My cousin got married this weekend, and celebrating with her and her groom was such a wonderful way to spend time with friends and family. We got the opportunity to spend time together for most of the weekend, basking in the sunshine and the joy of the happy occasion. Of course, it also made for a good excuse to eat our fill of Famous Dave's catering and dance till we dropped. Carrie, the bride, was so calm and organized as we set up all the tables and put out all the decorations on Saturday morning. Everyone pitched in, lending hands and skills as needed. She knew what she wanted the tables to look like and guided the rest of us, transforming the empty barn into a beautiful reception room full of flameless candles, mason jars, fall-colored bouquets, and tree rings. She had an abundance of decorations that she let us have room to be creative with when it came to setting up the side tables-- pictures of the bride and groom, chalkboard signs, jars of flowers, and wooden crates. We went to town, having a blast trying our hand at our small-scale interior decorating project.
It was fun to see everything come together as the barn slowly turned from a cavernous, empty space into a beautiful wedding venue with the help of all the friends and family who were kind enough to lend a hand for the setup. Things came together quickly, and before we knew it, it was time for the wedding party to begin getting ready for pictures before the ceremony.
The farm the wedding was held at had an adorable little single-room house of sorts for the girls to use as a dressing room, and we packed in there like excited little schoolgirls. Amidst the laughter, pizza, makeup application, hair-curling, and frantic searches for the hairspray, we sat back and enjoyed one another's company on this momentous occasion, knowing it would never come again, cherishing the precious time we had with the bride-to-be. When she put her dress on, we had to rush for the tissue box to keep our freshly-applied makeup from smudging with our tears.
We were blessed with gorgeous, sunny-but-cool weather the entire day, a reflection of the beauty of the marriage that began as we gathered to celebrate the bride and groom. As they read their own personalized vows and poured the two different colors of sand into their vase to symbolize their unity, I found myself grinning from ear to ear as I considered the happiness of the two of them, the way each of them brings out the best in the other, and the joy that comes with adding another member to the family.
The ceremony was beautiful and the reception was a wonderful combination of good food and conversation, as we served ourselves from the buffet line, listened to sweet toasts from the maid of honor and best man, and concluded the night with music and dancing.
It's difficult for me to think of what might have been the best part-- the beautiful weather we were so blessed to have? Getting to spend the entire day with my cousins and friends? Seeing family members who live far away? Getting the opportunity to lend a hand and be a part of such a major milestone in my cousin's life? Watching my other cousin's little boy dance around in his cowboy outfit like the little ham he is? It was all so wonderful!
But I think my favorite part was seeing the bride and groom so truly happy with one another, knowing they were surrounded by friends and family who love them dearly, about to embark on a new adventure of living life together, beginning their own family, with the rest of their lives before them. Their sweetness and joy permeated the entire day, from setting everything up to tearing it all down, as we all took trips down memory lane with old stories and dreamed about what the future might look like for the happy couple. May their lives together be filled with love, laughter, and joy.