~Our Renewals~ Hey my WBC family! I've been a little hush- hush lately. Our 14th wedding ann...
I promised i would have a story, advice, and the moments for you so here goes....this is long as heck...sorry! I wouldn't blame you for not reading, I wouldn't read this either! ha!
**********Favorite things or Do recommend***********
1. The wish tree- peoples messages were so great! It was awesome to read all of these after the wedding!!
2. Flip-flops: everyone commented how these saved their feet :) they were a hit!
3. Not allowing bartenders to accept tips. Matt and I treated this party as we would if we had guests to our house. We agreed that it would be worth it to tip the bartenders ourselves and not allow them to accept a single dime as we just didn't want our guests to have to pay for anything. We didn't think this would solicit rave reviews! So many guests praised us when they heard "no thank you sir, the couple has asked that we not accept tips." They admitted that they hated having to tip or carry singles at weddings...who knew!?
4. Bathroom Baskets- also a hit with guests. They thought it was pretty cool.
5. Lighting- changes a room! If you have the means, do it :)
6. Appoint one of your friends to be a buffer. This means that you create a code word and if you say that word, she has to clear everyone away from you or take you out of the situtaion asap. This job went to my friend Michelle and she did indeed use her position.
7. A Day of Coordinator- Don't know how life would have happened without her. She is the only reason that the party flowed.
8. Eat something, stop dancing and enjoy the details. I seriously never left the dance floor so I missed the dessert bar, the conversations, the other party around me. If I could do it again, I would take a break from dancing and walk around a bit.
9. Recommend!!! Pick bmaids that truly have your back and are genuinely happy for you and will lay down their attitudes to make the day yours. They are around you all day and one nasty one can break your spirits as much as you want to brush it off.
********Could have done without or Don't recommend*********
1. petal cones- not a single petal was actaully thrown and I don't even think people remembered or realized what it was...lol!!
2. Having people come to town and offering to pick them up. We found ourselves going back and forth to the airport WAY TOO many times. Have guests either take a cab or ask someone else to handle this.
3. Entertaining all week. I didn't think it would be too much to have people always over. It's too much, it takes a toll. If at all possible, have the last few days be as quiet and relaxing as possible. I felt high strung all the way through wedding and then crashed (i have been sick now for 2 days). I messed this one up and it took a toll on my wedding attitude. I was the most stressed I had been in months.
4. Expensive shoes: My shoe saga was crazy and I wore those suckers for a short period before I had to get them off. Great for pictures, but overall a regret in terms of money spent vs. time worn.
**********Now The Day***********
The day didn't start off too great. I wanted so badly for everything to go well, be relaxing and for the photogs to have lots of amazing moments to shoot, plus I paid a whole lotta money for hair/make-up to make all of the girls beautiful. Well, long/short, my mom decided she wanted to suddenly turn into momzilla and "hate" everything. She had me tense all day, hated her hair and decided that instead of telling the amazing artists what she didn't like that she would pout and proceed to tell everyone (including me) that our hair and make-up was ugly and then made rude remarks about the hairdresser...this happened all morning. Some of the bmaids also complained about their hair, make-up and one complained about having to wear the fantastic robes I got them. In fact I think one comment when I asked them to put on the robes for pics was "nah, that's ok." I felt very unappreciated and very tense. I had to have my photographer go in my bedroom and pray with me :) Thank God for my sister and few friends and Matt's mom who kept me sane (oh and the champagne and shot). Matt also left me a sweet card that I read and kept calm. Unfortunately i don't think we captured any mom/daughter moments during the first 7 hours. Then the flowers came. My bouquet was all wrong and the bmaids flowers were all wrong and the boutonniers were VERY wrong! They were exactly what we didn't ask for. Matt was really against having flowers so we decided to have something masculine and purple (they sent pinkish ROSES!! The most flowery flower there is). My bouquet that I paid $175 for cause they promised they could get me peonies had not 1 peony in it, it was small and it was ugly and the stems weren't covered like I asked them to be. There were green stems everywhere. The girls bouquets were falling apart before we even left the house. The flowers were a disaster and if this was representative of the reception I was gonna cry. Fortunately the reception and ceremony flowers were stunning!! I digress. When I finally survived the day (my girls looked stunning!!) I looked in the mirror for the first time and I think I said out loud "wow!" I felt beautiful and happy and I was ready to go see Matt... OY OY.
