The days leading up to the big day...

The morning of my wedding, I spent a lot of time repeating a Liz Gilbert mantra to myself. I said it to myself while the stylist did my hair. I said it to myself for about an hour on my parents' deck while my family got dressed upstairs. And I said it a few times to myself after my Dad dropped me off with my dress at the main house at Lasdon. I hung my dress in the bathroom and then I paced around the suite a few times.

All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.

And then I looked out the window and saw my parents, sister and brother's girlfriend walking towards the house where I was hidden away. I will never forget how proud I was of my beautiful family just then.

Behind them, Becky and Alan were setting up the speakers for our sound system. My Aunt JoAnn had arrived with our homemade wedding cake. And the florist was setting up the splays for the ceremony. I realized I didn't need the mantra anymore: everyone had shown up. Everyone had done what they'd promised.

And for someone who planned much of the wedding herself? Well, that was the hugest sigh of relief I've ever let loose.

Here are the violet centerpieces before we left Brooklyn, all baby plants grown from my Nana's original:

Here we are doing crafts the night before the rehearsal. It was Chris' birthday and even though we were pretty burned out, Steve and Kate sat with us and helped us decorate the violets, burn mix CDs for favors and arrange the place cards in alphabetical order:

I won't forget that. Giggling about how Chris wrapped his groomsmen gifts, all of us a sleepy bundle of nerves.

The morning of the rehearsal, my Mom, Kate and I drove up to Stew Leonard's to buy cut flowers. Leigh and Courtney had volunteered to arrange our centerpieces (cut flowers meet jam jars for the win!). A few miles into the drive, our car was throwing sparks. I won't forget how we thought we might have a flower disaster on our hands, but how a helpful Santa-looking man arrived, jacked the car up, and put the car's heat shield in our trunk. Then he waved us on our way.

Don't let anyone tell you that $116 of fresh cut flowers won't look elegant. Because they are dead wrong. Leigh and Courtney put their Muhlenberg educations to work and they LIBERAL-ARTSED the hell out of those centerpieces!

But truth be told, it took me until that moment hidden away in the bridal suite to let go. Suddenly I grew a mountain of trust. All of my fears that people would be irritated or annoyed to help us disappeared and I believed that people wanted to be there, that they wanted to help us. And that we weren't an imposition on anyone.

This may sound funny, but I've realized over the past year or so that I have a pretty deep assumption going that people won't show up for me. At my 30th birthday party this year, I spent the whole night worrying that everyone wished they were somewhere else. And I let it ruin my night.

On August 13, I looked out the window and I saw people showing up. Not only were they there, but they were dressed to the nines. And maybe it was because of that discovery, because of that surprising realization, but I was no longer emotional about walking down the aisle. I knew I was about to walk into a crowd of lots and lots of love.

And one very important member of that crowd was a guy who has always shown up.

[Coming soon: the wedding itself...]

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