September 29th, the long-anticipated Wedding Day! My parents and I enjoyed a nice morning sipping coffee and eating room service. Other than getting married, the main agenda for the day was being pampered at the salon. I roll with a huge posse.
The salon, Beautique, had a huge room dedicated to pedicures. Two of my nieces enjoy the spa treatment below. I actually didn't get a pedicure because my shoes were closed-toed. I did get a lovely red manicure, which I tried to pass off in uniform for a few days after I returned to Maryland.
After nails came makeup. During my trial, the artist and I talked about using fake eyelashes, since my natural lashes are tiny and practically invisible. Somehow I didn't catch the memo that I had to bring in my own lashes, as the salon did not stock them. Each one of my bridesmaids saved my butt over the course of the weekend, and this was one of those moments. Erika, without missing a beat, went to a nearby Sephora and bought eyelashes, just in time for the artist to put them on before my appointment ended.
If you couldn't tell by the foreshadowing in my last wedding post, several things didn't quite go as planned at this wedding. Case in point—family photos. The photo above is the only picture of my Mom and I from the entire day. I'll write more about this later. For now, enjoy a picture of my beautiful mother!
Hair followed makeup. I'm not very experienced with salons. This was my first time having professional makeup done, and I usually get my hair cut once or twice a year. It was a new experience getting all fancy. The hairdresser looked just like Maya Rudolph and was very pleasant. I wanted a more refined version of my natural look. She basically re-curled my natural curls. I think the style only lasted five minutes because of the rain, but I thought it looked nice.
After we left the salon, things started to get crazy. There were few fires to put out, mostly involving the hotel shuttle service falling through. Brendan and I went back and forth on the phone alot trying to get everybody at the right place at the right time. Whenever I went down to the lobby, I ran into friends and family, which was joyful and exciting. Everything was reaching a fever-pitch, in my head anyway. Soon it was time to move to the Zoo and get ready to do this thing.
The bridesmaids were staged in a conference room near the entrance of the Houston Zoo. Maura, Jessica and Meredith came early to help me get settled. I don't know what I would have done without them. They calmed me down, kept me on tastk, and made me laugh. Maura also had the brilliant idea to bring mimosas. With their help, I slowly started to don my bridal accoutrement.
This is one of my favorite pre-wedding pictures. Maura and Jessica are carefully doing up each tiny little button.
Meredith helped bedazzled me in my Swarovski necklace and earrings. I wanted the jewelry to match my engagement ring and wedding band, which have diamonds and rubies. Unfortunately I cannot afford ropes of diamonds and rubies, but I did manage to find an amazing deal on these Swarvoski pieces, which matched beautifully.
In another part of the Zoo, Brendan gets ready while fielding questions from the videographer.
Brendan chose our wedding colors, including the vibrant green that appeared on the ties he and his groomsmen wore. The pocket squares were a last-minute addition. Maura's mom made them for my Bachelorette Adventure, and we thought they added the perfect amount of animal print to the guys. Brendan's mom helped sew them into suit-appropriate triangles the previous day.
The Houston Zoo closes at 7:00pm, so our ceremony had to be at 7:30pm. Because of the late start time, we opted to take all of our posed pictures before the ceremony. Brendan and I picked out the Tropical Bird House for the "First Look." He arrived early with the photographer, then I followed with a few of my ladies. It was kind of fun walking around the zoo during business hours in full wedding regalia. People couldn't help but smile at the odd sight of a gal walking around in a wedding dress. At this point, it was drizzling lightly. I was still holding out hope that the rain would end before 7:30pm.
The whole "First Look" thing ended up being as much awkward as it was sweet. We obviously aren't superstitious about the groom seeing the bride before the ceremony, but I had been keeping my dress a secret. It is supposed to be an intimate moment, but let's be honest, it's hard to feel that way with videographers and a photographer there, along with a few of your friends. On the other hand, you want the media coverage there to capture the moment.
So we tried to focus on one another, but were very aware of the cameras documenting our every move. I'm sure our combined stress and nerves didn't help. I'm going to post a bit of video soon, so you can all share in the awkward and see exactly what I mean. Still, we are pretty pumped to be getting married at this point.
After the "First Look," we went outside and took some pictures under an awning while waiting for the bridesmaids and groomsmen to arrive for their photos. The rain persisted, so Brendan started crooning "Singing in the Rain," much to the delight of everyone around.
We intended to take bridal party photos at this awesome animatronic dinosaur exhibit. That couldn't really happen with the rain, so we looked for a fitting backdrop that could also provide shelter. We ended up at the Carousel. The photographer took many awesome pictures, but I'll just share a few here.
Hey, if you have to take posed wedding pictures, you might as well get an entertaining ride out of it!
One of my bridesmaids came up with idea to have everyone pick out a different animal print to wear on their shoes. I thought that was a rad, and I love how it turned out. Behold the results:
[photo by Chris Morrow]
As we wrapped up the picture-taking, one of my family members came up and handed me his cell phone so I could talk to the Zoo Coordinator. They were looking for a final call on the rain situation. At this point, it was obvious that we weren't going to get the clear skies we hoped for. There was no way we could use the original ceremony site, and we had to go to our tenuous Plan B. I gave the go-ahead, and we headed back toward the Zoo entrance. I was feeling a little bummed, but I will never forget turning the corner and seeing this pack of giraffes standing outside, watching us. They had wandered out in the rain during our picture-taking. These brief, sublime moments made me glad we chose this special place to say our vows.
As our party walked back to the front, the rain picked up even more. We made quite the offbeat procession. I never thought my wedding would involve barefoot bridesmaids jumping puddles, but there you have it.
When we reached the Zoo Entrance, I felt like everything came crashing down. While we were channeling our inner Top Model, family and friends were scrambling to make our new, thrown-together ceremony site functional. I felt overwhelmed and unsure of what was happening. I am so grateful for my family that held everything together. My sister-in-law Leatha and her four daughters calmly took care of all these details that weren't even on my radar, like boutonnières and bouquets.
Speaking of bouquets, I basically told Leatha and Becky that I wanted tropical flowers with orange in it. They made the most fabulous, beautiful creation. I wish I could have saved it forever. In this shot you can just see the jewelry I had them tie into it—rings from my mom and aunt, and bracelets from my grandmother and Brendan's mom.
The time before the ceremony was intended for famly pictures. I had all these grand plans to get a group Veronie picture, along with standard shots of my parents and siblings. None of that happened. Most of my family was busy saving the day or otherwise occupied. Things got too crazy; I am still foggy about it. The good thing is, it's just pictures. I have tons of photos with my family, and I will have more in the years to come. So what if none of them are in my wedding dress? The wedding isn't about pictures, it's about the vows and the new family you are creating. Despite the rain-induced drama, everyone kept their cool, and we were able to focus on the important things. We did get some nice shots of Brendan's family.
Do these people looked concerned about a few raindrops? Hell no! These people look ready to get married.