All of the pictures in this post are from our wedding album.  Associate Ashley with Sharon Elizabeth Photography took our photos with the assistance of second shooter Blanche and assistant Katie.  Sharon Hundley of Sharon Elizabeth Photography did the editing in addition to answering my many many emails.  Kara Shae did the hair of all the women and Kristine Marie did all of the makeup.  If you have questions on how to contact them, please let me know!

The paperwork has been signed (leave it to the government to make something romantic full of red tape).  The vows were repeated and kisses were shared.  After all of the preparation, we are married.  I’ve attempted to write this blog a few times but needed more time for the dust to settle before I could really reflect on that day.  With a solid 7 days under my belt, I think it’s time to digest what happened on May 20, 2017.  Even though I’ll only be getting married once, it can’t hurt to consider what was learned.  So here it goes.

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Waiting and thinking.

Time is your enemy.  It moves slowly for weeks and then rushes forward the day of.  You spend months of your life planning for this day.  As items are completed and taken off the “to do” list, you grow more impatient for your wedding day to arrive.  Dress: check.  Suite: check.  Venue: check.  At some point there is only one item remaining to be completed:  get married.  So, you curse time for dragging along.  Until the day of your wedding.  Granted, I remained fairly impatient until about 1:00 pm.  While waiting for everyone to get their hair and makeup done, I thought that 5:00 pm would never arrive.  Seconds felt like minutes and, in turn, minutes became hours.  I genuinely considered taking a nap at one point, because I felt almost desperate for it to be wedding time.  Then, it was my turn to get ready.  From the instant I sat in the chair to get my hair done, time felt rushed.  I started to feel nervous/anxious/excited and had this sensation that I was about to miss it.  After all of the waiting, time was suddenly threatening to turn my wedding day into a blur.  I’ve been adamant that I wanted this day to be memorable.  I didn’t want it to be a fuzzy memory.  I wanted to savor and cherish every precious moment.

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Getting my make-up done while also taking a moment to calm the nerves.

Thank goodness for my make-up artist, Kristine.  She made me close my eyes while getting glammed up for the sake of ensuring my eyelashes had time to set.  I think she knew I needed a break.  It did wonders for me.  I calmed myself down, reminded myself that I was in control of this day and that I dictated the pace.  When I opened my eyes, I was ready.  So if you start to feel like your wedding is out of your grasp, take a breath.  Put to rest your doubts and insecurities.  Take it all in and give it time to sit in your heart before you move on.  Besides, a bride can do just about anything she wants on her wedding day.

Have a schedule but know when to be flexible and surround yourself with people that respect that.

Having a schedule is a wonderful thing.  I don’t know what I would have done with the schedule created by my photographer.  It gave me a sense of purpose and a timeline.  My nerves had something to focus on.  Maybe it is better to say that a flexible schedule is a wonderful thing.  There were places to be and things to do, but I never felt like we couldn’t change the plan a bit if something else presented itself.  I had time to sit in a quiet room and write Bradley a note on our wedding day.  There was time to hug on my Daddy during our first look without feeling like we needed to rush onto the next thing.  There was plenty of time to pull pollen and leaves out of my wedding dress before I walked down the aisle.  My mom and I had time to sit and laugh before I got dressed – some of those pictures are my favorite.  So I would recommend having a schedule but never feeling like it completely defines your day.  Communicate this need with your photographer.  Sharon and Ashley were wonderful at allowing me to frequently communicate my wants with them, and they respected that I needed to have a more casual and free-flowing wedding.  I’m grateful that I never felt like I needed to fight for that.  That being said, fight for it if you need to.

Do not underestimate the importance of a handkerchief on wedding day.  There will be tears and snot – no one warns you about the snot.

If you are a crier like me, make sure someone has a hanky on hand during the ceremony.  I gifted Bradley some pocket squares on our wedding day and am so glad I did.  I started to ugly cry right in the middle of saying my vows.  Not just a tear or two but the type of cry where you almost can’t breathe and snot is running down your chin.  So when the waterworks started, I just reached over to my groom and snagged the pocket square right out of his jacket.  It was a life saver and much more classy than a Kleenex or tissue paper.  

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This is one of Bradley’s favorite pictures.  I love that he is holding my hand with both of his.  Those are the details that make for true romance.

Also, if you have pictures of you crying – even if it is the ugly kind – keep those.  Bradley’s favorite pictures out of the hundreds taken are the ones of me wiping my eyes during the vows.  Those pictures are honest.  Those pictures represent the happiness I felt in that moment.  Those pictures are more than a picture because they are an actual emotion.  So keep the crying pictures.

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Thank you Pastor Cannon!  You gave us jokes during the rehearsal and wisdom during the ceremony.  You will always be part of our memories when we reflect on this day.

