Maria's Wedding Recap & Tips
Did that really happen? I can’t believe our wedding has already come and gone! My heart just overflows with gratitude and love! Simply having so many people that we love together in the same place was priceless. I look back and feel like so many things were such a blur – the best way I can describe it is a near ‘out of body experience.’ But as time rolls on day by day, I’m starting to remember more and more and am reliving the love of our special day.
The week prior to our wedding, I was doing as any outdoor bride does, I was checking the forecast every.. single... waking... hour. Earlier in the week it called for storms EVERY single day of the week – and I’m not exaggerating! Literally….every. single. day…. There are no telling how many prayer requests I sent out to people for the weather to clear. I knew it would be ok either way, but it would be a major hassle to tear down tables and set them back up between ceremony/reception to make room for the ceremony inside. Finally, thankfully, by Tuesday ALL storms in the forecast were gone! Completely gone! We had blue skies every single day of our festivities without even a sprinkle – the power of prayer!
From Wednesday on, the week was full of friends and so many festivities. We toured Woodford Reserve, had a Bridesmaid’s Brunch at Shakertown, a bridal shower, and a beautiful rehearsal dinner catered by Bluebird Café held at the stunning Warrenwood Manor (with the balloon race in the background from Danville's Brass Band Festival!). Some of my favorite times were staying up late at the Wilderness Road Guest Houses with all my girls having ‘game night.’
Through it all, surprisingly I was not nervous, or worried! I simply felt like I had a lot on my mind and was crazy excited inside! That is not to say everything went exactly as planned. Because, Brides, the #1 thing to remember is things will definitely NOT go 100% perfect – and that’s ok! That’s what makes it fun :) For instance – we got the call that something happened with some of our tables and they were not going to be usable an HOUR before rehearsal…. Somehow I was just in a ‘solve it and move on’ mode – and I’m so grateful I was!
The morning of our wedding I woke up feeling at peace. First thing I did was get my hair and makeup done by Catherine Jones Kung in the cottages. It was very quiet in there – which made me nervous! But once my sister made it there I started laughing and talking, and felt so much better that my mind wasn’t solely on the day. During this time, I read the “Vow” book that Zac and I exchanged since we decided to do our own vows privately. It was a great way to get my mind in the right mentality for the day.
Then… Zac called – and told me we somehow forgot all the centerpieces and all the dishes in Zac’s garage…. How can that happen?? Bride brain is REAL! This was unexpected event #2 and it wasn’t even 10:00 am yet! We brought most things to the barn the night before but totally forgot those! Thankfully Zac’s parents came to the rescue and brought them to the barn for us that morning! Whew! Problem solved….
Once my boho-wavy hair, and big-eyed makeup styles were complete, my sister, Tracy, zipped me up in my DREAM off-white dress. I’m so, so grateful for the southern gem, and heart-of-gold, Heidi Elnora who was willing to design my dress. As I told her exactly what I was envisioning – she made it come to life! (Better yet, it came to life by hand in Alabama, with the lace bottom from Paris! Eek! My dress and my flowers by Ellis Florist really went together even better than I imagined!
After all shoes and jewelry were on, Zac and I next did a “first look” since we decided not to wait until the ceremony to allow MUCH more time together that day, less nerves, and more fun! It was one of my favorite times during the day. We were like giddy school kids! I was expecting him to be more nervous - but he was so fun that day like he always is when it’s just me and him – it was perfect! We had our moment together, and fully soaked it in. It was just completely out of a fairy tale!
Once it was time for us to go to the barn for the bridesmaids / groomsmen pics, I was starting to feel just a little quiet, yet focused. I was planning to walk around the huge barn to see that everything was ok. However, I’m shocked at how much I saw that wasn’t exactly as planned…. But here’s the curve ball… I DIDN’T CARE! It was insane. It was like all the sudden that four page set up of directions was gone out the window! Looking back I do wish I was able to change a few things (such as making sure our ceremony chairs were in a U shape as planned so everyone could hear – sorry people in the far back rows) – but those details are tiny and are not what the day is about anyway :) Here is sneak peek from our photographers - but I haven't got them all yet. More to come!
