Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Goin To The Chapel

My dear friend Julie got married this past weekend. Steven and I attended both the rehearsal (picnic) dinner and the wedding + reception, and we took seventy-bazillion pictures. :)

The rehearsal was, in true Southern fashion, an outdoor barbeque picnic. The tables were adorned with magnolia flowers, and the food was fresh and delicious.

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Our bride-to-be was glowing and happy -- so cute!

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Upon our arrival, Julie's mom promptly nametagged Steven as "bride's friend." My name tag said "bride's college roommate/photographer." It made me smile, because it kinda sounded like I roomed with her and was simultaneously her photographer. In college.

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After much feasting on BBQ and homemade salsa, people started toasting the bride and groom. I wanted to stand up and say something, but I had no idea how to encapsulate my entire decade-or-so of knowing Julie into one little tidbit. (Also, as Steven reminded me after the rehearsal, I tend to get nervous in social speaking situations like that. Give me a podium or a courtroom, fine, no problem. But give me a gathering of close friends requiring a sentimental anecdote with a "moral of the story" ending? I get all sweaty-palmed and gummy-lipped.) I think I said something about how I was an angst-ridden freshman in college and used to constantly whine to Julie that I'd never find love, and how Julie used to always keep telling me that I'd find someone perfect someday.

At that point in the story, I said, "And then I found Steven." And Steven stands up and goes, "Hi, I'm Steven." Everyone laughed, and I summed up my little story by saying, "And now, Julie, you've found love, and we're so happy for you."

Then Steven proceeded to steal the show with his own rendition of how he met Julie. Essentially, as the story goes, in the first few weeks we dated, I made him come to a restaurant to have dinner with Julie, so she could see what he was like -- you know, the old "see how the roommate likes the new boyfriend" thing? Steven told the tale hilariously, calling it The Interview, and gesturing to show the 'bead of sweat' that rolled down his brow as he tried to dress up to make a good impression.

The crowd erupted with laughter, and people were clapping him on the back at the wedding the next day, telling him what a show-stopping and entertaining toast it was. One guy even told Steven it was the best toast of the night. I laughed and said, "Yeah, he showed me up big time!"

"He sure did," the guy said, but then quickly backpedaled. "Oh... um, I mean, no offense or anything.... this guy would show anybody up."

He is a charming one, that Steele.

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The next day, we drove to an IHOP near my parents' house to have breakfast with Mom, Dad, and my youngest brother, Chris. It was fabulous and far too short.

Once back in wedding territory, I hoofed it to Julie's parents' house to help take pics while she got hair and makeup done. It happened to be a fabulous occasion to try out my new flash, which worked swimmingly.

This is the bride's sister, Christina, holding a mirror so both Julie and her almost-sister-in-law (also Christina) can see the hair-in-progress. Both Christinas were fantastic and kept me laughing.

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Here's a peek of what I looked like most of the weekend. (See me?)

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I couldn't keep all of the family members straight, so I made myself a chart, of sorts. (It helped.)

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At the chapel, we found the dressing room and Christina helped Julie into The Dress.

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Jewels spent the last nervous minutes writing and re-writing out her vows.

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I was terrified she was going to get that red ink on her dress.

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(She didn't.)

The ceremony itself was beautiful, as wedding ceremonies always are.

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I spent so much thought-energy on snapping pictures that it didn't even sink in that ohmygosh--Julie'smarried! until later at the reception, when I saw her dancing with her dad. I shed a little tear, it was so sweet.

The reception was straight out of Southern Living magazine -- Steven and I both decided that it was very "antebellum" in a beautiful way.

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We sat with another of my dear friends, Jenn, and relaxed and enjoyed the reception food.

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More accurately, Jenn and her friend Andrea gracefully enjoyed the reception food, whilst I did a faceplant into my plate and chowed down, because I was totally starving at that point. (To all you wedding photographers out there, you have earned my utmost respect -- wedding photography is SO much more difficult than I had anticipated -- that is some seriously hard work, lugging that camera around all day and snapping away!)

While I stuffed my face, the newlyweds danced their hearts out.

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And so did the flowergirl and ringbearer.

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(This little guy is going to have the girls chasing after him in no time.)

At the end of the night, we made the new couple run past some open flames. Just for fun.

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Steven also enjoyed the sparklers.

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Perhaps a little too much.

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He almost lit his car keys on fire.

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All in all, a lovely weekend wedding for a lovely couple. Congrats, Julie and Shawn, and I promise to send you all seven billion pictures on CD as soon as Steven takes me to Target to buy some CDs to put them on. :) (Hint, hint, Steven. Also, can I buy a new summer dress since we're going to Target anyway?) :)

Enjoy your honeymoon, you two!

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