Wow! What a whirlwind. Family, friends, celebrations, toasts, swims, boats, traveling, pictures, food, and of course fun. The past three weeks, including our wedding and honeymoon, have been some of the best days of my life. I can’t really imagine them going any other way than they did and they will be precious memories I will never forget. The three weeks are best broken down by week, starting with the first week: Our Wedding!
Friday, July 29th was when we made our getaway from Seattle. Bags packed and carrying our wedding dress and suit in hand we had a smooth flight to Chicago, a mystery shop dinner in the Seattle airport, a taxi ride to our mystery shop hotel, the W downtown, and a late night asleep. Saturday morning we woke fairly early, walked to get breakfast at Yolk before picking up our sexy red Ford Focus rental car, checking out of the hotel and setting out for Michigan. The 2.5 hour drive to get to Tamara’s wedding in Watervliet, MI went smoothly until we realized that we lost an hour on the drive. We quickly stopped to change into our attendee attire in the hotel lobby’s bathroom before heading over to the Mill Creek Barns for a nice night celebrating the new Mr. and Mrs. Michael and Tamara Chism. We drove 30 minutes post reception to our hotel for the night in Kalamazoo and had a solid slumber.
Sunday morning Bryan and I went for a dreadful run along the Kalamazoo River in the heat and humidity. We cleaned up, checked out, and headed to Grand Rapids for a late lunch at the Kitchen where we dined outside next a famous band. We had a great lunch and then set out to continue heading north until we reached Leland, MI, the site for our wedding and the two cottages that our families would be renting for the week. Once in Leland we caught up with the families, unpacked, and all had a nice and casual dinner at Rick’s at the Cove in downtown Leland.
The rest of the week seemed to rush by with lots of things to do and more guests trickling in every day. Monday and Tuesday started the week fairly quiet with still just our family in town mostly. We got some crafts done, including the gorgeous welcome baskets, table seating logs, and other items. Bryan and I applied for our marriage license in Suttons Bay, met with our wedding coordinator for a walk through and had a wonderful taco bowl and margarita dinner at the Miller’s cottage Monday night.
Tuesday started the boat/jet ski mania for the week. We struck out with a boat rental but ended up getting two jet skis in Traverse City for the week that although chaotic, turned out to be a hit. We picked them up in TC and took a spin in West Grand Traverse Bay with Polly and Amy in town. We finished shopping for our list at Meijer’s and met back up with Amy, Polly, Paul and Kate to go for dinner and brews at the super cool Hop Lot in Suttons Bay. Food and drinks were great and we had a chill time talking and roasting s’mores around their campfire.
Wednesday we welcomed Sara and Philipp, the Dodds, and Billy and Valerie into town. We spent more time on the lake, even getting Trish on the jet-ski. We did a winetasting at Blackstar Farms with the Dodds, buying a wine for dinner and then Mom made her famous Sue’s Boil for all those in town at the Snodgrass cottage.
Thursday began the Couples Olympics. After picking up our marriage license we met the crew at the lake again for water fun. Chad, Jaime, Tamara and Michael were now there for the fun. At 5 pm we met all competitors in downtown to set out for the picturesque Sleeping Bear Dunes for the first, and most extreme, event. We passed out our competition attire and began the race up and down the 450 ft tall dunes. David was the first to the top winning a bottle of Crown Royale. Sandy and sweaty we all set out for Boonedocks in Glen Arbor. Our tables of 26 were quite the fun bunch and even Allie, John, and Mom and Dad made it to the bar for some drinks. It was my first time getting to hang with Nisa and Claire and they drove me back to the house for some of Nisa’s mom’s pad thai. So good and so missed.
