Last weekend I went to my cousin’s wedding and I figured where better to report on it than on my bridal blog!

Three years ago my aunt (my cousin’s mom, my dad’s sister, my mom’s best friend) died from breast cancer.  So, we knew going into this wedding that it was going to be an emotional ride.

We got in Friday morning and went to the rehearsal dinner that night.  It was at her fiance’s house and we had yet to meet the soon-to-be member of our family.  When we first got there it was only his family and we were kind of wandering around going, “Um…where are the people we’re related to?”  I last saw my cousin, Kimberly, at my wedding last April.  Same for the last time I saw her stepbrother, JT.  Her brother, Rob, I last saw shortly before my aunt died.  And, her other stepbrother, Dan, I last saw when I was 12.  My whole family hadn’t seen Dan in YEARS.

At one point my mom and I lost our husbands and as we were walking around we passed a guy who looked at us and I said, “We’re looking for our husbands.”  He said they were probably in the 50s room looking at this crazy cool old car.  Once we found our men, we headed to the buffet line and the same guy was there with a kid at his feet.  My dad walked up, looked at the kind and went, “Who this guy?!”  And the dad answered with his son’s name.  My dad bent down to say hi.  When he stood up, he looked at the dad and said, “Hey, I’m Pete.”  And the guy said, “I know.  I’m Dan.”  WHAT??!!  How had our family TOTALLY MISSED DAN!  It had CLEARLY been entirely too long.  And it was SO. NICE. to see everyone again.

So, I finally saw my cousin, Kimberly, who I love dearly and who can make me laugh like none other.  She saw all of us and started crying saying, “Oh, I forgot you were going to be here!” She seemed pretty distracted and not too grounded during the dinner.  I tried to talk to her alone briefly, but she just stopped me and told me I had food in my teeth.  Nice.

The next morning was a girls only champagne breakfast and Kimberly and her fiance’s house. This is us showing off her newly renovated cabinetry:

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This was such a great way to start the day.  Very relaxed.  Then, Rob’s longtime boyfriend, Levi came over to do all the girls’ hair, so my mom and I left and headed back to our hotel.

We had to be ready for family photos by 3:30 (wedding was at 6pm), so we didn’t have TOO much time between the breakfast and the photos to relax.  The wedding was held in her dad’s backyard (which is gorgeous and overlooks a golf course) and reception was at the community’s country club.  Photos were held at the country club.  The second Kimberly saw us walk in the door, she and my mom got all teary eyed.  A while into photos, I heard my name being called.  Turns out, Kimberly had requested photos of just she and me and I was very touched.  I can’t wait to see those because we did our Calvin Klein model poses.

After the photos we headed back to the house where my husband took one of my favorite photos.  It’s me and the guys I miss so much from that side of my family:

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JT, me, Dan, his son Aidan, Rob & Levi.  Can we PLEASE have a yearly reunion?  Please.

Here are my folks pre-ceremony (aren’t they super adorable?  My mom has lost almost 20lbs in the past few months!) and my husband and me being sassy:

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The ceremony took place outside with all the guests standing around the pool.  I was kind of worried about standing the whole time because I don’t do well standing too long.  But, two things happened 1. the ceremony was only about 15 minutes and 2. toward the beginning of the ceremony, the officiant (who also did my aunt’s eulogy) invited people to kick off their shoes and put their feet in the water.  Which is exactly what my mom and I did.

It was pretty emotional.  Before my cousin even came down we saw her fiance start to cry.  Then, what really floored my folks and eveyone in the above pic was when Kim was coming down with her dad and the officiant asked, “Who brings this woman to be married to this man,” and her dad answered, “Her mother, Pamela, and I do.”  Oh, God.  There were IMMEDIATE TEARS and loud SNIFFLES from pretty much everyone.  My dad said it almost knocked him to his knees.

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The ceremony was really great.  The officiant was very in the moment and didn’t sound rehearsed at all – it went well with the general atmosphere.  Her wedding colors were great, too.  A very lively, but calm feel.  The men wore grey suits and the women had this deep purple dress from Victoria’s Secret.

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One of my favorite parts of the ceremony was the sand blending ceremony.  My husband and I did this as well and we have our sand sitting on our mantel!  In this case, though, Lance (the fiance) had a son who is such a happy and friendly  kid.  Kim loves him – and Kim comes from a history of step kids, so this was very natural for her.  Well, they included the son in the sand ceremony after having all three of them promise to laugh together and enjoy each other.

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Their vows were very emotional.  They didn’t write them ahead of time.  Actually, I think Kimberly MAY have, but I do know that whatever she wrote she left at home.  Lance had told us earlier in the day that he was just going to “wing it.”  Now, I gotta tell you, my mom’s and my first reaction to that was not positive.  Oh, so you’re just going to WING your promises to MY COUSIN? TO MY NIECE? Do you KNOW how SPECIAL she is???!!!  Smack.

Well, our reaction was a little premature.  I think our family got to know Lance more through the ceremony than through talking to him (which we didn’t get to do a lot of).  He was a mess.  He was an emotional mess and, frankly, we were glad.  It was nice to see.  His vows were very simple and because he didn’t prepare them, they were very in the moment, heartfelt and CONNECTED to Kim and to what they were feeling.  It was quite beautiful, really.  And, if we weren’t all crying enough already, this kept the waterworks going.

The ceremony was over in what seemed like no time.  But the crying wasn’t.  We were a mess.  My dad held my mom.  Dan held my dad.  We all held each other.  Then grabbed a beer.

It was time to go dance and celebrate!

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The inside of the country club wasn’t one big room so there were tables all over the place – some in a good spot for seeing the dance floor and some not so much.  Our side of the family found a nice table in a room with french doors that viewed the dance floor perfectly.  It seemed to take a while for the dancing to get started and, really, that’s the most important part, especially for my dad and me.

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The speeches made us all cry again.  But then it was full party time.

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My cousin, Rob, took over the DJ booth around 10:45pm and did some spinning, which was awesome.  Except for the fact that about 5 minutes into it, my mom and I realized that our purses were gone.  They were on our table about 20 minutes before and then they were gone.  We had the whole staff looking.  Luckily, she only  had makeup in hers and the most important thing I had in mine was my cell phone.  My phone was on throughout the night (because I got a text message from the lovely Krista who was letting me know that her boyfriend proposed and she said yes! Love all around!) and so we decided to call it and see if anyone was dumb enough to answer.  Well, it kept going to voicemail so someone had turned it off or taken it for parts.  I was smart enough to get insurane on it, though, so there was only a $50 deductible (would have cost me $300!).

Finally, it was time to say goodnight.  We would be back at Kim’s dad’s in the morning for breakfast, but Kim and Lance wouldn’t be there because they had to catch a flight to the Domincian Republic.

At the end of the night we drove Kim and Lance home and, like most brides do at some point, Kimberly said, “I can’t believe our wedding is over.”  And a marriage begins.