Perfect. Our wedding was absolutely, undoubtedly, marvelously, perfect. I need to write that down right now just in case, heaven forbid, I ever forget it, because it truly was. I’ve said this a million times, and I’ll say it a million more, because I’m still blown away by it: I went upstairs at about 2:00 to get ready the afternoon of the wedding. When I left, the tables were still being set up, and there weren’t even tablecloths out. I didn’t come downstairs again until right before the ceremony, and what I saw as I walked down the stairs immediately brought me to tears. I had left a nearly empty room, and I came back to the wedding of my dreams. Real talk, the lodge was adorable, the lights were darling, there were beautiful wildflowers and candles on all the tables, Franco-American decorations everywhere, photos of Erwann and me, a guestbook, the cake just how I wanted it, EVERYTHING. I couldn’t believe that I had told all these people what I wanted our wedding to be, and they did it! My mom, my aunts, my friends, my friends’ parents, my siblings, Erwann’s friends, everyone worked so hard all day, while I spent three hours putting on make-up and getting my hair done. I am so grateful and humbled by everyone’s love for me and Erwann. I will remember that forever.
August 8, 2015 was one of the longest days of my life. Friday, August 7 was my bachelorette. We slept for four hours. Margaret yelled at the Taco Bell guy. We watched a basketball game. We prepared flowers while the boys went hiking. We got our nails done. We had a rehearsal dinner. I cried a little, I won’t lie. I was really tired and stressed. Finally, Margaret, Aaron, and I went to my mom’s neighbor’s house to get some long awaited sleep. Margaret was sick, I was really worked up, and I’m not really sure how Aaron slept. I woke up at 7:00 am to find a text that my mom had sent at 2:30 am (she is crazy), telling me to let my dad choose the father daughter dance song. As soon as I was awake it was go time. I woke up Margaret and Aaron, and we literally ran down the street back to my mom’s house yelling, “IT’S WEDDING TIME!!!”
And then, after months and months and months of discussing how we needed to get up early and get working right away, we sat around and ate pancakes. No one was stressed, and there was zero sense of urgency. My mom knew that everyone needed a big breakfast to get through the rest of the day, so she made pancakes from scratch for more than 20 people, and I sat on the porch drinking coffee until about 10:30. It was right around then that the thought popped into someone’s head, “Oh yeah, we should probably get going.” Then the madness broke loose. No one really knew what to do. Everyone wanted to help but most of us stood around waiting to be directed. Eventually we got one car packed with my dress, the bouquets, and some booze. Margaret, Arin, John, and I left as soon as that car was ready.
When we arrived at the venue, a few of my aunts and the Gensel clan were already there, but again no one really knew what to do. I figured we should walk outside to where the ceremony was going to be and get that set up first. When I came around the corner, I was absolutely delighted to see a gorgeous wooden altar. I had been planning on just getting married in the trees, but I was touched because I thought that someone had surprised me with this beautiful creation! I found the caretaker of the lodge and actually found out that it had just been left behind from a previous wedding! I can’t believe our luck. It was a very magical detail for me.
After I pointed out where all the chairs needed to go, everyone started asking me how I wanted everything else set up, and the only thing I could think of to say was, “I don’t know, where is my mom?” At that point, I got a call from our bartender saying she was lost, so I took a little hike to go find her. I came back about 20 minutes later, to a few grumpy faces telling me that as the bride, I was no longer allowed to run off down the mountain. A few more people asked me a few more things to which I’m pretty sure I answered vaguely, and then I realized that it was time to get ready. I started shaking. I became very nervous, everyone was running around like crazy trying to get this wedding going, I hadn’t even showered that day, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to do my hair.
I immediately found Margaret and my mom, and I asked my mom if I could steal Margaret. Mom’s eyes said no but her mouth said yes, and I’m so thankful. We were only alone for a few minutes upstairs, and I don’t really remember what we said, but I’m just so glad I had that time to recuperate with her. So, I sat down to start putting make-up on, and my hand would not stop shaking. Have you ever tried to put on liquid eyeliner even with a steady hand? Very difficult. While the girls were trying to get ready, guests kept trying to enter the lodge from upstairs. The first time I saw my cousin Jamey that day, I screamed, “THIS IS NOT THE ENTRANCE!!!” I’m sorry Jamey. That was rude.
