So, where to begin, where to begin....
The night of the rehearsal I was a mess. I saw Staci walk in with her usual smile that lit of the room and she hugged me and I just cried. We were pretty much rushing around to finish everything that night and of course our frickin' printer was not cooperating. Everything was everywhere and so was my mind.
But once my family was all around me, I felt a little better. Until.... our red-haired battle-ax of a minister came in. Little did I know what an unprofessional twit this woman would be.
We started out in the lobby of the hotel where our wedding coordinator, Kim Laskey was waiting. Please, any prospective brides, if you're thinking of getting married in FL, please check out the Bilmar on Treasure Island Beach. Kim Laskey was the most incredibly easy, kind, awesome, professional person you could ever ask for! I honestly cannot say enough good things about her. She is a sweetheart and she helped save our disastrous wedding rehearsal.
As the wedding party proceeds out to the ceremony site, Kim stops us all in the courtyard and asks a few questions on where I'm going to come down, be it the hall way or do I want to walk on the beach front to the ceremony site. We discuss and agree and go out to the patio overlooking the Gulf to start the rehearsal. All of a sudden while Kim and I are engaged in a conversation, HillBilly Weddin' Preacher (her name is Libby for those that care) walks up to me and starts talking to me as if Kim isn't even standing there!!!!! I look past Libby at Kim and Kim smiles and gives me the nod as if to say "It's okay, talk to her." I was a little miffed by it and almost embarrassed that Libby felt the need to run over Kim and everybody else.
That's not the end of it. We explained to Libby that we wanted to do the unity candle and she said she'd used it before. But for some reason, I, Taylor and Kim all had to explain to Libby the PROPER way to light the candles!
At this point my trust was a little shaken, but it was too late to turn back now.
After the rehearsal - if you really wanna call it that. I refer to it as chaos, we all went up to "Sloppy Joe's" - the Bilmar's restaurant and had our rehearsal dinner. Good food, good friends, good times.
Once dinner was over, everyone said their goodbyes and Taylor, I, Staci, "Menanie" gratsisgr8, Taylor's dad, Christy (Tay's dad's g/f), and Taylor's Aunt Joyce all went up to the penthouse bridal suite. There I gave the girls their bridemaids gifts. I hope they liked them. I had fun picking them out and making them. :o) It was getting late, but the night still wasn't over for me and Taylor. We still had centerpieces and table numbers to finish up. Stressed was a HUGE understatement at that point.
In the middle of finshing everything up, Taylor and I exchanged our gifts to each other. It was after midnight so it was technically our wedding day. I looked at the clock and it said: 12:17. Coincidence? ;o)
Around 1 a.m. we finally went to bed. Thank God for a 4 o'clock wedding.
I can't remember what time we woke up but I'm thinking it was like 8 or so. Taylor pulled back the curtains and laughed "It's raining outside." I mean, really! Who would predict rain in December in FL?! At that point I didn't have the effort to address that. I kinda figured I'm gonna get married no matter what. I don't care where we have to do the ceremony, as long as Taylor and I get married. :o)
We still had a helluva lot of stuff to do. We still had to run back to the apt., for what I don't remember now, but we made it back in time. I had to be at the hairdresser by noon and I made it. Only to walk in, find my mom and my neice getting their hair done and my hairdresser Shawn saying "Hey Jen! I thought you weren't supposed to be here until 1?" Shit! I was an hour early. Thankfully, thanks to her quick thinking she suggested "Why don't I do you next and then you can go back to the hotel and finish everything up?" At that moment I was stressing out. But I wasn't nervous. I don't know why, but I just wasn't.
