Strap in folks, there is a lot to catch up on.
Let’s take a trip back in time.
Not too far back, just over a month or so ago.
Alastair and I were preparing to leave Sierra Leone for our wedding. On the evening before we departed camp, some of our co-workers kindly prepared an informal barbecue party to send us off with their love and best wishes.
Of course, being rainy season, it was a rather wet barbecue, but we still made the best of it.
Together, our friends in camp had a plaque carved for Alastair and me, congratulating us, which they presented as a gift.
The next morning, we said farewell to the rest of the local workers and expressed thanks for our gift and for all of the support and encouragement we received.
Although, all of our Salone friends couldn’t attend our wedding in person, we assured them that they would be with us in spirit.
After a whirlwind of too many days of traveling across time zones, I finally arrived, a bit battered, in Beverly, approximately ten days before the wedding. I was on a mission to tackle all of the last minute preparations for the whole weekend. No one ever tells you how many millions of decisions you must make in the lead up to a wedding! As anxiety-inducing as wedding planning may be, I felt pretty good about all the right wheels being in motion. After a few days, Alastair and his family joined us stateside and, before long it was time to celebrate my bachelorette party.
Although, I’m not the ideal bachelorette candidate, since I’m quite boring and unwilling to partake in much debauchery, I still had a fantastic night with some wonderful ladies (and we missed the ones that couldn’t make it!). My sisters and friends put so much effort into a fun evening. We enjoyed some late afternoon snacks and cocktails at my mom’s house.
Then, we dolled ourselves up in flapper-style, including beaded dresses and feathers in our hair, and headed into Boston for a night on the town.
Although, we may have looked a bit ridiculous, we fit right in with the overall decor of our restaurant choice. We had dinner at Cuchi Cuchi, which is a hot spot in Cambridge that has excitingly flavored cocktails with equally appealing names, as well as delicious and unique small plates that are for passing and sharing. Additionally, all of the waitresses were dressed in moulin rouge/flapper attire :) After a soul-satisfying meal, we hit up a local club to showcase some truly inspired dance moves.
I loved that our small group of ladies busted out some killer moves to some old-school classics. Being the lame bachelorette that I am, I may have insisted on drinking my shot out of a cocktail straw, but I still think it was a great night!
After the bachelorette fun, full wedding chaos descended upon us. We were in the final throws of planning as all of the loose ends needed to be tied up, simultaneously many of our guests began to trickle in from out of town and abroad. Before I knew it, Friday arrived and I felt giddy with excitement. Besides the fun of all the actual events we had planned, I was overjoyed to see so many family members and friends in one place. There were faces I had seen more recently and ones that I hadn’t seen in years.
One thing I realized about being a bride, is that I never even thought to have a camera with me, and now I’m having to rely on poaching photographs from friends and family members. I’m so thankful that other people were taking some pictures. If you have any good ones, please send them to me!
Our picnic day was held at Lynch Park. We had planned a casual outing with plenty of food and lawn games for all. Lynch Park is a beautiful place with ocean views as a backdrop from the park lawns and the blooming rose garden to the side. The weather was a perfectly warm and sunny, but crisp, Autumn day.
People wore name tags to get to know each other as guests from either side of the pond collided. Thanks to my mom and aunt Susan who organized the food, along with others who brought along dishes, we had everything from quinoa salad to pizza to roast beef sandwiches to New England baked beans. The sun shone down on us while we played croquet, badminton, bean bag toss, bocce, or simply sat and chatted. The hours passed all too quickly, and, had we not had the rehearsal to prepare for, I imagine we would have lingered further into the late afternoon.
It was a quick turnaround as we cleaned up the picnic and then dressed for dinner. The actual rehearsal at St. Peter’s Episcopal church gave us the opportunity to run through the program and ensure that the placement of people and timing of things all went smoothly. It was thrilling to walk down the aisle with my dad to the lovely guitar and violin music for the first time, and I could hardly contain myself. Even if it was practice, I felt, as I had all day, as if I were brimming with emotion that would overflow at any moment.
The rehearsal was relatively easy and concise. We made a few quick decisions, gave the ceremony a proper run through, then headed to Beverly Farms for our rehearsal dinner and a truly magical evening. I only wish I had more pictures to share!
The rehearsal dinner was a fabulous affair put on by our friends, Cara, Britt and family at their beautiful home. Thankfully, we had our videographers there to capture the evening, because I couldn’t adequately describe the details that Cara put into it all. The theme was “Fall in Love” with delicious autumnal treats and lovely decorations. At every turn there was something special to appreciate in the evening. Cara and Britt did an unbelievable job making everyone feel welcome, and their thoughtfulness in arranging the event was unparalleled. It was so much more than just an elegant dinner party and we’ll always be thankful to the Hutchins family for putting so much time and effort into making it a special night for us!
Of course, there were a few speeches to be had; first up was my mom, then my dad, then Alastair’s dad, and then me. Our parents did a stellar job, each saying something poignant about Alastair and me, as a couple, and I thought that I had it together when it was my turn to speak. Unfortunately, as I got up in front of everyone, all of the love and gratitude I felt for our family and friends spilled out, not in the form of words, but in the form of tears. Alastair had to come up and rescue me and actually make an impromptu speech on my behalf. It was a bit embarrassing, but thankfully everyone assured me it wasn’t that bad (although I think they were just being nice). I just wanted to go around and hug everyone all night because I felt humbled by such an outpouring of generosity and love.
We ended the evening with a fun bride and groom game and an entire table filled with Fall-inspired desserts. We were even sent home with little maple syrup favors. I didn’t want the night to end, but we had the actual wedding to think about approaching the next day.
I drove Alastair to a friend’s house in Beverly where he was staying with his groomsmen until the wedding. I didn’t want to say goodbye to him, but I was so happy, and I couldn’t have imagined a more magnificently perfect day. I fell asleep that night smiling and tingling with excitement, yet, even after months of planning and preparations, I had absolutely no idea the spectacular dream that was actually in store for us the next day.
To be continued.