Through the entire getting ready process, Janaea’s little sister Morgan was doing everyone’s hair. She not only did that, but also random little favors like yelling at boys trying to come upstairs, and being an absolute angel to me. Plus my hair turned out beautiful. As for Janaea herself, my oldest friend/honorary sister, gave me a bridal emergency kit. I’ll admit I thought it was very cute, but I didn’t anticipate using it all that much. AU CONTRAIRE. We used: the protein bar, the sewing kit, the wet wipes, the scissors, the chalk, and several other things which I can’t remember. It was a lifesaver. Great job, Janaea.
Once we were ready, we remembered we had to cut the stems of our bouquets. Then we found out that the boys were still not ready. At one point, I found out that some French had been poorly translated on one of our signs and I totally lost my cool for a second. Then suddenly we were all ready, but I still had to wait for what seemed like forever for Erwann to leave so I could come downstairs. I was shaking so badly. I was so nervous for everyone to be looking at me. I was already feeling emotional. Finally, I came downstairs, saw the beautiful set up, and walked outside for the ceremony. My darling dad walked me down the aisle to “Je l’aime à mourir,” by Francis Cabrel.
In all the pictures of me walking down the aisle, I look very happy. I’m glad the nerves didn’t show. During the ceremony, I didn’t pay attention to anything but Erwann. I hadn’t seen much of him the previous week. I had missed him. I was just happy to finally be with him. My dear friend Aaron officiated, and I was so proud of him. He was perfect. Erwann said his vows to me in English, and I stumbled through mine in French. That part was a real hit. Then we were married. We kissed, and walked back up the aisle to “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” by Queen.
We came around the corner, and the first people we saw were the bartenders, and they immediately handed us drinks. I didn’t get one sip of mine. I set it down on the porch, and Margaret sent me a picture of the full glass the next morning. I rounded up our wedding party, and we left our guests to the bar while we took some pictures with the photographer. I hope we got enough photos. Erwann wasn’t having it for very long, and I don’t blame him. Our party was waiting!
Finally I came back to the lodge, tried to eat, but was still so jittery I couldn’t manage very much. I talked to my Grandma Linda and to my friend Luke. I found Margaret and Arin and was pleased to find out that while I was taking photos, they had become best friends. They helped me with my bustle, and I sat down at our table. Somehow I ended up with four glasses of white wine and champagne in front of me.
Next was probably my most favorite part of the whole night: the toasts. Erwann’s friends Alexis and Paul spoke, as well as his stepbrother, Renaud. Most of them cried, which made me bawl. And they had such nice things to say. Alexis spoke about how he knew me before he met me because Erwann couldn’t stop talking about me from the start. Paul talked about how he and Erwann met online and how we met at his house. Renaud talked about what a pleasure it was to grow up with Erwann. My parents both said how they felt that our friends were their children. Margaret shared how she watched me and Erwann fall in love pretty much from the beginning. It was all so beautiful. I am so overwhelmed by how wonderful our friends are. I love them all so much.
I can’t remember if it was before or after the toasts, but my Grandpa Dan sang two songs. The first one Erwann and I chose a few months ago, but we had kind of forgotten about it. The lyrics go something like, “If I had to live with out you, then living is not a thing I’d like to do,” and it made us bawl some more. For his second song, Grandpa sang “I Don’t Look Good Naked Anymore,” to really get the party started. That song was a surprise and it was hilarious.
Next we cut our cake. It was delicious, and I told Erwann not to smash it on my face, to which he responded, “People actually do that?!” He is so classy. After that we danced to “For me, Formidable,” by Charles Aznavour. We chose it because it’s in French and English, and it’s not too cheesy. We hadn’t practiced at all. Erwann was a few drinks ahead of me, and I was really nervous every time he tried to spin or dip me. We were both relieved when it was over.
After my first dance with my husband, I danced with my dad. I ended up letting him choose the song, “Lullaby,” by Billy Joel. It was a special moment for my dad and me. I remember dancing with him at a wedding when I was thirteen, and he said to me, “We better not be dancing at your wedding for a very long time.” It seems like one year ago, not ten.
And then came the real party. We kicked it off with “Shut up and Dance,” by Walk The Moon. I found Margaret as quickly as I could and we danced like crazies, just like we said we would. The music played all night, and eventually someone busted out the American and French flags. My friends and Erwann’s friends got along so well. It was the most fun I’ve ever had.
Towards the end of the night, I found myself outside with Alexis. I don’t remember exactly what we talked about, but I know we shared a tender little moment. :v It made me really happy.
Other random memories: My Grandpa Dee dancing, dancing with my mom and sisters to ABBA, everyone taking turns attempting to rap into the microphone, all my friends saying what a good dancer Max was, my mom dancing in her pink PJ’s, and just general euphoria.
All in all, 10/10 would recommend getting married.