Off to first look: All of the girls and I got into the limo (neighbors clapped and stared- so fun) and headed off to the London Hotel. I truly felt like a rockstar!!! People at the hotel were staring at me open-mouthed and telling me how beautiful i looked (SO FUN!!) and when it was time to see Matt, the bridal party lined the hallway and I got teary eyed for a minute but then the photogs started giving instructions and it took me out of the moment. So with that I will leave you with ADVICE #1: ask the photogs to let the moment happen without too much instruction since somehow saying "ok walk to the first circle in the floor and then stop" killed my emotion. Matt felt the same way :) I finally reached Matt and put my hand on his shoulder and swung around and he was stunned :) in a good way. We hugged & kissed (no tears). Then we did pics and it was time to go to the ceremony...
Ceremony: We arrived early so we all hung out in the green room. I was able to see the space for the first time and i was happy...it looked beautiful and classy and stunning! I loved everything so I was relaxed. Except my 2 piece dress skirt kept falling (apparently i lost more weight so we had to unlace me and pin the skirt to the top). ADVICE #2 Don't get a 2 piece dress. I had the option to make it a one piece and liked the idea of the 2 piece but that was a mistake. When it was finally time to go down the aisle, it all happened in what felt like 2 minutes. I never heard the music playing (they tell me it was beautiful), I got caught in my dress going up the stairs to the catwalk. After that things went well. The ceremony was beautiful. Matt wrote amazing vows and mine were good too and people were crying and telling us after how much they loved our vows and the ceremony. I got emotional for a minute but pulled it together. Unity cross didn't go as planned. The pastor put it together for us as he explained it instead of letting us put the pieces in :) lol! Oh well.... It felt like it was over in seconds. Man, this is flying by! ADVICE #3 As much as you can, take in every minute. It literally goes so fast and there us so much going on that you feel like it was an out of body experience.
We joined the cocktail hour after a few pictures, but I was so busy saying hello to everyone that I never tasted a single bite. They tell me it was delicious. The presentation was stunning!! Honestly, don't remember much here. It was a whirlwind. Then I got scooped away to re-read our vows cause Matt's mic was turned to mute during the cermony and the videographer didn't capture the vows....whoops.
Reception is where the fun starts! We did our traditional "arabic entrance" called a zeffa where everyone is introduced and it turns into a big celebratory dance with sticks and handkerchiefs (that was fun). The DJ ruined the first song by accidentally stopping it and then it was fine from there. Everyone enjoyed this. we made our way to the cake, cut that, popped champagne, toasted to the dancing crowd and then made our way to the sweetheart table. Matts father said grace and food began to be served. I didn't eat much (had no appetite!!). Matt and I did table visits, people were up and about drinking and celebrating and when we were done the aerial show began (awesome) and guests loved it. After the aerial show, they played our video (you can view it below) and then the MOH and Best Man gave their speeches. My sister wrote an amazing poem documenting our life, closeness, bond, experiences and characteristics. I got emotional and it got rave reviews! The rest of the night was all about dancing. I literally NEVER left the dance floor and Matt disappeared for 30 minutes. I kept asking where he had gone and suddenly the music stopped and the DJ asked everyone to please go out into the garden. I was confused and in shock!! When I went outside I was placed in the center of the group and my husband was up on the same catwalk that we had gotten married on earlier. Everyone got quiet and he proceeded to explain why he brought everyone out "Nidhal and I agreed not to exchange gifts, but I wanted to give her something that she will remember ..." something like that (I was in total shock)!!! He then went into full acting mode and danced an entire piece (with about 6 other dancers) that documented our beginning, our battles early on, our will to make it, the outside forces that tried to take us down, and our ultimate surrender to Christ and our victory in Him. Oh man, I was crying and so was everyone else. It was magical, personal, and too much for words. At the end of the piece he pulls me on stage to replace the girl that he had danced with that represented me and everyone cheered :) Wow!! The rest of the night we all danced danced danced...the crowd sang at the top of their lungs to journey and MJ and we had a great time!
Overall, things didn't go perfect, things didn't go exactly as pictured in my head but it was a magical night. It was full of surprises for me and everyone else and it was fun! So many people either told me that our wedding was the greatest display of love they had ever seen or that we were an inspiration to them or that this was the best wedding they had been to. Overall, it was a success! We were able to give a grand party where the point of the evening was not lost. We were there to glorify God and all of His love and we were there because we loved each other. I just have to say lastly, that this wedding was not cheap but at the end of it all with God as our abundant father in heaven, we were able to fully pay it off in cash! We are not rich people, we started saving 8 months ago and had $38 in our wedding fund when we started. We believed, we always gave God the glory for this glamorous wedding and we knew that if He had brought us this far that He was going out in style!
Thanking God for His abundant blessings and for always loving us despite us.