Try to have someone that you know and trust be the officiant.  We were lucky to have the pastor of our church complete the ceremony.  I’m glad for that in a number of ways.  We completed pre-marriage counseling with him and that was such a positive experience.  We were able to talk about our individual characteristics and goals in a way that helped us better understand how to come together as a couple.  (For example, I can be quite assertive about what I want.  I know, I know.  This is shocking for those that know me.  I have to be mindful that I don’t bulldoze my husband, that I take the time to ask him what is important to him, and that I recognize the need for compromise.  I appreciated having that directly said to me.)  It also solidified for us that we have a support system available to us if we need it.  And, finally, we have someone in our lives that not only witnessed our commitment to one another but can hold us accountable.  Our pastor made a beautiful statement during our wedding that really spoke to my heart.  He spoke about love as a choice, rather than a feeling.  We choose to enter into a union with another person with the understanding that we are responsible for making that choice every day.  Furthermore, my love of Bradley is independent of his love for me.  Either I love him wholly, or I do not.  And should he wake up tomorrow and say that he no longer loves me, those words should not diminish the love I have for him.  I thought that was beautiful and honest and true.  I never doubted that Pastor Cannon would take our ceremony seriously and that he would provide us with wisdom on our special day.  If you have someone in your life that can offer you that, have them be your officiant.  

We chose this church together in the summer of 2016, shortly after moving to Smithfield.  It was the perfect site for our wedding.

There is also something sweet about getting married in the church you go to every week, the church that would likely be the site of your children’s baptism (should we choose to have children), and the church that will support you during difficult times.  If you have the ability to do that, I highly recommend it.  It is impossible to go to church now without thinking about our wedding day – I enjoy that reminder and hope it will serve me well in the future.  

The definition of “love drunk”:  a man that is freshly married.

Take advantage of the fact that your husband will be too love drunk to object to taking posed pictures that are covered in sweet, sappy, gooey love.  Bradley Lowe is a dirty pair of jeans and bandana kind of man.  And while he is always affectionate with me, he can be a bit shy about PDA when others are around.  But he couldn’t tell me “No.” on that day.  So take advantage of that!  Kiss on them and pose them and make them do all kinds of things that they would normally tease their friends about.  

There is something perfect about laughing with someone you love.

But amidst the poses, take time to laugh.  Genuinely laugh.  Enjoy yourselves – you just got married!!!  They say your wedding day is the happiest day of your life.  And, up until now, it has been.  I was silly happy.  A meteor could have landed five feet away from me, and I would have been too busy giggling to notice.  The pictures of us walking down the aisle after being announced “Mr. and Mrs. Bradley Low” are so special to me because we are goofy grinning.  And those goofy grins are perfectly us.

Go on!  Get gone!  Let everyone else entertain themselves for a bit while you soak in that married feeling.

Have some alone time.  Like real alone time.  Just the two of you.  And not at the end of the night when you are exhausted. After the wedding and the pictures, we loaded up in his truck and went back to the Inn for a few minutes before meeting back up with the family.  I’m so glad we did.  We had a brief moment to be husband and wife.  Just husband and wife.  Not son and daughter, or brother and sister.  Just husband and wife.  I got to tell him all the things I forgot to include in my letter, and I was able to give him the kind of kiss that you don’t show in public.  Family and friends can wait for a minute.  But your wedding day won’t wait for you – time won’t stop.  And once that moment is gone, it won’t come again.  Enjoy that freshly married feeling while you can; it is one heck of a feeling.  

The powerhouse of women that helped with our wedding!  Blanche and Ashley are rocking out on the top row, Katie is in the middle with Kara on hair and Kristine doing make-up.  Thank you!  

My last thought is to be grateful.  It is so easy to be stressed or preoccupied.  You worry about flowers coming in on time or about being ready when the photographer arrives.  Negativity has a way of creeping in.  Create space for gratitude.  If you have someone doing your hair and make-up, be grateful and tell them thank you.  They saved you the hassle of doing it yourself and offered up their time and energy to ensure you look amazing.  And they usually do this on a Saturday when most people are lounging.  Be grateful for that service.  Tell your photographer that you value their skill and the gift of having sweet reminders of your wedding day.  I had a team of three women helping with our pictures – they were all positive, upbeat, and encouraging.  Had their personalities been different or their work ethic lacking, our entire day could have had a different feel.  Recognize that.  

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Our support group.

Be grateful to the people that support your wedding and help make it a reality.  I’m so thankful for my parents – for a mother that supported my tiny wedding and for a father that walked me down the aisle.  I’m thankful that Bradley’s mother has always shown me grace and love, and that his father offered me his traditional sideways hug after the wedding while saying “Welcome to the family.”  I’m grateful for friends that called and texted to send their love while never making me feel bad about not having a bridal party or a large wedding.  

I never worry about our future, Bradley.  Just one look at you, and I rest easy.  I love you.

And, perhaps most importantly, be grateful for your spouse.  On that day, and on every day, I am so grateful for Bradley:  grateful that he showed me a love that has always been simple and true; grateful that he chose me to share his name and his life;  grateful that our relationship has never experienced doubt, in large part due to the work and effort that he constantly pours into our union; grateful that he handles me tenderly and with affection; and I am most grateful that he offers his love to me generously and without hesitation.  Whether there were 10 people or 10,000, there would have been no wedding without him.  

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I’m sure I had a million more thoughts on that day but I will keep some to myself this time.  Some things are best treasured alone.

2 thoughts on “Married

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