Scott and I decided to get a little creative and he picked me up to carry me into the tent. Before the lift, he stepped on the train of my dress which had been bustled to tuck up neatly out of my way and he ripped the bustle right out! No, this doesn’t mean any extra skin was showing and thank goodness the only thing that ripped was the small stitch keeping the bustle pinned up, but the train swung loose through our entire dance. At first this wasn’t too bad, but with every turn or dip, the train would get caught under one of our feet – producing a really awkward step-hop sort of first dance routine. Again…not at all what we had planned!

With this all occurring before dinner, we had at least another 5 hours of celebration before us. As much as we could have been focusing on what else would go wrong on our wedding day, we were instead living in the moment and enjoying the first party we hosted as Mr. and Mrs.

wedding dress train first dance

Holding the train throughout our first dance

Our Dream Wedding: Act II.

With every passing hour, the skies lightened and there wasn’t another single drop of rain. We actually had quite a few guests tell us how lucky we were to have the weather we did. All they knew was that the day’s rain had made for a pleasant and cool evening. It seemed the rest of our wedding was going to be carefree and enjoyable, but I still couldn’t come to terms with the fact that our guests would never experience the outdoor lounge area and dance floor under the stars that had been my most exciting part of the reception design.

Off in the distant grove area, I started to see the event crew move a few cocktail tables, then a bar, then the couches came out – it looked like a glowing after-party just beckoning you to join in. Scott and I were able to see the finished area before any of the guests came over from the tent. It was spectacular! There were chandeliers in the trees, blue lights illuminating the trunks and 2 lounge areas that created a fun and festive atmosphere completely separate from the rest of the traditional touches of our wedding. As guests curiously made their way from the tent, Scott and I enjoyed a (second) first dance all our own. My broken bustle had been repined and nothing stood in our way from taking in this perfectly imperfect moment….no rain, no stress, no disasters….just us.

grove ceremony reception area

While this may not have been the wedding I planned for, it was absolutely the wedding I always wanted and it wouldn’t have been possible without our talented (and tireless) wedding vendors:

…and of course of loving and supportive family and friends!

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13 Comments

Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Life

 

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13 responses to “Our Perfectly Imperfect Wedding

  1. TrueheartSpeaks

    August 13, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Congratulations Stephanie!!! My hubby and I celebrate 6 years on the 19th. It’s the best!!! Hard work but it’s worth it. You guys look beautiful!!! Enjoy….

     
  2. ScottShirley

    August 13, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Reblogged this on Scott Shirley's Blog.

     
  3. Brent Darnell

    August 13, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Congratulations to you again! You look very happy!

     
  4. Teresa Smart

    August 13, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Stephanie you looked so beautiful despite the weather ….. congratulatons and enjoy this new phase of your life!
    Warmest regards,
    Teresa (Tara’s Bridal)

     
  5. Paul T. Shafer

    August 13, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Sounds like a wedding you will never forget. Perfect. Congratulations!

     

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