Finally. The wedding post. This is going to be a complete monster of a post and I apologize but there are just so many things I want to share and it’s all so wonderful and still quite overwhelming. Some days it still hits me as “I’m actually married” to “How have we been married for a month already?” Still, it has been a month and even though the month has flown by, it feels like the wedding was ages ago.
Everyone had told me that planning a wedding was stressful. “Just wait until it gets closer” was their response when I told them that everything was still easy and fun. Let me tell you this. Planning a wedding does NOT have to be stressful. Never once. Not for one single instant was wedding planning stressful for us. My mom was amazing and she and I got along smashingly throughout it and I can’t imagine having done it without her help and valuable insight and loving support. Austin and I never fought and we actually pretty much agreed on everything. (Except for the socks which I loved and he didn’t but he wore them because he loves me.) I had the most incredible people making sure that the wedding happened and that it happened well and being able to rely on them to make the day perfect was the greatest blessing I could have hoped for.
I had three goals for the wedding. 1) Get married. 2) Honor God. and 3) Honor our families. I decided early on that, if I could just meet those three goals, then the day would be a success. As a result, I didn’t let myself have very strong opinions and I did what I could and just let everything else go. My mantra went something like this, “Can I get married without it? Can I get married without doing it? Then let’s not worry about it.” So many people get caught up in wedding planning as if it’s the end-all-be-all to have a perfect day. I didn’t want a perfect day. I wanted a fun day full of happy people. I think that’s another reason why it was never stressful for me.
Anyway, the story of Our Wedding Day actually begins several days before. Actually, about a week before when I had the realization of Oh-My-Gosh-I’m-Getting-Married-Next-Week and promptly had an emotional breakdown. It wasn’t stress. It wasn’t just emotions. To be perfectly honest, I was scared. Scared that this whole marriage thing wasn’t going to work for me. Scared that I wouldn’t like being married. Scared that Austin would end up not liking me. Scared that I would end up being a failure as a wife. Scared that this maybe wasn’t the right thing. Scared that getting married would mean foregoing all of my other ambitions and dreams and plans. Scared that maybe we weren’t right for each other. Scared to be vulnerable. I wasn’t trusting God and all of my doubts that I had experienced at the beginning came back in a full-force flood. And I allowed those fears to take control. It also didn’t help matters that planning a wedding is exhausting and I was preparing to leave my family and all those emotions mixed together created a very weepy Week Before the Wedding.
My head knew that I wanted to marry Austin, but my heart was so hesitant and confused that I started to second-guess everything and I broke down because I was so afraid that I wouldn’t feel all-in on my wedding day and the last thing I wanted was to feel like I was “faking it.” Almost every day, my mom would ask tentatively, “So… is the wedding still on?” and I would answer, “Oh. yes. I’m not going to call it off. I just wish that I felt better about the whole thing.”
Nevertheless, I had the best people with me. My amazing mom, dad, and brother. And then my friends Hannah, Emily, Jenn, and Naomi literally just prayed with me and sat with me while I cried. And Austin. He was always there even when he was far away. He gave me space whenever I needed it but also made sure that I knew that I wasn’t alone. I am so glad I married him and that he still wanted to marry me after everything and the complete mess that I was. All those people who stood by me and supported me on my way to the chapel – I couldn’t have gotten married without them.
I felt better the morning of the rehearsal. I was aching to spend time with Austin, though. The distance had gotten to me and I was scared that I wasn’t feeling connected to him. Our wedding was the next day. I didn’t want to feel this way around him when I married him. Mom and I snuck out that morning and got our nails done and drank smoothies and talked. That seemed to revive me and I was finally feeling chill again and actually started to grow excited. I didn’t get to see Austin all day, but at least I was happy and got to hang out with other awesome people who made sure to reassure me that everything was going to be okay.
The drive to the church for the rehearsal was through some gnarly rush-hour traffic, but we listened to loud music and went crazy in the car and don’t let this picture fool you – Connor was not just a mere bystander to Jenn’s, Naomi’s, and my antics.
Okay. So rehearsals are fun. Like, really legitimately fun. It’s the time to get out all the goofiness you want to do at the wedding, but can’t and to just laugh at formalities and joke about what not to do. Like Connor playing Let It Go as I walked in and my dad wailing as he walked me down the aisle.
Austin’s sister, Sara Beth, and my sister, Cora, were the perfect flower girls.
They did a wonderful job and they were absolutely beautiful. Just look at their happy grins.
We had way too much fun and were most positively too loud while we were waiting to walk in.
Almost every photo in this post is credited to ^ this awesome guy^ and his equally amazing wife.
(Peter & Susannah – more about them later)
You think I was kidding when I said my dad was pretending to weep?
