Thursday, October 10, 2013

Our First Look.

 I have tons and tons of great memories and very few bad ones... I've lived a very blessed life and for that I am so very thankful.  I have so many memories from my childhood with Mom and Dad, my high school and college years, PA school, and the days since I've met Brian.

However, there are a few select memories that just absolutely light up my soul.  The few select memories that remind me how blessed I am and how with every decision we make in life it leads us to where we are inevitably meant to end up.  Our first look is one of my "light up my soul" memories!

Brian and I debated for months about whether or not we should do a "first look" at our wedding.  In case you're not familiar, a first look is when the bride and groom have a special moment together before the wedding where they see each other for the first time.  I've always loved the idea of the anticipation of not seeing the groom until you're walking down the aisle and watching to see his expression when he sees his bride for the very first time.  I'll admit that when I go to a wedding and the doors open for the bride to walk in my eyes go immediately to the grooms face.  I love to watch the expression of pure joy on his face when he sees his future wife in her beautiful gown for the first time.

I really struggled with this decision.  I love the traditional approach but I also love the idea of having an intimate first look.  Ultimately Brian and I decided to go with the first look and we're oh so glad that we did.  Overall I would say that we're relatively private people.  He is my very best friend and we spend most of our days and nights together... just the two of us (when we're not working of course!).  We loved the idea of having a few moments together before we were seen by anyone else, without the pressure of one hundred people awaiting our expressions and reactions, and we LOVED the idea of being able to do all of our photos before the wedding so we could attend cocktail hour with our guests.  

I'll admit that leading up to the wedding day (even the night before!) I was wondering if we should actually do a first look.  I wondered if we would be missing out on that special moment of walking down the aisle and seeing each other for the first time.  

Looking back at this special moment I can tell you that it will actually go down in my mind as my most treasured memory of all time!  I'll never ever forget the way I was feeling before I saw Brian.  I really wasn't prepared to be nervous... but I was.  I wasn't nervous about marriage or about making the commitment to Brian... that part was SO SO easy for me!  I'm pretty sure that my "nervous" feelings were actually feelings of anticipation and excitement. I was so excited and it really hit me the morning of July 6th that this was the very moment we had been waiting almost five years for.

I, of course, spent the first part of the day surrounded by the most amazing women in the world.  There will be more on our awesome bridal party later!  My Mom was right next to be all day long... I wouldn't have had it any other way.  My Mom is my hero!  

I had a "first" first look with my Daddy.  I was all ready in my gown, hair and makeup finished, with my beautiful Momma and best friend holding my hand.  They had Dad hidden behind a corner walkway of the hotel and as I walked around the corner I saw the very first man I ever loved.  Seeing my Daddy's big smile has always and will always melt my heart.  

I hopped in the car with Momma and Daddy and B was with John and Pat.  We drove separately to a botanical garden in Asheville where Lauren Clark, our photographer, picked out a gorgeous wooden bridge for us to meet.  When we arrived at the gardens I knew Brian was somewhere in a car behind us.  I sat in the car with Mom and Dad for what felt like an eternity to all three of us!  Dad was in and out of the car trying to figure out if it was time for us to head to the bridge.  

When we finally got the OK, I walked arm in arm with Mom and Dad down a set of stairs made of natural stone.  As we turned the corner I saw John and Pat who both looked so wonderful and so happy!  There are no words to express how blessed I feel to have joined such a sensational and loving family.  They are truly gems.

And then I saw him.   

There was my Brian standing in the middle of a wooden bridge with his back turned towards me.   

I held onto my Daddy's arm as he walked me to the middle of the bridge and then retreated back to stand next to HIS bride of 37 years.  At this point it was finally time.  I was able to grab Brian's arm and turn him around getting my first glimpse of the most amazing man in the entire world.

One of my very favorites.
Pure bliss.

We took a few minutes, that I will cherish until the day I die, to just be together and look at each other.  It gave us an opportunity to take it all in. To cry and hug each other for as many minutes as we wanted.
At that very moment all of the nervous feelings were gone.  I knew I was right where I was supposed to be with the very man God had hand picked for me.  

It was so special to have this moment, this private moment, that we were able to share with our parents. It meant so much to have them standing with us knowing that not only were they standing behind us on the bridge that day but that they would be standing behind us for the rest of our lives.

Our parents joined us on the bridge, we shared an amazing bottle of Biltmore Champagne which was gifted to us by the manager of Fresh Market the day before, and we were able to spend some quality time as a family.  Dad opened the bottle and the cork went soaring through the air, through the trees, and into the creek running below the bridge. 


We had a few minutes to laugh and joke before the celebration began with all of our family and friends.  After finishing off the bottle of champagne and taking some family photos we were joined by our wedding party who arrived in an original Asheville trolley.  This also meant that we were able to finish every single wedding photo before the wedding and fully embrace the joy of cocktail hour!

Here are a few of my favorite photos taken before our wedding.

I would not trade this precious memory for anything in the world and when I'm sitting in my recliner as a wrinkly old lady this is one of the stories that I will tell my children and grandchildren over and over and over again. 

I know everyone has different opinions and different ideas about how a wedding day should go.  My advice... do what feels right to you!  Lots of people prefer the traditional approach, which I've witnessed at several of by best girlfriends weddings, and could tell by their reactions on their special days that it is equally as fabulous and just as special.  

My opinion is that, at the end of the day, as long as you're married to the person of your dreams then you've had a successful wedding.  After all, its not the wedding that makes the marriage! 

I know this was a once in a lifetime experience, a once in a lifetime moment, and that what we share is a once in a lifetime love.  I feel so very blessed!

Until next time...


(All photos that you see on this post were taking by the one and only Mrs. Lauren Clark)

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