Our one year anniversary is sneaking up on us – can you believe it?! With all the drama and fallout this year from our flubbed nuptial trip to The Bahamas, the TripAdvisor scandal, the threats of lawsuits and assault from the hotelier, it’s no surprise I haven’t had a chance to share the shiny parts of our special wedding day.
There were shiny parts mixed in with all those clouds, I promise!
As I’ve said before, I woke up on our wedding day not knowing if the venue was going to be ready. The night before, we’d heard that we might be able to get in by 11 a.m. to decorate the space… might and 11 a.m. were interesting words to hear at our rehearsal dinner. But I was surprisingly chill in the moment.
My chill all boiled down to the fact that there was absolutely nothing I could do about the construction once we arrived in The Bahamas, so I figured why throw a fit and make things worse? I planned to have a conversation with management and get refunds after the fact, rather than upsetting myself even more during the week. (We all know how that went – they STILL haven’t responded to a single request to discuss.)
The day of the wedding, the staff cleaned up the last of the construction equipment and made the Pavilion, where our reception was to start at 5:30 p.m., presentable for the first time that week. I’d been pacing around since early that morning, antsy to get in and start decorating with my bridal squad and the suitcases full of goodies I’d brought to jazz up the space.
Seeing our reception venue isn’t quite ready
Laughing maniacally with Lauren
Ready perhaps wasn’t the right word choice to use for the Pavilion. Tools and equipment were shoved under the food serving areas and workers were still flowing in and out. I doubt the place would’ve stood up to any building or health code in the U.S., but at Bahama Beach Club, you may have noticed the law is more of a gray area. A suggestion, if you will.
While I decorated feverishly with a handful of my gals, Rick, his brother Harold and my brother Alex started getting ready in the groom’s suite.
Our dear family friend Chris helped the guys with their ties, hair and nerves. She came all the way from Australia and thank the Lord she did. We would’ve been lost without her!
As the fellas primped, the ladies finally decided everything looked as good as it possibly could in the Pavilion. When you only have a few hours before you walk down the aisle, at some point you have to prioritize your own beauty over the cohesion and elegance of the centerpieces.
I hurried back to Mom & Dad’s condo to meet the hairdresser.
Are you surprised that our experience with the hairdresser was as disastrous as everything else?
What I requested
What I got
The moment when the hairdresser finally left, I stood up to walk to the mirror and caught everyone in the room trying to avoid eye contact. The terrified looks on their faces told me everything I need to know about the state of my bridal hair.
Before I even made it across the room, the pins holding up my rats’ nest start pinging out of my hair and onto the floor. Hideous as it was, for $100, I’d expect my ‘do to at least last through the wedding. (Isn’t my sister’s face priceless? She had her hair done too and it was equally atrocious.)
My beauty support squad took over and before I could fully freak out, I was in the hair & makeup chair getting a do-over from all the gals in the room. Our videographer, my sister & my brother’s girlfriend tackled my hair with curling irons and wands while Rick’s brother Jonathan did magic with my makeup.
By the time Lauren arrived for a little pre-wedding pep talk and prayer, you couldn’t even tell that I looked like a bag lady just 30 minutes before.
As the clock ticked to 4:30, the fellas were getting antsy. Only a handful of people knew beforehand, but we had a big surprise planned for the ceremony. My little brother, Rick’s groomsman, was going to wow everyone as our surprise officiant.
We spent quite a bit of time during the week putting the finishing touches on the words, and he was super nervous. Not much rattles this kid – his demeanor in the hospital after getting very badly burned is something I’ll always marvel at – but weddings tend to poke him right in the feelings.
He had a very real fear that he might cry through the whole ceremony. Bless.
While Chris & Alex practiced the ceremony, Harold worked on his best man speech and Rick wrote me the sweetest note to go along with something new to wear with my dress – earrings! He got a little something new right around the same time.
When we decided on a stress free destination wedding in The Bahamas, I imagined I’d wake up on the day of my wedding, take a long walk on the beach to pray and reflect on the big step I was about to take, and then I’d get a nice, relaxing massage. Later, I’d meet up with the gals to sip mimosas while getting ready.
Reality was rather different, as you know! Between the construction delays, the hair mishaps, food miscommunications and an incident where one of my photographers split his nose open on a chandelier, that relaxing, reflective wedding day never materialized. (He’s ok!)
My wedding dress. WHOA. Things got very official at that moment.
After months of frenzied planning and with all the craziness of the week, the lies from the managers, the weather woes… I was finally in my wedding dress.
And thank God for some good news – the dress fit perfectly! (I was a little nervous after eating fried conch for a week leading up to the wedding day…)
Up next, Rick & I wanted to have a few minutes to pray together before the ceremony, but didn’t want to see each other until I was walking down the aisle.
Solution: hide behind the door.
That was a heavy moment, y’all.
Looking back, it seems so funny that we ever worried about getting married, but standing on the precipice of such a big life change, I admit I was awed by the uncertainty and magnitude of it all.
After we prayed together and Rick left to take his place at the altar, I was in a glass case of emotion. All at once I was deliriously happy, nervous, overwhelmed and still stinging from a week of ridiculousness. I might’ve cried a little bit more.
Rachel was by my side for every moment that day, and what can I say?
If you’re going to choose the perfect Maid of Honor, the best thing to do is be there the day she’s born and continually mold her into a taller, prettier, funnier version of you. By the time you finally get around to getting married, your made-to-order Maid of Honor will be ready to crush her duties.
Joking aside, this kid is my rock. My heart was beating so fast right before the wedding started, and she was right there with me.
At about 4:15 p.m. on Oct. 23, 2015, I took one last peek out the window at our friends and family who had gathered on the sand.
Rick was there, so that was a very good sign. The music was playing. Everyone was seated.