It was itching closer to closer to the ceremony. I was having my ‘quiet time’ in the Bride’s room, and suddenly 4:30 rolled around – our starting time – and nothing was happening…. Turns out that most of guests came in the barn first instead of going straight to the ceremony hill after parking. That made things run a tad behind – but we had no other option since we wanted to keep everyone cool and out of the sun. Nonetheless the ceremony began shortly afterwards. I’ll never forget the story Dad told me about when he and my brother were talking to Zac before the ceremony, and Zac finally broke down in tears. He is such a mushy boy – I just love him for it.
Then here came the songs….the songs I played over and over and over on my phone because I loved them so much while wedding planning! Holly Hammons sang and Dustin Devine played guitar and their soft voices made it just like the perfect, countryside wedding we wanted. When the songs "Multiplied" and "10,000 Reasons" played, it was time for the parents & bridesmaids. It was officially game time. The girls started up that long hill one by one until they reached the top. Then the song switched over to “Marry Me” by Train – and that was our cue! Dad grabbed my arm, Catherine stretched out my train and veil, and we talked the whole way up the hill – I know to avoid turning on the waterfalls from our eyes. It wasn’t until we were at the top of the hill when Dad said “Oh Missy” (my nickname from Dad) and a deep breath as we began to walk the actual aisle with people surrounding us.
I looked around a bit to try to avoid the tears, and yet couldn’t even tell you who I saw… I was almost mindless! Then I saw Zac…. And it was real. That moment we had waited for forever had finally came! And I couldn’t have asked for a better day. I reached the altar and by the cross Zac made my hand, and stood beside my groom, my Dad, our minister Brian Lucas, and the 14 closest friends in our bridal party. And here was the hard part: this “Daddy’s Girl” had to be “given away!” After a long hug and kiss on the forehead, the unexpected happened. Zac gave Dad a little ‘at a boy’ tap on the butt and said “I got this!” as if they were teammates on the basketball court! You read that right ladies and gentleman…. The groom hit my dad on the butt during our ceremony! It was HILARIOUS and totally broke the entire seriousness in the best way possible! The crowd laughed and the mood was lifted. It was so spontaneous, random, and perfect!
Then came one of the most beautiful wedding ceremony I’ve ever heard – and I don’t think I’m being biased! Brian went from talking biblically about marriage, to telling our “romantic” love story of meeting in CVS, to the top 10+ favorite things we listed about each other. It was so personalized and full of sweetness, laughter, and serious moments. I could feel the wind blow my cathedral length veil every now and then as I tried to keep my eyes locked into Zac’s. Then we recited the most important paragraph I’ll ever say in my life, which was a unique version of vows dedicated to how Jesus loves the Church. We tied our ‘cord of three strands’ as our unity service, and then before we knew it…”I introduce to you, for the first time, Zac and Maria Record!” A huge, cheesy grin overcame my face as we walked hand and hand down our aisle. This time I COULD see and focus on each individual face in the crowd, down the hill to our barn reception! We’ve never felt more loved seeing so many people, from 8 different states overall, all there to support us!
I switched veils to my mom’s boho, ribbon-floral veil that she wore in her wedding for the reception as we waited for everyone to be seated at the reception. We peeked inside the barn and saw it was warmly lit with twinkle lights, chandeliers, and people mingling. Then…. Bam! Jason Henninger (our DJ of Kentucky Pro DJ) turned on the Royal blueish/purple up-lighting and the barn transformed into a totally different vibe! The song they play during UK basketball starting line ups started getting the room excited (because yes we are families are that hard core UK fans….). All bridesmaids were introduced with the blueish/purple lighting, and then Jason changed it to strobe lighting when he introduced “The Records”! It was so fun! The first thing we did was step up to the mic to thank everyone for coming, and to thank my mom for pouring out blood, sweat, and tears for helping set up our perfect day. Then we headed to our seats. On the way we heard “What a Beautiful Day” by Chris Cagle – that is a very important song to us as well as well as so many others I requested. Although our 300 guests didn’t know the meaning of the songs, we did, and it was enough to warm our hearts and smile at each other as they were played through the night.
