Halfway through my walk down the aisle, I stopped trying to take in the faces of all of my friends and family in attendance and looked up at my husband-to-be standing on the altar, smiling at me. And that's when I started to tear up. It was the first time on my wedding day, and not the last.
After a year of preparations and 30 days of advice from wedding planner Mindy Weiss, my Big Day was all that I ever could have imagined, and more.
Mindy and many others told me that the wedding would fly by, but I didn't really know what they meant until I experienced it.
My memories of the day are a blur of hugs and kisses, sunshine and smiles, green grass and blue skies, photos and flowers and dancing and drinking champagne. But there are a few moments that stick out in my mind after two weeks and one lovely honeymoon to reflect. I've also included a few photos from our amazing photographer, Perry Heller (click here for more info).
I remember waking up at 6 a.m. on the wedding day like a child on Christmas morning, too excited to sleep.
I remember the makeup artist doing my sister's makeup, looking at my makeup and hair for the first time and proclaiming, "Holy s***, look at the bride!" It was actually a very good confidence-builder.
I remember posing for photos outside before the ceremony, oblivious to a minor crisis at the church because the printer had assembled some of the programs out of order. Thankfully no one told me about that until the next day.
I remember waiting while everyone else walked down the aisle and the gasps when the church choir and trumpet launched into Trumpet Voluntary, the doors opened, and I entered on my dad's arm.
I remember Mark squeezing my hand during the priest's homily, when he said he knew the first time he met us that we would be asking him about getting married, because we were so obviously in love.
I remember our reception entrance to "Start Me Up," the first dance to "Baby I Love Your Way" and the last dance to, yes, "Don't Stop Believing."
I remember telling Mark that this was the best day of my life, and my father saying in his welcome speech that it was also one of the best days of my parents' lives.
I remember the best man's toast, which was touching, funny, concise…perfect. Mindy would have been proud.
I remember the flower girl twirling in her dress and dancing in her pajamas.
I remember eating bananas before the wedding because I was afraid anything else would mess up my makeup or spill on my dress, wishing I'd eaten some of the amazing appetizers we chose during the cocktail hour, and enjoying every bite of the wedding cake at the reception.
I remember taking off my shoes at the end of the night and dancing like crazy.
I remember my face hurting from smiling so much.
I remember wishing the night would never end, and wishing we could do it all again.
I've always been a big fan of quotes, and we included two in our wedding program that really said what our wedding was about.
"Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul." – Saint Augustine
"May all thy joys be as the month of May, and all thy days be as a marriage day." – Francis Quarles
Our wedding day was full of love, beauty, heart, soul, and joy. May we be lucky enough to have more days like that in the years to come.
I can't believe it's over, but then I remind myself that it's really only just beginning.
The 30-Day Wedding Countdown
For The 30-Day Wedding Countdown, celebrity wedding planner Mindy Weiss answered countless questions for me about all things weddings. Her advice was invaluable, and it's clear that she really loves helping brides (and grooms) have the big day that's right for them.
If you want Mindy's help for your own wedding, you can find thousands of answers in her book, "The Wedding Book." She also has a new iPhone application available in the Apple App Store, called "Plan Your Wedding with Mindy Weiss."
Unfortunately, the app wasn't available in time for my wedding, but it features an organizational tool and will guide brides through everything they need to know from the engagement through honeymoon and offer live updates, tips and videos from Mindy.
CLICK HERE for the full countdown, or see below for all the entries.
Day 30: What's the proper invitation response etiquette? CLICK HERE to find out.
Day 29: What are Mindy Weiss' top 10 tips for the final month before your wedding?CLICK HERE for more.
Day 26: Great gift ideas for bridesmaids, groomsmen and other attendants, and how much you should spend. CLICK HERE to read.
Day 25: Seating chart strategy. CLICK HERE to read.
Day 24: Little things that make a big difference on your Big Day, from eating lunch to saying thank you. CLICK HERE.
Day 23: Juggling wedding planning with work, without losing your mind. CLICK HERE.
Day 22: Planning your wedding day timeline. CLICK HERE.
Day 19: Unique guest book ideas. CLICK HERE.
Day 18: Gifts for the bride and groom to buy for one another. CLICK HERE.
The 30-Day Wedding Countdown
Day 17: Tips for the photographer. CLICK HERE.
Day 16: Advice on toasts and speeches at your wedding. CLICK HERE.
Day 15: The Big Dance on the Big Day. CLICK HERE.
Day 12: Finding the perfect dress and getting it altered. CLICK HERE.
Day 11: What should be in every bride's emergency kit. CLICK HERE.
Day 10: Mindy's answers to readers' questions. CLICK HERE.
Day 9: The budget and the band. CLICK HERE.
Day 8: Happy Mother's Day to the mother of the bride. CLICK HERE.
Day 5: Honeymoon help. CLICK HERE.
Day 4: Diet and exercise advice and what to eat on the wedding day. CLICK HERE.
Day 3: Advice on dress code and attire for wedding guests and the bridal party. CLICK HERE.
Day 2: The last-minute to-do list. CLICK HERE.
Day 1: The day before "I Do." CLICK HERE.
CLICK HERE to visit Mindy Weiss' website.