Our Wedding, Part I

story, update, weddingVirginia Hart1 Comment


[note: while we don't have any pictures yet from our photographer, I've pieced together a few from friends, family, and venue to accompany my wedding day thoughts. thank you to everyone who helped document our favorite day.]

So there I was. It was 6AM the morning of our wedding and I was trying to hold my eyes shut to trick my body into thinking it was actually sleeping. I wondered if I had fallen asleep at all. It didn't feel like it. I got up to get a drink of water and leaned over my sister who was sleeping next to me. Do I take another Ambien? I haven't slept. She rolled over and shook her head, making it very clear that taking anything at that point would be a terrible idea. (Thank goodness she did. "'Twas a lovely wedding except for the fact that the bride was snoring in the church pew." Can you imagine?)

I got back under the covers and tried to relax and pretend it was just a regular morning and I slowly drifted off to sleep. My dear sis must've gotten ready in the dark because she left for her hair appointment without waking me at all. I woke up again around 9 to a text from one of my bridesmaids. I was supposed to go watch all the girls get dolled up and I was about to throw my stuff in a bag and scurry out the door, but I suddenly had an urge to take some quiet time to myself. The introvert that I am needed to recharge and prepare for the day and I figured if there was ever a time to do what I needed to do, this was one of them. I told the girls I'd see them in a bit and I stayed put and sprawled out in our room. I did yoga and stretched and took a long, hot bubble bath. It was glorious. And it was the perfect way to start the day - just me, my thoughts and prayers.

After that, I found myself wanting to text Patrick. I wanted to tell him how excited I was. I wanted to tell him how unbelievable it felt that it was our wedding day! But I'd start typing something into my phone to only then press delete-delete-delete. I ultimately decided I wanted my first words to him that day to be our vows. Plus, I had already written him a letter. Months ago, I found a recycled handmade card in a little boutique that had macaroni on the front. It said, "You are the Mac to my Cheese" and there, in a little corner of a store, I giggled to myself and decided that it would be the card I would give him on our wedding day. My sister delivered it to him that morning with a watch I knew would look so handsome with his wedding ring.

My gorgeous bridesmaids (seriously, I've never seen a prettier group) returned to the hotel and we headed out to our reception venue to finish getting ready. Shortly after arriving, I realized that my organizational methods of what-needs-to-go-where-when were not foolproof and I had forgotten a gift from my mother-in-law back in my room... a cute little hanger that said "Mrs. McAnaney" on which I wanted to hang my dress. Aw man, I thought. (Patrick's family had already gifted me one Mrs. McAnaney hanger that went missing during our move so I was zero for two!) But because I was surrounded by such amazing people who didn't question the importance of a clothes hanger :) and simply noticed I really wished I hadn't forgotten to bring it, they somehow got a hold of our incredible photographer who managed to break into our hotel room to get it. Yes! How amazing is that?! I know it's just a hanger and it's so silly and trivial, but I remember realizing I was surrounded by such a phenomenal crew - who really would do anything for me. The best.


^^^ my two adorable sisters-in-law and one of our rides to the church!

My stepdad and I got to ride to the church together in a vintage car which was so special.  We were running a few minutes behind and when I got out, I quickly realized the buses filled with all of our guests had just pulled up to the church, too! Eeek! I don't think I've ever run so fast haha. I scurried inside alone as quickly as I could, totally tripping on the church steps, not sure which corridor to enter and hoping I wasn't about to just walk into everyone I wasn't supposed to see. I suddenly found myself in a stairwell with my brother, Jon. The first thing that came out of my mouth? Shit! (Oops!) We stood there chuckling at one another and he gave me that knowing smile of his while he directed me to the right room.


^^^ my amazing brothers, sis-in-law, niece, and nephews (there's one niece and four nephews missing from that picture if you can believe it!)

After I made it to the correct hideout room, someone pointed out a letter addressed to me on the table. I recognized the handwriting as quickly as I would my own. Patrick. Tears filled my eyes as I read his sweet words. (Handwritten notes got us through years of long distance. I found one on our honeymoon in my beach bag that was at least 8 years old.) At the end of his letter, he told me that for a wedding gift, he's having someone illustrate me in my wedding gown. More tears. I couldn't wait to give him a hug.

It was an emotional few minutes as I got to see my aunt for the first time in forever when she popped her head into the room. The intensity of such a momentous time in your & your partner's life coupled with the love and excitement you feel from others is indescribable. My heart was overflowing.

And then - true story - my sentimental thoughts were interrupted by a complication of trying to stay as hydrated as possible that day...the sudden need to go to the bathroom in my giant cupcake dress. Thank you to the crew of women who helped me in that predicament. Let's just say it was quite the bonding moment :)


^^^ in the car on the way to the church! ...and did I take a swig of a baby Jack Daniels before the ceremony to calm my nerves? Yes, yes I did.

Before I knew it, it was time! We walked around the side of the church to enter a different door. My stomach was full of butterflies and I took deep breaths as we crept up the sidewalk. All of a sudden, I heard a little girl yell from the playground across the street. Look! It's a real-life princess! And then my heart burst. If you're going to hear one thing before you walk down the aisle, I'd have a hard time coming up with anything better than that.

We chose to have two of our amazing aunts - Ginny and Rosemary - open the church doors right before the organist switched to Canon in D, and right before my beloved stepdad helped me walk that long, red carpeted aisle.


 a glimpse of Patrick when the doors opened...and another glimpse of our vows. ^^^

The ceremony - to us - was absolutely perfect. My beautiful mother met my stepdad and I near the end of the aisle, and the three of us walked those final steps to Patrick. The biggest sense of relief came over me when my hands were placed in his. It was crazy, really. It felt like home. He later told me he felt the exact same calming feeling. I have to add that he looked so handsome it made my knees weak. He whispered to me that I had taken his breath away and that he loved everything about my dress...and that he giggled to himself when I got close enough for him to see that even my gown had a hint of sparkle. We both agreed it was very me ;) One of my brothers read the Art of Marriage while Patrick's college roommate read an excerpt from Mere Christianity. Despite crying during our rehearsal, I surprisingly held it together for the most part and only needed one tissue :) Our priest's homily...participating in communion with our guests by holding the chalice of wine...singing four versus of All Creatures of Our God and King...every minute felt so special. My favorite part of the ceremony? After Patrick kissed me, he grabbed my face and kissed my forehead in honor of his grandfather who always did that. It was the sweetest moment and I know he was looking down on his grandson with so much love and pride.

When our priest announced us as Mr. and Mrs. Patrick McAnaney, I threw my hands in the air in pure excitement! I couldn't help myself! We scurried into a stairwell and had a few moments alone to chatter through all of our thoughts and feelings. The church bells began to toll and we made our exit into squeals and cheers.


It felt exactly like a fairytale.

...and yes, Patrick's jacket is buttoned incorrectly. I was laughing so hard when I was going through the pictures.


I have no room to talk though, because when I went to sit down in the car? I completely missed the seat. Patrick started giggling and told me no one could tell where my legs even started in my dress and just to act normal since they were taking so many pictures. Meanwhile, I'm sitting on the floor of the car! I'm such a klutz. He managed to help me back on the seat and all we could do was laugh. We're quite the pair, aren't we? :)

pssst, a little video of our exit so you can hear the bells!

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After a couple snapshots, we hopped into a limo with our bridal party and had our first toast as husband and wife! Yay!!!

Let the celebrating begin :)

stay tuned for part 2!