Up until the time Adrienne and I got engaged, I never really thought about my wedding or what I wanted it to be like. That's not a really something guys sit around and talk about. There were certain aspects of weddings I'd go to or see in a movie that I liked, but as to where I wanted my own wedding to take place, or what kind of food I wanted...I never really gave it much thought.
But when Adrienne and I began planning our wedding, that changed a bit. As more time progressed, I began to give serious thought as to what I wanted in our wedding. I left color choices, flowers, cake, and things like that up to Adrienne, because let's be honest...She has much better taste than I, and none of that stuff really mattered all that much to me. It was her day, and I wanted it to be perfect for her.
What I wanted was to have a wedding and reception that I would want to go to if I were a guest. I wanted the wedding itself to be classic and elegant, but approachable and enjoyable for the people in attendance. I wanted it to be large enough for all of our friends and family to attend, but I wanted it to be intimate and seem exclusive at the same time. I wanted the reception to be a huge party...We were there to celebrate, not sit around and eat cake. It could have been all those things, I guess, no matter where we had it, but the First Christian Church in Burkesville and Dale Hollow State Park turned out to be absolutely perfect in every conceivable way.
It felt, to me, like a destination wedding, despite the fact it was right in Adrienne's own backyard. Virtually all of my guests had at least a three-hour drive, and most came in a day or two early so we all got to hang out at the hotel the night before. It was almost like an extension of my bachelor party, only much more reserved and more about just hanging out than anything. Thursday night, Clay and I laid around and watched TV...Just like we did countless nights back in our dorm at UK. Friday, a group of us all played golf before the rehearsal dinner, and Friday night the late-arrivals joined us on the patio of the second floor where we all sat around telling stories (almost all at my own expense) until early Saturday morning.
I told myself leading up to the weekend that I was going to slow down and make a conscious effort to soak it all in. It would have been very easy to look forward to the wedding itself all weekend, and let so many other great moments pass me by. And, in all reality, I did a good job of that. I remember thinking to myself early Friday afternoon just before teeing off on the 14th hole that it had felt like the weekend should almost be over, but it hadn't even really begun. And that was a wonderful feeling.
I wish that I could remember the ceremony as vividly as I do so many other things about that weekend. Truthfully, the ceremony itself was so nerve-wracking that I really only feel like I have a handful of mental images. I don't really remember much that was said by Brother Seth. I don't really remember seeing many familiar faces in the crowd. It was just one big blur...A church full of faceless bodies, the teacher from Peanuts squawking in the background, and the occasional private little moment between Adrienne and I as we stood at the alter. And I guess part of me likes it that way...The clearest memory I have of that day is Adrienne standing in front of me, her hands in mine, looking more stunningly beautiful than I could have ever imagined she'd look.
I'm so glad we were able to convince Jackie to have the reception at Dale Hollow. They all did a masterful job of decorating the reception hall, and it was exactly what I would have wanted it to be. I remember walking in early Friday morning and thinking it looked great already, and as Adrienne and I walked in with the room totally done and packed with our loved ones, I was blown away. It really looked like something out of a magazine. During the meal, I leaned over to my best man and said "This is exactly what I wanted from day one." He smiled, patted me on the back, and simply said, "I'm glad."
But it wasn't just the way it looked. It was the feel the room had all night. I looked around so many different times and saw my mom smiling and laughing, or doing the Wobble. I saw Jackie with an ear-to-ear grin, wine glass in hand, having the time of her life. All the work had been done and it was time to celebrate. And because we were there with that great staff catering to our every need, they were able to do just that. Like Liza said...I hope it was worth every penny.
Adrienne and I had the best time of our lives that entire weekend, and we were sitting on the couch last night on the verge of depression because it was over. We wanted to do it all again. From the golf game, to the rehearsal dinner, to the ceremony and reception...I literally could not have imagined it being any better, and I am so grateful to all the people that helped make it happen.
To my groomsmen and friends...You guys took time out of your own busy schedules to travel, rent tuxes, get a hotel room, play golf...Your collective presence made me forget about the nerves and provided me with memories I will cherish forever. It was awesome.
To Jackie and my Mom...You are both amazing women in your own right. Jackie, you spear-headed the planning of the entire thing when Adrienne and I were having to focus on other things, you took the responsibility of making sure the weekend went smoothly and executed it beautifully. We are both eternally thankful for that. Mom...You helped me in so many different ways, I can't really begin to describe them. You were instrumental in ensuring that so many of our loved ones were there, and you deflected any stress I might have been feeling. Thank you for being you.
To Liza...You introduced me to Adrienne. This weekend would have never happened had you not thought me worthy to date your sister. I look back on the version of myself that you knew and wonder how that was possible, but I am so glad it was. Seriously...From the bottom of my heart, thank you for that.
To Leigh...You ran around like a crazy person all day Saturday taking pictures and changing clothes and taking care of an energetic 3-year-old, and you did it all incredibly effectively. Thank you so much...Adrienne and I cannot wait to see all the pictures.
To the rest of my family and friends that made the long trip to attend...I can't explain how much it meant to have you all there to share in the day with me and Adrienne. I mean, I really can't. It was incredible, and I love you all.
I know Adrienne and I will always look back on it as the best weekend of our lives, because I honestly don't know how it could be topped. It was simply perfect in every way.