Since the whole family was a part of the wedding party, the morning started out pretty hectic. My mother had made biscuits and gravy the day before so that we’d all have a hearty breakfast that would stick with us through the morning. My brother-in-law and nephew (groomsman and ring bearer) had to be at the church at 12:30 with Jay and the rest of the guys.
Parking in the National Park is at a premium, so we had to have a plan to get everyone to the church in as few cars as possible. Jay's mom had the first hair appointment of the day since she had to be at the church with the guys. BIL and the little man went to the hair salon with my sister and I to catch a ride to the church with the rest of the groom’s peeps.
Once the stylist (who’s also my cousin) finished with the Mother of the Groom, she started on my hair. Originally I wanted to keep it very simple. I contemplated doing my own hair, and just doing a low ponytail. Every time I did a test run, I found something wrong with it. I’m a perfectionist and wisely decided that I wouldn’t be able to suit myself. I didn’t need that kind of pressure on my wedding day.
I’m so glad I made that choice. She did a great job of keeping my hair simple, like I wanted, but still very elegant. While my sister was getting her hair done, I did my makeup. 10:30 and the day was drama free…but not for long.
My parents and my niece (the princess) met us at the salon in my sister’s minivan and we were going to carpool to the church. I had taken my makeup bag and veil into the salon, my parents had my dress, and my shoes were in the car my sister and I had driven. I asked for the keys to get them out and transfer them to the van. Only my sister had no clue where they were. She looked in her purse, diaper bag, pockets – practically everywhere.
She started freaking out, but amazingly enough I didn’t. I had on a pair of camo flip flops, but I knew that the dress was so long the shoes would never be seen. My sister offered me her shoes and said she would wear the ugly ones, but since her dress was tea length I shot that idea down right away. Just as we were about to give up and head on to the church, my mom found them. To be honest, I can’t remember where, but I do remember feeling a twinge of disappointment that I had the heels to wear instead of the more comfortable flops.
Even before the shoe drama, we were running a few minutes late, so there was a little tension about getting to the church at 1:15 as we had originally planned. Of course I reassured myself that they couldn’t start without me! If we were late we would just have to push pictures until after the ceremony.
We worried about traffic getting to the wedding – we were marrying in a church in Cades Cove in the National Park. Cades Cove is an 11 mile, one way loop. And I was getting married on the weekend that the leaves were the prettiest of the fall. With no traffic, the fastest that the road can be traveled is about 20 or 30 MPH. When people are stopping to take pictures, traffic can be a bear.
Literally in our case. About 5 miles before the loop, traffic in front of us came to a standstill. At first we were worried that the road was just that backed up from people trying to get to the loop road. Turns out, they were just stopping for wildlife. Two bears were on the side of the road up ahead. My father has never been a patient man, so on such a high anxiety day he was extra jump. He tried honking his horn to make noise to chase the bear away. Then he rolled down his window and screamed “if you wanna see a bear go to the d*mn zoo!”
Both actions were less than helpful. As we approached the spot where the bears were my mom yelled up at my dad “slow down, the princess wants to see.” So after berating the entire line of cars for stopping, my father stopped the car so my sister could get a picture and my niece could see the bears through her window.
Since there are no facilities at this one room church (no electricity either), we stopped at the camp ground parking lot before we headed into the loop. Safe to say, my dad was tailgating as we left the camp ground. The truck in front of us decided to be a smarty pants and go 3 miles an hour, even though there was no reason to. My dad put the pedal to the metal and passed the truck. As we zoomed by (at about 30 MPH) the driver of the truck gave us a big California howdy.
Once we got to the church, most all of the guests were there – got their early wanting to beat the traffic no doubt. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures to share with you all of the church, or the gorgeous scenery. My sister took all the pictures that I’m posting. We got a CD of all the pictures from our professional photographer, but I’m not sure if I can post them for copyright reasons. Here is one that my sister took of my grandparents.
We did have a couple of hang ups. The florist shorted us one bouquet, so my cousin walked down the aisle empty handed. The princess apparently had a growth spurt b/c her ballet flats didn’t fit and she had to walk down the aisle barefoot. During the unity sand, the pastor said “and for that reason a man should leave his wife” when he meant to say “leave his mother and father”.
All problems aside, the wedding was perfect. Parking was less of an issue than we had anticipated, the music was great, the kids did wonderfully (a remarkable feat given that my niece aka the flower princess is only 4 years old and the ring bearer was my 6 month old nephew). We did a fair amount of pictures, but we were still able to get to the reception hall pretty close to the same time as the rest of our guests did. Due to park regulations we couldn’t invite everyone to the wedding, but tried to include friends/family in the reception even if they could be a part of the wedding.
to be continued...