Friday morning was the main day for Olympic Events. Events were held at the park on North Lake Leelanau. We had quite the day of fun with kayak races, corn hole, puzzles, wife carrying competition, water balloon races and the beer mile. We had a ton of fun and were happy the games went so well. We had to hurry home to clean up for the rehearsal. We were back at the Old Art Building before 5 pm to unload all of our stuff, meet with Katie and then head down to the beach with the wedding party for the rehearsal. The rehearsal went smoothly and we all walked back to the OAB for a wonderful BBQ dinner with all of our closest family and friends. It was a nice relaxing time and a wonderful night for an al fresco dinner. Everyone moved over to the Bluebird for welcome drinks for the remaining wedding guests. I finally got to catch up with all of the rest of those I had not seen yet. Although Bryan and I were exhausted when we left the Bluebird after 11 pm we went over to the OAB to practice our dance. That was a very special moment for Bryan and I and served as the perfect last alone time together before the big day.
Saturday felt more like a leisure day for me since I wasn’t even allowed to run around. 10 am I was at the Miller’s cottage with the hair and makeup crew already there to start their work. I had a teary morning with Mom and Dad and then again when I received a handwritten letter from Bryan. The girls started arriving and starting to get pretty and we had snacks from the welcome party and later champagne from Mawby to calm my nerves. Mom came over at 2 pm bringing a salad from Trish’s Dishes for us girls and helped me into my dress. The girls were all ready to go by 3 pm, an hour early, which helped as we were able to relax on the patio, chatting and drinking before the shuttle was there to pick us up. Our short ride over to the beach was fun and the girls left me and Mom and Dad came over for one last moment together. This part was really sweet for me and we one last time got all of our tears out. Mom left and it was just Dad and I. It seemed like a good while we were on our own and surprisingly my nerves were calmed. Dad and I got ready to make our walk down the aisle.
As we did it was really too much to take in. I can’t remember faces in the chairs, I only remember the altar, Bryan and the last time I had to fight back tears. The ceremony went smoothly, we exchanged our rings, we said our own vows and Bryan finally got to kiss his bride. I was ecstatic walking back down the aisle and we had our 10 minutes along together in the shuttle to take it all in. The wedding party piled back into the shuttle and we set out to take photos together. We got those out of the way, the family photos out of the way, a few more at the beach and then we were ready to join the party.
The reception was perfect in my mind. The emcee was excellent and kept it moving smoothly and with the perfect amount of humor. The dinner was great. The building offered so much soft lighting and was nice and airy. The temperature was perfect. The décor rentals and games were supposedly a hit (although I never really got an opportunity to use any of them) and then the dancing started. First dance, father and bride dance, mother and groom dance, toasts, cake cutting and then the dance floor was open. Bryan and I had to make our getaway for more individual photos and we were both ready to get back to the party.
I changed for Bryan and my lindy hop dance to Hallelujah I Love Her So by Ray Charles and then I was relaxed. The band was fantastically talented and I could have danced to them all night long. Once the music was cut off at 10 pm the entire group gathered up the remaining booze and headed to the bonfire on the beach. Also perfect! These are some of my fondest memories hanging out with our friends, roasting s’mores, drinking beers and wine from the bottle, taking a swim (!), and even Mom and Dad showing up at the tail end. We had to move everyone to the shuttle before the routes ended at 1 am and Bryan and I went to collect our wedding cake from the OAB freezer. We set towards the Snowbird Inn where we spent the next two nights as a married couple.
I also lost my voice for a full three days. Grandma and Mom made a delicious post-wedding brunch for those that remained and all of our guests began to say their goodbyes. It was so weird to be down to six people remaining but also necessary as our adrenaline had run out. Bryan and I returned the jet skis, drove around the peninsula to Northport, said our goodbyes to Mom and Dad and then had dinner of the trout that the boys caught with local produce with the Millers at the Whaleback Inn. Bryan and I served ourselves slices of ice cream cake, said goodbye to Lon and Trish and watched the beautiful sunset over Lake Michigan from where we got married. It was such a nice and quiet night. Monday morning we had a wonderful breakfast at the Snowbird of spinach and cheddar frittata, pancakes, muffins, and fruit. We packed out Focus up one more time and set out for the 5.5 hour drive back to Chicago, to drop off the rental downtown, take the EL to O’Hare and were off for our Honeymoon in Greece and Turkey!!!