While we wait for our professional wedding photos (and for more friends to post them on Facebook!), I'll just write up a summary of the whole thing for posterity :)
From about three weeks out, it all started to feel more real. We had to prepare the flat, order the cake & food, buy the drinks, finish sewing the bunting (I started to regret that project, but it looked great on the day!), and chase up any missing RSVPs (we got a few disappointments in the final weeks, but on the day, it felt like the room was full and happy, and our guests didn't know there was anybody missing). We were also both busy wrapping things up at work--I had my first journal article to submit on 1 Sept, and Richard had a website to launch on 3 Sept! We both managed to do them, too :) It was a crazy, hectic time but we still managed to fit in a few fun things--we went to York designer outlet one weekend, and to Yorkshire Sculpture Park the day before my family arrived.
Going to the airport to meet my family felt so surreal! It was just amazing to finally have them here and to get to show them around the places that I've been telling them about for the past 4 years! It helps, too, that they're all Anglophiles and were thrilled to be in England. Their rental place was close to our flat, and just perfect for a big group--it was great having dinner over there, and getting ready with everybody on the morning of the wedding. I had a long list of things that I hoped we'd have a chance to do--Indian takeaway, fish & chips at a proper chippy, grocery shopping at Morrisons, pub meals, Kirkstall Abbey, Haworth, York, shopping downtown, etc.--and we were able to do pretty much everything. It was so much fun having them here, and I'm already looking forward to the next visit!
The day before the wedding, the chaos was reaching a fever pitch--Richard had to work a half day, Mallory and I had to sort out the stuff for Oakwell Hall, Richard's dad had to take our fridge to Oakwell Hall, I had to run to Waitrose to buy food for tapas night, Richard & I had to chase the florist who had been MIA for 3 weeks (the flowers ended up being gorgeous on the day, but there were massive communication problems and we didn't know what we were getting until it was delivered on the day of the wedding!), and we had a brief window of time in which to set up everything at Oakwell Hall. Decorating the barn at Oakwell Hall was really fun, though, and the tapas dinner was a great night. It was so crowded--our little flat had 16 people in it!--but it was really fun. It was also the only opportunity some of them had to see our new place, and after all of our work on the flat, I was keen to show it off. I'm sure my clustermates thought it was just like old times, when we'd fit 5 of us in my tiny dorm room to watch South Park every week!
On the actual day of the wedding, I felt great--all the stress was gone, and I was just excited to be getting married. There was also an element of my old SAT/AP attitude--when the exam day came, I just relaxed because it's too late to do any more prep! I woke up early and was keen to get going on everything--there were lots of people to get showered, dressed & made-up, and Kelly & Jason were busy sorting out Oakwell Hall with Richard in the morning, too. Kelly did a fantastic job on the cake, and it was great to be able to delegate that task & just trust her judgment! One of my favorite moments of getting ready was early in the morning when Mal and I were playing with the kids and Will brushed my hair, saying 'I'm going to make you look beautiful!' It was really fun to hang out with the girls, too--they even brought me my favorite Starbucks drink and breakfast. I also loved our photographer, Pam--she was such a help, keeping us on track and reminding us to eat. There was one moment when I was stressing out about the time and needing help to get into my dress, and she just told me to get changed into my dressing gown--it was great to have somebody tell me something constructive to do. She also gave my friends a ride to the church & reception--I don't know what we'd have done without Pam & her husband Brian!
The ceremony itself was perfect--we had great weather, there was a good turnout, and it was great to share it with everybody. Tony's address was great, too, and we felt honoured to be his last wedding at Bridge Church before his retirement. The reception was so much fun--it was such a weird experience to see all of these people from different stages/places in your life, all sitting chatting together in the same room. I remember just sitting back at the top table, drinking my prosecco and watching everybody interact. It was so fun, and I'm so glad they all got along with each other! We'd hoped they would when we made the seating plan up, of course, but it was even better than we'd thought it would be!
Overall, it couldn't have gone any better and we can't wait to see the pictures!