Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wedding Weekends

I had the pleasure of attending two weddings over the past two weekends.

Two weeks ago, I jetted off to St. Louis to celebrate the marriage of one of my best friends, Anna, to her groom, Brennen. Anna and Brennen got engaged 3 years ago, so this wedding was a long time coming, and I was so excited when Anna asked me to be one of her bridesmaids! I had never been to a wedding before (well, my parents each got remarried and I went to the wedding of a family friend when I was 8, so that's not exactly true), so I was so excited to see one my best friends get married and thrilled to stand up next to her and be there for the little details of her big day.

Tom picked me up from the airport on Wednesday, and we got to spend the day together (which was absolutely wonderful, as always) before I met up with my friend, Lindsay, to meet the girls to go out for Anna's bachelorette party. We spent the evening out in St. Louis and Illinois going to dinner, Bailey's Chocolate Bar for dessert, and out dancing at a country bar. It was such a fun way to catch up with my friends and give Anna one last fling before she became a Mrs!

Thursday was filled with wedding events, specifically the bridal luncheon and rehearsal dinner. The luncheon was at a lovely little cafe in St. Louis, and everything was just adorable. I had never really heard of a bridal luncheon before, but it was so nice to just be able to sit and talk get to know the other bridesmaids better and spend some time with Anna. If I'm able to, I think I'd like to do something similar when I get married. After going back to Lindsay's house and relaxing for a few hours, it was time to get ready for the wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal at the church was the first time the entire wedding party was together, and I was excited to see the groomsmen, most of whom I'm close friends with. The rehearsal was nice, and the dinner was a lot of fun. The groom's family hosted the dinner at Square One Brewery in downtown St. Louis, and I loved it. The floor was open to anyone who wanted to toast the couple, and I have to admit that I teared up during many of them.

Friday was wedding day! Lindsay and I arrived at the church at 10:00 on Friday morning with the other bridesmaids, and we spent a few hours hanging out, talking, dancing, and getting ready. Around 2:30, we headed to Forest Park to take pictures with Anna. It was SO hot outside, but we were all excited and the photographer worked quickly. After pictures, we headed back to the church, freshened up, spent a few minutes with a very nervous Anna, and lined up to walk down the aisle at 5:00.

I was nervous to walk down the aisle, so I can't imagine how Anna was feeling. Brennen and Anna chose not to see each other before the ceremony, so I paid special attention to the look on Brennen's face as Anna was walking towards him. He looked so, so happy, and proud, and I love that he cried. The ceremony was beautiful, and I know it was everything they wanted.

After the ceremony, the bridal party and families stuck around for pictures and then headed over the The Hill area of STL for the reception. The reception was so much fun! Great band, dancing, good food, open bar, friends, the perfect date: what could be better!? I loved dancing with Tom and getting to see so many of my Mizzou friends at the same time! The new Mr. and Mrs. left the reception around 11:00 and set off for their honeymoon in South Carolina the next morning.

I spent the rest of the weekend soaking up every minute with Boyfriend. I love when we're together, plain and simple. Everything is just...right. We spent a lot of time just talking and enjoying each other's company, and we went on a super date to see the new X-Men movie, HuHot, Coldstone, and Top Ten Wines. Like always, we squeeze a lot into just a few days together, but I always leave our time together that much happier, that much more confident in us and our relationship, and that much more in love.

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Last week, I headed to Blue Goose Cantina in Addison after work to meet up with a bunch of my Phi Mu sisters for Pali's bachelorette party! I was so excited to see everyone because everyone, including two of my best friends, Jill and Sherbs, were in town from Missouri for the wedding. It had been several months since I had seen my sisters, and I couldn't have asked for a better time! We had dinner, watched Pali open up her lingerie, and then headed to Sherlock's bar in Addison.

My best friend and pledge daughter, Whitney, got into town from Houston on Friday afternoon, and we had fun getting ready for the wedding together. We headed to the Cotton Mill in McKinney for the wedding around 5:30 and waited for the ceremony to start. The venue was beautiful! I've lived in Dallas almost my whole life, and I had never heard of this place. The ceremony took place outside and was short, sweet, and very representative of the couple's relationship and personalities.

After they were announced Mr. and Mrs., we headed inside for dinner and dancing. The reception was beautiful and everything, from the invitations, to the guest book, to the centerpieces, to the cake, followed a lovebird theme. Pali put a lot of thought into every detail of the wedding, and it showed. After dinner, toasts, and cake (delicious and beautiful cake) cutting, the Phi Mu girls hit the dance floor. Let me tell you, we brought the party. We had a blast dancing, talking, and just catching up after so much time apart.

Before Pali and Ben made their grand exit, the Phi Mu girls formed a circle around Pali and sang "Linger," a Phi Mu sisterhood song, to her in honor of her wedding day. There was not a dry eye in the circle once we finished. It was such a beautiful moment and the highlight of the night. I'm looking forward to my sisters singing to me at my own wedding.

Then, all of the guests waved Pali and Ben off with sparklers, and they set off for their amazing honeymoon in Belize the next morning.

I was lucky enough to have Jill, Sherbs, and Whitney stay with me that night after the wedding, and we stayed up until almost 5:00 am just talking and laughing. Although we don't get to see each other often, we are always able to pick up right where we left off like no time has passed at all. If that's not a mark of a strong, lasting friendship, then I don't know what is.

The next morning, the four of us went to breakfast, and then had to take Sherbs to the airport. Whitney, Jill, and I went to the mall and walked around for a while and saw "Bridesmaids," which is very fitting since Jill and I will be standing next to Whitney when she gets married next June! Then, we went back to my house and just hung out until Whitney had to hit the road to go back to Houston. Jill and I spent the rest of the night just talking and catching up on a few episodes of "Glee" (which ended the season amazingly, by the way).

The next day, my family and I decided to show Jill around Dallas since she had never been to the lone star state before. We started our tour at the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas. Although the Mavs were playing that game of the finals in Miami that night (which they WON, and became the CHAMPS!!!), Victory Plaza was super busy with everyone setting up for the big watch party. We then went to Dealey Plaza to see where JFK was assassinated. I'm fascinated by the Kennedys, and so is Jill, so we were excited to go to the Sixth Floor Museum. I had been to the museum when I was much younger, but I don't remember it.

After our Dallas adventures, we went out for a huge barbecue dinner before taking Jill to the airport. As always, saying goodbye was tough, but I know we'll see each other again soon!

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