So much life has happened since the wedding, and this marks the first night I’ve dedicated to blogging and winding down. Suddenly a home-bound Saturday night doesn’t sound so bad. After enjoying 6 days off from work to get married, one hectic day in the office, followed by 5 more days of vacation for our Bonnaroo Honeymoon–we had such an amazing month. And we still have more to look forward to next weekend 🙂
If I’m trying to remember everything in order, I guess we can start with Thursday the 4th. That day was slated with multiple wedding errands, such as purchasing the flowers, grabbing cocktail hour food from Cocoa’s Italian Market and hanging out with family. Plus I scheduled a mani and pedi with my mom (with complimentary wine and the best paraffin foot dip I had yet to experience) and polished off some sushi in Smyrna afterwards, yum.
On the 5th, we grabbed brunch at Monell’s with my mother’s family. This down-to-earth, authentic-southern-soul-food joint established somewhat strict etiquette rules with the best intentions: Please refrain from using your cell phone at the dinner table. As someone who guiltily snaps photos of practically every meal she makes, this refreshing reminder to focus on those sitting next to me left a lasting impression I’ll never forget. It’s a rule worth abiding by in every social situation.
The next morning I met with Erika for coffee then headed straight for what ended up being a decent but slightly awkward reiki appointment. The woman providing the session seemed nice and accommodating, but as it turns out, Love Skin Nashville is actually located in a hipster hair salon with pounding bass-not exactly the most therapeutic location. As a result, the reiki master had no choice but to amp up the music in the private room. I felt relaxed, balanced and stress-free leaving the salon, but let it be known that Center of Symmetry provides a better quality experience.
Afterwards, the bridesmaids and I met for a Friday night floral arrangement party equipped with wine, snacks and crafts for days. The emotional evening ended too soon: I looked forward to arranging these bouquets for months. By the end of the night we produced 5 beautiful bouquets, 4 boyish boutonnieres and several wire-wrapped succulents specifically for my bunch of flowers.
By the 6th, everything was beginning to sink in. We met Keegan’s entirely family for brunch (including Keegan’s parents, three siblings, each of their significant others plus nieces and nephews) at Embassy Suites and checked into our swanky hotel room. This wasn’t just an ordinary hotel room; we had a living and separate bedroom plus complimentary room service! The hotel also featured an omelette bar during breakfast hours which we took full advantage of.
That evening we practiced and rehearsed and cried and tried to act like walking down the aisle to Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” wasn’t the most emotional experience my dad and I had yet to endure together.
We hammered out specifics, such as when Clint needed to cue At Last as Ryan pronounced us husband and wife. And last but not least, about 30 of us met at the Parthenon to enjoy dinner with our tight-knit circle of friends and family. This occasion marked the first time our parents met, and everything ran surprisingly smoothly. I fought back tears as we entered the breathtaking room with an open concept and wall-to-wall windows allowing plenty of natural light. Keegan’s mother surprised us with such thoughtful and considerate decor and activities. The elegant table featured several lavender centerpieces and placeholders with personalized gray and lavender M&Ms which read “Keegan and Cathy” and “June 7th, 2015”. Between this, the heartwarming slideshow and the crossword puzzle, the event left me speechless in the best way possible.
We enjoyed the crossword puzzle the most, as it made for an entertaining icebreaker activity. For instance, my dad knew immediately he was “The person who eats a lemon with salt everyday”. Mary exceeded our expectations by including everyone at the rehearsal on the crossword puzzle. As if that wasn’t enough,they brought about 10 different South Dakota prizes for various contestants ranging from those who scored the most points (my mom, Gabe, Mary Beth and Nichole) to those who didn’t even try or made a major mistake [Example– Ryan received a “Razz Award” (a gag award, if you will), for only answering one question on the entire crossword, while Caitlin somehow managed to misspell Keegan Kellogg]. Keegan’s parent’s toasting us with well-wishes and gifting me a new pair of Native American earrings made me feel like part of the family.
Following the extravagant dinner at The Parthenon, we headed back to our swanky hotel for drinks with family and friends before the Big Day. Next thing we knew, it was 6 in the morning and time to prepare for Wedding Maddness.
I met the boys at the venue around 10:00 a.m. to quickly set up 100 chairs. For several months we wondered if 100 would fit on the smaller side of the venue. We had a choice between two locations near the river and hoped the side with the more scenic, pristine view would work out, and it did without any problems. Imagine our relief to know on the day of the actual wedding that we COULD get married on the prettier side! It was wonderful.
I spent the remainder of the morning and afternoon getting ready with the women. Casi did our hair while Nikki worked on makeup. We appreciated the AC in the rustic bridal suite tucked away behind the restaurant. Our modest cabin featured a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and an upstairs loft. We sipped on mimosas while I pretty much took it easy as everyone else did the work in helping us decorate for the wedding.
I can’t thank our friends and family enough for all their help. Several projects unfolded in the blink of an eye, and suddenly, we’re getting married. We went above and beyond with polite instructions describing how we wanted the alter, interior decorations, welcome station, mimosa bar, cocktail hour tables, centerpieces and food to be appear. With different teams for different projects, most everything ran smoothly. It’s ironic how the things you try so hard to perfect are the things you barely see on your wedding day. I caught a lucky glance of our cocktail hour spread with mimosas, meats, cheeses and fruits plus our precious customized Shutterfly guestbook. I noticed the “Treat Yo Self” banner Nichole crafted for us to coincide with the mimosa bar–our subtle, subliminal tribute to one of our favorite t.v. shows, Parks n Rec. All in all, everything was beautiful.