I wasn’t kidding.
Everything went without a hitch and, thanks to our amazing coordinator, Christy, we finished in record time which was probably a good thing because there was Chipotle and Key Lime Pie waiting for us. Rehearsing makes you hungry.
They are the cutest. Gosh.
I got to have a moment with my Maids of Honor and we hugged and cried and knew that everything was going to change, but somethings never will.
The drive home from the reception, I was squeezed in the car with my parents, Connor, Naomi, Jenn, and Josh and we spent the drive singing along loudly to songs by Journey, Kansas, and from the Newsies musical. It was perfect to just belt along to Don’t Stop Believing and not freak out about the fact that my wedding was tomorrow…
Morning dawned early. It was my wedding day. I was up before the sun to get ready before Austin came over for breakfast and devotions. We sat on the back porch together and ate eggs and drank coffee and prayed and just talked about how we were feeling about the day. To my surprise, I felt ready. I was ready to do this.
After saying goodbye to Austin, Mom and I left for our hair appointments in Santa Monica right on the oceanfront.
Rebecca was seriously amazing. After two trials before the wedding, on the actual day-of, she nailed it and my hair was exactly how I had wanted it to be. Why can’t I get my hair done every day?
We got married at my church (Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA) and had the ceremony in the Chapel and our reception on the Plaza. I couldn’t have asked for a more prefect day. The weather was glorious and the sun was shining and everything about the location was exactly how I had hoped.
That’s my handsome guy. ;)
He’s totally out of my league. SO glad I married him.
Those brilliantly blue eyes. Sheesh.
Goodness. These handsome Harrison guys.
We were ravenous by the time lunch arrived so us girls swarmed the In-N-Out as soon as it was in our sights.
Everything about the day was so much more relaxing that I had anticipated. We had hours of just sitting in the Bride’s Room chatting and laughing and writing on Jenga Pieces.
I loved my flowers and our florist was phenomenal. Not only did Soraya create the most stunning bouquets (with succulents and poppies!) but she treated us like family and worked so hard to make everything beautiful.
As far as mothers-in-law go, mine is the best.
Austin gave me this box for Christmas, inscribed with the date we got engaged. I filled it with little things that hold memories of our relationship. The compass he found for me. A tiny pewter acorn. The grape soda pin that he made for me and gave me when we met in Virginia. The Carl and Ellie pin that my Maids of Honor gave me at my bridal shower.
I spent hours searching for my shoes. Online and in stores. I ordered and returned several pairs that weren’t quite right. It took me forever, but I finally managed to have the perfect orange shoes for my wedding. I had to get them dyed, but it was totally worth it because I loved them and they made me happy and my feet didn’t hurt once all day. Yeah. The shoes were winners. (And that tiny bottle of sand is from the beach the night we got engaged. Austin collected some and gave it to me later.)
Finding The Dress wasn’t a challenge for me. To be honest, I had it picked out before Austin proposed. No, I hadn’t been looking, but there was one day I was on Etsy and I checked a featured shop and… There it was. My dress. I remembered it for – you know – just in case. We still went to try on some dresses, but I always came back to this one. I wanted a lace dress and this was The One.
I wouldn’t be who I am today and my wedding certainly wouldn’t have been as amazing as it was without my mom. She’s a superstar. I wore the diamond star necklace and earrings that she gave me and parts of her wedding dress were sewn on the bottom of my veil.
After I was ready, I took an iPhone pic with my two Maids of Honor – Emily and Hannah.
These girls have been my best friends for my entire life and I am so blessed to have had them by my side when I married Austin.
…and then everyone got in on the selfie fun.
My dad and brothers. I knew that I had to have a first look with them before the craziness of the ceremony began.
My dad is awesome. And I don’t just say that. He’s the always-there, never-too-busy-to-talk, incredibly-wise kind of awesome. He is the best ever and no, that’s not just because I’m biased.
Tip: Having fun friends is kinda the best thing ever. Especially when you’re getting married.
Cora absconded with someone’s iPhone.
Flower girl selfie. (heart)
And then it got hot. And we had to wait inside. And it got hotter and wedding dresses aren’t exactly the coolest or most comfortable things in the world to wear. And the air conditioning was broken. Thankfully these girls kept me smiling and Carreen cleverly used some paper plates as a makeshift fan and Naomi DJ’ed Disney songs and Goodbye from the musical Catch Me If You Can which is pretty much always my go-to song.
Austin and I have pretty swell dads. Just gotta say.
The hand lettering on our program and several of our decorations was done by Austin’s and my friend from college, Emily. She wasn’t able to be at the wedding, but her art added such a special touch to the day.
