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Catching up? Here’s what you may have missed (or purposely skipped because maybe you’re mat at me? I don’t know):
The night before our wedding — and the whole week leading up to it — felt a lot like the night before a big race.
For one, you’re pretty careful about what you eat because you want to take care of yourself and feel your best.
You’ve worked so hard to get to this point — training, planning, devoting a big chunk of time and energy to make sure everything comes together on the big day — and you’ve probably had a lot of tremendous supporters along the way. Maybe even some cowbells.
And then there’s the weather. You check it a lot.
When Brian and I agreed to have an outdoor ceremony and a mainly outdoor reception, we agreed on one thing: We would not stress over the weather. It was something we couldn’t control, so why bother?
In the days leading up to the wedding, the weather fluctuated a lot. At times it seemed like we may get rain or clouds. But when I woke up Saturday morning, I knew we were in the clear. It was going to be a picture-perfect day. Literally.
I fell asleep easily enough on Friday night, in part because I was exhausted and in part because I was just really super pumped to wake up.
Conroy (my former roommate/night-before-the-wedding sleepover buddy) and I woke up at 5 AM. A little background about Conroy: She’s the one who taught me all about running! When I found her on Craigslist and moved into our Upper Upper Upper East Side (it was 100% Harlem) apartment, she had all these medals on the wall, and I was like, “Those are shiny, what are they?” And she patiently explained to me what running is and educated me about racing and half-marathons and then she ran my first half with me and eight years later we are still great friends.
Anyway, Conroy and I planned to wake up at 5 AM for a Wedding Day Run!
There was a time when I thought I’d send an email out to all the guests being like, “We’re waking up and running if you want to join!” But I wanted to keep it a more quiet thing, and I’m so glad I did. It was a nice, easy, low-key and relaxing way to start the day.
We were up at 5 and out the door by 5:30. The city was so quiet and peaceful. It was completely dark out when we started running along the West Side Highway, and I loved seeing all the cruise ships pass by. I had a ton of energy, so I ended the 5.2-mile run with a few sprints, trying to shake out some of the adrenaline.
Fun fact about this run: It was my first entirely bathroom-stop-free run in months. A wedding day miracle!
I was bouncy and giddy by the time we got back to the hotel.
It was time to get ready! Wedding Day!!!
I had plenty of time before the glam team and my bridesmaids would come to the room, so I took a bath. There was something very indulgent-feeling about taking a bath on my wedding day. Conroy and I had music blasting and I had stocked up on tons of snacks so we had a room full of food.
The wedding ceremony was starting all the way uptown at 2:30 PM, so the girls’ call time was 8:30 AM. That gave us three hours for everyone to get their hair and makeup done, plus two hours to get dressed, chill, and start taking photos before heading down to the shuttle to make the drive uptown.
Everyone, glam team included, started trickling in right on time, and got right to work.
Brian and I didn’t see or talk to each other before the ceremony, but we did exchange cards, which was fun. I had Conroy slide my card for him underneath his hotel room door, and a few minutes later, a card slid under my door. His card made me tear up, but not cry. I was holding it together like a champ!
I gave the girls their gifts — a tote bag with a bunch of things inside, like mango soap (duh) and onesies for us all to wear while we got ready, and everyone was making me feel very special.
My glam team got me ready so fast. We had done a hair and makeup trial, of course, but they had me done before Erin, our photographer, had even arrived! (Fine by me. I’m not big into the “getting ready process” photos.)
As for my hair: I knew I wanted it half up, and I knew I wanted braids involved. Obviously. I had the idea for a mini semi-hidden halo braid behind the main braids, and my girl was happy to oblige. I was super happy with how my hair and makeup turned out.
My direction for my makeup was “really natural, nothing visible on the lips.” I am so not a lipstick girl. So I had some on, but nothing bright or attention-getting.
I didn’t care how my bridesmaids wore their hair. I didn’t care what they wore on their feet. I didn’t care about their jewelry. I cared that they were happy and well fed and hydrated.
At some point the flowers got delivered. Cool story. I loved how they turned out, especially since I didn’t give the florist a ton of direction beyond “green and white, mostly green, with round flowers and nothing sticking out and also here is my budget, thanks.”
Once we were all hair-ed and makeup-ed (and champagne-d…just a glass), it was time to get dressed.
The whole morning felt very surreal. I’ve been to and in so many weddings, but I kept having to remind myself, “This is my wedding day!”
All the while, I felt really calm. All the stress and anxiety of the previous day — and uh, the previous 10 months — had disappeared. The hay was in the barn!
I was so happy with how my dress turned out. It fit perfectly (it was actually still a tiny bit big on top, but good enough), and I felt good and comfortable when I put it on. I could move and breathe. Jackpot.
Once I was all put together, my dad came to the room to visit, and I cried for the first time that day. (My mom and Bridesmaid Michael had already shed multiple tears by this point.)
It wasn’t until the girls started heading down to get on the shuttle that I realized I needed to pee. Bridesmaid L-One and Erin (poor photographer) lifted my dress so I could pee, and in the process of holding everything up, I peed all over my hand. SUCH A BRIDE.
Then, to avoid being seen by all our guests waiting for the shuttles in the hotel lobby, we snuck out through the freight elevator.
I was a little stressed on the drive to the ceremony because there was traffic around the United Nations (did I mention the UN General Assembly was going on at the time?) and I knew the shuttles would be delayed because of it. I didn’t want to start late, but I also didn’t really care about anything in those moments. I took some time in the shuttle to read my vows and took lots of deep breaths.
Once Central Park came into view (we got married in the Central Park Conservatory Garden, but I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that at some point), everything started to feel very real. I knew Brian and the guys were already at the park, and I couldn’t wait to see them.
I welled up again when we pulled up to the Conservatory Garden. It was time! Almost.
We had a little while before the shuttles would get to the ceremony, so us girls hung out in our “waiting area” taking photos and watching people arrive.
I was antsy to get started, and I knew we were running late, but I also loved not being in charge and knowing Douglas was handling everything. I could see the back of Brian’s head from where we waited and couldn’t wait to really see him.
I saw Dee, my college roommate, which made me cry again. We have a very special relationship (that sounds cheesy, if not a little sketchy!) and she was doing a reading at the ceremony and I was wearing her veil, so she’s the best. I was so happy to see her and loved getting a pre-walk-down-the-aisle hug.
And then Douglas lined us up! It was go time.
All professional photos by Erin Baiano, the coolest, most badass bitch you will ever meet. Or maybe not meet. But you never know!