Also, we need to thank those who traveled from out of town. We had Mary and Stuart from Rapid City, Brittany and Justin from Fort Collins, Katie and Ben from Denver, Brendan and Julia from Seattle, Erin, Jason and the kids from Dallas, my aunt Nikki from Brunswick, Brett from Memphis, Kimmi from somewherein New Mexico and Jordan from West Virginia. Our wedding accounted for at least 8 different states, and most everyone got along so well.
My only regret was not capturing photos of the nitty gritty details. But that’s what our professional photographers were for. Can’t wait to see all 500 timeless photos in the next few months. Matthew took pics of the welcome station, and I somehow remembered to snap a few of our program fans and the party favors before the wedding. Guests received bubbles for the end of the ceremony as we strolled away to At Last by Etta James. In addition, everyone was presented with a purple blend of heart-shaped seed paper to plant at home and to “watch love grow”. We plan to plant our paper in Colorado once we’re good and settled. Our romantic, whimsical lavender and gray floral theme set the perfect mood at the Readyville Mill–once of Tennessee’s oldest Establishment built in 1812 alongside the Stones River. We could hear the water in the background as we read our vows aloud, and our tireless decorative efforts came together seamlessly.
I can’t brag about the scenery without mentioning the amazing FOOD. Goodness Gracious relocated from Murfreesboro to the Readyville Mill last year and as a result, we traveled frequently to get our fill. Once we became engaged, we knew right off the bat we wanted Goodness Gracious to cater our wedding, especially since they won Best Catering in Rutherford County like 15 years in a row. The owner cut us a deal to rent the grounds on that beautiful Sunday afternoon, and even though most married couples swear you’ll never have the chance to taste what you ordered, we did! Keegan and I carved out 15 minutes to eat during the reception, and everything was perfect. Our breakfast spread symbolized our love of cooking brunch together. The buffet stocked with eggs, bacon, sausage links, pancakes, an assortment of mini-quiches,plus biscuits, muffins, jams and syrups hit the spot. As far if the main course wasn’t awesome enough, Keegan’ mom covered the cupcakes for everyone, courtesy of the Cupcake Collection in Nashville. Guests had 5 flavors to choose from: Wedding Cake, Cookies and Cream, Strawberry, Carrot Cake, and Peanut Butter Chocolate. Aside from the outdoor ceremony on the river, the food was a tremendous success.
We experienced so many special moments that night, ranging from the first dances to the cake-cutting. I found it amusing how the two who caught the garter and the flowers were both gay. Brecque caught the garter and Matthew (my lover for life) caught the flowers, which was truly the most hilarious moment of the evening. One of our photographers proclaimed “I’ve been invited to well over 100 weddings, and a gay man catching the flowers was a first for me”. Something else amusing–The wax from the candles held firm in the chandelier hanging over our heads at the alter managed to drip on Ryan’s suite at the beginning of the ceremony. Ryan complained of how he will always be remembered as “the guy who had a bird shit on him”, even though this wasn’t the case. And in addition, Keegan’s sweet (and slightly stubborn) nephew Keenan’s sheepish walk down the aisle was successful thanks to Keegan’s sister Erin coaxing her son with a cookie.
Friends made their heartfelt toasts, and the first dance were fun, as well. Keegan and I danced to Flaming Lips “Do You Realize”, then I danced with my dad to “Blackbird” by the Beatles, followed by Keegan and his mother’s dance to “Mother and Child Reunion” by Paul Simon. And let us not forget the band and their amazing performance! What made our wedding more fun and exciting than most was definitely the live music, if for only a few tunes. We danced, we sang, and we borderline-moshed to Shout. “Shout out” to the groomsmen and Greg for their willingness to also perform “Gimme Some Lovin'” and “White Wedding”.
As the night wound down, I finally had time to talk with people directly. I sadly missed a few folks, and yes, it’s true that it’s impossible to touch base with everyone. From my coworker Jessica to Tara and Cole and Brooke and Jean Marie, it’s unfortunate we never had a chance to talk, but the fact that they showed up was nice enough. Same with Marissa, Kellan and a few other friends. We tried to take a multitude of selfies with those we encountered, but it’s impossible to take 100 pics with 100 guests. We stood still for a huge group photo thanks to our lovely photographers and left smiling in a stretch limo.
Keegan and I passed out at Embassy Suites after exchanging our wedding gifts. I’m treating us to a fall vacation at a ritzy resort neat the Rocky Mountain National Park entrance, while Keegan decided to dedicate a weekend for us to go skiing in Aspen with his sister Katie and her boyfriend Ben. I can’t wait to see what the future holds in store for us once we move in about a month. I would normally post a million photos on my blog, but instead I’ll just add a link to my Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/allwehasisnow
Once my mom uploads the videos to Youtube, I’ll be sure to add those at some point. This post took me several hours to produce, so if you notice any typos, oh well. I’ll try to write about Bonnaroo, Keegan’s last show and garden updates if there’s time after work. Love, peace and chicken grease.