My partner-in-crime lifelong-buddy of a brother played I See the Light from Tangled on the piano for the processional. My life-key-word is “light” and Connor played the song so beautifully and it was perfect.
Instead of dropping flower petals, they dropped little hearts that were cut out of map paper.
Gosh. I love him.
My parents gave me away and Austin and I joined hands for the prayer before the rest of the ceremony commenced.
Both our fathers read Scripture and everyone sang together How Firm A Foundation.
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.
“You may now kiss your bride.” YES PLEASE.
And then we kissed. A first-time-ever honest-to-goodness kiss. Wow. It was then I realized that kissing is the absolute best. We kept it short and sweet and I’m so glad we waited and it was totally and completely amazing.
We were presented as Mr. and Mrs. Charles Austin Harrison and Han Solo and the Princess from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back started playing and we made our grand exit. See those smiles? ^Those^ are happy WE JUST GOT MARRIED faces.
Hey. Guess what? We just got married.
And did I mention how much I love our moms and how stellar they are about everything?
I was pretty happy right at this moment.
Yeah. I like kissing him.
You see, one of the best parts of a wedding is that you can kiss as much as you want and it’s totally encouraged.
Our people rock. They were there to support us and also act crazy with us. Totally a win-win scenario.
Don’t mind us.
Mr. and Mrs. Harrison with Mr. and Mrs. Harrison #seewhatididthere
At least we weren’t the only who had trouble posing for pictures … Yep. Gotta love brothers.
When we were choosing a wedding theme, we got it narrowed down to maps, travel, the color orange, movie quotes, peaches, adventure and just pretty much everything we liked best. Pretty specific, right? Anyway, we stuck with an overall theme of adventure and then added little details to reflect our favorite things. We wanted our wedding to be fun and I didn’t want to get consumed by tiny, fancy, unnecessary details. Anyway, I couldn’t have been happier with how it all came together.
The tall bottle was the one Austin used when he proposed and the other one he gave me shortly thereafter.
Key Lime Pie (Austin’s favorite) and Peach Pie (my favorite.) We also kinda bonded over peaches. Yeah, I know that’s weird.
We didn’t eat much.
We had wanted to have a movie quote trivia game for the tables, but it was one of those things I never got around to making. However, Naomi and Jenn made these for us the day before and if they didn’t already rock in major ways before, they certainly do now.
And YES. My dress really did have pockets.
When the lady who made my dress asked if I wanted pockets I wasted no time.”Um. Heck yes!”
Because who wouldn’t want pockets in their wedding dress?
As the sun was beginning to set, Drew (the Best Man) and our fathers each gave a toast and shared stories of Austin and I first becoming friends in Virginia while watching Star Wars and how I accidentally left my clothes on the floor of the Harrisons’ bathroom during their gathering and how that’s when Austin’s dad knew that I was the one his son would marry.
And then there was pie.
We used an atlas for our guestbook and everyone signed at a favorite destination. It was perfect and it has been so much fun to go through and find all the messages and notations of special places and recommendations for future travels and adventures.
Our photographers were amazing. As in I-have-too-many-nice-things-to-say-about-them amazing. They were fun and professional and made everyone laugh and took utterly amazing photographs to boot. I had followed Susannah’s blog for years and when she up and married a wedding photographer and they became a duo, I always kinda sorta hoped they’d be able to shoot my someday-wedding. Well, after Austin and I got engaged, we both agreed that finding photographers that we liked was of the utmost priority. I showed him some of Peter and Susannah’s work and he liked it too. So, after Skype meetings and phone calls and emails and logistics, they traveled from Oregon to shoot the wedding and went above-and-beyond in every regard and are definitely some of the most awesome people I know.
The night was drawing to a close and then these crazy guys stole me.
Oh, Cora. Even after such an amazingly happy family-and-friends kind of day, goodbyes are still hard.
This was a good moment.
And, with that, we were off. Off on two weeks of adventuring in Yosemite, at the Star Wars Celebration, and then on our road trip home. But all of those are stories for another time.
Our wedding was over and oh-my-goodness what a spectacular party it was. Austin and I have both marveled at how remarkably un-stressful it was and how it was actually way more fun than we had anticipated. And we were both so humbled by the amount of people who came to help and to bless us and offer support. Family and friends all worked together and gave their time and energy and love to help us have an amazing day. And the day was pretty darn close to perfect. It went way too fast, but that’s okay because that one day was just the beginning of something else wonderful that I get to experience every single day for the rest of my life. I love being married and it’s so much more wonderful that I thought it would be. Austin shows me every day what it means to love someone fully and truly and sacrificially and I am so excited to continue to grow closer as husband and wife in the days to come. Adventure is out there!by