We filled our plates as full as possible and enjoyed every bite. Our guests are still telling us how wonderful the dinner was. Lucky Dog BBQ definitely didn’t disappoint with their chicken, brisket, pulled pork, ‘Wicked beans,’ and amazing light-slaw! As people finished eating, Jason (our DJ) called Zac and I to the center of the floor for “The Shoe Game” which was the perfect entertainment for those waiting on everyone to finish eating. We had a lot of ‘awwwws’ and laughter as Zac and I proved how much, (or how little) we knew each other! I wasn’t your typical bride in that I continued to dance a lot as the night went on. I only stopped for the tear-jerking speeches by my sister and Zac’s best man and to toast with my family’s 150 year old passed down wine glasses! But the songs were so fun and all so special it was hard not to do so!
Speaking of dancing…one major advice I would give to any future brides – make SURE you have a good DJ. There was so much that went unplanned throughout our day, if our DJ wasn’t on his “A game” and if he didn’t know how to control a room of 300+ guests, the reception would have gone downhill fast! At the end of the day, your guests remember very little (if any) of all the décor you obsessed about. They remember the good time they had (if the DJ kept the party alive), the delicious food, and the lovely couple. Before ever officially booking our DJ, he talked to me for an hour sharing detailed experiences he had with different venues & vendors. He also shared with me that he prefers being a classy, yet fun, DJ and that he had a timeline I could use for the reception… I was won over. Your DJ should do just that! They are so full of experience, why would they not share it with you? In addition - when it was just ONE WEEK out from our wedding, I suddenly realized I had mistakenly thought I had a photobooth reserved, but I didn't!!! (Another proof that ‘Bride Brain’ is real…) Our Dj saved the day again by offering to bring his photo booth with him and things continued without even a hiccup. My mom refers to him now as the “MVP of our wedding" and that’s exactly what a DJ should be – so don’t skimp on your DJ girls! It’s SO worth having a good one, and one that maybe has a photobooth/Dj/Uplighting in one so that it’s less vendors to cover.
It was time to take a break from the dancing when the up-lighting next changed to amber colored in time for our first dances. Mine and Zac’s dance was traditional, but me and my dad had choreographed our dance to Brook’s and Dunn’s My Maria. It was really special J Later, the lights went pink and it was time to cut the cake. Our cake was DELICIOUS and so simply beautiful! Sweets by Cindy made it, and it sat on a silver platter which was used for several generations of weddings in our family, and it held the 4 tier cake perfectly. We also had two towers of cupcakes with about 6 different flavors – including a lot of peanut butter flavors because I’m obsessed with Cindy’s peanut butter cake!
At 9:00 my group of photographers/videographers- who were the hardest working photo crew I've ever seen despite the heat of the day – came to ask us for some sunset pics. I honestly was a bit shocked to see them because I hadn’t thought twice about cameras since finishing pics earlier in the day! I was so surprised that was the case! I really thought with my profession I would constantly be worried about showing good angles, and pretty pics, but I wasn’t! I was completely in the moment. And that’s how it should be! I trust that Mango Photography / Andrew Kung Photo will nonetheless have AWESOME pics & videos, and that some will be very candid :) I can't wait to get more of their pics soon!
Standing on top of the hill looking down at the barn, hearing the music blare, the guests laughing, and the cool air blowing was truly one of the best moments in my life. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. It was just the perfect finish to the day as the sun set behind us. I couldn’t help but smile. We did it! We are officially husband and wife. We had the most beautiful day to celebrate the beginning of the rest of our lives. Thank you to every single one of you who fought the humidity, the difficult scheduling, and the challenges to make our day perfectly ‘us’.
(AKA Maria Montgomery Record now :)