So, hair is done, my mom runs me back to the hotel, I go to the reception hall and look for Taylor who is working with his brother to put out the centerpieces and decorations. The girls came down and chatted a bit before Staci had to excuse herself to go get ready and Menanie and I started helping out the boys. We had lots of fun and the staff at the Bilmar were all so nice and helpful. :o) The room was finally close to being finished so that only left one thing to do... go upstairs and get ready to marry the man of my dreams! :*o)
I reached the penthouse and was alone for a bit, but my mind was running to quickly to take it all in. But it was still so odd. Once all the stuff was finished, I was suddenly calm. But all this time it was surreal. Like I was in a dream. Like this wasn't me about to get married. All this time I'd planned and planned and read about other women's weddings and got so excited and here it is... my wedding day.
I looked out the window, and the clouds had gone away and the sun was shining.
Before I could really stop myself and revel in the moment, the girls had arrived. We all sat around and started putting on make-up, chatting, laughing, whatever. It was nice though because there was very little stress. Then my kick-ass photographer came up to take "getting ready pics" and she even offered us some make-up tips. :o)
The phone rang and it was Crystal. She was on her way with my beautiful cake and a "surprise". She made the grooms cake for Taylor! :o) She is so awesome and I love her so much!
Before I knew it, it was 3:30. I'd gotten wind that our DJ arrived. A DJ that saved us in a pinch and that we'd never met face to face. But wow! He was definitely a good find.
Okay, make-up done, now it's time... to put on the dress. I cannot tell you how much I LOOOOOOVE my dress!
Once again the phone rings. It's Kim Laskey. They're ready for me. A few mintues later there's a knock at the door and it's my parents with Spencer and Kelsea (nephew and neice for those that are keeping score) and Kim.
We all pile into the elevator and head on down to get hitched. We get to the tunnel where we're all about to walk out and we suddenly realized we forgot a few things. I go "Melanie did you get lipstik?" Mel: "No." Me: "Myeh, screw it." Me: "Oh crap, I forgot to put on mascara. Ah, who cares?" LOL!
Kim cues the DJ, the music starts playing and Kim tells everyone when to go. First Kelsea dropping her flowers and alongside her is Spencer half carrying the ring bearer's pillow. Then Melanie with Taylor's brother Payton - who looked so handsome in his tux, then Staci and Ryan.
Kim turns to me and says "The sand is still a little wet so I'm going to carry the back of your dress until you get to the patio." That was so awesome!
I peaked around the corner and saw everyone standing and all waiting for me. So... it's my turn.
I walked out of the tunnel and Kim picks up the back of my dress and I'm all smiles. As I see everyone staring at me, I start to giggle and say to my dad through a clenched smile "Oh god, there's a lot of people here."
We get to the patio and Kim whispers "Good luck and you'll come back as Mrs. Royal."
I walked past everyone intently trying to hear their whispers and chatter, but my heart was pounding to hard in my ears to make anything out. All I could see was my sweet baby boy's face. He looked so handsome! For some reason I was overcome with this urge to run up to him, throw my arms around him and just cry tears of joy. But I didn't.
HillBilly asks my dad who gives this woman and after my dad responds, he places my hand in Taylor's. He holds my hand tight and I am no longer nervous. A few times during the ceremony I glance up to see him smiling at me. When it comes time to say our vows, Taylor makes it through his smoothly. It wasn't until it was my turn that I could see tears welling up in his eyes. In the middle of my sentence I squeeze his hands and quickly say "Stop it" and he snaps out of it. LOL! OUr deal was if one of us cries the other will too. And for some reason I didn't want to cry. I never did like crying in front of people.
Now comes time for the unity candle to be lit, but the taper candles our mothers lit had been blown out in the wind. There was a lighter there with very little fluid left in it. In a nervous moment I turn to the crowd and ask "Anybody got a light?" Best man to the rescue!
The candle is lit, we return to our place at the altar and we're pronounced man and wife. Taylor gently takes me face in his hand and gives me the gentlest most beautiful kiss ever!
We walk back down the aisle, me without my bouquet and Staci comes nervously after going "You forgot this." Again I was like "Myeh, screw it!" LOL!
So, meet and greet, photos outside, blah, blah, blah and now on to the party!
In the next journal entry. LOL!
But until then if you'd like to look at some pictures, here are some links to pro pics and friends pics.