After almost of eleven months of planning, the big day was so close! I was never one of those girls who dreamed of their wedding. I watched my fair share of Say Yes to the Dress, but didn't have any ideas beyond the fact that I knew I wanted a big wedding in a church. Therefore, there was lots of planning to be done and I had a ton of fun doing all of it.
The Wednesday before the big day, one of my maids of honor, Karen arrived. Once she arrived, it made everything feel so real. I had finished my practicum hours and was done with school for the week and now the first guest had arrived!! On Thursday, my mom and I had a few errands to run, but it was a pretty calm day overall. My brother Andrew flew in from Denver, my bridesmaid Rachel drove down from DC, Mike showed up, and my bridesmaid Sara's train pulled in all throughout the day. Since it was so close to Thanksgiving, my mom picked up a mock Thanksgiving dinner for all of guests. It was amazing to having all of these people that I love all together. Some of them had never met before, but I remember sitting at the table watching how everyone just clicked. After dinner, I headed to bed while Rachel and Karen went to pick up my other bridesmaid, Poorna. Her flight had been delayed, but she made it!
The next day was party time! My aunts and one of my cousins had planned a nail party and luncheon for all of my bridesmaids, myself and my mom to get my nails done. While we were there, my other maid (matron) of honor, Anna, flew in and made it just in time to get a mani/pedi and join the party. Now that everyone was there, we were in full celebration mode. The mani/pedi party was such a fun way to spend the day with all of my favorite girls!
|showing off our newly painted nails!|
After the luncheon, there wasn't a ton of time before we had to be at the rehearsal!! We met Missy (our day of wedding planner...side note: this was the best investment we made in the wedding. If anyone is having any doubts about having a day of wedding planner, do it.) and the boys at the church. I was giddy with excitement! We talked to the priest, who went over everything that needs to be done. Mike and my siblings practiced their readings and we went over how to proceed into the church. I teared up when my dad and I walked down the aisle to music, but other than that, it was smooth sailing.
Once the rehearsal was all done, we made our way to the rehearsal dinner. We had invited all of our out of town guests, so we had a large crowd for dinner. I loved this because it gave me a chance to see so many people that I hadn't seen for a while. I didn't end up staying too long because I knew the next day would have an early start, but Mike and the boys had a ton of fun and got to know the Norfolk bar scene pretty well that night.
|Mike's dad welcoming everyone and thanking them for coming :)|
Saturday!! Wow!! I actually slept pretty well the night before once I fell asleep, but I remember just thinking over and over again how excited I was. Saturday started pretty early because we had to get our hair done before heading to the church. I had so much fun getting my hair done with my girls and just enjoying the excitement. Once we got back to our house, the trolley was there to take us to the church. The trolley ride was full of just lots of happiness. We sang songs like "Going to the Chapel" and "I think I wanna Marry You!" I had planned to get dressed at the church since they had room for me, which made it so much easier. The excitement continued as my mom, myself and my bridesmaids hung out in the church. The photographers arrived and we got me dressed (it's truly a group effort getting the bride into her wedding dress).
People kept coming into the room where we were getting ready, such as my dad, grandfather and my aunts.
|I love this picture|
|my dad hadn't seen me in my wedding dress, so this is like his first look.|
It was so exciting to have people coming into the room to see how I was doing. It was also super exciting because I knew Mike was just across the hall, getting ready with all of his guys.
I knew I wanted to have Mike's first time seeing me be when I walked down the aisle, but I had seen people stand up against a wall and be able to talk to their fiance before the wedding. My matron of honor Anna did it and it was one of the few times I've seen Anna cry.
This turned out to not be as romantic as I thought it would since I couldn't hear what Mike was saying, people were staring and I wasn't sure what I wanted to say besides hi. I was so excited though that it didn't really matter. After we said our goodbyes, Mike headed down the aisle and the girls lined up ready to process in. When it was time for my dad and I to walk down the aisle, I remember feeling really calm. I had teared up the night before, but this time, I was actually very calm. As the ceremony began, I remember thinking that this was already the best day of my life.
Throughout the ceremony, I was amazed. I remember thinking that, despite this being a very traditional wedding, it was so special to me. Our vows were amazing and Mike was a rockstar. I remember thinking that I was truly blessed. I loved the feeling of the church, filled with so many people I loved and who had helped make Mike and I the people we are today. I remember sitting and watching people take communion. As the went to return to their seats, I watched as they walked by Mike and I and just thought how lucky I was. It was an incredible feeling. There aren't many times that you get to be surrounded by people from all different points in your life.
After the ceremony, we waited for everyone to leave the church and gather outside for the sword arch. Anna and her Mike had done this at their wedding and I thought it was a great closure to the wedding ceremony. For those who haven't seen this, the swordsbearers gather in two lines and cross their swords. When the bride and groom come out, they must kiss before each sword can be risen (four kisses total for us). When the bride and groom kiss for the last time and cross under the swords, the best man (traditionally) slaps the bride on the rear and says "Welcome to the Navy, Mrs. Hogan!" It's such a fun tradition and I'm so glad we incorporated it into our wedding.
The entire wedding party boarded the trolley and headed to the reception. We popped bottles and celebrated on the ride over and it was amazing. Once we were there, we took some pictures before the bridal party headed into the reception for cocktail hour. One of my favorite parts of the day was what Mike and I did next. While everyone else was at cocktail hour, we enjoyed a private dinner by ourselves. We had a waiter bring us food upstairs while everyone else was downstairs. It was the first time Mike and I had actually gotten to talk to each other that day. Plus, we were both starving! Norfolk Yacht was incredible and even played our first dance song while we were eating. Again, I definitely recommend this to anyone and everyone who can fit it into their wedding day. Once we were done eating, we went down to the reception where we were introduced as LT and Mrs. Hogan!
Since we had eaten dinner already, we got to make the rounds and say hello to everyone while they were eating. It was so much fun and everyone was so happy! The rest of the night was a blast! We had great speeches by my dad (BEAT ARMY!) and our best man and maids of honor. There was a TON of dancing and I don't think Mike and I sat down for more than a few minutes.
|My parents had just as much fun as Mike and I did, which was well deserved! I love these two!|
|of course there was a congo line.|
The reception ended and we headed back to the hotel for a quick minute before headed out to the bar to meet all of our friends. I'm traditionally not a late night girl and like to honor my unofficial bed time of midnight, but we decided to go out to say hello to everyone. Four hours later when they were doing last call, we headed home. hahahaha. I'm really glad we went out though because it gave me a chance to actually hang out with people and talk. By the time we got home, it was so late that I don't think Mike and I said more than two words to each other before falling asleep.
I never dreamed of my wedding growing up, but I can't really imagine a day more perfect than that one. There was so much love and support for Mike and I and we had so much fun celebrating with each other and with all of our friends and family. Thank you to everyone who made the day so incredible. We are truly blessed.
Today, I am thankful for my wedding. It was such a special day and we had so much fun celebrating with everyone. There aren't many times where so many of your friends and family come together and it was amazing to have that experience.