Our Wedding Day: Getting Ready & First Looks

Hi! This post will be a detailed recap of our wedding day. I realize there may be more details here than the average bear desires, but I wanted to be certain I remember how I felt and the sanctity of it. Later this week, I will share more utilitarian posts, such as our vendors and some advice :) 


I woke up early on May 20, the sunlight beginning to pour into my bedroom. I looked down to the floor to see if my niece was still sleeping; her big brown eyes already smiling back at me. She hopped into my bed and, with the excitement of a hushed Merry Christmas!, whispered Happy wedding day, Whit! 

I'd slept deeply the night before, filled with the warm love our friends and family had showered upon us at our rehearsal dinner. I laid in bed with Lily for just a moment longer before putting my feet on the floor - fully aware that, once the day began, it would go quickly. 

My sisters went to pick up coffee while my mom and I headed over to Callanwolde, where we'd be getting ready in the bridal suite. I couldn't wait to see my bridesmaids, but treasured the first hour of the day with the three of them. It was so joyful as we arranged snacks for the bridesmaids, got to know the hair and makeup girls and prepared the room together. 

My sweet bridesmaids began arriving soon after that, each one bringing more and more energy into the room. I felt overjoyed, relaxed and happy as we began getting ready together - in awe of the fact that my nearest and dearest were all gathered together in one space. Even the memory of the day four months later makes my heart feel warm - the thought of each of them taking their entire day to prepare for our wedding and shower us with love.

My nieces, Lily and Della, came for portions of the day to get ready with us. I loved seeing them in their tiny robes, the most minimal primping ever needed for the little beauties. 

The day went quickly as we each had our hair and makeup done. We drank coffee and listened to music and wondered what Chris was up to.  My brothers stopped by to drop off our unity candle and told my sisters that he was super relaxed and excited. My heart melted just thinking about him spending the day with his friends. 

I couldn't believe it when it was already time to put my dress on - the day felt like it had gone by in minutes. I hadn't seen my dress in months (I didn't even want to look at it online!) and I felt so excited to see it.

Once we were ready, my mom and I stole a moment alone together before photos began. We were both speechless as we hugged in the quiet room - no words feeling big or exact enough for it. She joked that she didn't want to cry with her makeup just having been done, but the tears poured anyway. 

Chris and I decided to do a first look, but I wanted to make sure my dad was the first man to see me out of respect for tradition and for him as he prepared to give me away. So, we did a first look, too.

It felt a lot like it did with my mom - beyond you look so beautiful and you look so handsome we found ourselves largely speechless and overwhelmed by the magnitude and joy of the moment. So we hugged and fist bumped as I thanked him for the most perfect day. 

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Soon after, it was time to see Chris. My heart flipped at the thought and I laughed, realizing I hadn't had nervous-to-see-him-butterflies in two years. He'd become my most familiar, my safe place. Today, he was butterfly inducing as we walked into the unknown together. 

My (amazing) photographer, Natalie Puls, called me into the room where Chris was waiting for me. I'd been a steady stream of tears most of the day and, when I saw him, my eyes welled even more as I began to process what we were about to do. This is for eternity, I kept thinking as I approached him. 

We prayed, we hugged, we read letters to each other and exchanged gifts. We laughed and talked and held hands. It was a moment of such stillness among a day of movement and preparation. It felt so pure as we stood in the quiet room, barely noticing Natalie snapping photos nearby. 

We'd battled rain the entire day, debating whether or not we could have the wedding outside in the garden. The decision had been made to move the cocktail hour inside, but I was holding on to the hope that we could get married among the hydrangeas I'd been admiring since September when we'd found the venue.

Immediately following our first look, my wedding planner, Erin, came in and told me it was time to make a decision: inside or outside for the ceremony. I looked out at the rare, drizzly May day and, without much waffling, decided: outside. I know we're going to get a break in the rain, I told her. I felt so, so certain that we could squeeze it in after an entire week of asking everyone I know to please pray for no rain during our wedding. She smiled at me kindly and hustled off to prepare the garden. Bless her - a saint! :) 

The next hour went quickly as we took photos with the bridal party. My niece, Della, had no intention of smiling for the photos, which I love. These are the little things that make weddings so intimate. You can plan and prepare and do everything within your reach to put on a beautiful production, but in the end, the people you love are going to be who they are. Seeing her little personality in the photos made them more perfect - they capture this moment in time more wholly.

After photos, we had a little bit of downtime with the entire bridal party. We listened to music, had snacks and danced. The girls all prayed together, which was one of my favorite moments. 

At 4:25, my dad took my arm and walked me outside into a light drizzle. We walked down to the garden and, just as we rounded the corner to walk down the aisle, the rain stopped. We smiled huge, hanger-in-your-mouth-smiles as he took my arm and I asked him if we was ready. You're never ready for this moment he told me as he held back tears. 

Still with me? :) Stay tuned for details on the ceremony and reception Wednesday!

All photos by the amazing and beautiful Natalie Puls.