It’s hard to believe that my big sister is married! Her wedding was on Sunday and after sharing her engagement story, bridal shower, and bridesmaid dress shopping, here’s the last post in the sister wedding series 🙂 This past weekend was a whirlwind and there was a lot going on but I couldn’t stop smiling because I was so excited for Marissa.
I apologize in advance for the quality of some of the photos. I took some with my real camera over the weekend, but a bunch are photos that I took or friends took with iPhones since I didn’t get close to capturing everything with my camera (and I was trying to focus on being present rather than taking a ton of photos!).
I’ll back up and start with last week. My sister and her fiancé got in town on Wednesday night and we made dinner at my house– these awesome Greek salads with Greek yogurt dressing topped with lemon grilled chicken and roasted sweet potato wedges on the side. Pretty much my perfect dinner!
I ran with Marissa at 6:30 on Thursday morning and then headed to my internship like I typically do on Thursdays.
When I got home from work that night, my grandparents had arrived in Raleigh. They took us to this great restaurant, Fresh Levant Bistro, that uses all local and organic ingredients with tons of gluten-free vegetarian and vegan options, so it’s great for a group with different dietary preferences. I got the special of the day, which was quinoa-stuffed roasted eggplant.
On Friday, I had time to write a blog post, go to the gym, and make some peanut butter energy bites before my cousins arrived. We spent the day finishing wedding DIY projects, playing corn hole, eating dinner at Chipotle, and just hanging out. It was a fun and relaxing day before the wedding craziness really started.
On Saturday, my grandma hosted a bridesmaids’ luncheon in Chapel Hill. In addition to all of the bridesmaids, she invited all of the women involved with the wedding. I really enjoyed getting to meet the groom’s mom, plus Marissa’s new sister-in-law, for the first time. They’re both so sweet!
Marissa gave each person a gift, including matching monogrammed white shirts for the bridesmaids to wear while getting ready for the wedding together the next morning. She also spoke about her relationship with each woman there, one-by-one, which was so special.
After the luncheon, we drove straight to the wedding rehearsal and then had just a short break at home before the rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal was outside in the heat of the 90-degree day, so the first thing we did when we arrived home was take cold showers!
Then, I headed downstairs to cut about 25 pineapples for the reception the next day. I wish I’d taken a picture of our kitchen and living room that day. It was like a DIY wedding production factory, with friends and family members running around washing strawberries, cutting pineapples, making signs, writing on chalkboards, etc. It was so cool how many people were willing to help out and be involved with the wedding!
After about an hour of helping with wedding stuff, it was time for round 2 of getting ready for the day for the rehearsal dinner. I threw on a different dress, swiped on some mascara, and headed out the door with my sister and cousins.The groom’s family hosted the dinner at Second Empire in downtown Raleigh, which ended up being an amazing place for it. The food was awesome and although the restaurant itself was darkly lit, the event space had great natural light.
This is one of the first rehearsal dinners I’ve been to and it was so fun to hear people from different parts of Alex and Marissa’s lives stand up and give toasts about them, from good memories and funny stories to general things about their character and their love for each other.
I gave a impromptu short toast and included a few short funny stories, but I wanted to save most of what I was going to say for the next night and my maid of honor speech!
On Sunday morning, the girls headed to the venue pretty early in the morning, so we ended up needing to skip church, which felt so off. Before I left my house, I dropped my dog, Gracie, off at a friend’s house for the day since we’d be gone for so long. I rode with one of my sister’s best friends to the venue, the Barn of Chapel Hill, which was about 50 minutes from my house. There, we spent a relaxing few hours while Marissa, her bridesmaids, and my mom got their hair and makeup done. Some bridesmaids got just one of the two done professionally done, and a few people got both.
I tend to be really low maintenance when it comes to both hair and makeup. On a normal day, I spend about 90 seconds putting on makeup, and I have the same few hairstyles I rotate through: braided, completely down, down and pulled back partially in a clip, or in a ponytail when I run. And maybe a messy bun at night sometimes.
I decided not to get my makeup done because I was terrified of having “clown face” for the wedding. And since my hair has a mind of its own, I decided to also do my own hair (i.e. just wear it down like normal), which I regretted a little bit later when everyone else had beautiful loose curls, but at least I got to feel like myself! It was super hot and humid outside, so I’m not sure how well my hair would’ve held its style, anyway.
There was a beautiful bridal suite for getting ready with these gorgeous white walls that I just loved. We spent the morning blasting music, dancing, getting our hair and makeup done/doing it ourselves, and hanging out.Knowing it’d be a long day, we packed lunch and snacks for everyone. I had a turkey sandwich, fruit, and a couple of peanut butter energy bites.
The photographers arrived around 1:30 and started taking pictures as we put the final touches on our hair and makeup. My mom and I helped my sister into her dress and then we headed outside for bridal party pictures.The ceremony was outside, and then the reception afterward was in the barn. The barn itself was gorgeous with white wood and exposed beams, and then my mom took it over the top with all of her decorations and attention to detail.
I was so focused on being present that I actually left my phone and camera in my purse in the bridal suite all day, so my one regret is that I didn’t actually take a single photo of the gorgeous decor! Fortunately, I was able to get pictures from a few of my mom’s friends who snapped some, so all of the following pictures are borrowed, and hopefully, the professional photographers took some that we’ll receive in a few weeks. My cousin made this incredible sign for the wedding’s theme, which was “We love because He first loved us,” based on 1 John 4:19.
Marisa and Alex decided not to do a first look before the ceremony, but they stood back-to-back and exchanged letters. Marissa started a journal full of letters to Alex months before, as soon as she knew she wanted to marry him, so he has a whole book full of letters to read from her! Absolutely love that idea.
Alex wrote his letter to Marissa on the back of a church bulletin, but what he lacked in presentation, he made up for in content. Marissa read it to her bridesmaids later and it was the sweetest.
I thought that the day would go by slowly since we were at the barn for a long time, but it seriously flew by and before I knew it, it was time for us to line up to walk down the aisle for the 5:00 pm ceremony.
My dad is actually an ordained minister, so he officiated the wedding ceremony! I thought he did a fabulous job and the ceremony was so personal and representative of Marisa and Alex as a couple.
We were all sweating and I can’t imagine how the guys in their suits were coping with the heat. We were so thankful that it wasn’t raining, though, because there had been a strong chance of showers all weekend and we escaped with absolutely zero rain on Saturday or Sunday.
After the ceremony, there was a social hour with appetizers while the bridal party first took pictures with Marissa & Alex, and then they had photos with just each other.Dinner was inside the barn and a local farm-to-table place catered BBQ chicken, pulled pork, green beans, mac & cheese, and mashed potatoes. The food was amazing!
I didn’t get a chance to try the cake during the reception but I tried it afterwards (perks of being the bride’s sister, I guess!) and it was so good. There was a great band with lots of fun music. Three of my best friends came to the wedding and kept me company on the dance floor all night. Just before 10 pm, we did a sparkler sendoff (again, I wish I had photos!) and Marissa & Alex headed off for their honeymoon. They’ll spend two weeks in Canada doing lots of outdoors adventures!
Most guests left a few minutes after Alex and Marissa, and then my extended family and I stayed for a while to clean up and tear down everything. We left a little after midnight and were in bed by 2 am.
Phew, congratulations if you made it through the whole recap! I don’t blog quite as much about daily life things as I used to, but I still love blogging about big life events because I think they’re so fun to look back on and personally, I love hearing about other people’s lives/weddings/other exciting things. Hope you enjoyed all of that!
So tell me…
Have you ever been in a wedding?
Where did your wedding take place (if you’re married) or where would your ideal wedding be?