This past weekend, I was in the wedding of our dear friends, Sarah and Keith, down in Fairhope, AL. Josh and I had the pleasure of making a trip down to visit them back in the Fall, when we got to celebrate their engagement and see the venues which they'd chosen for the Big Day. I absolutely loved Fairhope, and became even more excited for their Big Day after seeing the venues. They were married at St. Francis at the Point, a precious little white chapel in Point Clear, AL, and their reception was at the gorgeous Grand Hotel Marriott-also in Point Clear, AL, less than 1 mile from the church. If you have never been to the Fairhope area, I highly recommend taking a trip down there!
Let me back up a bit... So, Sarah gave me the tremendous honor of standing up there with her as she and Keith pledged themselves to each other in holy matrimony. Josh and I made plans for the trip, and after a recommendation by my BFF Eden, we made reservations for Miley at Kelly Run Farm in Odenville, AL. She had taken their dog, Buck, down there a few times, and said that he always had a ball, so we thought we'd try it out for Miley. I had to be in Fairhope by 12:30pm on Friday afternoon for the Bridesmaid Luncheon, so we battled between getting up early Friday morning to make the drive or leaving on Thursday evening. Since Kelly Run Farm has specific drop off/pick up hours, we had to leave Miley there before 5:30pm on Thursday due to the fact that they would not be open early enough for us to drop her off on our way out of town on Friday AM. That helped us make the decision, and we went down on Thursday evening to stay in Mobile with my long-time family friend, Ryan, who is a 3rd year med student at the University of South Alabama. After we got down there, Ryan and I ended up staying up until 1:15am chatting! (WAY past my bedtime!) The next morning, Ryan took us to his fave coffee spot, Carpe Diem, to get some coffee and a muffin. Afterwards, he gave us the grand tour of Mobile. He was a fabulous host, and we were sorry to leave him mid-morning as we headed to the hotel for our early check-in. (No, we didn't stay at the Grand Hotel...it was just too expensive for us Gambles...but we wish we could've!)
While I was at the luncheon, Josh took that opportunity to go ride his bike on the flat roads of south Alabama. That night, we had rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner, which was at the Wash House Restaurant-almost across the street from the church--another perfect venue! Following the delicious meal, great fellowship, and humorous toasts, many of us headed to the Grand Hotel to hang out with each other and wedding guests at Bucky's Birdcage Lounge. Exhausted from the early-morning chatting with Ryan, Josh and I called it an "early" (and by early I mean 11 or 12) night. Saturday morning, we hung out around the hotel for a little bit before walking over to Downtown Fairhope (approx 2 miles from our hotel) to walk around and grab lunch at Panini Pete's, a local favorite featured on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives (one of Josh and my fave shows) last May. After a pleasant walk back to the hotel, I got ready for the Big Event!
A pretty laid-back bride, Sarah didn't ask us to be there until 3pm ready for pictures. After my great experience with our wedding photographer, Samantha Alday, I highly recommended her to Sarah, which she took and quickly booked Samantha. It was SO great to see Samantha and her husband, Clark! (He comes as her assistant to catch some of the shots from different angles and other special moments). They both hugged Josh and my necks, and wanted to hear all about how life for the Gambles was going. They are too sweet. Pictures went well, and I was glad to see that Sarah and Keith took mine and Samantha's advice to do their pictures together pre-ceremony. I know this can be a touchy subject for some, because we all have this romantic notion about seeing each other for the first time as we walk down the aisle to our groom. I was the same way, but after talking to Samantha, I changed my mind. Not only did Josh and I have the opportunity to have that very special "first glance" in a more intimate setting (not that doing it in front of 350 of your closest friends and family isn't intimate ;o) ) but we got to take pictures when we were at our freshest--fresh makeup, no/few wrinkles in Josh's suit, etc. It also gave us the opportunity to get some of our pre-ceremony jitters out of the way so we could better enjoy the ceremony. Another plus that I personally felt strongly about was not making our guests wait at the reception for us to finish pictures. Please don't take me the wrong way--I believe every bride/groom should do what is best for them. This is what was best for me, and as it turns out, was also best for Sarah and Keith. Full of love, joy, excitement, and sentiment for her groom, Sarah did get emotional during the ceremony, which messed up her make up a little bit. She was so glad to have already taken those special pictures with her groom at her freshest! I digress :o)
Sarah was absolutely beautiful, and Keith was beaming with love for his bride. It touched my heart to see our sweet friends tearing up as their eyes met in the church, and as they began that amazing journey together. Their ceremony was performed by a friend of theirs from law school, who was also an ordained minister. His ceremony was one of the BEST that I've ever witnessed. After the ceremony, we all took a few pictures and then it was on the the Grand Hotel to celebrate! There was a cocktail hour, followed by a sit-down dinner, during which we watched Sarah and Keith's first dance, the father-daughter dance, and Keith's mother-son dance. (Josh and I both had the filet mignon, which was incredible!) Following dinner was lots of fun, catching up with old college friends, and dancing! I thought it was a great evening. Around 10:30pm, we all wished Sarah and Keith a safe trip (Whistler for skiing) and headed back over to Bucky's Birdcage Lounge to visit with friends. Sunday morning, Josh and I had breakfast with our friends Katie and Eric Spencer, and Lara from Vandy before they headed out. We took it easy that morning, doing some leisurely packing and watching a little tv before checking out.
Because it was the first time we'd left her for the weekend (or more than a few hours), we were anxious to see how Miley's weekend at the farm went. She was so excited to see us and was clearly a happy girl---success! Apparently she made some new friends and even got into the lake on one of her walks (don't worry, it's encouraged!). The lady said Miley did great and that she just wishes she had 1/2 the energy that Miley has haha. Josh and I were so relieved to see that she was happy and that the weekend was a success for her as well.
A few things about which I'm excited...
1. My friend from Vandy/AOII, Jenn Gray and her hubby find out the sex of their first born tomorrow!
2. Easter is this weekend! Jesus died for our sins---I am so humbly grateful for his sacrifice! For us, Easter Sunday also means getting together with family, which I adore. It is so neat to watch our family expanding as we add new wives/hubbies and babies.
3. Blooming flowers and trees! Spring is my absolute favorite season due to the beautiful weather (where did that go btw?) and flowers everywhere! Snowball viburnum, dog wood trees, azaleas, etc. I. Love. It!
Well... I've sufficiently procrastinated, seeing as though I'm at the library to do school work... not blog. Ha ha. I'll post some pics from the wedding soon. Hope you're having a blessed week and staying warm, Y'all!